With the start of Stage 4 of the Overwatch League (and the last ever stage in general) set to take place this Thursday, teams must get ready for the final push towards the playoffs. For the Philadelphia Fusion, this may be their best chance at finally locking up a spot in the playoffs after two mediocre stage results. With what will surely be an exciting Stage 4, let’s take a look at what’s ahead for the Fusion.
The biggest change coming into Stage 4 is a newly implemented 2-2-2 role lock. With it comes the killing blow of the GOATS meta along with a return to teams having a chance to experiment with team compositions.
For the Fusion, the role lock serves as a huge boost to the team’s overall strength. No longer will star DPS players Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee and Josh "Eqo" Corona have to play the likes of Zarya and Brigitte. Instead, fans will be able to witness Carpe on the likes of Widowmaker and Eqo on the likes of Genji.
In general, the 2-2-2 role lock should be enough on paper to boost the Fusion up to top team status, especially as top GOATS teams like the San Francisco Shock will drop off as a result of the role lock as well.
One Last Push
The role lock comes at a perfect time for the Fusion as they currently sit just outside a playoff spot with a 12-9 record. With three other teams having similar records but a better game score — the Seoul Dynasty, the London Spitfire, and the Shanghai Dragons — the fight to qualify for the playoffs will be fierce.
Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Luckily for the Fusion, their Stage 4 schedule is fairly balanced and provides them a great chance to get ahead of the pack and lock in a spot for the playoffs. Aside from a very tough matchup against the Vancouver Titans in week 3 on August 11th, the Fusion will mostly be facing teams around their level such as the Seoul Dynasty in week 4 on August 17th. Overall, the Fusion’s schedule will put destiny in their own hands. If they continue to underperform and barely scrape by with wins then the Fusion will likely miss out on the playoffs. However, if the 2-2-2 role lock revitalizes the Fusion and causes them to return to their Season 1 playoff form, then the Fusion could find themselves not just in the playoffs again but potentially the finals.
Old Friend in a New Place
Before anything else, the Fusion will have a big match on the first day of Stage 4 as they’re set to take on the Guangzhou Charge after a trade that saw tank player Joona "Fragi" Laine move to the Chinese team in exchange for DPS player Finley "Kyb" Adisi. In their first battle against the former tank player for the Fusion, the team will need to come out swinging and pick up an important first win to start off Stage 4 the right way.
If they’re able to pick up a convincing victory here, the Fusion could ride the momentum through Stage 4 and right into the playoffs. Will they be able to make it? Only time will tell.