In Stage 1, the Philadelphia Fusion we saw take to the arena was a lineup flushed with talent, struggling to find a range of consistency in their play. This was rather perfectly illustrated when the team was able to take on the giants of NYXL with a 3-2 victory, then be taken to 5 games by both the Shanghai Dragons and the Florida Mayhem.
Philadelphia began Stage 2 of league play with the debut of Josue/Josh “EQO” Corona. Known mostly from his play in the Overwatch World Cup in 2017 as a Tracer, Genji and Soldier specialist, his appearance was met with much question on how he would mesh into this squad. Was this a player whose hero pool would benefit their roster? Is he worthy of being played in place of Shadowburn?
EQO took the opportunity to answer those questions with a booming ‘YES’ in his first map of play in Overwatch League against the Boston Uprising, displaying a dominant Genji play style which gave the Fusion a steam-rolling victory on Hanamrua and a 4-0 victory for the series.
Since then EQO has displayed repeated and consistently high performances on a myriad of heroes. Beyond that, this aggressiveness brings more than just unbridled frag hunting. This young player has showcased a strong discipline that accompanies his in-your-face DPS style. While he is continually looking to dive in and create opportunity for an opening pick, he is constantly mindful of his positioning. Notably on Genji, we see continual rotation from this player aiding in not only attack, but also damage mitigation with his dive tanks via Deflect and quick peels for his support line.
His individual performance has been a powerful addition, but even more impactful is the change it has had on the team dynamic of the Philadelphia Fusion. Carpe not only has a strong secondary on his flanks, but also is able to capitalize on positional mistakes being created by EQO’s aggression.
The strong front-line presence of EQO has enabled Fragi to feel comfortable his natural tanking style of very forward placement, knowing that tight follow-up is on it’s way. Similarly Poko in his off-tanking position has found comfort in this dynamic. His D.Va continues to light up the kill feed as he is able to commit fully to either an aggressive dive, or defensive peel, confident that his tanking counterpart has the support to last through the fight.
The ripples continue all the way through to the support line, finding Boombox and Neptuno caught out by flanking DPS less, and Boombox in the kill feed more. Even the just recently eligible Simon “snillo” Ekström has seen fantastic results. As a more responsive Tracer specialist, Snillo relies on continuous information from his teammates. Watching Snillo’s impeccable positioning and split-second response to calls and target selection is a testament not only his game-sense, but to the fluidity this roster has developed together.
This Philly roster, which was not so long ago chastised for continual over-extension and lack of effective communication, is now rightfully praised for their ability to play as a unit. I’m extremely excited for their upcoming battle against The Los Angeles Gladiators, another strongly rising aggressive roster. It promises to be a battle you do not want to miss. Tune in Wednesday March 21 at 4:00PM PST on the Official Overwatch League Twitch Channel.