Fusion

The road to Philly: Overwatch League Grand Finals preview

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Image courtesy of the Overwatch League

The road to Philly: Overwatch League Grand Finals preview

After a month of intense action, two teams remain in the fight to claim the throne. On one end, there is the Vancouver Titans, a roster built out of the core of underdogs turned juggernauts in Runaway. Facing off against them after an insane run through the loser bracket is their long-time rival, the San Francisco Shock,  a team that developed slowly, allowing their young players to thrive and have become one of the best teams in the league. 

Despite how unpredictable the playoffs have been, this grand finals matchup felt inevitable. Both teams have met each other at every step of the way, trading blows and victories. Now they’re set to face off once again. However, both teams took very different paths than what fans expected to get here. So, how did these teams reach the finals in Philadelphia? And what will this next chapter in their rivalry look like?

The Overwatch League Finals will take place on Sunday, September 29th. 

Image courtesy of the Overwatch League

Vancouver Titans: The Team To Beat

Coming into the playoffs, different expectations were placed on both teams. For the Titans, after struggling at times in Stage 4, many expected the team to drop out before the finals and even fall into the loser’s bracket in the first round. However with tank player Jang-hyeon "TiZi" Hwang in the lineup, the Titans showed that it’s going to take more than a meta shift to take them down. With the best record in Season 2 along with a great run through the winner’s bracket, the Titans will still come into the Finals as the underdogs, a position that they’re not only familiar with, but probably the most comfortable in as well. Will the Titans be able to prove the world wrong once again? Or will their run truly end with a second-place finish once again?

San Francisco Shock: Youthful Dominance

Trying to stop the Titans from the loser’s bracket is their Overwatch League rival in the Shock. After an upset loss at the hands of the Atlanta Reigns in quarterfinals, the Shock dominated the loser’s bracket, never dropping a single map. Despite entering as the third seed, the expectations are high for the Shock as they were expected to win it all convincingly. With four players that were named Role stars and the only perfect stage in Overwatch League history, the Shock have continued to meet and exceed all expectations for the team this season. Once again they face off against the Titans in the finals. Will the Shock beat their rivals once again and ascend to the throne? Or will their amazing run through the loser’s bracket fall short?

MVP versus Rookie of the Season: A battle of fists.

One of the most exciting individual matchups to keep an eye on will be in the DPS role. This matchup will feature the rookie of the season in the Titan’s Hyojong "Haksal" Kim going up against the MVP in the Shock’s Jay "sinatraa" Won. With the current meta, this matchup will likely be a battle of the Doomfists. While Haksal has shown that he is one of, if not the best Doomfist players in the league at the moment, sinatraa has shown that he’s no pushover either. While both teams are filled to the brim with talent, this matchup could decide which team will have the edge to win it all.

Meet your new Philadelphia Fusion roster for OWL 2020

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The Philadelphia Fusion

Meet your new Philadelphia Fusion roster for OWL 2020

The Philadelphia Fusion has officially announced its main roster heading into the 2020 season of the Overwatch League. Overall, the team has five returning players and four newly signed players along with a new coaching staff.

Players Leaving


Image credit courtesy of The Philadelphia Fusion

Leaving the Fusion roster are DPS player Finley "Kyb" Adisi and support players Elijah Hudson "Elk" Gallagher and Alberto "neptuNo" González.

Kyb leaves the roster after not seeing any play with the Fusion roster since being traded to the team from the Guangzhou charge just before the start of Stage 4. Meanwhile, Elk leaves the team after struggling on the Fusion Academy roster after rejoining the contender roster when they moved to Korea.

Finally, neptuNo leaves the roster after playing a huge role as one of the key supports for the Fusion. During his time on the Fusion, neptuNo was one of the starting supports through both seasons, acting as the main Lucio and Mercy player. He was considered one of the core members of the roster and played the most maps out of all players in season one of the Overwatch League.

There haven’t been any rumors about the landing spots for any of these players at the moment. However, it has been rumored that the Toronto Defiant decided not to trial neptuNo due to feeling that he may be too toxic.

Returning Players

After a mediocre 2019 season, the starting DPS and tank duo for the Fusion in DPS players Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee and Josue/Josh "Eqo" Corona along with tank players Gael "Poko" Gouzerch and Su-min "SADO" Kim. Finishing off the group of returning players is support player Isaac "Boombox" Charles.

While Poko, SADO, and Boombox were brought back fairly quickly, the DPS duo was a different story. For Eqo, it was originally announced that he would be leaving the team after two long seasons with the team. The announcement was a shocking one at the time and left fans wondering what the future would hold for both the Fusion and Eqo. Meanwhile, after weeks of rumors since the start of the beginning of the offseason, star DPS player Carpe signed a 3-year contract to rejoin the team as the face of the franchise.

