Fusion 3-2 Reign
After strong first matches on both sides, the Philadelphia Fusion and the Atlanta Reign hit the stage hoping to keep the hype alive. The Fusion came in riding the high of winning their grudge match against the London Spitfire, while the Reign looked strong after a dominant victory over the Florida Mayhem. With Philadelphia still considered among the best teams in the league, Atlanta took them on with a hunger to prove that they could bring them down.
The resulting match proved brutal. Neither team felt like playing it safe, and they spent fight after fight at each other’s throats in one of the most aggressive matches so far. Ultimately, Philadelphia proved the tougher of the two this time around, with a 3-2 victory over the Reign.
Nepal: 2-1 Atlanta
Both teams started the matchup on the typical three-three composition, keeping things simple at first. Though Atlanta took the point early in the match, Philadelphia quickly got into their own groove. Organized as ever, they tended to play on point, but even got a bit aggressive at times. Despite the Fusion holding the point into overtime, the Reign managed to grab it back at the last possible second and take it in the end, with the help of an especially timely Graviton Surge from Daniel “dafran” Francesca.
Both Atlanta and Philadelphia broke out a double-sniper composition on Sanctum, allowing Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov to flex their DPS muscles. This time Atlanta held the point until overtime before Philadelphia pulled it back. Though Atlanta briefly grabbed the map once more, Philadelphia held strong, taking it overall.
By the time the teams reached the village, they were clearly ready to dig in their heels. After Atlanta initially grabbed the point, the two teams held each other in a kill-free stalemate before the Reign pushed Philadelphia back. Though Fusion off-tank Gael “Poko” Gouzerch pulled off one of his famous Self-Destructs to turn the tide in Philadelphia’s favor, Atlanta ultimately held strong, taking Nepal to go up 1-0.
King’s Row: 2-1 Philadelphia
After subbing in Dong-hyeong “DACO” Seo for NLaaeR, the Reign were ready to face Philadelphia’s defense. Despite nearly taking a few fights, they only took the first point in the last thirty seconds, leaving them with an uphill climb for the rest of the maps. Both teams played aggressively through the first leg of the map, but it was yet another timely Poko bomb that kept Atlanta from getting to point B.
Comparatively, Philadelphia breezed through the first point on attack, grabbing it with plenty of time to spare. Though Atlanta worked hard to compensate, the Fusion’s attack was too methodical, leading to an unstoppable push. Philadelphia quickly made it to Atlanta’s limit on the map, leading to a swift win on King’s Row.
Volskaya Industries: 5-4 Atlanta
The Reign enlisted recent pickup Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman to help out on Volskaya Industries, subbing him in for Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger. Once again, Philadelphia proved a force to be reckoned with on attack, quickly pushing Atlanta out of position to take the first point. The Reign provided a more stalwart defense for the second half of the map, but Carpe led the way on Reaper, and they completed the map with over three minutes to spare.
Atlanta moved just as quickly on attack, storming through point A and nearly completing point B before Philadelphia regrouped. The Fusion held it together for a while longer, but Atlanta’s aggressive offense allowed them to push to the end with an even larger time bank, sending the map to another round.
Patient and methodical Winston play from Su-min “SADO” Kim led the way for the Fusion’s second offense. Following the Reign’s example, they quickly took point A and made it nearly through point B before Atlanta shoved them back. Though the Reign put up a good fight, a timely Graviton Surge from Carpe gave Philadelphia the edge they needed to wipe out the team and complete the map again.
Philadelphia’s second defense proved much more organized. The Reign managed to push through it, but lost most of their time bank in the process. Despite that, their scrappy playstyle proved strong enough to get through point B as well, and they completed the map in overtime.
The quickfire third round proved difficult for both teams, as neither were able to take point A. However, Atlanta’s brief fight on the point proved all they needed. Earning one tick on their offense allowed Atlanta to win overall.
Dorado: 2-1 Philadelphia
By the time the two teams reached Dorado, aggressions were at an all-time high. Philadelphia played a forward defense from the beginning, hoping to keep the payload as close to spawn as they could. This proved effective for a while, but Atlanta managed to counter it eventually, wiping the team and taking point A just in time. With some impressive kills from Dogman on Zenyatta, the Reign nearly did the same on point B. However, Philadelphia pulled together with seconds to spare, and stopped the payload meters before the point.
Keeping up the momentum, Philadelphia shoved their way through the first point, clearing it much more quickly than the Reign. With SADO’s forward-thinking Reinhardt leading the charge, the Reign couldn’t withstand the pressure. The Fusion wiped the team out again and again, decisively taking Dorado and sending the series to a fifth map.
Ilios: 2-1 Philadelphia
Atlanta burst into the tiebreaker on Ruins, clearly out for blood. Despite the Fusion taking the initial cap, the Reign repeatedly brought down SADO first, letting their foes collapse without their main tank. Some particularly deadly Lúcio skills from Petja “Masaa” Kantanen sealed the deal, and the Reign took the first round with ease.
Lighthouse proved more of a challenge for the Reign. Never one to be showed up, Alberto “neptuNo” González answered Masaa’s Lúcio with his own, and happily booped player after player over the edge. Despite some brutal fights and the point constantly flipping back and forth, the Fusion prevailed in the end, taking the tiebreaker to a third round.
The last stand on the well allowed the Fusion to answer the most important question of all – could they withstand the power of Dafran on Torbjörn? It certainly wasn’t easy. Again, each team spent plenty of time controlling the point, all while trying to avoid getting booped by the dueling Lúcios. The match came down to the wire, and Atlanta tried to stall overtime as long as they possibly could, but Philadelphia’s infamous map five luck kicked in, and they won the day.
Fan Favorites in the Making
This was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting matchups so far. Aggressive gameplay, legendary stalls, and a hard-fought tiebreaker all had fans on the edge of their seats. Between their well-earned victory here and their successful revenge over the Spitfire, the Philadelphia Fusion have had an incredible first week. Their hype video promised that the world would know them, and they’re off to a great start making that happen.
The Philadelphia Fusion return to the stage on February 21, when they take on the Florida Mayhem. Be sure to tune in and see what they pull off next!
Follow Darby on Twitter @soundchecck! She is happy to talk about anything she’s written! You can also get in touch with her on Discord (soundchecck#7242).
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League.
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