Philadelphia Fusion

Fusion tanks Poko and Sado share their initial thoughts on Overwatch hero 31: Sigma

Fusion tanks Poko and Sado share their initial thoughts on Overwatch hero 31: Sigma

On July 23, Overwatch’s newest tank hero was released on the PTR. As players scrambled to get their hands on the new character, many reported Sigma to be clunky and counterintuitive, many others loved the wonky playstyle and incredibly powerful ultimate.

For OWL fans, the big question of the day is whether Sigma will be included in the patch for playoffs or Grand Finals, and if so, how his presence will affect the meta. To give their initial impressions on Sigma’s kit and viability, I couldn’t think of anyone better to ask, than Fusion’s resident tank players Poko and Sado.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Adam: What are your initial thoughts on the new tank hero Sigma?

Poko: He's pretty interesting, but I don't know if he's going to be played a lot. The skill cap on the character is really high, but I don't even know if he's a main tank or an off-tank. I feel like he's lacking in a lot of the aspects that make good tanks.

Sado: I think that the character is very well designed, but when I played Sigma and used his abilities, it didn't feel very good to me. As far as his kit goes, I don't really think he's that great. I don't really see him fitting into the meta right now.

Adam: Let's dive into his kit a little, what do you think of his Kinetic Grasp and how does it stack up to similar abilities like D.Va's Defense Matrix?

Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Poko: I mean it's like a 14-second cooldown, so it's a long one. Because of that, I don't really think it's that powerful, you'll just use it when you don't have the shield, I guess. I don't think it's nearly as powerful as D.Va with a Defense Matrix.

Sado: I think that Sigma's shield might be one of the best skills in the game, but they don't really have synergy with the rest of the kit. In that way, I think Defense Matrix is a much better skill, and D.Va is a better hero.

Adam: Sigma's shield has been an interesting topic online, with many saying it's clunky and hard to use. What's your take on this?

Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Poko: I think it's going to be weird for teams to play around. When you are playing with a Sigma, there's no way to know where his shield is going to be. I think you can protect your snipers with shields, making them free to peek for enemy snipers, but shielding your whole team is going to be pretty tricky.

Sado: I think that his shield makes him a very situational pick. At this point, I think he is only going to be viable in something like a bunker composition as an alternate shield with Orisa. In any other comp, I think I would want to use heroes other than Sigma.

Adam: Sigma's Accretion ability, more commonly known as Boulder online, has a stronger crowd control effect the farther it travels but has a delayed casting time. With these restrictions in mind, how do you feel about it as a reliable CC tool?

Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

Poko: It's an interesting ability since it does more the farther it goes, you have to play around with it, but I'm not sure exactly how best to use it right now. It does a lot of damage with the auto-attack, but I'm not exactly sure how you use your abilities to play around it.

Sado: I think that the general balance of the ability is good. It will take a lot of practice to make it consistent, but if you are hitting your shots most of the time, it should be good.

Adam: What are your thoughts on Sigma's ult and its balance considering it has AOE CC and significant damage?

Credit: Blizzards Entertainment

Poko: Well it's going to be pretty tough to get ultimate with Sigma, but once you have it, it will definitely win you the fight. The area of effect is really big, and the amount of damage being 50 percent of HP is really powerful. I'm not sure how you can play against it, the only way is to play really split, so I don't really know what to do against it.

Sado: It's OP. (Laughs)

Adam: What other tank do you think Sigma will pair best with and why?

Poko: I think that the double shield with Orisa is going to be powerful, and it may be the only way to make Sigma viable. I don't know though. Sigma is going to end up being pretty interesting. I think he may end up replacing Roadhog in like a double sniper comp, but I’m not sure really. Outside of Orisa, I think he'll pair really badly.  

Sado: I think that Orisa is going to be the best counterpart to Sigma. Their shields will complement each other nicely, and the combo potential between them is pretty good.

Kellogg's enters the Esports industry in partnership with N3rd Street Gamers

Kellog’s Esports

Kellogg's enters the Esports industry in partnership with N3rd Street Gamers

The Kellogg Company (Kellogg's) has entered the Esports industry through a new partnership with N3rd Street Gamers (NSG), to sponsor a set of Overwatch Esports tournament via their Cheez-It Grooves product.

