A new year is here, which means it was time for the Boston Uprising to completely remodel their roster. Last year, Boston continued their strategy of finding unknown talent and thrusting them into the spotlight to see if they could perform. While that model worked in 2018, 2019 was not as successful. So for this season, it’s only fitting that Boston gives its unique take on team creation one last try. The 2020 Boston Uprising is new and improved, but most importantly, ready to prove many power rankings wrong.
2019 Season Recap
Stage 1 and Stage 2
Right off the bat, the Boston Uprising season started off on a rough note. Weeks before their first match against the NYXL, Boston traded starting main tank Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh to the Shanghai Dragons. Faced with a difficult situation before the season even began, the Uprising called up Fusions to fill in for the Reinhardt role. Axxiom was brought in as well to stand in place of a suspended Colourhex.
Despite giving Shanghai their first ever win, Boston had a pretty middling first stage, even finding their way into the stage playoffs. One quick exit later thanks to the Vancouver Titans, Boston looked extremely promising going into Stage 2.
After Stage 1, Boston made their most debated move of the season. The Uprising traded away Lucas “NotE” Messiner for Dallas’ Richard “rCk” Kinerva. By grabbing the much more versatile rCk, the Uprising looked to make that jump to the next level. However, ending Stage 2 with a 3-4 record meant a missed opportunity to make back-to-back playoff appearances.
Stage 3 and Stage 4
The second half of the season was truly one of the strangest collapses OWL has seen.
A landslide of issues plagued the Uprising after the all-star break, leading to several in-game issues. Through Stage 3, Boston failed to stick to one support line, instead opting to swap in players almost at random. It wasn’t until the final match against Paris that Boston would find a win in Stage 3, thanks to the back line of Kristian “Kellex” Keller and Min-seok “AimGod” Kwon.
Unfortunately, that win would be the last of the season for the Uprising. Nothing had fallen Boston’s way and the team began to fall apart. Jefferey “blase” Tsang played off-tank as rCk had been sidelined by an apparent eye injury. Filling in for the DPS slot was Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee, a player who hadn’t been on stage since Stage 1. To the surprise of many, Boston failed to win a single match in Stage 4.
- Main Tank: Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth
- Main Tank: Min-seob “Axxiom” Park
- DPS: Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse
- Assistant Coach: Rollon “Mini” Hamelin
The three players returning to the roster are a solid foundation for a team looking to rebuild after a disappointing season. While Axxiom didn’t see a lot of stage time last season, his short stint on Zarya was serviceable. It highlighted his flexibility to play both main and flex tanks when the team needs it. Even though he may remain on the sideline for most of the season, Boston is lucky to have a solid backup.
Last year, Fusions took the Overwatch World Cup by storm, displaying his superb Reinhardt play. Despite cooling off in the second half of the season, Fusions remained a pivotal part of the Uprising team. Fusions was so vital to Boston’s game plan, that opposing teams would focus down Fusions in order to disorient the Uprising. If Boston can keep Fusions up, his leadership and communication skills will continue to be an invaluable asset.
Rounding out the returning players is the exciting main DPS Colourhex. When Colourhex was freed from his own “Zarya-jail”, he impressed audiences immediately. His hero pool is extensive, but when he gets to play either Pharah or Widowmaker, he becomes an incredible threat to the opposing team. Colourhex is certainly a play maker on the DPS side, and as the season gets going, don’t be surprised to see Boston lean on the Kiwi to carry.
- Flex Tank: Walid “Mouffin” Bassal
- Flex Tank: Thomas “brussen” Brussen
- DPS: Tae-hee “Jerry” Min
- DPS: Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon
- Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy
- Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo
- Head Coach: Vytis “Mineral” Lasaitis
- Assistant Coach: Ilias “iLka” Kaskanetas
- Assistant Coach: Valentin “Ascoft” Wulfman
The Latest Brand of Boston Uprising
It wouldn’t a true Uprising off-season if they didn’t sign an almost completely new roster. Though this year’s variant has a little less mystery behind the players than in the past, five of six new players have not played on stage. The good news for the Uprising is that one new player is a league veteran.
Munchkin joins the Uprising after two seasons with the Seoul Dynasty. As a hit-scan specialist, Munchkin didn’t see much time playing a true DPS as GOATs dominated the meta for the first half of last season. After struggling playing Brigitte for Seoul, Munchkin stepped away from the Dynasty before Stage 4 due to personal reasons. Now back in action, Boston is surely looking towards Munchkin to provide the veteran leadership a young team desperately needs.
Joining Munchkin in the DPS lineup will be a relatively unknown player in Jerry. Coming over from Korean Contenders, Jerry played a little bit of both DPS and tank during the GOATs meta. On Meta Athena, Jerry played both Zarya and Sombra pretty well, showing some shades of rCk of last season. It’s unclear how much Jerry will play this season with the starting six, but with Colourhex and Munchkin on the roster, Jerry will have quality veteran players to learn from.
Building the Front Line
Added to help create space for the new DPS duo is Dutch flex tank brussen. While brussen has been a part of EU Contenders for a few years now, his standout moment came from the impressive World Cup run with the Netherlands. Taking a page from Fusions’ playbook, brussen took the chance to prove himself on the big stage. Now making it to OWL alongside iLka, brussen needs to fill the void that was left long ago with the NotE/rCk trade.
