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If there’s one constant with Boston Sports throughout the years, it’s that you can never count out the Bean Town boys. The Red Sox did it in 2004 when they came back from an 0-3 deficit to win the ALCS. In 2011 the Bruins roared back after going down 2 games to 0, by scoring 8 goals and winning at home. Then there’s my personal favorite, the Patriots coming back from a 28-3 deficit against the Falcons in 2017.
The Uprising were following the footsteps of its older siblings by becoming the first team to perform 3 reverse sweeps in a row. But the second half of Stage 2 became quite the rough patch for Boston. Tough losses against London, Hangzhou, and Washington left fans and players with a bad taste in their mouth. Not to worry though, because this is what Boston does – we get down and beaten up, but never give up.
What people weren’t expecting was how far the Uprising would fall. After 2 weeks and their most recent loss to San Francisco, Boston is 0-5, going 2-17 in overall map wins in Stage 3 . In fact, since beating Toronto in week 1 of Stage 2, Boston has won just 7 of 26 maps in that span including two map 5 losses.
It’s one thing to be frustrated as a fan watching your favorite team lose over and over (we feel you Florida),. But it is completely different to be a player on that team. Putting your heart and soul in each match, it’s only a matter of time before emotions get to you. Watching Fusions slam his desk was heartbreaking, and his thoughts on the stage so far are just as saddening.
Rock bottom is certainly where a lot of fans feel right now. Losing sucks for any team, but the constant shifting of lineups and stale meta have made things rough for Boston fans.
How did we get here?
The week following our incredible back to back reverse sweep, Boston lost an absolute heart breaker to the Hangzhou Spark in Stage 2. The Spark at the time were ranked quite poorly, as it was clear they needed more time to practice on stage in Stage 1. Unfortunately for Boston, it was their match when the Spark cashed in their “scrim bucks” and transformed into a top-tier team. In hindsight, it was more surprising that Boston took the Spark to five maps, but at the time it was a shocking upset.
Morale took a pretty big hit after that match, and the rough streak continued as Boston got stomped by both London and Vancouver. The following game Boston upset the LA Gladiators in an impressive 3-1 match.
Out of all games, the loss against the Washington Justice that initiated the spiral towards rock bottom. Getting reverse swept themselves Boston left Stage 2 without a playoff spot and plenty of film to watch in the All-Star Break.
People saw the Washington game as fluke, and the Los Angeles game as a true testament as to who the Uprising were as a team. There was a lot of conversation about how “Boston only planned against LAG because they knew they were going to stomp the Justice”. It looked to be the case anyway, and Boston only lost that game after getting too cocky and let a worse team stick around. The outlook for Stage 3 remained mostly positive, even I thought it would pan out as a positive stage for Boston.
Instead of going up the ladder, Boston fell straight to rock bottom.
The Rock Bottom Pit Stop
The Lineup Shakeup
At the start of Stage 3 we saw Boston go into the game against London with a completely new support lineup of Persia and Alemao. This was an incredibly shocking move on Boston’s part, as both Kellex and Aimgod had played very well this season. On top of that, playing two green players against a team like London during a pivotal stage seemed truly out of character for the Boston coaching staff. To the surprise of very few viewers, Boston was easily 4-0’d by London to start the stage.
Next up was the match against Paris, and Boston again shook up the lineup a second time. Boston decided to play Alemao over Kellex again, but swap back AimGod in over Persia. Another strange move as most support duos perform much stronger when playing against a common partner. Constant support switching can hurt a team, as they have to relearn the play styles of the new player. After winning Illios in convincing fashion, fans thought Boston was back in form. But the Eternal had other plans, and proceeded to roll Boston three maps in the row to take the win.
The Houston Game
As Boston faced off against Houston they wanted to try out one more iteration – Persia and Kellex. As the longest standing member of the Uprising, it was extremely apparent his leadership was missing in the games he sat out. Back on stage with the team, he was the only one to record an elimination on Nepal-Sanctum against the Outlaws. It would proceed to be another very long game for the Uprising as they go on to lose 4-0. Again.
The Houston game also brought us a swap in roles, as blase and Colourhex traded Brig and Zarya. I personally think this was the switch that truly hurt Boston against Houston. Colourhex looked incredibly passive on Brig, and blase’s bubble management on Zarya was atrocious. The two players that are necessary to keep Fusions alive were failing to do their job. It wasn’t 100% their fault however. Houston’s Danteh was an absolute terror on the Boston support line, specifically targeting Persia in order to deny his ultimates.