Classified as a “Major” in NSG’s National Championship Series tournament will begin on Friday, Oct. 4, in Denver with a grand prize of $15,000.

“Partnering with a globally recognized brand like Kellogg's is humbling and validates our model of providing national scale grassroots Esports marketing capabilities,” John Fazio, founder and CEO of N3rd Street Gamers, said. “This type of brand partnership will be essential in helping us grow the market by reaching more people and convincing more gamers to compete in Esports competitions like the National Championship Series.”

N3rd Street Gamers is a national Esports infrastructure company based in Philadelphia, backed by Comcast Spectacor and SeventySix Capital with the goal of providing opportunities for gamers to compete in-person with other fellow players with similar skill sets in titles such as CS:GO, Overwatch and Fortnite.

N3rd Street Gamers is known for hosting Esports events such as the popular semi-professional CS: GO tournament, Fragadelphia. Image credit: Marco Cerino

NSG in partnership with Kellogg’s will also host National Championship Series Academy Tier events in markets including Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Spokane, and Colorado Springs. The tournament series is designed to bridge between aspiring amateur and collegiate Esports athletes and the world of professional Esports.

“Kellogg’s is thrilled to partner with N3rd Street Gamers and the National Championship Series to bring 25 Academy Tier events to Walmart stores across the United States. Gaming and Snacking go hand and hand,” says Michael Clark, Director, Shopper Marketing at Kellogg’s. “By partnering Cheez-It Grooves with the NCS, we are determined to promote the perfect snack to compliment gamers everywhere.”

Additionally, ahead of the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals coming to Philadelphia (September 2019), Kellogg’s will be hosting Gaming and Snacking watch parties for the event in select Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The company will provide  Cheez-It Grooves, Pringles and Rice Crispy treat samples to shoppers/attendees tuning into the event.

The Esports industry is projected to reach an overall value of $1.4B by the year 2020 and brands are estimated to contribute 77% of this or $694M. This partnership between Kellogg’s and N3rd Street Gamers is a prime example of how non-endemic Esports companies are finding creative ways to integrate Esports into their business model while also helping to push the competitive gaming industry forward in its professionalization.

How can the Fusion still make playoffs? —Overwatch League Roadmap

Robert Paul Blizzard Entertainment

How can the Fusion still make playoffs? —Overwatch League Roadmap

Season 2 of the Overwatch League has been a mixed bag for Fusion fans, to say the least. Although the team got off to a good start in stage 1, the rest of the season hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows. Stage 2 saw the Fusion faced with a fairly stacked schedule, including matches against Shock, Spitfire, and back to back games with NYXL. There wasn’t too much hope of coming out of that schedule with a positive record, but there was still room for improvement going into Stage 3.

However, improvement is not exactly what we got, as the Fusion got off to a stumbling start. When asked about their problems, the players and coaches all came back with the same answer, “We just aren’t playing as well on stage as we do in skrims.” Although the Fusion managed to finish the stage with a positive record their map differential took enough of a hit to drop them out of playoffs and straight to the bottom of a 5-way tie going into stage 4.

While Playoffs are certainly still within their reach by seasons end, they have an uphill battle ahead of them. The landscape of the league is changing thanks to the 2-2-2 role lock being implemented, but whether this is a benefit or detriment of the Fusion has yet to be seen. In order to get an idea of Philly’s roadmap to playoffs, we need to take a look at their remaining games and how role locking could affect the matchup.

What we learned this week

In their first role locked matches of the season, the Fusion gave up wins to the Guangzhou Charge and Chengdu Hunters. Both opposing teams have come to life in the new meta, giving their best performances of the season and playing to their strengths. While Chengdu has always been a strong DPS team, even in the full swing of GOATS meta, the newfound success of the Charge was a surprise.

For fans of the Fusion, the first thing to keep in mind is that it’s still very early in the meta. The Fusion played in the first two days of stage 4 preventing them from scouting any competition, or having any meaningful amount of practice against these newfound comps. Considering the amount of improvement we saw from them, even between their first and second game, it’s not unreasonable to think that we will be seeing a far more synergized Fusion going into week 2.

The other consideration is that the Fusion have a high number of new comps they are attempting to field while having no time to fine-tune their compatibility. Carpe alone ran Reaper, Tracer, Widowmaker, McCree, and

Houston Outlaws

In their first match of week 2, the Fusion will face off against the new and improved Houston Outlaws. Despite a terrible first half to the season, the Outlaws are back, and better than ever with season 2 pickup Dante “Danteh” Cruz finally able to show off his tracer skills.

