Stage 1 of the Overwatch League was a whirlwind of crazy for most teams. GOATS being the defining meta saw a lot of teams struggling. Alongside the fact that teams only played a total seven games, most preseason predictions were thrown out the window by the end of Week 2.
STAGE 1 REVIEW
Overall, the Philadelphia Fusion had a decent first stage. They ended things with a 5-2 record and made it into semi-finals before the San Francisco Shock defeated them during semi-finals. Despite their record, many doubted whether the Fusion deserved a spot in the playoffs. This is due in part to the Fusion’s loss against the Florida Mayhem. Considered one of the worst teams in the league, the Mayhem managed to get a 2-1 victory over the Fusion during Week 2, much to the surprise of fans of both sides.
Week 2 was a rough week for the Philadelphia Fusion. Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher had to step in for Isaac “BoomBox” Charles as he was out sick with an illness that week. Elk is an excellent main healer, but forcing him onto the role of flex support with only a few day’s warning had the Fusion lose their footing. Communication issues were predominant for the Philadelphia Fusion during Week 2. Elk tried his best, but the loss against the Florida Mayhem had the Fusion rattled. The Fusion would also lose their second match that week against the Dallas Fuel. Once BoomBox was back on his feet, the Fusion got their groove back.
STAGE 1 FINALS
The Philadelphia Fusion are a team that performs at their best when they know people doubt them. If anything, this match proved that the Fusion are still one of the most entertaining teams to watch. It also proved that they are still one of the top teams in the league despite the “trash goats play” that Justin “Jayne” Conroy of the Dallas Fuel credits them with. From amazing self-destructs to one of the most hilarious C9’s in history, the Fusion exceeded expectations and ended the series with an impressive 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Reign.
The true battle for the Philadelphia Fusion would come from the San Francisco Shock. The Shock were a major powerhouse during Stage 1. Considered middle of the pack last season, San Francisco went above and beyond in terms of their gameplay. Although the Fusion got clapped by the Shock with a 4-0 loss, Philly should be proud of their first stage. One rough week did not phase them and they were able to come back swinging.
NEW YORK EXCELSIOR (7-0)
When one sees the name New York Excelsior, one cannot help but think of greatness. The NYXL were the team to watch last season. Though they suffered a shocking loss to the Seoul Dynasty during Stage 1 quarter-finals, the NYXL are still a strong team. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Philadelphia Fusion were the first and last team to beat the NYXL last season. They have a proven track record of shaking things up when it comes to the NYXL.
With the Philadelphia Fusion, anything is possible. The incoming meta will hopefully see players back on their traditional roles. Fans are excited to see Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Hae-seong “Libero” Kim popping off in the kill feed, but it might take some time before GOATS is finally put out to pasture. No matter what compositions the teams decide to run, this is going to be a great first match for Stage 2.
PREDICTION: NYXL WILL WIN 3-2
FLORIDA MAYHEM (1-6)
A chance at redemption, the Fusion will face off against the Florida Mayhem one last time. With the Fusion’s reputation on the line, this match is more important to fans as it will be their last chance to prove themselves against this team.
Despite their roster changes during the offseason, the Florida Mayhem continue to be one of the more disappointing teams in the league. When they managed to beat the Fusion last stage, Philly fans were in utter disbelief. Fans of the Mayhem were also in shock, but theirs was understandably more celebratory.in nature.
This match will either make or break the Fusion’s reputation for the rest of the stage. It is important that Philly does not underestimate the Florida Mayhem this second time around. So long as the Fusion keep it together, they should come out victorious in this matchup.
PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA WILL WIN 3-1
PLAYER TO WATCH: BOOMBOX
BoomBox is a source of strength for the Philadelphia Fusion. His level head, clear comms, and ability to crack a joke when things get tough keeps morale high for the Fusion. BoomBox is a great Zenyatta; during stage 1, the kill feed would often show him getting final blows on the opposing team. Going into stage 2, fans should continue to see more great Zenyatta gameplay from BoomBox. He and Alberto “neptuNo” González continue to be one of the better support duos in the league. Despite the Fusion’s tendency to run hot and cold, BoomBox usually makes an impression.
Stage 2 is going to be a tough one for the Philadelphia Fusion. This first week will be the most important for the Fusion as they look to establish themselves and reclaim their honor. If the Fusion focus on their communication and don’t allow themselves to get too cocky, they should play well against both the NYXL and Mayhem.
Follow me on Twitter: @Sybil_OW! I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written! You can also “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other TGH writers!