Atlanta Reign (4-4) 2-3 Boston Uprising (5-3)
In the first week of Stage 2, no one knew exactly what to expect. Massive balance changes – including the newest hero, Baptiste – along with a bevy of roster swaps had left the league in a very different place from the end of Stage 1. Nowhere was that truer than in the Thursday night match between the Atlanta Reign and the Boston Uprising. New faces cropped up for both sides, and the teams fought to find their footing amidst the upheaval. In the end, it was the Uprising who claimed the upper hand, clawing their way to a reverse sweep and a crucial win.
Lijiang Tower: Reign 2-1 Uprising
The first map of the series saw a mix of the old and the new across the board. On Night Market, Atlanta stormed to an early lead behind the stellar Winston play of Hyeonjun “Pokpo” Park. While Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth swung his hammer ineffectually, Pokpo built three Primal Rages on the map, and each one secured a crucial fight win for the Reign.
Gardens was where things really started to heat up, with both teams breaking out triple DPS looks alongside the main tanks on Wrecking Ball. A key hack from Nathan “frd” Goebel onto Fusions gave the Reign first capture, but Boston answered back when Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang denied frd’s EMP with a timely Pharah rocket. Atlanta managed a brief retake before Richard “rCk” Kanerva closed out the round with a massive EMP of his own.
On Control Center, Atlanta caught Boston off guard with a 3-3 composition including a Reinhardt and Winston that allowed them to secure several early kills on Fusions with unblockable damage. The Uprising answered back with a nice Graviton Surge/Self-Destruct combo, but Andrej “babybay” Francisty came up huge for Atlanta with two Gravs of his own to close out the map and take a 1-0 series lead.
Temple of Anubis: Reign 2-1 Uprising
Starting out on defense, the Reign broke out a Bunker composition featuring Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov on Widowmaker and Jun “ErsTer” Jeong playing the newly buffed Junkrat. They almost pulled off the full-hold on point A before the triple tank dive of Boston broke through with less than 30 seconds remaining. Atlanta really clamped down on point B, however, where the DPS duo completely shut down the Boston attack with well-timed ultimates and some stellar Mei play from NLaaeR.
On the Reign attack, they went back to the triple DPS well and this time found everything they wanted. Some quick focus onto the Boston tanks gave Atlanta a very fast point A and a massive ult advantage as they stormed into point B. That headstart gave them enough momentum to get some early kills, and the Reign dealt with Boston’s stall effort to take Anubis and a 2-0 halftime lead.
Eichenwalde: Uprising 3-2 Reign
Atlanta’s defense started with their first real use of the new hero, with Baptiste replacing Brigitte in the traditional GOATs composition. It was a solid attempt, and the Reign took off three minutes before spam damage took down Pokpo secured point A for Boston. The Reign swapped to a Winston GOATs setup for point B, where Pokpo once again wreaked havoc with his Primal Rages. Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse saved the Uprising with back-to-back Graviton Surges, and they rolled into point C. Atlanta pulled off the stop at the end of point C and gave themselves a shot to end the series.
The attack saw babybay get the chance to play his signature Soldier: 76 for the first time this season, and Atlanta claimed the first point almost instantly. Their push ground to a halt on point B where a quick swap from blasé onto Roadhog forced both teams into the Winston GOATs matchup, where Boston took control. An overtime cap meant point C was do-or-die for Boston, and they delivered. Fusions found multiple Earthshatters thanks to the lack of a Reinhardt for Atlanta and rCk saved his team with a timely Self-Destruct to get the stop just in time.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar: Uprising 4-3 Reign
The two teams traded blows back and forth on Gibraltar, where variations of GOATs dominated. Despite some impressive Zarya play from babybay in the hangar phase, Boston made good time through the first two points before a sold hold from the Reign left them with just over 30 seconds remaining after point C.
Atlanta’s attack proved the importance of playing the point, as Boston let the capture come in while they watched helplessly from the high ground. Babybay and Steven “KodaK” Rosenberger kept the momentum rolling on point B, and Atlanta had a massive time bank for point C. rCk slowed things down with the Sombra, but the Reign still finished the map to give themselves an almost two-minute advantage going into extra rounds.
With their backs against the wall, Boston responded well in extra rounds. They found Kodak out of position and capitalized, taking point A and giving themselves a shot to take Gibraltar. Boston took an aggressive stance on the defense, going for the early fight to ensure themselves two opportunities to fight. It paid off big time, as they stalled Atlanta long enough to force a decisive final fight in which Boston had the ultimate advantage. A long fight with stall heroes on both sides went the Uprising’s way, and they forced a fifth map.
Busan: Uprising 2-0 Reign
The momentum was with Boston as they looked to close out the reverse sweep. Both teams settled on mirror triple-DPS looks for Sanctuary, and Boston simply looked more comfortable on the key heroes. Despite an early capture for Atlanta, rck and Fusions disrupted the Reign repeatedly, and the Uprising claimed the first point.
Boston finished off the series on MEKA Base where their surprising flexibility and clutch DPS play won the day. Colourhex got them to an early lead with opening picks in the first two fights. A change of plan to a Winston comp got Atlanta a couple of brief spats of control, but in the end they were too far behind. Boston simply waited for rCk to build EMP and won the necessary fights to close out a hectic, hard-fought match.
It was an early litmus test for both teams as they learned to integrate their new additions. Atlanta started strong, but just couldn’t quite finish off a resilient Boston team that only got stronger as the series continued. It was a tough loss for the Reign and continues their slump from the end of Stage 1. They’ve now lost four of their last five games, including the playoffs, and are staring down the barrel of another tossup match against the London Spitfire on Sunday.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League.
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