Boston Uprising vs London Spitfire
For our second match of the day, we have a very exciting clash between the season one champions London Spitfire, and the Boston Uprising. Now, predicting the outcome of this match is a very thankless endeavor. Perhaps that's even an understatement.
On one hand, we have an exceptional team brimming with talent and potential. That's the London Spitfire, in case you weren't sure. They're absolutely fantastic across the board, and their level of play never leaves anyone indifferent. While they did have huge blunders and missteps throughout the first stage, they were able to step up, lock down an identity, and adapt to the current meta far quicker than anyone had anticipated. But that's just the way London does things. They have their own rhythm, and even though it doesn't always pan out, when it does it's feels like it was all a part of their master plan. Saying that they're a well-rounded team would feel superflous -- we all know that. And coming into the Stage 2 playoffs they were riding quite a big hype train. They were regarded as a fantastic Top 3 team, right behind the San Francisco Shock and the Vancouver Titans.
Their record told the same story as well -- six wins, just one loss, and a positive sixteen map differential. That's an overall score than allowed them to leapfrog both the Los Angeles Gladiators as well as the New York Excelsior. So once the playoffs came around, everyone expected fireworks once London stepped foot on stage -- but nothing of such sort ever happened. Not even close. They were beaten handily by the likes of Hangzhou Spark. Now, the Spark are no pushovers, but they're nowhere near London's level of play. Or so we thought.
The Spark outclassed London on Blizzard World, Hanamura, as well as Watchpoint: Gibraltar. It wasn't even close, and the fact that London won the series opener Oasis also felt like insult to injury.
So coming into Stage 3, we're cautiously optimistic. They're London, after all. They have the right players, the right coaching staff, and the perfect mixture of experience and mechanical prowess in order to tango with the very best teams in the world.
But they're also confusing, and extremely volatile. You can never count them out, but they're also prone to losing "easy" games time after time. They're a coin toss, and predicting their games (especially in such a fragile meta) is downright impossible.
Fortunately, they have the Boston Uprising up ahead. Not the easiest of opponents (not in the slightest), but far from a top tier behemoth. Boston were unable to repeat their Stage 1 performance and were subsequently phased out of the Stage 2 playoffs with their (acceptable) 3W-4L record. They were simply mediocre in all facets of play, and even when they did step up and play to the best of their ability, those short flashes of brilliance never lasted long enough to warrant a spot in the playoffs. Not even close. Much like London, they're entering Stage 3 looking for redemption. Will they be able to find it? The odds aren't exactly in their favor, but they have been known for upsetting all expectations.
The problem with Boston is the fact that they're not improving at a fast enough pace in order to challenge for a top spot. Right now it feels like there's a very palpable skill ceiling put above them, and they simply don't have the horsepower to push throw. They're the definition of a solid gatekeeper -- strong enough to fend off the many teams below them, but perennially slotted right beneath the playoffs.
They are, however, a relatively capable bunch, so they're definitely going to bring the fight to London once they step foot on the stage. Unfortunately for any Boston fans in attendance, they simply lack the strength that is necessary in order to throw down with a team of London's caliber. They might make things competitive, they might even win a map, but they shouldn't be able to get the win, even on London's bad day.
For London, this is just the beginning, and seeing how they have the New York Excelsior lined up next, you can bet on their preparation against Boston. They might not get the win over New York, so they'll have to make this one count.