It’s a magical time of year for fans of the Boston Uprising. In just under a month, the Uprising will take the stage once again and compete for greatness in the fifth season of the Overwatch League. There is a sense of freshness that comes along with every new season of the OWL and the Uprising are certainly happy to forget about the past few seasons. After failing to make the Grand Final playoffs in 2021, the Uprising are looking at the new year with a renewed sense of confidence. The offseason has been a long one, but fans can finally feel like there is something great on the horizon for Boston.
The roster is revamped for 2022. The players are coming together. Overwatch 2 actually exists. Everything is looking up for 2022. And yet, why does this still all feel so familiar?
Oh that’s right, because Boston Uprising fans have felt this same way for the past five years. I even wrote an identical article in the offseason last year. Looking back at it, it’s funny to see how some of the “exciting” points didn’t quite hold up.
Each and every year, the faithful Boston fans have looked at the start of each new season with rose-colored glasses. Each offseason there are one or two signings that instill vast amounts of confidence in the teams ability to win games. And like clockwork, the team under performs or outright collapses. It’s the moment before the season that fans love the most, because anything is still possible.
As a relentless optimist, I’m here to tell you Boston fans that we can once again feel that unbridled sense of confidence in this team. The Uprising did just enough to rekindle that fire inside every hopeful fan. Though not every reader will believe it, but there are reasons for Uprising fans to get excited for the 2022 season.
Striker Comes Home
After exploding onto the scene in 2018, Striker left the Uprising after the Inaugural Season to join the San Francisco Shock. While hanging out on the west coast Striker helped San Fran to win two championships and nabbed a Grand Finals MVP award. Striker was once again aiming to help the Shock to secure another successful season, until he suddenly retired midseason. The announcement came as a surprise to the league, but after failing to see much playing time in a crowded San Francisco DPS lineup, it appeared as though Striker was ready to hang up the old mouse and keyboard.
But then the wildest thing happened. The Boston Uprising made the most exciting signing of the offseason.
Back where it all began.
— Boston Uprising (@BostonUprising) October 26, 2021
Striker has now come out of retirement to don the blue and yellow once more. After rumblings of a rocky relationship between the DPS star and Boston’s General Manager, it looks as though the two have set aside their differences in hopes to regain some of that 2018 magic.
Boston as an org has truly struggled to find a stand-out DPS ever since the departure of Striker. Blase and Colourhex couldn’t quite cut it in 2019 thanks to the prominence of the GOATs meta. Jerry had some flashes in 2020, and Munchkin left the team before he could ever get going. IM37 had a similar story, but never could consistently produce those highlight-reel performances. For the past few years, Boston simply lacked firepower.
With Striker on the roster, the Uprising have their player that can take those 1v1’s and come out on top. Having a player that can relieve pressure off of the rest of the team is vital in a game like Overwatch. Now with the sequel on the horizon, having a phenomenal Tracer player like Striker is surely one of the best insurance policies a team could ask for.
Fans can should be excited to just have Striker’s presence on this team so that he can serve as that veteran leader for the DPS line. Valentine came into the league with a large amount of expectations, but not a lot of guidance. Boston planned on having SOoN around to help out both Valentine and IM37, but those tricky “visa issues” sadly ended that short lived dream. With Valentine entering his second year in the league, and Uprising Academy call up Victoria joining the roster, Striker just might be the mentor these players need to take their game to the next level.
A Tank Line That’s Ready for any Meta
Probably the best phrase anyone could use to describe the Overwatch League is “consistently inconsistent”. There is always something that happens during the OWL season that just turns everything upside, creating difficult situations for coaches and players. From midseason roster locks, to rotating hero pools, players have seemingly always needed to be ready for a massive shake up. Now in 2022, the league is once again ready for the biggest shift of all – the entrance of Overwatch 2.
The biggest change came well before the start of the season. In one of the earliest introductions to Overwatch 2, the development team announced that the sequel to Overwatch would be moving to a 5v5 format. Overwatch 2 effectively deleted a position. That sucks, and it certainly isn’t the exciting part of the season.
With an abundance of caution and uncertainty, the Uprising made sure that their tank line was ready for whatever came their way. They welcomed in former Seoul Dynasty tank Marve1 to the roster to fill in the gap left by Stand1 and Fusions. Coming back for a third year is off-tank Punk, who comes off of a standout 2021 campaign. Rounding out the front line is Uprising Academy call up ITSAL. UA’s main tank joins the major leagues after helping lead the academy team to multiple Contenders Finals appearances.
