In Stage 2, everything is a little bit faster. Teams are adjusting to each other’s playstyles, quick dives are back in style, there’s less spam and more slam, and Lúcio is speed-boosting everyone to the point with Crossfade. The Boston Uprising may have had a slow start, just as they did in Stage 1, but a 4-0 wipe of the Shanghai Dragons on Thursday evening has them back on the right track, still in playoff range.
Everything worked for the Uprising against Shanghai. Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez had his usual standout performance across a range of DPS Heroes, while Nam-Ju “Striker” Gwon feasted on the Dragons’ triple-tank composition as Tracer, charging his Pulse Bombs nearly once per minute. It all resulted in this:
.@STRIKER_OW just set a league record today for single match K:D Ratio* -- he had 51:10 against Shanghai for a ratio of 6.25. First one we've had >6.— Ben Trautman (@CaptainPlanetOW) March 9, 2018
Turns out Tracers feed on Triple Tank if they aren't punished! 16 Kills on Roshan, 9 on Xushu
*Minimum 20 Final Blows
And for the second game in a row, Boston ran a tank duo of Lucas “NotE” Meissner and Woo-Yul “Kalios” Shin, who has adapted quickly in the absence of Young-Jin “Gamsu” Noh.
“It’s not that hard to play with him because he’s a more vocal player,” NotE said after the game. “Gamsu is a more cerebral player, I guess. He does a bit more bait play; he plays with Striker to set up things. Kalios just focuses the main [target], hard dive, things like that.”
In the grand scheme of the season, a one-sided 4-0 result in the middle of Stage 2 might not mean much, but Boston—like every other team in the league—see it as another step in a season-long quest for improvement. They’ll have a much bigger test this afternoon when they take on the London Spitfire—and for NotE, it’s a chance to measure up against a tank duo he considers to be the league’s best in Jae-Hui “Gesture” Hong and Seung-Hyun “WooHyaL” Seong.
NotE refers to them “the smartest tank players in the league,” although he also thinks the NYXL’s duo isn’t far behind.
“I’ve spent a lot of time studying [former APEX teams] GC Busan, Kongdoo Panthera, and Meta Athena especially,” he said. “I think the Korean tank duos have definitely figured something out regarding tank play. They all know what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. They’ve just kind of got it down pat. If I can do my best to emulate that playstyle, I could be a better tank.”
As a fellow D.Va expert, WooHyaL is the player NotE admired the most (“he’s everywhere”). But over the years, NotE has found his own comfort level with a Hero that tends to have a lot on her plate.
“When I was originally playing D.Va back on Toronto Esports, I was really defensive in general,” he explained. “I had one playstyle, and that was protect. That’s all I really did. When I came into [the Overwatch League], I had to adapt. We played a lot more dive, and I had to quickly adjust my style to play that. Now, when it goes back and forth between slow comps and fast comps, I think I’ve figured out the balance between being aggressive and being passive.”
Teams, too, must find that happy medium, especially when it comes to the management of ultimates. According to NotE, ult economy is an often-overlooked facet of trying to crack a strong defensive team like London, who have become well-known for full holds.
“Most teams are really straightforward with ults,” he explained. “They don’t set complex plans for fights ahead of time. The dry fight, where you don’t use ults [while trying to bait out the other team's ults], just doesn’t work, and once teams start realizing that, there will be fewer full holds.”
Today's 4 p.m. showdown is a quick turnaround for Boston, who closed out last night’s schedule, but NotE says his team is feeling confident, especially having defeated the Spitfire once already this season. Still, there’s cause to be wary.
“They’re going to have new strategies, new tactics, and they’re going to practice way harder for us this time,” he said. “We also have the downside of not having Gamsu, but I think as long as we keep playing our game—focus on not letting them play their game, don’t let them set up, detect flanks—I think we should be able to win.”
Two exciting rematches are on the table this afternoon as Boston faces London and the NYXL try to avenge their earlier loss to Philadelphia. The action resumes at 4 p.m., and you can tune in live on Twitch, MLG.com and the MLG app, OverwatchLeague.com, or the official Overwatch League app.