The Philadelphia Fusion’s bold playstyle is one of the many reasons fans fell in love with them last season. The Fusion are the most aggressive team in the Overwatch League. From their DPS players to their supports, the boys in orange are not afraid of a fight. This makes them one of the more fun teams to watch each week. However, that aggression can sometimes get the better of them. When the Fusion are having a good week, it shows because nothing can stand in their way. Unfortunately, a bad week can have their opponents easily trampling over them.
Their inconsistency during the inaugural season is something that many consider when talking about how teams will fare during season 2. While many have put the Philadelphia Fusion in the top five regarding power rankings, their inconsistency is cited as to why they are not placed higher. It is a fair assessment, but the Philadelphia Fusion have made a lot of moves during the offseason that should hopefully see a more consistent Fusion going into season 2.
The Philadelphia Fusion have had a very successful offseason. Many of their players got the chance to play for their respective home teams during the 2018 World Cup. Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok saw a major victory while playing for Team Korea when they unsurprisingly ended up winning the World Cup once again. Simon “Snillo” Erkstrom and Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher also became champions while playing for Fusion University during season three of NA Contenders. Fusion University are now three-time champions, which speaks to the strength of the Philadelphia Fusion as an overall organization.
Tightening down on their core roster, the Fusion have worked on becoming a more cohesive unit during the offseason. Making necessary cuts and trades, the Philadelphia Fusion only made one significant change to their tank lineup, trading Choi “HOTBA” Hong-joon to the Guangzhou Charge while retaining their core three tank players: Poko, fragi, and SADO.
POKO: CAN’T NERF THIS
Known for being an impressive off tank with a wacky personality, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch is one of the Fusion’s most lovable players. Poko was brought on to play for the Philadelphia Fusion as their Zarya specialist. However, the dominance of dive meta saw Poko play more D.VA than Zarya throughout season 1. He is also an annoyingly good Mei when the situation calls for it.
In stage 1, Poko became famous for his insane self-destructs. Kill feeds would blow up with multiple deaths, driving the crowds wild. Unsurprisingly, Poko was chosen to start for Team France during the 2018 World Cup. Although France did not make it past quarter-finals, Poko played like crazy during the Paris qualifiers. With HOTBA no longer on the team, Poko is the only tank whose starting spot is basically guaranteed.
THE MAIN TANK DILEMMA
Finnish player Joona “fragi” Laine is beloved across the Overwatch League community. His aggressive Reinhardt playstyle has always had fans on the edges of their seats. His enthusiasm for the game is contagious. Fans loved watching him and Poko play together because of their great chemistry. On their best days, the duo would be a force to reckon with. On their worst days, fragi would often be seen feeding in the kill-cams, leaving Poko and the rest of the team scrambling.
Even though he had a hard time on Winston during dive meta, fragi is still one of the better Reinhardt players in the league. While Team Finland also didn’t make it past quarter-finals, fragi did exceptionally well during the Incheon group stage. We got to see him truly shine while playing for his home team.
This is where the dilemma arises for the main tanks of the Philadelphia Fusion: where fragi lacks on Winston, Kim “SADO” Su-min more than makes up for it. SADO is an exceptional Winston player and is one of the more consistent players on their roster.
Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Fusion, SADO did not get to see that much time on the main stage. The Overwatch League suspended SADO from playing for the first 30 games due to account boosting. The Overwatch League has been cracking down on suspensions during the offseason. Many returning players and newcomers will not see the stage during the beginning of the season. SADO’s suspension has so far been the harshest suspension in the league’s history.
Once SADO was finally able to make it to the main stage, there was a significant change in the Fusion’s lineup. Poko and fragi were immediately benched in favor of SADO and HOTBA, which was disheartening for fans who had watched the pair grow during the first three stages. Poko and fragi were never meant to be the Philadelphia Fusion’s starting lineup, but they stepped up to the plate due to SADO’s suspension. Over time, the Fusion began to favor pairing up Poko and SADO together. The duo did not have the same chemistry as Poko and fragi did, but the team did start to see better overall results. SADO and Poko are expected to be the starting tanks this season, as indicated by the Fusion’s jersey reveal video.
Hope you brought your A-Game, because this is a war.
We're bringing new allies into the mix this season, and a new look.
Announcing Fusion x @ARRIS
— Philadelphia Fusion (@Fusion) January 21, 2019
With GOATS still expected to be the meta going into season 2, this can spell trouble for the Fusion. Fragi is the better Reinhardt player. Reinhardt and Zarya, alongside Lucio, are what makes GOATS work. During the offseason, we saw the Philadelphia Fusion face off against the New York Excelsior during a show match. The Fusion, looking improved, still struggled against the NYXL and ended up losing to them. While SADO and Poko have worked on their communication skills and chemistry, SADO’s Reinhardt is still not where it needs to be.
The Philadelphia Fusion have great players in all three of their tanks. It will be interesting to see how Poko and SADO will fare against other teams during GOATS meta. Hopefully, the Philadelphia Fusion will let fragi get some stage time this season, as he did exceptionally well while playing for Team Finland during World Cup qualifiers. One of the Fusion’s issues last season was not playing to map strengths. For example, on Reinhardt-favored maps such as King’s Row, the Fusion would keep SADO instead of subbing fragi in. The same problem arose on Winston favored maps.
Both SADO and Fragi play well alongside Poko. There is no reason why the Fusion should not be subbing between the two more often. If the Philadelphia Fusion can be more flexible in terms of their tank line, they will do well next season.
Be sure to tune in on February 14 on Twitch to watch the Philadelphia Fusion kick off the second season against the London Spitfire!
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