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Thursday, April 4th @ 11 P.M. – Boston Uprising vs. Atlanta Reign
After a whirlwind Tuesday it’s become even more unclear what to expect this opening week of Stage 2. First, Persia becomes the team’s fourth support player. Second, Note has been shipped off to Dallas in exchange for rCk. Lastly, Overwatch’s next balance patch continues to distort what the meta will be. In short, the tea leaves ain’t any easier to read. Here’s a shot in the dark.
The first roster change this week that Boston pulled off was signing off-support Persia. A peculiar move. Boston already has Kellex, Aimgod, and Alemao. Aimgod has earned several player of the matches (or at least been in the running). Kellex has mained Lucio nearly all Stage 1. Lastly, Alemao has had little stage time. It’s a bit strange to pick up another support. Not out of line – many teams have a full compliment of two whole 6 player squads on their roster. But knowing Huk, you see a move like this and start counting the days till some former diamond in the rough he bought low on gets sold high at top dollar.
One of the Uprising’s few remaining OGs, Note was having by all accounts a great season. His nose for sniffing out supports amidst team fights has been mentioned by many casters. While I’ve taken issue a bit with the zoning and pick off efficacy of his Self Destructs, the Canadien has proven he play at a pro level. Sure, his inability to flex to a Sombra like other DVa players league wide may have limited Boston’s team comps. But, his coordination with Fusions and peeling for the back line made him an effective player.
Trying to read into Huk’s thinking on this move is a fool’s errand. Clearly, the man has some balls. Note is probably the biggest fan favorite outside of Fusions. After trading away Gamsu earlier this season, Huk is showing no one is indispensable. It seems to me Note’s inability to flex onto Sombra limited Boston throughout Stage 1 and that was enough to force a move.
Personally, I’ll miss Note. You could tell the kid had such an upbeat energy to him. Boston seemed to be a great fit for the off-tank. Thinking back, his leadership was a big part of the Uprising’s undefeated stage last year as the dive comps played around him. I hope to see him continue to pop off down in Dallas.
Well, what did we get for everyone’s favorite Canuck? Enter rCk, last seen hitting Uprising players with EMPs like fish in a barrel. Huk must be thinking if you can’t beat em, join em. I imagine the week 5 contest that went to a fifth map impressed Huk enough to seek a trade.
Obviously we should all expect some Sombra comps this stage and beyond. rCk is an impressive Sombra player and a more than serviceable DVa. Boston may have gotten the better end of the deal if he can play as effectively in both roles.
No one knows for sure what teams comps we’ll see in Stage 2 until it starts. But, the news of GOATs death is greatly exaggerated. Lucio’s speed nerf may reduce Rein to specific map comps, but there’s no reason to think Winston 3-3 comps won’t pick up the slack. Additionally, none of the dps nerfs make them more viable than a high hp, shield boosting, stun disbursing Brigitte.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t see some exciting team comps out there. Everyone loved it when we saw a Widow or Tracwr last stage, and expect to see a more diverse array of heroes picked. I just think metas die slow in the face of small buffs, and nerfs handed out across all heroes. Players and coaches are risk averse and more likely to stick with what they’re comfortable with. Boston hasn’t been known for their experimentation either – so expect some 3-3 from the Uprising.
But let’s not forget the new hero Baptiste. His Immortality Field is a potential game changer. Will we see him deployed early or will he be a map and situational dependent hero? Look for the teams eager to experiment and shake up the meta to give the new hero his first pro level appearance.
Thursday – Atlanta Reign
While Boston has arguably the most last minute roster moves of anyone, don’t ignore what’s happening with Atlanta. Famous Overwatch streamer turned pro Dafran…. is returning to streaming. Despite being the top seller in player jerseys, and making the most pog play of the season, it’s likely the stress of the pro life that drove him away.
Well, Atlanta didn’t waste anytime. They picked up Baby Bay from SF. Shock’s former stud DPS player has been riding the bench all season, so predicting what he can do given his time off and the new meta is difficult enough. Additionally, just as this column was going to print Atlanta tweeted out they signing frd, a tank player from the LA Gladiator’s Contenders team. Why not have even more last minute changes? What could go wrong!
Sunday – Toronto Defiant
Boston’s second matchup of the week is against Toronto. You’ll recall the last time these two played, Neko, Boston’s former off-support, was spraying the Uprising logo every pick he got. He and Bumper – archvillains of the Uprising. Well, nothing would be more satisfying than seeing Boston steamroll the fellow Stage 1 playoff team.
Last time Boston was trounced 3-1. There were some bright spots. Boston pulled a C9 on Anubis. They pushed it to a map 4 down 2-0 at halftime. Toronto got full held on offense. That was fun. But generally, Toronto had their way with the Uprising that match. That was then and this is now. There’s a new meta out there. New players. New stage. The past is not the present.
Also, Toronto didn’t want to be left behind in the last second roster changes. On Tuesday, Toronto’s coach Don left the team and on Wednesday their DPS starter Stellar retired. Hey if everyone’s doing, why not them? Of course, Stellar was the Defiant’s Brigitte main, posting a 27/28 KD in his match against Boston. That leaves Toronto with just 7 active players on the roster – good luck with that.
We’re not sure where Persia fits into the team, so let’s just pretend that didn’t happen for now eh? But let’s look at the Note and rCk trade. First, let’s look at the data. Note played on DVa nearly twice as long as rCk, but many of the per 10 minute stats are close. You can see some symmetry in that Note has the edge in FK (First Kills – 12% vs. 10%) but drops in FD (First Deaths – 3% vs. 2.8%). That slight discrepancy gets a bit more spread out when you look at F3K (First Three Kills) and F3D (First Three Deaths). Note may be getting more of those first 3 kills, but he pays for it in dying in one of the first 3 spots.
What the data shows to me is these two are comprable DVas. There’s no case to be made that one is supremely better than the other. But, one can swap to the Sombra and the other can’t. That is an entirely different weapon in the arsenal of the Uprising. Why wouldn’t Boston want to equip themselves with as many tools as possible?
Not that the rCk and Note switch is all that there is to worry about. Given the rumors that have swirled the last few weeks about Fusions, it’s likely we’re going to see a change in the tank line. Axxiom, better known as a Winston main, is likely to get some additional playtime this Stage. Whether he’ll trade off/on with Fusions/Rein based on matchup or map remains to be seen. It’ll be an interesting storyline going into the first week.
There are roster changes across the league, with Boston, and both their opponents this week. A meta change will shift the landscape of the league. Questions abound again whether Huk just traded away the team’s best player. Sounds familiar. And so we have a familiar response.
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