Explaining Boston Uprising's fall from grace

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The Boston Uprising were defeated by the Philadelphia Fusion 2-1 in a best-of-three series Friday night, putting an end to what was arguably the craziest season for any team in the debut season of the Overwatch League.

The final (costly) decision

After winning the second match of the series to force a third and deciding match, Boston fell down two maps to one. By rule, the Uprising were allowed to select the fourth map -- and chose to play on Hanamura, a map Boston played exceedingly poorly on in the regular season, as opposed to Volskaya Industries, a map where the team posted a perfect 10-0 record.

It's possible recency bias played into the minds of the Uprising, as they lost on Volskaya in the first match of the quarterfinals against the Fusion and won on Hanamura in the second match. Heading into the final point on Hanamura in the third match of the series, the Uprising fell apart and lost the series.

The DreamKazper dilemma and rise of Striker

Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez was the Uprising's best player through the first two stages of the season prior to being kicked off the team heading into the second week of Stage 3. This opened the door for Nam-joo "Striker" Kwon, who took over all of the Overwatch League in Stage 3. During the stage, Striker's 1,131 rating on Tracer was the highest for any player on any DPS hero, according to Winston's Lab.

Winston's Lab also shows that Striker accounted for 30.5 percent of his team's kills, the highest rate for any player on any character in Stage 3 with a minimum of five hours played. Striker's incredible performance led to a perfect 10-0 Stage 3 for Boston, and the Uprising became the only team to complete a perfect stage during OWL Season 1.

The Tracer nerf and loss of a coach

The Uprising's entire strategy revolved around Striker playing Tracer. Between Stages 3 and 4, the Overwatch League introduced a pair of changes that effectively rendered that strategy useless:

A new support hero, Brigitte, was introduced. Brigitte has the ability to stun her opponents, making it difficult for teams to run Tracer against her along with commonly used dive strategies. Tracer's ultimate ability, Pulse Bomb, was also reduced from a max damage of 400 down to 300. This made her less effective at confirming eliminations against enemy tanks.

Along with that change, Uprising coach Dae-hee "Crusty" Park left the team to take the same position with the San Francisco Shock. Following these changes, the Uprising went 4-6 in Stage 4 and lost in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Overwatch League playoffs.