Overall, the return of these five players allows the Fusion to head into the 2020 season with a solid core that has great synergy together as a team. Along with that, the return of the DPS duo in Carpe and Eqo ensures the Fusion will have the ability to default to a tested duo that is capable of carrying the team to victory.

New Players

The biggest pickup for the Fusion during the offseason is the former tank player of the London Spitfire Jun-ho "Fury" Kim who is widely considered one of the best offensive tank players in the league. During the offseason, Fury was sought after by other teams as reported by Halo of Thoughts in the New York Excelsior. While the NYXL had initial talks with the Spitfire, the asking price was too high for the team.  Along with Fury, the Fusion picked up two more Korean players in Seung-hyun "Ivy" Lee, the former DPS player for the Toronto Defiant and support player Kyungbo "Alarm" Kim, who has been brought up from the Fusion’s contender team in the Fusion University. Finishing off the new players joining the roster is a former support player for the Atlanta Reign, Daniel "FunnyAstro" Hathaway.


Image credit courtesy of The Philadelphia Fusion

Along with the new players, the Fusion also announced new members of the support staff. Taking over the coaching duties after both Se-hwi "NamedHwi" Go and Elliot "Hayes" Hayes left the organization is Dong-gun "KDG" Kim, the former coach for the Seoul Dynasty, along with him the returning assistant coach Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham will continue to contribute to the team. Along with that, the Fusion also announced Roston “Roston” Yoo as the new assistant general manager.

With these changes the Fusion roster heading into the 2020 season will be:

Support: Alarm, FunnyAstro, Boombox
Tank: Poko, SADO, Fury
DPS: Ivy, Carpe, Eqo
Coach: KDG (head), ChrisTFer (assistant)

With the new players, the Fusion could potentially field a nearly full Korean roster depending on the meta with a single non-Korean support which would likely be Boombox. One big concern that still exists in the roster is the lack of a substitute for the main tank role as SADO could continue to struggle once the 2020 season begins. Overall, the roster has made some solid upgrades and should look much better heading into the new season. The question now will be if these changes are good enough to push the Fusion into title contention once again.

The Fusion’s 2020 season begins on February 15th in Philadelphia.

 

Nerd Street Gamers 'FTW Philly' gets greenlight for 10-episode run

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Nerd Street Gamers

Nerd Street Gamers 'FTW Philly' gets greenlight for 10-episode run

Nerd Street Gamers announced that NBC Sports Philadelphia is set to air a 10-episode season of “FTW Philly,” a broadcast feature that is set to focus on highly competitive gaming across the Philadelphia region. 

“Philadelphians might not be aware, but the region is quickly becoming a major hub for all things esports,” said John Fazio, CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. 

“We’re showcasing the excitement of esports to both gamers and non-gamers alike. This series is a win for the community, and will further our company’s mission to make esports more welcoming and accessible to all gamers.” 

A pilot episode debuted on the network in late September. It focused on the players and stories behind The Reversal, a National Championship Series (NCS) fighting game tournament held in Philadelphia. The NCS is an amateur esports circuit where competitors play in-person tournaments and showcase their talent, meet like-minded individuals, grow their skills and compete for various prize pots. 

Marisa Magnatta, WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show producer, is set to return as the host of the series. 

“From state-of-the-art arenas to local teens winning millions, esports is the topic of every good conversation lately and I'm excited to be part of this great, new project,” said Magnatta. “FTW Philly delivers esports stories weekly to all of the fans — novice to expert — across the Delaware Valley!” 

New episodes will focus on:

-Traditional live-action sports that are partnering with esports.

-Provide an inside look at some national tournaments being held in the Philadelphia region, such as the Harrisburg University Esports Invitational.

-Showcase the stories that are helping drive this booming industry. 

-Shine a light on the rapid development of the Philadelphia esports scene, including the groundbreaking of Fusion Arena, linking it to the global growth of the overall industry. 

“The interest in esports is spurring fandom across the Philadelphia region,” said NBC Sports Philadelphia Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives Todd Berman. “By creating FTW Philly we can provide a home so that gamers and non-gamers alike can rally behind the exciting stories that are sure to pique the interest of all sports fans.”

“FTW Philly” is produced by Maestro Filmworks, an award-winning production company based in Philadelphia. 

The series will begin airing on Oct. 25 and will run through the end of 2019. “FTW Philly” episodes will debut every Friday and 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia + and replay on NBC Sports Philadelphia that same evening. Each episode will air on NBCSportsPhiladelphia.co, and on the network’s YouTube Channel. Viewers can also watch episodes that have already aired at twitch.tv/nerdstgamer.

About Nerd Street Gamers

Nerd Street Gamers (NSG), formerly known as N3rd Street Gamers, is a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to powering competitive opportunities for gamers. The company promotes greater access to the esports industry, laying a national framework for esports talent development and high-quality gaming tournaments. NSG has received backing from Five Below, SeventySix Capital, a premier sports tech venture capital firm, and Comcast Spectacor. For more information, click here.