New York wins their second straight Stage

The Excelsior Shine

After going 9-1 for the second straight stage, the Excelsior walked their way to another stage win beating the Uprising 3-1-0.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Boston came in without losing a single match in Stage 3 and they quickly handled the Gladiators earlier in the day. With that kind of momentum many thought that the Uprising would win or at least make this a tough series, they would be wrong. While Boston wasn’t bad they struggled in many areas during this series. They attempted a comeback after tying at Volskya and were close on Numbani but, they couldn’t finish off either map

Striker was easily their MVP of the series as he did just about everything in his power to try and keep Boston in this series. Mistakes had flashes but was clearly outmatched against the Excelsior’s DPS. The player who probably had the toughest match was Kellex as he struggled to get ult charge due to constantly being picked off.

As for New York, they proved that they are absolutely the team to beat for the season one finals, and there is still one whole stage left.

The DPS trio of Pine, Saebyeolbe, and Libero took over the series very early on. Saebyeolbe looked unstoppable throughout and made the case for why he is one of the top DPS in the league. JJonak was his usual self as he hit headshot after headshot keeping the Uprising on their heels.

New York has been one of the top teams since the beginning of the season. They were beat by London in the Stage 1 finals but now have back-to-back Stage final wins to go along with the best overall record in the league.

It will be interesting to see if they lose anyone or make any changes over the stage break. We saw London lose talented players in Rascal and Fissure as they wanted to play more. If the Excelsior lose any of their DPS or supports then their depth could be hurt.

The rest of the league have one stage to figure out New York or they will continue to dominate their way to a season 1 championship.

Few mistakes in Mistakes’ Debut as the Boston Uprising shock NYXL

Wow. That’s all I can say after this match. The Boston Uprising were doing well early in the stage… and then Dreamkazper happened. Without their offensive linchpin, plenty of people had their doubts (myself included) about the Uprising’s chances in their next game against New York. New York! How cruel! A team that looked like it could be falling apart, forced up against the most dominant force in the Overwatch League?

Things looked grim, to say the least. Turns out, we needn’t worry. Montecristo said it best- the New England Patriots’ “next man up” philosophy is alive and well in Boston, and the Uprising have proven that they have the depth to make their mark no matter who they put on stage.

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Boston Uprising

Boston Uprising terminate DreamKazper, Mistakes’ turn to shine

Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez was a day removed from suspension when the Boston Uprising terminated his contract. Sanchez was suspended indefinitely while the Overwatch League and Boston Uprising reviewed and investigated allegations regarding inappropriate interactions with minors. On Monday, another minor spoke up with further allegations and the Uprising swiftly terminated the contract. With only two DPS on the Uprising roster remaining, Mistakes will slot into the role vacated by DreamKazper’s sudden departure.

Mistakes Starting for the Boston Uprising

Boston Uprising

Mistakes from Robert Paul

Overwatch League stage two is two days away, and therefore Mistakes will be a starting DPS alongside Striker. Mistakes hasn’t been superb in his limited stage time, but he definitely hasn’t been bad. Mistakes has a huge hole to fill, and it won’t be an easy transition for the team. Striker and Mistakes share similar hero pools, and that’s where the real weaknesses will begin to show. DreamKazper made Genji and Pharah look easy to play as, which both of these players will have difficulty with. With rosters locked in for the season, the Boston Uprising will be facing a steep uphill battle to continue contending for the playoffs.

Mistakes subbed for Dreamkazper previously

DreamKazper sat as Mistakes came in against the Florida Mayhem back on March 2nd. On Route 66, Striker and Mistakes ran the gauntlet. Florida wasn’t even able to take the first point. Mistakes showed that he can play heroes like Junkrat and Sombra, heroes not in Striker or DreamKazper’s pools. Sombra has seen an increase in play on the OWL stage as the map pool rotates to favor her, whereas Junkrat has fallen off a bit. The staple heroes have been those of the dive meta, Genji paired with Tracer. Tracer and Widowmaker, or Tracer and Soldier 76 has also been run in many maps. These are the heroes that Mistakes and Striker can switch off on playing reliably, and can work in the current meta. Genji and his Dragonblade are great tools to use on Temple of Anubis however, and that map is in stage three’s rotation.

Possible Off-Season Acquisitions

Boston Uprising

iddqd from San Francisco Shock

With no trades or signings available until the off-season, the Uprising will have plenty of time to decide on who they want to target. If Mistakes shows well during his time, they could shop him and his Tracer play to grab a player with different hero pools. This could involve them making a deal with the San Francisco Shock for someone like Architect, Babybay or iddqd. These players have taken a backseat to Danteh and Sinatraa at the beginning of stage three. The Houston Outlaws also have a Tracer problem, and trading Mistakes to them at the end for someone like Mendokusaii could benefit them even with limited playing time. Another option for the Uprising is to promote from within, using their Contenders team. Toronto Esports features two DPS at the moment, Dalton and nero.