For the Fusion to pull out the victory here, it may end up coming down to the DPS. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more talented Orisa than Muma, and Poko is already playing outside his comfort zone on Roadhog (and the occasional Reinhardt), so the tank matchup may in fact be lost before it begins.

To get around this, the pressure will be on Carpe to outduel Jake, and Eqo to run control on Danteh. If done well, we may see a match where every fight starts as 5 vs 6 in favor of the Fusion. Of the victories needed, this match may not be the hardest win, but it’s certainly not the easiest.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Toronto Defiant

The Defiant remain somewhat of a question mark in the league. It was hard to predict how they would perform on any given day in the GOATS meta, and that remains true with role locking. While the pickups of im37 and Logix certainly add strength to their DPS line, the team is coming off an 0-7 stage, and even with their top tier DPS line, I’d be hard-pressed to put any faith in the Defiant’s ability to upset the Fusion. I still hesitate to call this a free win for Philly, but if I were them, I might prep a bit harder for their next opponents.

Paris Eternal

Like many teams in OWL, the Eternal have been sitting on two star DPS all season with no opportunity to utilize their skills. This stage, fan favorites SoOn and ShaDowBurn have been able to come center stage and flex on the rest of the league. In their first game against the Houston Outlaws, the Eternal claimed 32 eliminations on Blizzard world 25 of which belonged to SoOn. This level of dominance is part of what made SoOn famous, and with no sign of slowing, we can expect a similar performance against the Fusion.

The key to victory in this match may lie in the Fusion’s (and more specifically Carpe’s) ability to shut SoOn down early and carry as much momentum as possible through the match. In the Fusion’s match against the Charge, it looked as though the DPS players were still trying to shake some of the rust off after a year of GOATS. If they manage to achieve a return to form, the Fusion have a solid chance to take a much-needed win off the Eternal, but it won’t be easy, and it probably won’t be convincing.

Vancouver Titans

As proven by the Shanghai Dragons in the stage 3 finals, Vancouver is, in fact, susceptible to DPS comps. With this in mind, along with the growing concerns about the Titans’ ability to smoothly transition metas, a match which would have once been considered an instant loss for the Fusion may be winnable. Considering the individual strengths of its players, I highly doubt that Vancouver will ever be considered bad, but now they at least seem to be mortal.

The good news is, Bumper is finally being forced to play something other than Reinhardt. With one of the Titans’ major strengths removed from consideration, it once again comes down to how well the DPS will face off with each other. Even with all this going in the Fusion’s favor, this challenge may very well be the toughest they will face prior to playoffs.

Seoul Dynasty

Of all the teams fighting for a playoff spot, none mirror the experience of the Fusion as closely as the Dynasty. Two teams that have identical match wins, star Widowmakers, incredible support lines, and D.vas that can place bombs with the best of them. Considering this, both teams ultimately have the same win conditions when they meet at the end of the season, kill the DPS.

Fleta’s Widowmaker along with Ryujehong’s Ana are going to be immensely threatening, and while Carpe is certainly capable of winning that Widow duel, it may be down to Poko’s inexperienced Roadhog hooks to handle the Seoul backline.

Of all the matches the Fusion have ahead of them, Seoul is easily the hardest to predict. The team has been wildly inconsistent basically since the orgs inception, however, it’s hard to deny the individual skills and talents of the Dynasty players. It’s somehow appropriate that the ultimate gatekeepers of Fusion’s playoff spot may, in fact, be the team that most closely.

Final Thoughts

With the start that the Fusion have had this stage, things are looking rather grim, but that is no reason to give up hope. Of all the matches yet to be played, only the Titans look to have a clear advantage over Philly in terms of previous success. With a 4-3 record, a play-in spot seems likely, and considering the amount of time Fusion will have to adjust to this new meta, that seems like an entirely possible outcome.

For fans that have hopes of seeing the Fusion play in Philadelphia at Grand Finals, don’t give up hope, the Fusion boys certainly haven’t, so neither should you. One way or another we have an exciting stage still ahead of us, now it's just a matter of seeing if my poor little heart can handle the stress.