It was this game where Boston found themselves on the brink. They had made it to rock bottom and it sucks. There’s no wifi and nothing to do.
The Long Road Back
The Promising Hackfist
Despite being smacked around by various teams, Boston still used each game to experiment with new compositions and strategies. In the match against Houston, Boston wasted no time trying out new triple-DPS comps. On Nepal-Village Boston came out firing with Pharah, Sombra, and Tracer. Their game plan here is to outplay the Outlaws DPS players. While they lost the map – and eventually the map – Boston saw the immediate difference between playing GOATs and playing DPS. There was a spark of hope in the pit of despair.
Then came the Philadelphia game, where Boston’s new strategy really shined – for a moment at least.
I discuss this before in a previous article, but what fueled Boston’s rise was their use of the Hackfist comp. Boston again came out strong, utilizing more DPS characters against Philly on Ilios. Boston cruised to a 2-0 victory to start the match. As the match went on, Boston began to lose steam and decided to run GOATs just one more time. They lost terribly, and thus made their findings clear. Boston should move on from jamming GOATs into every map.
Rocket Punch out of the Pit
Finally the week was upon Boston, where they must face the Stage 2 champions, the San Francisco Shock. Everyone already knew the outcome of the match but no one expected Boston to play so well. Boston started with the Hackfist comp to less than ideal success. rCk seemed to be telegraphing his routes and San Fran seemed to know where he was at all times. It’s one thing to smash lesser teams with an experimental comp, but its a completely different game when facing a top tier GOATs squad.
Fast forward to Hollywood where Boston again busts out the triple DPS comp. This time it is Colourhex’s show. His Pharah was incredible, bringing Boston almost to cap two points against the San Fran defense. Again Boston comes up just short to lose the map, but the improvement and progress was noticed by casters and fans.
That brings us to the Paris Eternal rematch. Now confident in their new comps, Boston started playing DPS comps and never looked back. With the original support line of AimGod and Kellex back together, Boston looked like a new team. At least, in the second half.
The first half Boston looked extremely shaky. Missed opportunities, sloppy mistakes, and a whole lot of dying early caused Boston to go down 2 maps to none. Don’t forget though, this is a Boston team through and through. They aren’t done till the clock says 00:00. Or in this case, till the screen says Victory.
Paris Reverse Sweep
On Boston’s second attack at Eichenwalde they had only a minute to take a tick. When push comes to shove, expect someone on Boston to make a hero play. This is the moment we viewers were blessed by one of the craziest Doomfist plays in OWL. I also talked about this one here, but please watch it again because the play is just that good.
Then of course was the insane shatter from Fusions, and a massive 3k from Colourhex to stop the Eternal at 3.37m. Dorado was more excellent DPS highlights from Boston as Colourhex puts on a clinic for aspiring Pharah players. On Nepal Boston looked near unstoppable. rCk played out of his mind on Nepal-Sanctuary, actually hitting a Kruise with a hack before EMP’ing the rest of the Eternal. Every single player stepped up and it absolutely warmed my heart and inspired hope moving forward.
The Thriller Against Philly
In the last match of the stage, Boston faced Philly once again. With a win under their belt and the support line settled, Boston was ready to even out the series. Hell, the entire fan base was ready for a sort of Phoenix-like renewal from the Uprising. What we really got was a spark of hope that slowly fizzled out.
After a truly awful Nepal start, Boston took back Horizon Lunar Colony to go into half time. These first two maps were so important because they set the tone for the rest of the series.
No one knew who was going to win when DPS were involved.
On Nepal we saw an absolutely vintage Carpe performance with Widowmaker. On Lunar Colony we saw Boston’s DPS overwhelm the Philly defense, and then thwart the attack with a bunker comp. Sadly, Boston was then let down by that same bunker comp, as they failed to even take the first point on Numbani.
Stage 4 and Beyond
I’ve been saying it for a while but I’ll mention it one last time – Boston’s DPS palyers shine when they are playing DPS. This match highlights that even with a slow start, Boston is a team very much in hunt for season playoffs.
Stage 4 is looking to be a very weak schedule for Boston, and I hope this momentum carries them forward. Boston looks to be out of rock bottom, and inching closer to the promise land of Wells Fargo Center.
Be sure to follow Brock on twitter for more breakdowns and analysis #BostonUp