Philadelphia Fusion (5-2) 3-1 Paris Eternal (3-4)
Starting off the last day of Stage 1, the Philadelphia Fusion took on the Paris Eternal. With their playoffs spot still on the line, the Fusion played in hopes of a solid victory that would get them through. The Eternal, meanwhile, had officially lost their playoffs spot the day before, and instead looked to end their stage on a high note after struggling to get a win over the Washington Justice. As this was both teams’ last game of the stage, they would no doubt be hungry to finish out strong.
The Philadelphia Fusion brought their A-game, determined to secure their spot in stage playoffs. Though Paris initially gave them a bit of trouble, they quickly regrouped, showing off some dominant performances throughout the series. The Philadelphia Fusion took a 3-1 victory and claimed a spot in Stage 1 playoffs.
Busan: Paris 2-1 Philadelphia
Paris claimed the point on MEKA Base early, after a pick on Su-min “SADO” Kim won them the first team fight. Once the Fusion found their footing, they pushed back in as a group to reclaim the point, although Paris had built up 55% control by then. As the Fusion made themselves at home on the point, the Eternal moved back in; however, they layered their support ultimates in a crucial team-fight, giving Philadelphia room to wipe them out once both Sound Barrier and Transcendence had expired. By the time Paris came back and reclaimed the point, Philadelphia had built 85% control. This gave them plenty of room to come back and take out Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait, forcing the Eternal to try and win the fight without a main tank. They couldn’t make it work, and Philadelphia took the map overall.
With Gael “Poko” Gouzerch getting aggressive on Shrine, it seemed that Philadelphia would keep up the energy. However, Paris regrouped after an unsuccessful first fight, getting just as rough with their opponents. Once they claimed the point, they held it strong, and Philadelphia couldn’t bring it back. The Eternal took the map with ease, sending things to a third round.
Paris looked just as dominant on Downtown, splitting Philadelphia into two groups and wiping them out early. With the point under their control, they headed towards the Fusion’s spawn, ending most team-fights before Philadelphia could make it anywhere near the point. Paris made short work of the round, taking the map uncontested and earning a 2-1 victory on Busan.
King’s Row: Philadelphia 3-2 Paris
Philadelphia’s defense started off with the two teams rotating around each other, looking for a way to break through. Once they finally engaged, a massive Earthshatter from BenBest gave Paris what they needed to claim point A. The Fusion solidified their defense shortly after, holding the Eternal at the spawn before BenBest and Damien “HyP” Souville both used ultimates to get the team through. Paris headed off towards point B, only for a notorious Self Destruct from Poko to stop them in their tracks. Undeterred, they headed back, fighting the Fusion just meters before the point as overtime began.
In a crucial moment, Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson negated a Graviton Surge from Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, giving the Eternal the edge they needed to get through the point. Paris couldn’t make much of the additional time, however, as yet another deadly Poko bomb took out two teammates. The Fusion finished cleaning up the team, and the payload stopped shortly after point B.
Though Philadelphia’s attack started off shaky, with Carpe being quickly separated from the team, the Fusion managed to stabilize quickly and make short work of the Eternal’s defense. They took off quickly to point B, nearly making it there before a Self Destruct from Finnsi ended their push. Despite that, Philadelphia quickly regrouped and returned to the fray, easily dispatching the Eternal and making it to their limit on the map. The Fusion took King’s Row with a 3-2 victory.
Horizon Lunar Colony: Philadelphia 1-0 Paris
With SADO flexing onto Winston, his most comfortable hero, Philadelphia’s defense proved airtight. The Eternal struggled to find any way around them without getting wiped out handily. Even when BenBest switched onto Wrecking Ball near the end of the round, the Fusion held strong. The round ended without Paris getting a single elimination.
With very little room to make mistakes, Paris fought hard in their defense, staving off the Fusion in the first team-fight. With plenty of time remaining, however, Philadelphia patiently regrouped and headed back to the point. Bit by bit, they broke the Eternal’s defense apart, getting the one tick they needed to take the map with a 1-0 victory.
Rialto: Philadelphia 3-0 Paris
Paris stopped Philadelphia’s first push in its tracks, but the Fusion eventually made it through with big picks from Poko and Isaac “Boombox” Charles. Clearing point A with plenty of time to spare, Philadelphia continued on, but Paris solidified their defense, holding them back from going much further. By the time the Fusion broke through, overtime had already begun, leaving them to scramble for point B. Despite that setback, they kept the energy alive, punishing some coordination issues from the Eternal and completing the map.
With SADO returning to Winston for the defense, Philadelphia held strong again. Once the Eternal had gotten the payload over the bridge, Philadelphia took control of the fight. With help from a huge Graviton Surge from Carpe, they held strong, keeping Paris from moving much further forward. The Eternal didn’t make it to point A, and Philadelphia took both the map and the series.
Off to Playoffs
With their victory, the Fusion secure their spot in Stage 1 playoffs. Joining some powerhouse teams, they’ll certainly have their work cut out for them. However, they’ve proven over the course of the stage that they still deserve their spot among the best teams in the league. A strong playoffs showing will give them the chance to secure that spot.
Stage 1 playoffs begin on March 21. Be sure not to miss them!
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 Philadelphia Fusion.
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