By Patrick Tracy
Special to VPEsports
With the first matches of the Week 1 Playoffs starting in a few hours, we will be able to witness one of the of most epic clashes between team styles: The Boston Uprising vs The Philadelphia Fusion.
The two teams have battled it out during the season, which has resulted in an even record against each other (Boston winning in Stages 1 and 3, Philadelphia winning Stages 2 and 4). However, there are factors to the Boston team that should secure victory today and Friday.
Team Play vs Individual Play
Fusion has had some amazing plays in this series, including some phenomenal clutch plays from Carpe. Not to be outdone, Poko aka “The King of Self-Destructs” provides some excellent support and field awareness as D.Va. Individually, all the of the Fusion players have a massive amount of talent in their roles and how they operate their own characters. This is one of their top strengths, but it is also one of their weaknesses as well.
One of Boston’s biggest advantages coming into the Playoffs is their discipline and strategic teamwork. Robert Kraft, Owner of The Boston Uprising and Principal Owner of The New England Patriots, has instilled the same core values that has led to the success of both teams: succeed as a team. The Uprising have already shown how they operate as a team with the emotional reverse sweep over the London Spitfire in Stage 3. STRIKER and Mistakes stall strategy teamwork during the 5th map saved the day after their uncharacteristic two losses on the first maps.
When these teams collide, the one that operates better as a unit will survive. Advantage: Boston.
Volatile vs Collected
While the Fusion may have the edge in skill, they have also shown themselves to be shaken when their DPS duo (Carpe and Eqo) are not able to make the plays necessary to keep them alive. When this happens, the entire team’s morale drops and they begin to falter. This will only be exasperated as they step into the bigger stage of the Playoffs where the stakes are even higher than the standard Season.
On the opposite side, Boston has shown to be quite consistent in the wake of errors or downfalls that occur during their games. Being classified as underdogs throughout most of the season, the team fought hard to prove the others wrong. Per Kellex, “You go into the season as underdogs, you get used to all of the trash talk, and then you start winning.”
In the Playoffs, the team that can keep their composure when the chips are down will be the team that will succeed. Advantage: Boston.
With the above factors, Boston has the edge in the composition while Fusion has the edge in terms of skill. So what can Philadelphia do to counter their team? Stage 4 showed us what can potentially cripple the Boston machine.
Option 1: Go Bridgette. Boston has struggled against her since she was introduced, and most teams have successfully used her to counter Tracer (one of STRIKER’s best characters). This will likely result in forcing him to switch to a Widowmaker which Carpe has the clear advantage. While the time between Stage 4 and the Playoffs may have given Boston time to adjust to her in the new meta, a Fusion player might be able to exploit the weaknesses Boston showed previously.
Option 2: Work with Hanzo and win the battle of attrition. Boston can be worn down by forcing them on the defensive with the new and deadly Hanzo. Neither Mistakes or STRIKER are quite as proficient with the bow master as some of the Fusion players are. Additionally, by dragging out the series to a 3 match set rather than letting Boston secure both wins early, the Fusion can take advantage of their larger roster of players. This will allow them to put in new players in with clear minds while Boston will be forced to keep their stamina and resolve as they have to play longer matches against fresh players.
Both teams came into the Overwatch League as suspected underdogs. Boston is comprised of a team of players who specialize in games outside of Overwatch with some formerly labelled “mid tier” players, and Fusion missed the pre-season entirely. But both have proven themselves worthy of the slots they currently hold as they continue to strive to keep their Grand Final dreams alive.