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Thursday, February 27th @ 8:30 P.M. – Boston Uprising vs. Seoul Dynasty Sunday, March 3rd @ 3 P.M. – Boston Uprising vs. Toronto Defiant
What a long week for the Boston Uprising. It’s not a typical one when you consider they just became the first team to lose to the Shanghai Dragons. On top of that, many wondered if Fusions could get a full OWL contract negotiated before Thursday’s game. Boston’s schedule isn’t giving them a breather, either. Let’s check in with where this week’s opponents, Seoul and Toronto, are in the standings:
Seoul and Toronto, at 5th and 6th respectively, have been good this season. Additionally, Toronto will be playing former Uprising support Neko on Sunday for the first time all season. Getting shut out this weekend will most likely knock Boston out of the Stage 1 playoffs and force some serious questions about the team. Is there a legitimate cause for concern for Uprising fans?
Fortunately the Uprising have done a lot to prepare for the two games this weekend. First, they’ve settled the Fusions contract situation:
With the team’s stud young main tank secured and ready to go, one of the main excuses I and many others gave to Boston from Friday won’t be available. Second, the boys will have had another week of scrims, practice, and VOD review to prepare. Third, Colourhex has gotten his first Blizzard Arena match over with and can now settle down going into the week. Also, the GOATS meta has made parity across the league the rule rather than the exception. Seoul and Toronto’s records mean nothing. Lastly, if you need a new hype video, the Uprising have you covered:
Taken together, Boston seems to have put the devastating loss against the Dragons behind them. They know what they need to work on (counter Sombra), where they’re good (Fusion’s shot calling) and where they’re going (big matches against Seoul and Toronto). What are their chances? Let’s break down the matches.
Boston Uprising vs. Seoul Dynasty
One of the questions the Uprising need to answer right away is who will play Lucio. Kellex was put in last Friday in place of Alemao and it’s anyone’s guess who will get the call Thursday. We saw at the end of the match against Shanghai that the supports became the key to countering Sombra. Kellex made several great plays wall riding around the team, dropping in after the EMP hit, and hitting his Sound Barrier. Blasé got a few nice stuns on Sombra to stop the ultimate hitting. It will be key for Boston to use this and other strategies to counter Sombra.
As a matter of fact, the Sombra fight will be the focus of this match. Both Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byun and Min-hyuk “Michelle” Choi of the Dynasty played Sombra more than competently in their last match against Chengdu. They are a big part of why Seoul had a clean 4-0 that night. I would expect to see a lot of Sombra this match, as it has been the thorn in Boston’s side all season. And the whole league knows it.
Then again, this is the same Seoul that lost to the 2-2 Dallas Fuel. Three weeks into the season, there have been very few teams able to distinguish themselves from the pack. Minus the loss-less NYXL, Vancouver Titans, or Paris Eternal, all teams are down in the mud with each other slugging it out for relevance. Still operating under a small sample size, we’re not yet able to tell where any of these teams are. After watching the hype video, you have to believe that Boston is focusing on the Sombra counters. If they are to stand any chance, they can’t keep getting hit with the 5 or 6 player EMPs.
Also – do we see some crazy comps come out again? Note’s turn on Reaper was one of the most unique team comps we saw league-wide last week. That type of boldness to counter the meta means you never know exactly what Boston will do. Huk likely has something cooking in his lab that his team will deploy. There’ll be some map or stage-specific scenario where I expect us to see an atypical hero get some play time. Here’s hoping it’s Soldier or Symmetra!
Strap yourselves in Uprising fans, we’ve got us a slobber-knocker! I just don’t see Boston falling for the EMP for a third week straight. Assistant Coach Gunba and all the players mentioned Sombra in the hype video. The team is too focused to fall prey to it again. Maybe they change up the team comp, or just spread out more. Perhaps they swap in the Moira to hang back and toss Biotic Orbs out after the EMP drops. Kellex runs laps around wall riding as Lucio with his ultimate ready to launch. Who knows. I just don’t see them doing the same against a hero they know they’ll be seeing plenty of.
Losing to Shanghai had to have put a chip on Boston’s shoulder. Scratch that. A whole damn bag of Doritos strewn over all their heads. These guys must be itching for their chance at redemption. With Fusions back in the lineup, the British rookie has given us no reason not to believe in him. Taken together, I expect a close match, maybe stretching out to five maps. But in the end, I give the edge to Boston.
Boston Uprising vs. Toronto Defiant
After last week’s drama surrounding the matchup against our former captain and main tank Gamsu, Boston finds themselves playing against another former player. Neko, an obscure and unknown player when Boston picked him up, joined Toronto in the offseason after a successful rookie campaign. As mentioned earlier, this will be his first game of the season after serving a three game suspension for selling an account and obstructing an investigation. Last year, Neko made a name for himself for being the under appreciated Zenyatta of the league. He may not be NYXL’s regular season MVP JJonak, but the South Korean could make his presence felt. Given that the Defiant barely squeezed by with a 2-1 victory against the winless LA Valiant last week, the team and Neko come into the match with plenty to prove.
Just as Boston has had growing pains this season by incorporating new players, Toronto will get a taste of the transition game in this match. Can Neko come in as a starter and set the tone for the team? All eyes will be on his Zen and ability to gel with his teammates. If he’s anything like other former Uprising players Gamsu and Striker, who have each flourished on new teams, Boston will have their hands full.
Of course Toronto has their own fleet of competent Sombra players they’re likely to deploy. Besides Neko, both Kang-Jae “Envy” Lee and Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee both have seen playing time as Sombra this season. If Boston doesn’t figure out the counter strat for Sombra against Seoul, they’re in for a long match against Toronto.
Don’t sleep on seeing Colourhex pull out a non-GOATs DPS. Hollywood and Point A on Anubis have all seen some DPS usage. Do we get a Phar-Mercy, Bastion, Hanzo, or Junkrat? Not outside of the realm of possibility. Or maybe we just get more GOATs than we ever wanted.
I watched the Atlanta and Toronto match last week. One of the only matches I’ve seen without Boston. What a match that was – two teams that could coordinate, make counter picks, manage ult economy, and get picks. After seeing that, I started to believe in this Toronto team. Selfishly, I’d like to see Neko drop egg on his face here, but I don’t see that either. Unfortunately, I think this is where Boston stumbles. Hopefully, like the NYXL match, the Uprising show up and push Toronto to the limit. While I don’t expect Boston to win this one, I do hope we’ll see a close match. Another possible 5th map match that reminds everyone across the league that Boston is a legitimate contender. And forget about that loss last week to Shanghai.
Boston has two tough matches this week. After setting the league on fire after week 1, Boston hit as big a road bump as anyone could week 2. If they’re going to make stage 1 playoffs, there is no time like the present to make a push. Even more important, the Uprising need to show exactly what type of team they are. If they want to show that the Shanghai match was a fluke, they have a golden opportunity to do it now. Are middle of the road teams like the Dynasty and Defiant going to be the ones to put them away? Or can they take care of business and put the league back on notice? Here’s hoping we don’t look like Fusions when he saw us loose to Shanghai:
Same season. Same goal. PROVE. THEM. WRONG.
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