Last season, both the London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion surprised everyone by surpassing their competitors and making it into the Grand Finals. Finishing as the sixth seed, nobody expected the Fusion to move through playoffs and take down the mighty New York Excelsior. In an intense Map 5 series, the Fusion clinched their spot at finals and went on to become the inaugural season’s runner-ups.
This season, the Fusion have had their fair share of ups and downs. Many projected them to be one of the top teams coming into Season 2. However, despite making it into Stage 1 playoffs, GOATS quickly singled them out as one of the weaker teams. The Fusion were unable to make top 10 during the last three stages because of this. Even during Stage 4, Philly continued to struggle, but their initial success during Stage 1 helped them make it into the play-ins.
Having secured the 10th seed in the overall standings, the Fusion will be going up against the Shanghai Dragons.
Shanghai Dragons (13-15)
Despite winning the Stage 3 playoffs, the Shanghai Dragons have fallen short this stage. Many expected the Dragons to thrive with the implementation of role lock due to their star DPS players. Shanghai were one of the first teams to embrace triple DPS compositions during the GOATS era. Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang’s aerial superiority on Pharah alongside Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin’s aggressive Doomfist and Min-seong “diem” Bae’s cold and calculating Widowmaker made the Dragons a team to be feared during Stage 3. When the Philadelphia Fusion faced off against them during the Atlanta Homestand, Diem dominated over his best friend and Widowmaker counterpart Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee. However, since the implementation of role lock, Shanghai’s DPS lineup has not been as effective as it used to be.
Along with their faltering DPS, the Dragon’s tank line is also struggling. While Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh is the most reliable member on their team, his lack of an equally strong off-tank has taken a toll on Shanghai this stage. Neither Kang-jae “envy” Lee nor Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim have stepped up to the plate as much as the team would like. Although Shanghai continues to prefer having Envy in alongside Gamsu, the tank duo’s inability to work well together is a glaring issue. It is also one that the Philadelphia Fusion can take advantage of if they play their cards right.
Activating the Barrier
Much like the Dragons, the Philadelphia Fusion’s tank situation is also one-sided. Su-min “SADO” Kim has received a lot of flack from fans for his underperformance this season. The enemy team often punishes his aggression, and his death usually results in the loss of a major team fight for Philly. Thankfully, the Fusion have Gael “Poko” Gouzerch to rely on.
While Poko was not able to shine as much as he did last season, this stage he has performed reasonably well. His Roadhog might not be the best in the league, but he gets the job done. Poko also has been seen practicing Sigma during his streams since Sigma became playable in competitive. Sigma is going to play a significant factor in how this game will go. Double shield has become the new meta in most ranked games. One can only assume that it will be a dominant strategy for teams as they fight for a spot at Grand Finals. Knowing that Poko is going to be on Sigma duty, fans feel a bit more confident for the Fusion’s chances at moving up the play-in bracket.
London Spitfire (16-12)
Should the Philadelphia Fusion beat the Shanghai Dragons, their next opponent will be the London Spitfire. Both teams are in a similar situation as they were last year, and that makes fans nervous. Both teams are known to be full of surprises, but the Fusion seems to have lost their fire. While the London Spitfire have also underperformed this season, they have been able to clutch out more wins. London’s ability to turn things around at the last minute is incredible (or annoying, depending on who is being asked).
Enemies in Orbit
Player to watch: Boombox
The Fusion’s support duo has been their saving grace for the majority of the season. Viewers tend to keep their eyes on Alberto “neptuNo” González because of his flashy Mercy gameplay. However, it is Isaac “Boombox” Charles who has been the Fusion’s most consistent player. Boombox has proven to be a top flex support player in the league. Quietly popping off in the kill-feed, his Moira is one of the deadliest in the league, alongside his excellent Zenyatta gameplay.
While many tend to write Boombox off because of his sarcastic and goofy personality off-stage, he truly thrives in a competitive setting. One of Philly’s main shot-callers, Boombox has helped set up most of the Fusion’s more clutch plays this season. Going into play-ins, Boombox will once again play a crucial part in the Fusion’s success and fans are excited to see what he can pull off.
Follow me on Twitter: @Sybil_OW! You can also message me on Discord @ Sybil#3517! I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written!
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