By Clint Duff Contributor
Boston is No B-Team
With only a dozen teams in the Overwatch League, fans and analysts quickly figured out which teams were headed for greatness and which would be left in the dust. As in any sport, a team’s roster is heavily scrutinized, and sadly for the Boston Uprising, the team didn’t get any big name stars to make them stand out from the pack.
This would haunt them in the first stage of the league, where they fell to sixth place in the standings, finishing with six wins and four losses. While they weren’t the worst in the league during the first stage, the Uprising were average at best.
The situation didn’t improve in the second stage either, as Boston was swept 4-0 in its first three games. It was an awful stretch that no fan or team would like to see going into a new stage and new meta for the league.
Despite their rocky start, Boston only lost one more game during stage two. Again, Boston ended the stage with six wins and four losses, but there was something different about them.
While their second-stage finish seemed like a repeat of stage one, Boston’s uprising had just begun. The team acquired the star trio of Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov, Nam-Ju “Striker” Gwon and Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez, setting the team up for a better future.
With a brand new team and a much more promising outlook, Boston began stage three with a bang. The Uprising won their first game and followed that victory with a sweep over the highly-touted Houston Outlaws.
In a complete turn of events, the Uprising befuddled analysts and fans alike. The week after proved to be a coming out party for Boston, as they won both of their games despite removing DreamKazper from the team due to a sexual misconduct case.
The most impressive victory came over the New York Excelsior, a squad that many considered the best team in the league. From there, the Uprising kept rattling off wins, leading to a undefeated 8-0 record and the top spot in the stage three rankings. In fact, Boston has catapulted into the playoff race, standing second overall with a 25-10-1 record over the first three stages.
Clearly something at Boston HQ is working, and that might be their new assistant coach Mini. Alongside Boston’s other assistant coach Shake, Mini brings a breath of life to the team that energizes the team.
The new change of attitude is translating to results that are clearly showing in the online arena. A new test looms for Boston next week as they square off against both of the Los Angeles giants, the Valiant and Gladiators, the two best teams in the Pacific Division. Boston is playing better, but how much longer can they hold onto this streak? Can they win the stage and maybe make the playoffs?
The Flower is Waiting to Bloom
While many teams are contending for the top spot in the Overwatch League, many players signed by these teams have yet to make their first appearance in any matches. One of the most highly anticipated debuts of the season is the DPS prodigy, Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang.
Fl0w3R, a reserve for the New York Excelsior, is considered one of the best-rounded players in all of competitive Overwatch, a title he has earned since the early days of the game. At only 17, Fl0w3R made a name for himself by joining LuxuryWatch, where he was able to help his team consistently place first and second in professional tournaments held prior to the Overwatch League.
LuxuryWatch even defeated the mighty Lunatic-Hai team to take first place at the Intel Extreme Masters, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. Fl0w3R fully emerged during the Overwatch World Cup 2017 at Blizzcon, playing for the South Korean national team.
Fl0w3R’s overall performance during the World Cup was absolutely mind-blowing, specifically with Hitscan heroes such as McCree and Widowmaker. He single-handedly slowed pushes by himself and most notably, shut down the United States national team on Hanamura during their classic match.
Not only was Fl0w3R strong on Hitscan; he showed his power on projectile-based heroes like Pharah and Genji as well, proving himself to be an overall offensive specialist.
Fl0w3R’s age was the only thing keeping him out of the Overwatch League when most of his teammates were signed onto New York Excelsior. To participate in the league, a player must be at least 18 years of age, meaning the Fl0w3r did not qualify. This left him on the team’s inactive list. Fl0w3R actually signed up to play on XL2 Academy which is New York’s developmental Overwatch Contenders team, which means New York is getting him warmed up for the big show.
The real concern is where Fl0w3R would fit on an already strong New York team. DPS teammates Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim and Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park are the most lethal offensive duo in the Overwatch League. Pine is already a very strong Hitscan player who can fill Widowmaker and McCree, while Saebyeolbe fills the Tracer spot. We also can’t forget about Hae-seong “Libero” Kim bringing up the Pharah spot for the team as well.
So how would Fl0w3R help this strong team? Fl0w3R’s well-roundedness with all offensive heroes is what will make him a powerful lynchpin for this already great team. Need two great Hitscan heroes with a possible dive comp? Plug in Fl0w3R alongside Saebyeolbe and Pine. Need a possible flexible Pharah play on maps like Oasis? Drop in Fl0w3R as a Hitscan hero with Libero and Saebyeoble to make it even better. Also, Fl0w3R can be the extra New York needs to sub out their already strong DPS list, letting them rest without sacrificing any of the talent.
Only time will tell how things will turn out for Fl0w3R, but regardless of what happens, his future in the Overwatch League is bright and it will be exciting to follow it for the rest of the season.