Thursday, August 15th @ 7pm: Florida Mayhem
Saturday, August 17th @ 4:45pm: LA Valiant
For the benefit of the mental health of Uprising fans out there's reading this, we'll rip the band-aid right here at the start and acknowledge the playoffs are done. Yes, there are statistical probabilities that could pave a route to the playoffs. But even I'm not drunk enough on the Kool-Aid to think that's happening. No, after starting Stage 3 at 0-3 when really they needed to win it out, it's time to face the facts.
But that doesn't mean there isn't something to see these last four matches. Plenty of questions to answer and things to look forward to. Is rCk done for the year or will he make it back on stage? If Blase changes from off-tank, does Stellar get the play on DPS? Will we ever see Aimgod again? Could Axxiom or Alemao see stage time? Will any of this roster be back for next year? With President of Gaming Huk at the controls, we know anything is possible. Given all the drama behind the scenes, and the shakeups in roster that have happened time and time again, it's hard to expect much from the boys in blue. And that's not saying anything of who they're facing.
As recently as a month ago I'd have told you Washington and Florida were the gimme matchups of Stage 4. Well, we saw how well Boston did against Washington last week, getting their teeth kicked in 3-1. Somehow, the 2-2-2 role lock meta has flipped the boards on the Overwatch League, and teams that were seen as filler all season are now dangerous. Washington looks like they may run the stage without a loss, and Florida has a respectable 2-3 record. That's two wins out of the four they've gotten all season! What, exactly, is the driving force behind Florida's rise from the trash heap?
Enter Jung-woo "Sayaplayer" Ha - DPS extraordinaire. Whether it's making highlight reels with Widow right clicks, or tanking out with Reaper, Saya is a human highlight machine. Now, Boston fans may feel good about themselves knowing last week Colourhex held his own against star DPS Corey of the Washington Justice. Hopefully, that will translate. But it's about consistency, supporting players, and execution. Who knows how it'll play out. Also, don't sleep on the Mayhem's off-tank Gargoyle. He is sneaky sneaky one of the best Roadhogs in the league. His hook accuracy is the stuff of nightmare and may be the Uprising's undoing tonight.
It's been a lifetime since the Valiant started Stage 1 by going 0-7. Since then, some players have moved, staff has changed, and the team has been shook up. All for the better, though, as they've made it to the cusp of season end playoffs. Whereas Florida is playing spoiler, the Valiant are fighting for their playoff hopes and dreams. That's beautiful, isn't it? Well, now the Uprising gets a chance to be the spoiler the Justice were to them last week. What could get in their way?
Whereas the Justice and Mayhem have some All-Star caliber players, I see the Valiant as more a hodgepodge of talented individuals who play off each other well. Custa, for example, is a competent support player who knows how to bother you. Agilities, LAV's DPS, may not be the best in the league, but he makes some great plays. Former Florida player and fan favorite McGravy isn't S-tier in OWL, but he's formidable. Given how consistent the Valiant's roster has been the last few stages, their synergy should outmatch Boston. If the Uprising want to win, they'll need to have someone pop off beyond the team unity that is inherent to the game.
As I said - there's both nothing and everything on the line. Playoffs, sadly, are off the table. Gone, like half the population after Thanos' snap. But Boston doesn't need three hours and a time traveling adventure to redeem themselves. There's still time to set things right. Return balance to the Force (okay that's crossing nerd streams). But Boston needs to settle things down before everything gets blown up. If the boys in blue don't get a positive out of the remaining matches, these guys will be done for. No one will be safe. Each of the guys better take a long look in the mirror. These could be the last times they make it onto an OWL stage. Like the Avengers, they need to adapt a new attitude after such a crushing defeat. Whatever. It. Takes.
Images courtesy of Stewart Volland/Blizzard Entertainment.
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