The Philadelphia Fusion has finally made it to the big stage at the Overwatch League. Though there seemed to be some hiccups during the preseason, even the Fusions couldn’t possibly miss being here for week one of the five-week Overwatch League. It is perhaps due to their absence during the preseason that many were waiting for the Fusion’s first match of the season and, all things considered, the team certainly did not disappoint. Let’s take a look at how the two teams stacked up.
The first map of the evening between Philadelphia and Houston. It was clear that the Outlaws were ready to contest the Fusion as soon as the counter hit one. An intimidating setup of heroes camped outside the Fusion spawn point, making them waver only slightly, as the team tried to figure out how to get past the first push. It was perhaps Shadowburn’s Genji that got the team moving at first, as he attempted to distract the team and take out a few of the enemy Outlaws. Shadowburn as a player moves quickly and strikes only when he knows he can. As they pushed toward the first point, however, Shadowburn was caught off-guard as the Houston Outlaw’s Soldier 76, “Jake”, took him -- and many others of Team Fusion -- out before they reach the first point. Still, the team is able to move forward. Ultimately, the Fusion takes the first push on attack, though it doesn’t seem to be particularly exciting. Even the commentators seem to think the first match is confusing. Likewise, although the Outlaws seem to do an equally good job and push for Overtime during their attack phase. They were able to keep the Fusion on their toes, for the most part, knocking out much of the team as they moved along, however, it is during the final push that Poko, the Philadelphia Fusion’s D.Va player, lands a perfectly placed Self-Destruct. It manages to take out half of the Outlaw’s team, and ultimately knocking the steam out of the Houston team and take the first match of the evening.
Horizon Lunar Colony
The Lunar Colony map is always a real toss-up because of its layout. Generally speaking, most teams can take the first point with near relative ease. It is also generally much easier to defend point B. Such was the case during the Fusion’s attack phase during this match. However, it certainly seems as though the Houston Outlaws were quickly able to adjust. Though there are a few moments when the Texas-based team is hard-pressed against Philadelphia, they were still able to keep the Fusion out, thanks in-part to Linkzr’s amazing performance as McCree and Windowmaker. Linkzr, who made some amazing plays during the preseason, is amazing at heroes with range and has some incredible accuracy and timing. As McCree, he was able to take down both DPS heroes on the enemy team with a well-timed Deadeye ultimate. As Widowmaker, he was able to contest against Boombox, the Fusion’s Zenyatta player, as well as Carpe’s Widowmaker. It even seems that Linkzr’s ranged prowess scares the enemy team, as they were unable to step onto the point simply because of his presence.
As the two teams switch sides, yet again, we see how quickly the players were able to take the first point, in part thanks to Rawkus’ Sombra barrage. Yes, Sombra. We’ve seen this done once before during the preseason, where Sombra players rush toward the point, hacking anything in their path. Generally, we’ve seen Sombra players try to get a tick on the point while invisible and distract the enemy team so that the rest can move in. However, Rawkus, who usually plays Zenyatta, moved quickly toward the point and shoots enemies to distract. Using Sombra’s translocation to run away whenever necessary. Equally so, Bani, the team’s Mercy, was in the mix. Lucky for Rawkus. Still, despite only wanting to distract, Rawkus got not one, but three kills in a matter of seconds thanks in part to a well-timed EMP ultimate. The EMP not only disabled the Zenyatta, but also the nearby Mercy and Orisa. Meaning no shield, no orbs, no Transcendence--even if they had it by this time.
The barrage seems to catch the Fusion off guard soon after the capture of the first point, and the Outlaws take the win on point B, ending the match.
Eichenwalde and Lijiang Tower
Eichenwalde is perhaps one of the more difficult maps in the game. And this opinion is perhaps supported by the fact that both teams tie on this map, and not fairly quickly. This being the 4th map of the evening, and with the Philadelphia Fusion in the lead (2-1) both teams know that if the Fusion wins, then that ends the evening. But, if the Outlaws win, they go into overtime at Lijiang Tower.
Poko, once again, was a bit of a saving grace. His well-timed D.Va ults catch the Houston Outlaws off-guard more than once on the Eichenwald map. Equally so, however, during the second point on Eichenwald, Shadowburn once again shows off his Genji prowess, taking down three of the Outlaws within a quick run of his Dragonblade. Poko soon follows up, during another chokehold point, taking out another three enemies, and allowed them to advance. Though the Outlaws are able to push them back slightly, the team comes by just as strong for the final push, while Carpe -- the Fusion’s Tracer -- and Shadowburn, return to take down the enemy team almost on their own.
Though they were pushed back during their defense phase, the Outlaws were able to keep things interesting and sailing along with Orisa during the last push, which is arguably a risky choice. Muma, who normally plays Winston, was able to place Orisa’s barrier strategically, to give himself some wiggle room between Orisa and the enemy team, while still being able to get some good shots on the opponents. Equally so, Linkzr, once again, shows off some amazing plays on McCree.
As the match goes into one last play for Overtime, Houston is able to grab the point rather quickly, with Jake on Junkrat, making an amazing Rip-Tire climb to take down Shadowburn -- who was high in the sky picking people off as Pharah. With Houston winning, we move to Game 5 at Lijiang Tower.
During the Lijiang tower map, the Fusion takes an interesting change to their team composition, using three tanks -- Zarya, Reinhardt, and D.Va -- instead of a usual “two tank, two DPS, two healer” composition. And it works for them, quite well, as Shadowburn’s well-placed and well-timed Graviton Surge helps to shut down the Outlaw’s rush for the point.
It seems as though the Houston Outlaws have a particularly difficult time on these King of the Hill maps. The team was able to nearly take the second point after losing the first, only to be shut out, surprisingly, by a number of awesome plays from Neptuno’s prowess as quite the “battle Mercy”. While in Valkyrie mode, Neptuno, who up until now had just been kind of “business as usual” with Mercy, suddenly takes out the sidearm and went on the offensive, taking out the enemy McCree, Zenyatta, helps de-mech the enemy D.Va and raised Boombox almost all without breaking a sweat.
Unfortunately, a few too many resets for the Outlaws makes it a little hard to recover and take the point back. Rawkus tries to take the point back with a haphazard use of Transcendence. But, ultimately, the Fusion win their first game against the Outlaws.
Due to their absence in the preseason, we had nothing to compare the Fusion to, however, they have shown that not only will they be a formidable team to be up against in the League, but they will also perhaps be one of the most versatile. The Fusion have shown us that they are able to switch up their playstyle depending on the map, the enemy team, and whatever else might be thrown their way. Arguably, the team has little gaps in their plays, and what gaps they do have, the Outlaws were unable to fully exploit. It’ll take a lot of study and a lot of skill -- and perhaps a dash of luck -- for a team to really get under the Fusion’s skin.