The first week of stage 2 might have been a rough start for the Philadelphia Fusion, but the boys turned things around during week 2. Their 3-1 victory over the Toronto Defiant was well fought, and though they also lost 2-1 to the London Spitfire, they showed major promise.
Toronto Defiant (6-5)
Having become one of the stronger expansion teams, many expected the Toronto Defiant to win this match. Much to the pleasant surprise of fans, the Fusion dominated during this series. With the addition of Jin-UI “im37” Hong, who has proven to be a superb DPS player, many expected him to be able to go toe-to-toe with Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and, on Paris, he certainly did. Alongside Kang-jae “envy” Lee’s Sombra, im37’s Tracer proved to be a significant challenge for the Philadelphia Fusion.
This match saw the Fusion during one of their highs, but it was not a clean game overall. Fans are perplexed as to why the Fusion continues to favor GOATS mostly. With Josh “eqo” Corona and Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee being one of the better DPS duos in the league, one would expect the Fusion to do well on Bunker compositions or triple DPS. However, the Fusion looked incredibly uncomfortable on these compositions, and they were quick to switch back to GOATS after losing early fights. While Philly managed to pull out a win, this series did highlight their struggles with the shifting meta.
Player of the Match: Poko
Time and time again, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch has shown that he is the backbone of the Philadelphia Fusion. This match was no exception; Poko popped off multiple times throughout this game. He was able to go head to head with envy, who has proven himself to be a formidable D.VA player. While the Fusion struggled against the Defiant on Paris, Poko turned things around for the Fusion on Blizzard World after eating one of envy’s graviton surges, and this play allowed the Fusion to gain the upper hand and ultimately win the map. His incredible D.VA play, and his ability to switch comfortably onto characters like Soldier 76 and Mei when the situation calls for it, proves how flexible of a player he truly is.
London Spitfire (6-4)
In the Overwatch League anime, the London Spitfire have genuinely become the Fusion’s biggest rival. While the Fusion managed to defeat the Spitfire the last time they faced off, Philly would, unfortunately, walk away from this series with a loss.
This match was a nail-biter for Fusion fans. It was incredibly close, as evident by the 2-1 score. While the Spitfire initially dominated on Lijiang Tower, the Fusion pulled a miracle on Hanamura. They managed to turn things around in their favor by tying the map after full holding London who had a five-minute time-bank. After blowing away viewers with an incredible six-man assist, and ultimately winning Blizzard World, fans were hopeful that Rialto would once again prove to be the Fusion’s best map, but things were not meant to be.
This series proved just how close both teams are, and continue to be. The Fusion and Spitfire have always been neck-in-neck in terms of their consistency. While the Spitfire managed to pull out the win in the end, it would be unwise to assume that they are automatically the better team because of this. The Spitfire are currently 3-0 this stage, but their first two games were against the Florida Mayhem (who also managed to tie them on a map) and the Atlanta Reign, who are currently experiencing a significant identity crisis after the loss of Daniel “dafran” Francesca.
Knowing this, one still cannot deny that the London Spitfire are slowly gaining back their groove. The London Spitfire had the upper hand this time around because they adapted to make GOATS work for them after failing against the Fusion during stage 1. They also had their source of strength come from the dynamic duo that is Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong and Jun-ho “Fury” Kim. Rialto could have been the Fusion’s, but the Spitfire were able to take the Fusion’s minor misplays that were made and use them to their advantage.
The Spitfire may have won this battle, but they have not won the war. While things are looking grim for the Fusion in terms of securing a playoffs spot this stage, there will be other opportunities for these great rivals to face off once again.
And Fusion fans cannot wait.
Player of the Match: BoomBox
Isaac “BoomBox” Charles popped off during this series. While he had one extremely questionable transcendence, BoomBox was often showing up in the kill feed. Alongside Poko, BoomBox is one of the more consistent players on the Philadelphia Fusion. The Fusion struggled severely when he was out sick during stage 1. His ability to keep a cool-head during stressful situations often helps motivate his teammates when things are getting dire. This match was not easy for the Fusion, but overall BoomBox had the best performance during this series.
Week 3 Preview
NEW YORK EXCELSIOR (11-0)
This week, the Philadelphia Fusion will face off against the New York Excelsior for the second time. While the odds are unlikely that the Fusion will pull out a win against the NYXL, crazier things have been known to happen in Overwatch.
With one match out of the way, the Fusion can go into this series better prepared. Taking what they learned from the last game, the Fusion have had time to improve and study from their mistakes. Hopefully, they can give the NYXL a good fight this time around.
Prediction: NYXL wins 3-2
HOUSTON OUTLAWS (3-5)
Playing Wonhyeop “ArHaN” Jeong was not the only surprising moment of the Outlaw’s first game of stage. The Houston Outlaws also managed to pull a map win away from the Vancouver Titans last weekend. Their first game of the stage started great because they went with a DPS heavy composition on Busan, but their stubbornness to stick to GOATS while going up against the Titans was… questionable.
The Outlaw’s strengths lie in their DPS players. Dante “Danteh” Cruz and Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin have more than proven themselves to be some of the top damage dealers in the league. However, the Outlaw’s resistance to DPS compositions and Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty’s shaky Zenyatta gameplay make them predictable for other teams. If they continue to stick to their guns and run GOATS, the Fusion should be able to walk away from this series with a win under their belt.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins 3-1
Player to Watch: SADO
Su-min “SADO” Kim has a tough journey ahead of him this week. He will be facing off against both Dong-gyu “Mano” Kim and Austin “Muma” Wilmot; while Mano is like SADO in the fact that they are both better Winston’s, his Reinhardt play is much better than that of SADO’s. Muma is well-known for his Reinhardt, and for being an overall fantastic main tank.
SADO will have a lot to prove going up against these two. If the Fusion decide to play GOATS, hopefully, they will run their more successful Winston GOATS, and allow SADO to truly shine.
The Fusion will have another exciting week on their hands. Going up against the NYXL is no easy task, and doing it a second time in two weeks will be challenging for the Philadelphia Fusion. The Fusion will more than likely be able to defeat the Houston Outlaws, so long as they stay focused and don’t get overconfident, as they often tend to do.
Featured Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Follow me on Twitter: @Sybil_OW! I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written!