Last weekend was a rough start for the Philadelphia Fusion. Suffering a significant loss from the New York Excelsior, the Fusion also struggled against the Florida Mayhem, despite pulling out a 3-1 victory. The Fusion did not seem comfortable transitioning from GOATS to the popular DPS compositions fans saw so much of this last weekend.
New York Excelsior (9-0)
Not many expected the Fusion to beat the New York Excelsior this time around. Even though the NYXL choked in playoffs, they are still considered one of the top teams in the league. Philly has a history of causing major upsets against the NYXL, which had fans hoping that things would at least be close. Unfortunately, the Excelsior dominated the Fusion with the series ending at a disappointing 4-0 victory for NY.
Fans can give the Fusion credit for trying out different compositions during this match. Unfortunately for the Fusion, the NYXL were better prepared for this match. Once again Tae-hong “MekO” Kim popped off on D.Va, landing many fat self-destructs on the Philadelphia Fusion. Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee was also no match for Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong when it came to Widowmaker duels. Fans did see moments of greatness from the Fusion; Eichenwalde was the closest map as the Fusion were able to hold the NYXL off for quite some time. Unfortunately, once the NYXL got things rolling, the Fusion were not able to make a comeback and turn this into a classic Fusion Map Five.
Player of the Match: Elk
Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher was brought back in this week and fans were delighted to see him on main healer this time around. The last time Elk played on the main stage, he was subbing in for flex support Isaac “BoomBox” Charles. Subbing in on short notice and being forced onto a role he normally does not play, fans did not get to see the best that Elk has to offer. Elk comes into the Overwatch League from the still undefeated Fusion University, and is one of the best main healers across all Contenders regions. During this match, fans got to see Elk on Mercy and Lucio, one of his signature heroes. While the Fusion struggled during this series, Elk’s Lucio was one of the highlights.
Florida Mayhem (1-8)
Going into this match, the Philadelphia Fusion were looking to redeem themselves from their embarrassing loss to the Florida Mayhem last stage.
This time around, the Fusion were better prepared, but the Mayhem’s new roster still gave the boys pause. Switching to an all-Korean roster seems to have helped Florida, even if only a little. Earlier during the week, they challenged the London Spitfire in ways many did not think possible. Though they lost 2-1 against the Spitfire, the Mayhem were finally showing signs of life during that series, and they brought that same energy into this match. The Fusion were better about their communication and coordination this time around, but Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha gave the Fusion’s back-line a tough time this series. This match could have gone to a map five if it were not for the unfortunate C9 on Junkertown from Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo, who fans now jokingly refer to as the Fusion’s seventh starting player.
Player of the Match: Carpe
Stage 1 did not see the best of Carpe. Stuck on Zarya duty, fans saw their favorite fish struggle in the GOATS-heavy meta. Carpe is a renowned hitscan player, but swapping from a DPS to a tank can be difficult, even for the pros. Carpe did manage to grow more accustomed to playing Zarya throughout Stage 1. During the Florida Mayhem game, Carpe had some clutch Zarya plays, especially on Anubis. The Fusion were able to coordinate around Carpe’s aggressive Zarya, which allowed them to get the victory over the Florida Mayhem in the end.
HONORABLE MENTION: XEPHER
Toronto Defiant (6-3)
Days before Stage 2 began, Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee announced his retirement. To fill this slot, the Defiant took a risk and picked up Jin-ui “im37” Hong whose professional Overwatch career has been an actual speed run. A talented DPS player, im37 took the Contenders scene by storm for two weeks on Second Wind before the Toronto Defiant picked him up. The Overwatch League has only had im37 for five seconds, and fans are already enthralled by the charismatic DPS star. im37 is a deadly hit-scan player who will present a major challenge to both Carpe and Josh “eqo” Corona during this match.
Despite this addition, fans still aren’t that sold on the Defiant yet. Toronto has a few standout players: im37, Se-hyeon “Neko” Park, and Kang-jae “envy” Lee. Out of everyone, they have proven themselves to be great, but the team as a whole does not leave a lasting impression. However, with how shaky the Fusion have looked so far this stage, it is possible that the Toronto Defiant will be able to take advantage of this. One of the Fusion’s weaknesses is that they tend to play around Carpe. If Carpe is not at the top of his game, especially now that DPS characters are being utilized in comps again, it could very well mean the downfall of the Fusion. Philly will have to keep an eye on im37 and prioritize their communication this series if they want to win.
Prediction: Toronto wins 3-2
London Spitfire (5-4)
Facing off once more against the grand champions, the Philadelphia Fusion are looking to take their second win over the London Spitfire this weekend.
Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong is one of the best main tanks in the league. He will present a challenge to Su-min “SADO” Kim who has been struggling on the role of Reinhardt. Alongside Gesture, Jun-ho “Fury” Kim has been playing out of his mind on D.Va. Fans saw Fury deny nearly every graviton surge that Andrej “babybay” Francisty chucked at him during the Spitfire’s game against the Atlanta Reign. The Spitfire’s tank line is a force to be reckoned with, and both SADO and Gael “Poko” Gouzerch will need to be prepared to face them if the Fusion want any chance at victory.
PREDICTION: Philadelphia wins 3-2.
Player to Watch: NeptuNo
Alberto “neptuNo” González is known for his aggressive play style, and Baptiste seems to be a great new hero for this funky little Mercy main. During the Fusion’s match against the Florida Mayhem, neptuNo popped off on Baptiste. Per his two-way contract, the Fusion decided to let Elk get his two games in during the first week of the stage. This means that neptuNo will be back full time for the remainder of the stage. Going into both games this week, he will be the player that Fusion fans will be keeping an eye on.
The Fusion looked shaky last week. While most did not think they would beat the New York Excelsior, the 4-0 loss was still disheartening to fans. That, along with barely pulling out a win on Junkertown against the Florida Mayhem had the Fusion going down in most power rankings this week. This week’s games will be tough for the Fusion. If they focus on prioritizing their communication, they should be able to give both the London Spitfire and Toronto Defiant a good fight.
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