In case brussen doesn’t quite make the mark, the Uprising have signed Mouffin to a 2-way contract. Mouffin is a bit of a competitive mystery, as he has played with just one Open Division team before Uprising Academy. Although he streams quite often, playing on competitive ladder is worlds different than playing against organized academy teams. The 2-way contract may be to warm up Mouffin to the speed of Contenders and eventually OWL. However, with brussen ahead of him and Edmondo “DragonEddy” Cerini on the academy team, it’ll be interesting to watch how Boston handles Mouffin throughout the season.
The Anticipated Support Line
New main support Swimmer is the first half of the extremely promising Boston back line. Having spent the past few seasons with the Uprising Academy, Swimmer was one of the few building blocks that remained on the team through several roster changes. An extremely vocal player, Swimmer is surely the much-needed addition to help Fusions shot call in hectic team fights.
The first addition Boston made this off-season was arguably its most important. Reaching out to O2 Blast personally, HuK managed to sign Myunbong before many teams were able to give him a trial. The ambitious move may just be the key to a better future for the Uprising. Myunbong has shown exceptional skill during his time in Korean Contenders, and fans can only expect more great things from the new flex support.
A Brand New Coaching Staff
During one of his Q&A sessions, HuK had mentioned how excited he was to bring in Mineral for the head coach position this season. Mineral was last seen in OWL back in the Inaugural season, coaching the Florida Mayhem. After a rough 7-33 season, Mineral was released before the 2019 season and was not signed back up to another team. With a season off to take time to improve as a coach, Mineral looks to make the most of his second chance in the league.
New assistant coach iLka may not be a well-known name, but he has worked with well known teams in Contenders. For NA Contenders Season 1, iLka worked with the Atlanta Academy to help them finish 2nd during the regular season and 4th at the Atlantic Showdown. iLka joined the Angry Titans shortly after, where we worked with brussen and Uprising Academy’s Alexandre “Phatt” Silva.
Filling out the new coaches is former HSL main support Ascoft. While Ascoft does not have any formal history of coaching, he has mentioned in a past conversation with TGH that he has needed to act as a coach for his teams. Working with two experienced coaches will certainly help Ascoft get the knowledge he needs to be a successful coach.
Players to Watch
First and foremost, the player all eyes will be on is the flex-support Myuonbong. Analysts saw Myuonbong as one of the top supports coming out of Contenders this past season, and it’s no surprise to see him get signed so quickly. Boston has had a good record of claiming talented flex-supports from contenders, but hanging on to them has been another story. Through the past two seasons, Boston has swapped out their starting flex-support for a mid-season signing. Myunobong’s rookie season will absolutely be one worth watching, as Boston hopes they have found their guy for seasons to come.
The other Uprising player fans should watch will be the returning DPS Colourhex. In a young league like OWL, it is incredibly important that returning players make the next step in their competitive performance. If Colourhex can improve on his play from last year, Boston will certainly be battling for that last playoff spot. However, if Colourhex fails to go above and beyond, or worse stumble in pivotal moments, Boston will have to utilize their new signings to right the ship.
The Uprising 2020 Schedule
Heading into its third season, the Overwatch League divided itself into four divisions inside of the two conferences. The Uprising find themselves in the Atlantic North division along with New York, London, Paris and Toronto. Being in the Atlantic conference, Boston plays each other Atlantic opponent twice.
This year’s schedule for Boston is going to be a tough one. Not only do they have some of the most traveling to do, but they have the misfortune of playing several powerful teams multiple times. Opening up the season against New York, in New York, is easily one of the roughest openings to a season a team could have. Later on, Boston will need to face last years Grand Finalists back to back.
The good news for the Uprising is that they will have their second homestand weekend just before flying out to China for a three-week stretch of matches. Each of the homestand weekends for Boston will be held at the Citizen’s Bank Opera House.
Most Anticipated Games of the Season
Game 1 against the New York Excelsior will be one of the most interesting games to watch this season. It is the first game with a brand new roster for Boston, but it’s against one of the Grand Final hopefuls with their own new additions. Combine that with it being the first New York homestand, the energy will certainly be through the roof through the entire match.
Another exciting matchup will be at the second homestand against London. This off-season, London took a page out of Boston’s book and revamped their whole team. With the exception of Gil-seong “Glister” Lim and Dong-jae “Schwi” Lee, London’s team closely resembles the Boston Inaugural season lineup. With this game coming late into the season, it will be an interesting match to see rag-tag team of misfits developed through the year and who’s fell short of expectations.
Keys to a Successful Season
There are a few metrics Boston should be looking for to mark this a successful season, but a championship run is not one of them. Despite the optimism surrounding some of the new signings, the current outlook of the Uprising does not bring confidence when compared to teams like San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia.
What Boston wants to do this season, is develop a team that can contend going forward. The Uprising is a young team with varying degrees of experience. The coaching staff is new and the meta could change at any moment. Boston can deem this season a success if they can avoid roster issues like they have faced the past two seasons.
With the roster staying intact and becoming a cohesive group of teammates, the Uprising will see a bounce back from last season’s terrible finish. Winning five games before their homestand will be just what the Uprising need to keep their heads up for the second half of the season. If Boston can handle the difficult travel schedule and sneak some wins to reach 10 on the season, it will be a positive takeaway for Boston.
Featured image courtesy of the Boston Uprising
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