From all the way downtown, it's @ow_Marve1 ☄
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) February 4, 2020
Fans should be happy to see their team prepare for the absolute unknown that is the tank position in OW2. Already devs have revealed their plans to rework several heroes like Orisa and Doomfist so that they can survive a solo-tank experience. Ultimately no one really knows what the meta will be like come May 5, and having several tanks ready to spring into action is a very good thing. Each player can learn a handful of characters without spreading too thin trying to learn everything.
It’s tough to say that Boston will be meta-proof at the tank position, but because it’s the offseason we absolutely can. And we will.
Marve1 can actually play main tank heroes again now that he is far away from Gesture. Punk is more than capable of playing any off-tank heading into next season, and ITSAL is here to fill in the gaps. Teams have finally figured out how to implement different players for different maps, and it looks like the Uprising are ready to pick up that strategy.
Stability in the Coaching Staff
One of the most exciting parts of the Uprising 2021 season was the signing of WGS Head Coach Lori. The mind behind the Korean Contenders Champions came in as the Uprising’s fourth head coach in four years (though in 2019 the team kind of had two head-coaches, that weren’t really either the head coach. It was weird). Lori was a fantastic pick up for a team that desperately needed to turn things around. He was a coach familiar with winning, and he helped Boston bounce back from a tragic 2-14 2020 campaign to finish 7-9 in 2021. Not great, but leagues better than the previous year.
The key point for the Uprising this upcoming year is having the same coaching staff come in for another go. People can argue that retaining a coaching staff that produced a middling record is actually a bad thing. However, for a team that has never been able to have a coaching system survive more than a year, this is a pretty important moment for Boston. Lori now has the chance to expand on his vision of the team, and continue to build upon the foundations he laid out in 2021.
Bringing back the same coaching staff allows Lori and company to correct the mistakes they made last year. There were several times where Boston appeared to be ahead of the meta. They came out and smacked teams with better rosters because they looked more prepared. Then again there were games that Boston should have handedly won, but shockingly failed to secure a win. Lori and the crew are the ones that can fix those issues that caused disappointing losses, because they know what went wrong. Bringing in new coaches won’t necessarily guarantee that the right changes get made. Lori, Ascoft and Barroi are three coaches ready to shake off their poor performances and make a statement in Overwatch 2.
A Back Line that’s Ready to Shine
What an absolute pleasure it was to see Faith perform well last season. Despite his performance in Korean Contenders, Faith joined the league without really any fanfare. All eyes were on his teammate Valentine, as analysts were hyping up his potential to be Boston’s next big player. While Valentine didn’t hit the mark fans were hoping for, it was Faith that routinely registered solid performances that would keep people interested to see his growth as a player.
— Boston Uprising (@BostonUprising) August 4, 2021
Now heading into his sophomore season, it is time for Faith to take that next step and break out in Overwatch 2. There may not be a better time for it, as his new supports are players that are just as hungry for greatness.
Crimzo and MCD join the Uprising for the 2022 as the latest pair of flex supports for the franchise. Hot off an another great season in the OWL, Crimzo was dropped by the Houston Outlaws after 2021 and jumped at the opportunity to join the Uprising. When Myunbong left the team to join the NYXL, fans were admittedly worried about losing one of the best players Boston’s had in years. However Crimzo may end up being a much better fit for the Uprising when all is said and done.
It’s tough to tell if Overwatch 2 will favor the traditional main/flex support split or feature something closer two a double flex support meta. For Boston, it might not really matter. Much like their tank line, the support line is well suited to cover the necessary heroes for any foreseeable meta. Faith will have to carry the weight of being the only main support, but that isn’t much different from the previous year. This may be Boston’s most solid support line in years, and this is certainly their time to prove some doubters wrong.
It’s Ok to Believe
At the end of the day, why not feel a bit excited for a team like Boston. Nothing can stop the fan base from wildly speculating a championship run, because no one really knows what is to be expected from Overwatch 2. The pros have finally gotten access to the game, and teams are developing strategies that they believe will be the best in an unknown meta. For the average fan, whose to say that Boston isn’t leading the charge in creating brand new compositions. It’s ok to have some hope before the season gets going.
Maybe Boston isn’t stomping scrims. But that is ok too. Believing in a team is what makes being a fan so much fun. It’s fun to be hopelessly optimistic about a organization that has drastically changed each year is been in the league. Every changed has been a stepping stone towards a better team in the long run. Yes it’s tough to see other teams have immediate success, but that just makes winning now that much sweeter.
Look – If the above paragraphs failed to get a fan excited for the new Boston Uprising, at the very least people can be happy that the Overwatch League is finally back. It was a brutal offseason of uncertainty and negative news. But with just about two weeks left, the Overwatch League is back. And for that, we should all be excited to see our favorite esports back in action.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch Leaegue
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