It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Boston had a great run during the inaugural season. They were the underdogs, the Cinderella story of a team of no-name players who came from nothing and showed they could play Overwatch with the best. But this season never lived up to that magical run. Maybe we should have known – the good always comes with the bad.
A 26 – 14 record in the inaugural season may have looked good, but the boys were knocked out in the first round by the Fusion. They had three players make the All-Star team, but they were all gone by the start of the 2019 season.
And so as everything good with Boston often is accompanied with a bad, I present to you the Top 5 highs & lows of the 2019 season. If you’re asking me which list was easier to come up with, I’ll never tell. But I’ll leave it to you to judge just how high the highs were and how low the lows were. I think it may be pretty clear.
#5 Low: After 42 losses Shanghai wins their first game – against Boston
Spoiler alert – the lows were so bad I couldn’t even squeeze in Gamsu getting traded to Shanghai right before the start of the season. Maybe that doesn’t count because the season hadn’t started? Regardless, Gamsu would get his revenge – quickly. After an 0-40 inaugural season that made them the laughingstock of esports, Shanghai had only one direction to go. And in their third match of the 2019 season, they smashed into the win column with a 3-1 win over Boston.
While we all may be happy that Gamsu ended up on a good team and has performed well, Boston will always be that trivia answer of who Shanghai finally won their first match against. Not exactly where you want to be in the history books.
#5 High: Colourhex introduces himself
A lot of Overwatch League fans questioned Huk, for the millionth time, when Colourhex was announced as part of the Uprising’s roster. As the only New Zealander in OWL, who was this guy? He wasn’t on anybody’s radar. Was Huk at it again or was he grasping for straws?
And for the majority of the season, the answer was – we don’t know. In a GOATS world, ‘Hex was stuck on Zarya. While he was serviceable, nobody knew how good he actually was as a DPS player. That was until the role lock meta began in Stage 4:
Though the double snipe across two rounds on Havannah right out of spawn were a huge highlight for him, the truth is ‘Hex was carrying the Uprising all stage. Whether on Widow, Hanzo, or Pharah, Stage 4 became Colourhex’s world and we were all just living in it. Week after week the man was a human highlight reel, and was the only shining light of hope in an otherwise dark, dreary, and winless stage. I for one can’t wait to see him pop off again next season.
#4 Low: Aimgod goes missing – hello Persia
In a year that saw roster shakeups happen with stunning regularity, none may have gotten more attention than the benching of Aimgod for Persia. With Neko getting shipped off to Toronto after the Inaugural Season, Aimgod was finally granted a move off the bench onto the starting flex support role. And he did – great! While he may have not reached JJonak levels, Aimgod was a more than competent Zenyatta. But then after Stage 2- something happened.
Boston’s Stage 3 had a rotating cast of support pairings. We started with Persia-Alemao, then Aimgod-Alemao, then Persia-Kellex, back to Persia-Alemao, then Aimgod-Kellex. That June 29th match against the Fusion would be the last time Uprising fans saw the Korean as Persia-Kellex was the go-to for all of Stage 4. While I’m all for experimentation, the proof is in the pudding.
Clearly Persia couldn’t play up to Aimgod’s level and fans were furious. Rumors of an Aimgod/Kellex toxic relationship leaked, with denials from all sides. Whatever the case, handicapping the team from playing it’s clearly optimal roster was one of many reasons Boston went winless in Stage 4. Look for this drama to be resolved with roster moves once the offseason starts.
#4 High: Season starts with a close match against NYXL
Boston made several noteworthy roster changes after the Inaugural Season. Was the Kraft Group just a farm system for the rest of the league? Is Huk a moneyball-level genius playing the league like a puppet master? Either way, Boston opened up the season against the league’s juggernaut and their perpetual sports rival, the NYXL. To say expectations were low would be an understatement. And yet! They did – pretty good.
While Boston walked out of the match the losers, the entire league took notice how the Uprising brought New York to the limit. Given the team made Stage 1 playoffs, this wasn’t an aberration. Boston came to play and this new roster had the skill to compete with the best. If only they lived up to that performance the rest of the season. But that’s another story…
#3 Low: Note traded to Dallas for rCk
Now this could have gone either way. The roster move of the year was clearly the Note/rCk trade and fans have been bitterly divided since it happened. Did this spell disaster for Boston, or was it another sign of Huk hustling the league?
At the time and for most of the season, I was a huge Huk apologist on this one. Everyone knew that the meta was shifting to needing flexibility on the off-tank role. I think the Uprising were quick to adapt to the coming of the Sombra GOATS meta. Unfortunately, that didn’t last.
Soon enough Boston spiraled from the Stage 1 playoff team to not making the cut. rCk would be out for health reasons in Stage 4. News broke that he would be a DPS player for Finland’s OWWC team. No one is even talking about that.
While hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to say Boston didn’t see the role lock meta coming, that doesn’t change the fact that just about everyone would want Note on the team now. I don’t expect to see rCk next season in black and blue – and I don’t think many fans will miss him at this point.
