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You have to give it to the Uprising – they do everything they can to make it interesting. Because after opening Stage 2 with a pair of reverse sweeps (3rd in a row in stage play) the entire league is catching on to the interesting story of of the Uprising. A team whose GM will make any roster change he can to better the team, fans be damned. A team full of players perceived to be ‘unknown’ or ‘unproven’ or ‘inexperienced.’ And a group who never says die and can’t be counted out till the last fuse of overtime burns out.
For a team whose mantra going into the season was Prove Them Wrong – they keep giving themselves plenty to prove. Fan favorite off tank Note was traded away for Dallas’ rCk days before Stage 2 started. How would the shakeup play out amidst a new meta? Had the team licked their wounds from having their Stage 1 playoff existence destroyed by the Vancouver Titans? Let’s take a look.
Before Stage 1 we traded fan-favorite Gamsu and brought up Fusions from Contenders. Uprising skeptics and haters had a field day. Boston dropped to the bottom of everyone’s power rankings. Then they make the playoffs and silence the critics. Well, can we do it again? Boston trades fan-favorite Note for Dallas Fuel’s rCk before Stage 2. Again, the skeptics and haters hold a vigil for Boston’s season. rCk – not as good a DVa as Note, they say. The team won’t be able to sync up in time for Atlanta and Toronto, they say. Could Boston possibly live up to the expectations they set in Stage 1?
With all that pressure on his shoulders, rCk delivered. Against Atlanta, he made himself a vacume all match against BabyBay’s Zarya, sucking up Gravitons left and right. Wait, wasn’t he supposed to be a subpar DVa? But there he was on Eichenwalde, just as the Reign were about to push the cart to victory. With Overtime on, his pick on Pokpo and a 2K Self-Destruct (when the rest of the Uprising were dead) that pushed the series to a 4th map. Note who?
Of course the Finn brought it on his Sombra. Against Atlanta and Toronto, rCk constantly harassed the backline players, dropped massive EMPs, and was the Sombra the Uprising always needed. With him on the team, Boston could afford a variety of team comps they never could have with Note. And it paid off. Farming EMP off health hacks and shooting down supports before Translocating, rCk seemingly always had an EMP when the Uprising needed it.
Against Atlanta, rCk made mincemeat of the Reign. If anything, I don’t think the rest of the Uprising are on the same wave length on capitalizing on the EMPs. They can get better with that given more time scrimming. rCk landed several EMPs that didn’t get the immediate team wipes you’d have expected. Look for this to become a more prominent weapon in the Uprising’s toolbox.
We knew the meta would get shaken up going into Stage 2, but we didn’t know how it’d play out. Turns out Boston had a smorgasbord of team comps ready to deploy. And none proved as effective as the different combinations that featured Colourhex on the Widowmaker. Now, this is a player many have been wondering about. His hitscan abilities were completely unknown as he’d been stuck on Zarya for Stage 1. The Australian region’s Overwatch scene has been a meme up to now, and many questioned the Uprising’s pickup of the Kiwi. With a DPS friendly meta – how would he do?
Well, turns out the guy can play. From his first switch onto Widow and picking off Atlanta’s sniper nlaaers (see above), we knew we were in for something special. In fact, especially against Toronto, Colourhex shoved that long-ass sniper rifle right down the Defiant’s throat. Clutch after clutch after clutch. Too many times we saw Atlanta and Toronto’s snipers lose their Widow duels, with Colourhex having free reign to pick off the other heroes.
Take a look back at Oasis against the Defiant. Boston had just forced a map 5 and were hungry for a third straight reverse sweep. With their vocal leader Fusions, and their new superstar stud rCk, it was Colourhex who popped off when it mattered the most. First, his 3k on Widow makes Toronto cower out of position. Then he switches over to Soldier 76 and picks off enough of the Defiant to help capture the stage. He showed his flexibility and hits can make him another in a long line of out-of-nowhere superstar pickups by Boston’s Huk.
Not that Colourhex was a one-trick. His Tracer’s Pule Bomb on Pokpo on Gibraltar clutched the win to force a 5th map. Same with his use of Pharah’s Barrage on Rialto, flanking Toronto’s Amplification Matrix on Rialto and forcing a 5th map. If Colourhex can keep up this level of play, the Overwatch League is about to get rolled by New Zealand’s only pro player.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, though. You can’t get reverse sweeps without losing two maps straight, and Boston certainly handed them out to Atlanta and Toronto. How did it happen? For the first half against Atlanta, I saw a lot of ineffective GOATs play. Teams were still trying to feel out the meta change, and I think Boston wasn’t willing to stretch into unknown territory at first. The apprehension caught them against Atlanta. With Toronto, especially on Hanamura, they couldn’t deploy the set plays they should have had. A bunker comp of Bastion and Orissa held them too long on Point A on both laps through on offense. Boston is usually better at preparing against set defenses than this.
It’s also worth noting that Overwatch League changed the order of map types going into Stage 2. Hybrid maps go from the second map played to the third, swapping with assault. You can’t say that Boston is just better at hybrid/escort because they had to win a 2CP in sudden death. But it’s reasonable to say that the assault maps may not be Boston’s greatest strength.
We all knew the Disney movie story going into Stage 2. Last minute Contenders call up turns into a top tank player. Leads the team to many victories. Last minute reverse sweep to make Stage 1 playoffs. Hero rides off into the sunset. Roll the credits. But would the sequel be a bomb or could it live up to the original?
I think we have to give it a push. Throughout the matches against the Defiant and Reign, it seemed Boston forced themselves back to the Rein-GOATs well, and the well was dry. Trying to recapture the magic was commendable, but ineffective. There weren’t any great Earthshatters, and his hammer swings didn’t push back the other teams. Atlanta especially seemed to focus on him, going so far as to play a Mei on Temple to split him from the rest of Boston. He didn’t respond well to that type of pressure.
Instead, I think we saw he did much better on Hammond. Getting timely swings to push players off the points, helping snowball Point B on Hanamura, dropping the mines to stall the defenses. A new meta forces new strategies. Though he was passable in both series, I think it will be an adjustment for the Brit to get to the level he was at in Stage 1.
There are other performances that have to get their due in a week that saw two reverse sweeps. Blasé was clutch on a variety of heroes in both games. He pulled out a Roadhog, Pharaoh, Tracer, and Brigitte, amongst others, when the team needed it. Him pushing Point B with Fusion’s Hammond after an Overtime cap on Point A on Hanamura was key to the snowball. His hero pool seems wider than anyone ever expected.
Babybay pumping up the crowd after Atlanta went up 1-0 has got to be a meme somewhere. The Shock’s former bench player seemed a bit premature in his celebration – you hate to see that.
Don’t sleep on Aimgod. No, he didn’t need to play back to avoid the EMPs like he did on Stage 1, but his Ana/Zen play was crucial. On Oasis (and really throughout the Toronto match) he seemed to get the sleep darts at the most clutch times. When Toronto’s Solider 76 had his Attack Visor and it looked like Boston would get wiped from the point, Aimgod’s sleep dart put that dream to bed.
Boston is the first team to get three straight reverse sweeps. These boys know how to play under pressure. Toronto, specifically, looked absolutely devastated when they got stomped on Rialto and realized they were going to sudden death. That ability to play when the pressure is the highest will go a long way for the Uprising. With so many weapons on their roster, Boston is going to be a dangerous team moving forward. Never say die. And don’t ever turn off the TV until the final tick.
Player of the Week
Absolutely no way you can split up rCk and Colourhex. They both were pog champ in the Atlanta and Toronto matches. The Overwatch League is on notice.
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