Having your #IonThePrize; A season recap of the Fusion

Let’s be honest here, the Fusion didn’t play as well as we had hoped after barely losing in 2018’s Grand Finals. With a regular season record of 15-13, they weren’t necessarily bad, but they could’ve used some help. With cries of #FreeFragi rampant in the twitch chat, on twitter, and in the comments section of every single Fusion YT video, the Fusion needed a break. GOATS was definitely a weak spot for Carpe, and EQO wasn’t doing too hot either. But even with Poko’s absolutely decimating D.Va bombs, Carpe’s spot-on Gravs, and NeptuNo being the best Mercy player in the league, the Fusion should’ve been able get by, right? Well, let’s take a look back on the Fusion’s 2019 season.

Gritty (The Fusion’s unofficial mascot) leading the team out of the tunnel on opening day.

Stage 1

The Fusion started off pretty strong in the 2019 season. First, we had Gritty came in clutch as our hype man during the opening match. Which happened right before beating the Spitfire 3-1. Then, with a 3-2 win over Atlanta later in week 1, the Fusion were feeling pretty confident. But Week 2 was a whole other beast. Because of illness, BoomBox was ruled out for the Fusion’s matches against Florida and Dallas. The Fusion lost 2-1 against Florida (that happened?) and then took another L against Dallas, 3-1. Fortunately, the rest of stage 1 was smooth sailing for the Fusion, who ended up sitting pretty at 5-2. But then, they lost to the Shock in the stage semis. It all went downhill from there.

Stage 2

Above: The Fusion prepare to take on NYXL in Stage 2, week 1.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Stage 2 was tough for the Fusion. They went 3-4 in stage 2 and I think I have a general Idea as to why. GOATS started to go off the rails in the Stage 1 playoffs. So, in an effort to combat this, Zenyatta and Lucío were both nerfed. With these changes, the Blizzard team, and apparently the Fusion, were expecting GOATS to basically stop being a thing. It didn’t, and I think that they couldn’t adjust fast enough.

In Week 1, they lost 0-4 to NYXL, and then turned around to make Florida pay for the embarrassment they caused the Fusion in Stage 1, with a big 3-1 win. In Week 2, Philly beat Toronto 3-1, and then after one of the longest team fights I had ever witnessed on Hanamura, the Fusion ended up losing to London, 1-2. Week 3 consisted of a 1-3 loss against NYXL, and then a clean sweep of the Houston Outlaws. Unfortunately, we didn’t play in the Dallas Homestand, which was my favorite to watch out of the three by the way. But in week 5, we played San Francisco, and got swept. So, after Stage 2 the Fusion have an overall 8-6 Record (3-4 on the stage). NEXT!

Stage 3

Patch 1.36 was introduced to the Overwatch League. As such, GOATS slowly began to stop working throughout the league. If the Fusion wanted to make a move, now was their chance. The Fusion started stage 3 with a sweep from Hangzhou. Next, they suffered a big loss from the Gladiators in week 2 (1-3). After that, the Fusion needed to take a step back in order to rethink things. With a win against Boston (2-1) that same week, they had their chance. They went on to beat Atlanta (3-2) in week 3 and Boston again (3-2) in week 4.

Above: The Atlanta Homestand event in Stage 3, where the Fusion went 1-1

Then, for the first time, the Fusion played outside of the Blizzard arena during regular season play at the Atlanta Homestand event. The Fusion defeated the Washington Justice (3-1) on day one and entered the final game of the stage with playoff contention on the line. The Fusion fought hard, but after a 3-1 loss to the Dragons, the Fusion’s fate for stage 3 was sealed.

Stage 4

Now things get interesting. Stage 4 introduced Role Lock into the Overwatch League, and with it: the death of GOATS. Also, at the end of stage 4, there were no stage playoffs. As fans buckled up for the next stage, news broke of a developing trade between the Fusion and the Guangzhou Charge. You know which one I’m talking about.

Above: Fusion’s Joona ‘Fragi’ Laine (#54), who was traded to the Guangzhou Charge in exchange for DPS Finley ‘Kyb’ Adisi on July 17th.

After this surprise turn of events, the Fusion had their #IonThePrize the whole stage. But, the Guangzhou Charge handed the Fusion their first L of stage 4 (2-3). Pretty Ironic, right? After the same result the day afterwards from Chengdu (another 2-3 L), the Fusion needed to regroup, and that’s just what they did in week two. With a 3-1 win over Houston, the Fusion were back. Later that same week, the Fusion held their ground and defeated Toronto 3-2. But the good feelings wouldn’t last long, as Shadowburn was back, but not with us. Philly ended up losing that match 2-3 against the Eternal in week 3 and then took another inevitable loss against Vancouver (0-4). But in week 4, we picked ourselves up again, beating Seoul 3-1 to clinch a spot in the postseason.

Play-ins

Above: Poko and Co. make their way to the main stage of the Blizzard Arena, with the beard that (according to Poko) betrayed us all.

The Play-ins system was new to the Overwatch League. It saw 6 teams (Dragons, Fusion, Charge, Spitfire, and Dynasty) play for the final two spots in the OWL Playoff series. Round one had the Fusion taking on the Dragons for one of these spots. Unfortunately, the Fusion would be sent home early, falling to the Dragons 4-2 in the first round of Play-ins.

Reflections of the 2019 Season

The Fusion definitely have a bright future ahead of them, especially now since the whole GOATS fiasco is over with. So, as we go into the 2020 season with teams playing in their respective home markets, here are some things to look out for:

  • Expect Carpe to be Carpe: As stated earlier, Carpe hasn’t really been able to shine as much as he used to in the GOATS meta. Carpe is ranked 13th in the OWL as Widowmaker, with an average 14 Elims/10min and 6203 Dmg/10min. Now with GOATS gone, expect Carpe to keep clicking heads like in the inaugural season.
  • NeptuNo- The Best Battle Mercy: I’m not even kidding, according to OmnicMeta, NeptuNo had an average 2.6 Elims/10min just on Mercy this season, with an average healing output of 7786 HP/10min. If the Fusion can keep NeptuNo in Philly for the 2020 season, we are gonna have some good heals out of the Spanish national.
  • Expect Home Field Advantage to Affect Gameplay In a MAJOR Way: We saw this in Dallas, Atlanta, and especially LA. Whenever the home team took to the stage in their homestead events, the crowd went WILD. If 2020’s home crowds can be as excited as they were in those 3 homestead weekends, the Fusion will need to know how to tune out the sounds from the opposition at every match, or they are gonna choke harder than NYXL in the playoffs. (Sorry guys!)
  • Role Lock Will Be Both Our Greatest Ally and Worst Enemy: Now, this doesn’t just go for the Fusion, because we saw the Titans (the abuser of GOATS) not only fall to SFS in the Grand Finals, but also in the stage 2 finals. With Role lock playing such a huge part in the end of the season last year, it will be interesting to see what will happen in 2020.

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