Overall, the Uprising are facing a difficult path to remain in contention losing a great DPS like DreamKazper. While his play was outstanding, it does not excuse any potential inappropriate behavior he may have engaged in. While at the time it is still being investigated, the texts and screenshots seem damaging enough to Sanchez’s career. As the Overwatch League and Boston Uprising continue, they’ll try and put DreamKazper behind them.

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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul

Boston Uprising win the preparation game after a 2-0 Stage Three start

The Boston Uprising end the week as the hottest team in the Overwatch league. A complete team effort gets them through one of the roughest weeks in the stage three schedule and sets them up nicely down the line. It also helps in terms of overall seeding, as the Uprising go from sixth to fourth and are close behind the Seoul Dynasty and London Spitfire.

Continually, beating two divisional opponents in a tight race is always important. The 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Fusion was an enormous win considering the Fusion just came off a successful trip to the end of the stage playoffs. On Saturday, the Uprising completely and utterly dismantled the Houston Outlaws, winning in one of the most one-sided games of the season.

Two MVP Candidates on the Uprising DPS-Line

The Uprising has a lot going for them at this moment. This team had little expectations outside of their own building at the start of the season, most saw them as a bottom-four team. With that in mind, pushing the best teams midway through stage three is an excellent sign, and even more important is the emergence of both Jonathon “DreamKazper” Sanchez and Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon at the damage positions.

Both players were known as talented players entering the Overwatch League, but to say both players would be considered MVP-candidates past the midway point is insane. But here we are, Uprising constantly upping their game and finding new ways to use their terrifying damage duo to throw off opposing teams, and after shutting down Jiri “LiNzkr” Masalin and Jacob “JAKE” Lyon, it’s safe to say both players belong in the conversation for best player.

Consider this, among all OWL players Striker currently has the best kill-death ratio of any player and is the top three in all major statistical categories. DreamKazper, on the other hand, leads most categories among the league leaders for projectile players and is the one player who is in the top five for total damage from a non-hitscan player.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the Uprising victory today and how each player was used. First, the acknowledgment of all the heroes played in today’s match were staggering. A combined six heroes between the two, and in most instances, those switches worked. Looking at Striker’s day, he played a great deal of Junkrat when he’s normally primarily stuck on Tracer. However, on maps like Temple of Anubis, a map the Uprising are 6-0 on this season, he couldn’t be touched from the high-ground. Same goes for Junkertown, and the few times Striker switched off Tracer.

On to DreamKazper, who surprisingly took on Widowmaker duels from Linkzr and came away with an overwhelming lead in head-to-head kills. Putting that in perspective, LiNzkr doesn’t lose in that department. It’s one area the Outlaws always have the advantage on, but DreamKazper made sure that wasn’t the case Saturday. In fact, DreamKazper was having so much success specifically finding LiNzkr, that it brought down the entire Outlaws gameplan. No one could get started on offense and this is the reason why.

Coach Crusty driving force behind Uprising

Coach Crusty before a match. Photo via twitter.com/BostonUprising

Here’s something that simply doesn’t get discussed enough and that’s coaching. Da-hee “Crusty” Park will never get the recognition he deserves for what he’s been able to get out of this team, but on the outside looking in, the Uprising is the best-coached team in the Overwatch League. It’s not only getting the best out of each player, it’s the traits they’ve instilled into these players. The fact that this team rarely overextends and always have Noh “Gamsu” Young-jin always in the right position to dive forward in attack or backward to defend allowing for everyone to play with a safety net.

Additionally, the compositional picks are also making it easier for the players. The Outlaws didn’t have answers for DreamKazper’s Pharah. The Outlaws don’t have a great answer for Pharah on the roster, but that’s the benefit of having DreamKazper ad the main projectile player. The versatility of the DPS-mains and their large hero pools gives Crusty plenty to work with. 

It’s quite remarkable to see the growth on this Boston Uprising team. There’s no player more on highlight alert than DreamKazper, who is just unconsciously good on most days. This team’s main problem is consistency, either win-or-lose, this team goes on streaks. Right now, they’re on a winning streak, but only time will tell if this type of play keeps up. Regardless, this team is hitting on all cylinders, and improving at a faster rate than most of the other teams in contention. Good coaching, talent, and the willpower to improve will keep them to their winning ways.

