Stage 2 has not been easy for the Boston Uprising. They lost the first two matches 4-0 Which was a harsh blow to the Uprising’s confidence after a strong stage 1. Their first defeat was chalked down largely to Philadelphia Fusion playing incredibly well with their newly available player Josue “EQO” Corona, although it was clear there were still issues with the Boston side.
Boston’s next match was against a still strong Houston Outlaws team, and once again again Boston lost all four maps. Now the issues were clear. Boston thrived in the mercy meta because Kellex is very comfortable on mercy and they can’t play around mercy as much post nerf.
The next week Boston did exactly what was expected of them. They lost 4-0 to a dominant NYXL and then won 4-0 against a Florida Mayhem that was still struggling. This was the first of three matches that YoungJin “Gamsu” Noh was to miss. The official statement was that he had to go back to Korea because of an illness. However esports insider and gaming journalist, Rod “Slasher” Bresleau claimed that the absence was due to infighting in the organisation and Boston allegedly wanted to move towards a full western roster. Adding fuel to Boston’s media fire was Support player Connor “Avast” Prince who “liked” the tweet.
Crusty/Gamsu and HuK have different visions on how the team should operate moving forward. In response, Boston has put Gamsu, Striker, and Neko up for sale/trade to other teams with a full-western lineup in mind, and the LA Gladiators declining an initial offer, a source said.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) March 9, 2018
With a bad record and disappointing performances from Boston, some fans on social media got understandably heated on social media.
Quick to douse the flames of speculation was President of gaming for the Kraft group, Chris “HuK” Loranger. He dispelled all rumours via a medium.com Article stating:
“Here at Boston we generally have an open door policy as far as discussing any trades or sales, but we have never came close to selling or trading Gamsu, Striker, or Neko.”
Boston Start to put it back together
With the rumours mostly put to bed, Boston Uprising went back to what Boston did best, Winning. Gamsu returned to the starting squad, leading the team to a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Fuel. Continuing their streak of games that have gone 4-0 both wins and losses. Their streak would come to an end in the next match against the LA Valiant which ended 3-2 in favour of Boston. In the final week of Stage 2, Boston came up against the San Francisco Shock who had Jay “sinatraa” Won playing his second Overwatch League match since turning 18. Sinatraa is known for his tracer play, and is an incredibly talented DPS player. Sinatraa played well for the Shock and had a huge part in winning team fights, However Boston Uprising had Nam-Ju “Striker” Gwon on their side. On the whole striker won out the Tracer matchup in a tense and entertaining match which Boston won 3-2.
Some close matches to close out
With playoffs no longer a possibility, Boston had far less to lose than their final opponents, LA Gladiators. The Gladiators had to win 4-0 against the Uprising to make it to the stage final. All hopes of glory were dashed by Boston in the first map when Uprising won on Volskaya Industries, maintaining their 100% win record on the map. In the end Boston won 3-2 and ended up 6th in both the stage and the season tables.
Overall it was a mixed stage from the Uprising and it was incredibly clear just how valuable Gamsu is seeing the team with and without him in the lineup this stage. We saw more play from mistakes and he was surprisingly good but not enough for a starting spot yet. Kellex was still playing Mercy throughout the stage but showed improvement on other heroes. And of course, Striker and Dreamkazper played incredibly throughout.
Looking Ahead to stage 3
Boston have a decent shot at placing high in the rankings in stage 3. With the next meta likely including Sombra. Uprising have an advantage as they have a dedicated Sombra player in Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov. Mistakes has impressed on Sombra so far, although Sombra will play differently in stage 3 due to the recent buff.
Recently in Overwatch Contenders (which runs off the live patch) Tracer and Sombra have been played together to great effect. With a Tracer player like Striker, Its hard to see Boston ignoring this strategy. However they may not want to play it too often as Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez is too good and too flexible to sit on the bench.
It’s hard to predict what the future holds for teams in the Overwatch League but so far with no signings or sales, Boston Uprising seem confident in their current roster and won’t have any initial teamwork issues with new players coming in.
Map pool and first matches
The map pool for stage 3 is somewhat favourable for Boston Uprising. They are undefeated on both Volskaya Industries and Temple of Anubis which are the Assault maps in the stage 3 map pool. The Hybrid maps aren’t so good for Boston. They only have a 20% win rate on Numbani and Blizzard World has not been played in the league yet. It will be interesting to see what teams come out with on the new map. The control maps look decent for Boston with an 87% win rate on Ilios and 50% on Nepal. Finally Boston Uprising have a 40% win rate on both Junkertown and Route 66. Although Route 66 is a strong Sombra map so that is likely to increase as the stage goes on.
Week 1 of Stage 3 schedule is exactly the same as Week 1 of stage 2. Boston come up against Stage 2 finalists Philadelphia Fusion and a Houston Outlaws team that is currently an unknown quantity.
Featured image courtesy of Overwatch League.