The Philadelphia Fusion opened their quarterfinal series against the Boston Uprising with a dominant 3-1 victory on Wednesday night, looking too tough and too talented for their opponents to handle on day one. Many had penned last night as an obvious Fusion win, but the Uprising had other ideas, fighting back and taking the second match. Philadelphia quickly adapted to take match three and stamp out the Uprising, continuing their path toward postseason glory.
The Fusion were firing on all cylinders against the Uprising in their opening match, with superstars Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Josue “Eqo” Corona clicking heads to their hearts’ content. Friday, however, was different—according to flex support Isaac “Boombox” Charles, the team was taking it slow.
“I feel like a lot of us were preserving energy,” he explained. “We all played against London and New York in [the Stage 2 Finals] and by halftime, we lost momentum and felt really tired. We just adapted and talked about what we wanted to do. After the first match, it was easy.”
Despite the eventual win, the Fusion couldn’t conquer Junkertown, surrendering the map to Boston both times.
The Fusion had a plan, but things didn’t quite work out, especially for Boombox. “The first time, the challenging bit on Junkertown was me playing Mercy,” he said with a laugh. “I hadn’t practiced much Mercy and I had to learn a lot of new heroes for this meta. I had to learn Roadhog, some Tracer, and some Mercy. It was just hard. The second time, Mistakes and Striker were just both popping off.”
The Fusion also experimented with support Jeong-Hwan “DayFly” Park playing on that particular map, a set strategy the team hopes will work out better in the future.
“[Dayfly played Junkertown] so he could specifically practice one very unique map,” Boombox said. “It made it easier so I could study other maps and styles. He alleviated a lot of the learning I had to do, and even though we lost, it was still pretty useful.”
Philadelphia struggled on Junkertown, but after losing both Hanamura and Lijiang Tower the first time, they returned to those maps in the deciding match armed with the knowledge to win. Boston may have come out strong initially, but they didn’t adapt.
“We just kind of saw what they ran the first time, because it seemed like Boston only had one strategy,” Boombox said. “Every single map, they did exactly the same thing so we just thought, let’s just change stuff up. We hadn’t practiced a lot of what we did, but because we’re all good individually, it worked out really well.”
The Fusion have always been a feeling-based team, and the will to make things work is what makes them dangerous, but after their decisive victory over the Uprising, a new challenge is on the horizon—the New York Excelsior. Specifically, there’s newly anointed MVP and Zenyatta specialist Seong-Hyun “Jjonak” Bang to worry about, but Boombox isn’t concerned.
“Everyone knows Jjonak is the best Zen, but this meta is less about Zen prowess and more about team play,” he said. “Zen doesn’t even see that much play anymore, so unfortunate for them and lucky for us, I guess.”
Even then, the NYXL will have had an extra week to prepare strategy upon strategy in order to secure their crown at the end of the playoffs. It’s what Boombox doesn’t know about New York that scares him.
“We don’t know what they’re going to play, and we haven’t practiced against them since we knew we could play against them,” he explained. “We don't know how well they’re doing or what they’re playing. We are going into the unknown, and we just have to learn well and adapt.”
Despite last night’s slow start and the challenge that lies ahead, the Philadelphia players aren’t scared. Winning is the only thing on their mind going into the semifinal matchup next week.
“I definitely feel like facing New York is not going to be an easy fight,” star DPS Carpe said. “But just thinking about [how we did in] Stage 2, if we practice and prepare like we did, we’ll be okay.”
Eqo added, “I think that this meta fits us a lot, and if we keep practicing hard we’re going to be able to beat New York. It mostly depends how hard we want to win. We’re not afraid of New York.”
New York, here we come!— Yann Luu (@followkirby) July 14, 2018
The other semifinal matchup will be decided today, beginning at 1 p.m. PDT when the Los Angeles Gladiators and London Spitfire resume their series. Catch the Watchpoint preview show 30 minutes before each start time. All matches are live and on demand on OverwatchLeague.com, Overwatch League app, MLG.com, MLG app, and on Twitch. Matches will also be broadcast live on ESPN3 and Disney XD.