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Feature photo via Boston Uprising Twitter

Stage

A mixed stage for Boston Uprising

Stage 2 has not been easy for the Boston Uprising. They lost the first two matches 4-0 Which was a harsh blow to the Uprising’s confidence after a strong stage 1. Their first defeat was chalked down largely to Philadelphia Fusion playing incredibly well with their newly available player Josue “EQO” Corona, although it was clear there were still issues with the Boston side.

Boston’s next match was against a still strong Houston Outlaws team, and once again again Boston lost all four maps. Now the issues were clear. Boston thrived in the mercy meta because Kellex is very comfortable on mercy and they can’t play around mercy as much post nerf. 

The next week Boston did exactly what was expected of them. They lost 4-0 to a dominant NYXL and then won 4-0 against a Florida Mayhem that was still struggling. This was the first of three matches that YoungJin “Gamsu” Noh was to miss. The official statement was that he had to go back to Korea because of an illness. However esports insider and gaming journalist, Rod “Slasher” Bresleau claimed that the absence was due to infighting in the organisation and Boston allegedly  wanted to move towards a full western roster.  Adding fuel to Boston’s media fire was Support player Connor “Avast” Prince who “liked” the tweet.

With a bad record and disappointing performances from Boston, some fans on social media got understandably heated on social media. 

Quick to douse the flames of speculation was President of gaming for the Kraft group, Chris “HuK” Loranger. He dispelled all rumours via a medium.com Article stating:

“Here at Boston we generally have an open door policy as far as discussing any trades or sales, but we have never came close to selling or trading Gamsu, Striker, or Neko.”

Boston Start to put it back together

With the rumours mostly put to bed, Boston Uprising went back to what Boston did best, Winning. Gamsu returned to the starting squad, leading the team to a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Fuel. Continuing their streak of games that have gone 4-0 both wins and losses. Their streak would come to an end in the next match against the LA Valiant which ended 3-2 in favour of Boston. In the final week of Stage 2, Boston came up against the San Francisco Shock who had Jay “sinatraa” Won playing his second Overwatch League match since turning 18. Sinatraa is known for his tracer play, and is an incredibly talented DPS player. Sinatraa played well for the Shock and had a huge part in winning team fights, However Boston Uprising had Nam-Ju “Striker” Gwon on their side. On the whole striker won out the Tracer matchup in a tense and entertaining match which Boston won 3-2. 

Some close matches to close out

With playoffs no longer a possibility, Boston had far less to lose than their final opponents, LA Gladiators. The Gladiators had to win 4-0 against the Uprising to make it to the stage final. All hopes of glory were dashed by Boston in the first map when Uprising won on Volskaya Industries, maintaining their 100% win record on the map. In the end Boston won 3-2 and ended up 6th in both the stage and the season tables. 

Stage 2

Courtesy of: The Overwatch League

Overall it was a mixed stage from the Uprising and it was incredibly clear just how valuable Gamsu is seeing the team with and without him in the lineup this stage. We saw more play from mistakes and he was surprisingly good but not enough for a starting spot yet. Kellex was still playing Mercy throughout the stage but showed improvement on other heroes. And of course, Striker and Dreamkazper played incredibly throughout.

Looking Ahead to stage 3

Boston have a decent shot at placing high in the rankings in stage 3. With the next meta likely including Sombra. Uprising have an advantage as they have a dedicated Sombra player in Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov. Mistakes has impressed on Sombra so far, although Sombra will play differently in stage 3 due to the recent buff. 

Recently in Overwatch Contenders (which runs off the live patch) Tracer and Sombra have been played together to great effect. With a Tracer player like Striker, Its hard to see Boston ignoring this strategy. However they may not want to play it too often as Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez is too good and too flexible to sit on the bench. 

It’s hard to predict what the future holds for teams in the Overwatch League but so far with no signings or sales, Boston Uprising seem confident in their current roster and won’t have any initial teamwork issues with new players coming in. 

Map pool and first matches

The map pool for stage 3 is somewhat favourable for Boston Uprising. They are undefeated on both Volskaya Industries and Temple of Anubis which are the Assault maps in the stage 3 map pool. The Hybrid maps aren’t so good for Boston. They only have a 20% win rate on Numbani and Blizzard World has not been played in the league yet. It will be interesting to see what teams come out with on the new map. The control maps look decent for Boston with an 87% win rate on Ilios and 50% on Nepal. Finally Boston Uprising have a 40% win rate on both Junkertown and Route 66. Although Route 66 is a strong Sombra map so that is likely to increase as the stage goes on.

Week 1 of Stage 3 schedule is exactly the same as Week 1 of stage 2. Boston come up against Stage 2 finalists Philadelphia Fusion and a Houston Outlaws team that is currently an unknown quantity.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Overwatch League.