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What Does Boston Do Now?

Just a month ago, the Boston Uprising were in full bounce-back form. The May Melee showcased a different Uprising team that had been missing from the first half of the season. Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist had just joined the team, where he instantly sparked confidence and boosted morale. In his first ever OWL match, Punk had helped Boston achieve their first win since March against the Gladiators.

Then in the May tournament, Boston had nearly reverse swept a strong Paris squad. Once again, fans believed Boston had truly turned a corner. The Uprising even brought Paris to map 5 once again in the first week back in the Summer Showdown seeding matches. While Boston failed to win those games, the important thing was how improved and revitalized the team looked as a whole.

But close loses are not the same as wins.

After losing the second match against Paris, Boston seemed to fall back into familiar bad habits. Against Philadelphia, they seemed passive and indecisive. Then against Vancouver, Boston failed to get much of any rhythm going and lost in a rough 3-0 bout. The team appeared to be boomed.

The very next day, Boston would face the Washington Justice – a team equally struggling after a recent rebuild. Despite winning the first map, the Justice proved to be too much for the Uprising and took the match 3-1. After countless discussions about whether Boston had the tools to make a late season run, it is clear that is no longer the case. The Boston Uprising are back at the bottom of the league at 2-13.

What can Boston possibly do now to save the season?

Sign an Additional DPS Player

There has been one glaring issue with the Boston Uprising this season, and it has been their inability to adapt to the ever changing meta. While Tae-hee “Jerry” Min and Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse can play at high levels with certain heroes, they struggle to bring that same success with others. Boston might need to bring in a DPS that can fill in the gaps for Jerry and Colourhex.

Overwatch League 2020 Season 2020-03-08 / Photo: Joshua Roberts For Activision Blizzard

Finding a player this late in the season could be incredibly difficult. Recently two very talented DPS players joined the Overwatch League and have immediately made an impact. Missing out on that opportunity certainly stings, but there are still potential stars waiting in the wings in Contenders. It would be perfectly on-brand for Boston to signed a lesser-known player and plop them right into the starting lineup.

Change Up the Coaching Staff

As a team owned by Bob Kraft, the Boston Uprising could turn towards a classic sports move – firing a coach after a tough loss. The redemption arc for head coach Vytis “Mineral” Laisaitis has not gone as well as anyone would have liked. The “Sights and Sounds” clips showcased Mineral’s passion for the game, but passion can only mean so much when there aren’t results along with it. Chris “HuK” Loranger mentioned how excited he was to bring on Mineral during one of the early season AMA’s, which may still be the reason why Mineral is still with the team.

However sitting well in last place, there isn’t much room for error for Boston’s head coach. If the team continues its downward trend, Boston may not have much choice but to swap up the coaching staff near the end of the season. A new staff could look to the future, and use the remaining games to build the team environment they see fit for the Uprising. Although a change at the helm could translate to more losses, and continue the cycle of poor performance, changes sometimes could make all the difference, regardless of when they occur.

Make a Blockbuster Trade

If Boston fail to find talent outside of the Overwatch League, it may be time to make a mid-season trade once again. The last trade Boston made saw fan-favorite Lucas “NotE” Messinger head to Dallas in exchange for Richard “rCk” Kinerva.  While that trade didn’t pan out in the end, for either team really, it shouldn’t stop Boston from trying again. 

The biggest issue becomes Boston’s actual bargaining chips. The Uprising previously had tried to ship out Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth to Los Angeles back in 2019, but fan backlash forced Boston’s hand and pulled out of the deal. Jerry could fit into a few rosters as a solid backup hitscan player, but most likely teams will want the stand-out flex support Sang-min “Myunb0ng” Seo. Back in the off-season, Boston had made an early move to sign Myunb0ng from 02 Blast, making it clear that the Uprising highly value the rookie. 

Overwatch League 2020 Season 2020-03-08 / Photo: Joshua Roberts For Activision Blizzard

With an allegedly high price, what could Boston get for their star player? In theory, any trade will likely involve a flex-support swap, just so Boston can cover their bases. If Huk can swing a deal to include a new DPS Boston would be looking pretty good after the deal. It’ll be fascinating to see if Boston does aim to make moves during their break.

Do Nothing

There is an unlikely option that most fan bases hate to see. It’s the option that needs the most explanation for when a team is performing poorly. The Boston Uprising could simply do nothing, and stay the course for the rest of the season. The idea appears frankly horrible at a glance, but there is merit to keeping all the current pieces of the team where they are.

First and foremost, the Boston Uprising have been an organization wrapped around by instability. For the past three seasons, the Boston Uprising have never ended the season with the roster that began the season. Scandals, firings, and fatigue have plagued the Boston Uprising since its inception, and this season has the highest turnover to date. From the initial roster, four players have left the team and one coach has decided to step away. It would be one thing if the players left at the same time, but unfortunately, they all left for different reasons and at varying times. That means not only does the team need to readjust to a new player almost every other week, but the time and resources coaches put into the departing player are essentially wasted.

This season has been a nightmare for several orgs, with a few committing to complete full rebuilds midseason. The Uprising have not made the decision to rebuild at the moment, because they have shown signs of life and they actually look competitive in certain matches. Whether these signals are just false positives and the team needs to be shaken up remains the biggest question going forward. For the time being, Boston does have the option to stay steady and do nothing to the team structure.

Something’s Got to Give

It is really easy to start making excuses as to why Boston has performed incredibly poorly this season. But at some point, there has to be a reason that Boston is failing where other teams, with similar problems, are now finding a bit of success. In reality, it could be a little of everything that has made Boston the worst team in the league. It could even start from the very top with HuK, who most on the Uprising subreddit are quick to blame.

What does Boston do Now?
Courtesy of the Boston Uprising

Maybe the issue lies even above the President of Gaming. Mumblings around the various Uprising channels on discord have hinted at the idea that Boston’s “moneyball” strategy comes more out of necessity than a conscious choice. Without the power or leverage to even make meaningful change, how are Boston expected to grow? Potentially this opens up a much larger discussion about sports organizations failing to understand the esports space, and by ignorance, not devoting enough resources to the teams.

But that is a conversation for the offseason. One of many the Uprising will need to have in order to save this franchise.

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Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment

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Boston Uprising's 2020 Rookie Report Card September 16, 2020 at 12:40 pm

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