#3 High: Uprising make Stage 1 Playoffs
No team drops eight of their players from the prior year’s roster and goes into the new season as a favorite. Unless you’re the expansion Vancouver Titans and you take last year’s Contenders Korea Champion RunAway and sign their whole roster. But I digress. But when Blase, Colourhex, Axxiom, and Alemao joined returners Note, Kellex, and Aimgod – no one knew what to think. Who were all these new people? Could the team play well together?
At 4-3 at the end of Stage 1 and just barely making the cut for the playoffs, the answer was – yeah! And sure, they got swept out of the building in the first round by Vancouver. But considering the completely revamped roster, the last minute trade of Gamsu, the contract snafu with Fusions, Colourhex’s suspension, Axxiom and Alemao popping in and out for the only time the whole season – making playoffs was an amazing accomplishment.
Also not to brag but my playoff hype video is still fire…
#2 Low: Reverse Swept by the Lowly Washington Justice to Close Stage 2
By the end of Stage 2, Boston was 3-3 going into it’s Week 5 matchup with the 1-6 Washington Justice. A +2 map differential win would have put the Uprising in Stage 2 playoffs and pushed Shanghai out. Clearly the 2-12 Justice wouldn’t cause any issues?
Not so much. Thanks to their new support player Sleepy, the Washington Justice got a reverse sweep and free ice cream to wrap up an otherwise uneventful Stage 2. They spoiled the end to what could have been another stage playoff appearance for the Uprising. And Boston was left wondering if the other teams in the league had figured out the secret sauce behind their reverse sweep magic.
#2 High: Fusions becomes Boston’s first All-Star starter
Sure, you may being saying, Gamsu, Striker, and Neko were all reserves on last year’s Overwatch League All-Star roster. But you know there’s something different about being named a starter. Last year had four players from the NYXL as starters. This year the league had eight additional teams. That’s a lot of players vying for those six coveted spots. And Boston got one!
It was also a no-brainer. Fusions came out of Contenders as one of the best Reins in the league. A dominant shotcaller, a passionate player, and someone President of Gaming Huk has called one of the hardest workers he’s ever seen. The Brit is a prepared, cerebral player that knows how to get the best out of his teammates. In the GOATS meta, Fusions started the season on a great run by carrying the Uprising straight into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the cynic in me says that this alerted every team who the best player on Boston was. The team’s downfall may have started in Stage 2, but it was after the All-Star game that we saw time and again that Fusions was targeted by enemy teams. Knowing the team’s shotcaller and main play maker made him the strategic focus of teams time and time again. While fans will always remember him for making the All-Star team, we’ll always hope we can get strong enough pieces to surround him with.
#1 Low: Going 0-7 in Stage 4
Going into Stage 4, the chances of Boston making the season end playoffs were already slim. Math aside, their was hope that the change to a 2-2-2 meta would benefit the Uprising. Let’s do a quick check of the Stage 4 standings…
…and nope. Not their day. Or week. Nor their stage. Despite some great individual moments and the aforementioned emergence of Colourhex as a DPS god, Boston had too many issues. We had rCk going out with some type of illness. Emergency signing of Stellar into a DPS role as Blase moved to off-tank. Aimgod (again) not being put in. Just too much chaos.
Boston’s first perfectly imperfect stage happened and it couldn’t come at a worse time. While losing the last match of a stage hurts, as they did in Stage 2 and Stage 3, going out on a winless stage is a whole new level of hurt. Given their playoff appearance in Stage 1, the failure of Stage 4 hurt that much more. The roller coaster of a season ended in complete disaster. And so the offseason of questions, skepticism, and finger pointing begins.
#1 High: Reverse sweep magic
What is magic? Is it doing the unthinkable? Or defying expectations? Constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat? If any of those definitions apply, than what Boston pulled off in three straight games between Stage 1 and Stage 2 was nothing less than magical. Against Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto, Boston coughed up an 0-2 deficit only to charge back up and win each match 3-2. What an unbelievable stretch run of never-give-up, it ain’t over till its over, Boston Up in your grill magic.
What’s great about the three reverse sweeps is it kept everyone on their toes the rest of the season. Despite how bad it got, you never thought Boston was out of a match. There was always a chance, a hope, a prayer – that the magic could come out again. Granted, it never really did. But we all sure thought it could. And that made all the difference.
Nobody in the Boston Uprising organization or fan community would have drawn up this season to play out like this. No one wants to be shipped off into the offseason early. Playoff appearance should have been the minimum standard for this team. Unfortunately, that’s now how it played out.
Roster changes that didn’t make obvious sense. Inner turmoil among the players. Certain players not performing up to standard. Drama, toxicity, and leaks everywhere. Not a recipe for success.
But there were moments that kept us fans strung along. The reverse sweep magic. Stand out performances from our All-Star and an unknown DPS god. Just enough to keep fans invested and hoping that the team could put it all together. All for naught.
As they say, there’s always next year. And with home games becoming a reality, fans will get an opportunity to see their team up close. Hopefully Huk, Mineral, and the entire Uprising organization can pick up the pieces and put together something special. We’ll be there together to support them, either way.
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