For many Boston fans, the 2020 season was one to forget. It was a long 28 weeks that started with a bit of excitement, then pivoted to a lot of disappointment, but ended with a glimmer of hope. The year was undoubtedly a long one, and yet it is still a season that is worth revisiting. Because if the Uprising are anything, they are absolutely a team worth watching again.
It is crazy how early in the season this historic game occured. Only three weeks in, fans and analysts had a good idea just how these teams would shape up. While Boston came off of a rough loss against New York, they had a week break to focus and practice the more common strategies. Meanwhile, Houston entered the week with two losses of their own, failing to win a single map in both matches. Both teams came into the match winless, so one team had to win – right?
Week 2 vs Houston Outlaws
Someone did eventually win, but not before having to slug it out in a rare seven-map marathon. This match had two draws before Houston was able to win a map. Boston had gone up 2-0 against the Outlaws, and were poised to take the win after tying up Nepal 1-1. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and Houston managed to win back to back maps to bring the match to a unprecedented map seven.
Luckily for all fans watching, the last three maps of the match were Control – meaning no one could possibly tie. The game would head to Lijiang Tower to finally decide the victor. Boston handedly took the first point against Houston, and after almost two hours, took the second point and the match. The “Toilet Bowl” brought the entertainment that everyone was expecting.
What Went Well
This match was an absolute highlight reel match for both Min-seob “Axxiom” Park and Sang-min “Myunb0ng” Seo. The latest Uprising flex support truly put his skills on display, hitting multiple multi-man Biotic Grenades against Houston. He even showcased a bit of his play making ability by sneaking around corners for devastating anti-healing. On the re-watch, Myunb0ng also hits several Sleep Darts that go unnoticed to the casters. Little did fans know that this would be just a taste of what Myunb0ng could do through the season.
Myunb0ng ultimately played second fiddle this match due to Axxiom’s dominant performance over Houston. It’s a shame this would be Axxiom’s last match of the season, as he proved himself worthy of the starting spot. On both Anubis and Blizzard World, Axxiom willed the Boston Uprising to a draw on both of the maps, when they easily could have been losses. Unshackled by the slower comp from Week 1, Axxiom had full reign to charge and swing away as he pleased. He simply outplayed opposing tank Austin “Muma” Wilmot, and instilled a sense of confidence for Boston fans after the match.
What Didn’t Go Well
After a week long break, it would be fair to assume that Boston worked through their issues against the NYXL, and be ready with some solid game plans. It became abundantly clear that was not the case in this match. Boston seemed to be completely out of sorts during this game. Some fights came down to clutch performances from Tae-hee “Jerry” Min and Myunb0ng just mechanically outperforming their opposition. Not many fights were dictated by superior strategy from the Boston side.
Then there was the issue of closing out maps. Boston failed to capitalize on a massive time bank on both Anubis and Blizzard World. The Uprising could have closed out the game on a few occasions if it weren’t for some questionable decision making. Sadly this becomes a recurring issue for the Uprising, but a win here masked some of the mistakes the team made.
Noteworthy Play of the Game
For a match like this, it is only fitting there are a few noteworthy plays this time around. The first of which is a bit of a goof from the Boston side, but it ended up being the difference in a pivotal map. When Jerry walked off the map at Blizzard World the momentum shifted quite heavily into Houston’s favor. Even though it was a hilarious moment as it happened live, his death meant Boston had zero damage for the rest of the fight. Axxiom ended up hitting a pretty important Earthshatter, but without Jerry, the Outlaws ultimately won the fight, and forced Boston to capture the final point under one minute. If Jerry lives there, Boston more than likely wins Blizzard World and takes the series 3-0.
— Boston Uprising (@BostonUprising) February 22, 2020
The real match-defining play came on Lijiang Tower: Gardens as Boston looked to recapture the point to win the round. After losing a fight moments before, the Uprising push quickly back onto the point as to not waste any time. The fight starts poorly, as Boston loses two members to a Houston Self-Destruct. But in comes Jerry with two huge picks onto the Outlaws’ Ana and McCree to even the fight up. From there, Boston manages to clean up the fight and the map. The play was a much needed bounce back moment for the Uprising. Without it, Houston were poised to hold the point for the rest of the round.
A Note Behind the Scenes
In the “Sights and Sounds” series by the Uprising, fans got a glimpse of coach Vytis “Mineral” Laisaitis during the match. He showed plenty of passion for the match, as it was a huge match for him in his return to the Overwatch League. The last time the league had seen Mineral, he was the head coach of the Florida Mayhem – another team that struggled to find success. This match would signify a new beginning for Mineral if Boston would win this game decisively.
While the Uprising didn’t have a convincing victory, it was an important win for the entire organization. Boston had failed to win a map at the end of 2019, and a second loss against a struggling Houston team would certainly hurt the mental of the Boston members. But that was luckily not the case, and the Uprising left Houston with high spirits.
Next Up: Week 4 Against the Philadelphia Fusion
From the worst team to the best – Boston faced off against one of the strongest teams in the league. The eventual top-four finisher certainly looked the part even early on in the season. Boston’s test against a top team came early, and it was time to see if Jerry was the real deal.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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