After shocking the world and making the playoffs, the Fusion are ready to keep surprising.
In part two of a three-part series, Esports.GG spoke to multiple members of the Philadelphia Fusion in the lead-up to the 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs. Part 1 focused on that final match against Seoul that got them into the playoffs, today talks all about the upcoming playoffs, and Part 3 will be coming later this week.
Note: All quotes in this piece were provided as answers to questions emailed to the team. The team translated some responses from Korean before sending them over.
The Gladiators Await
Thanks to the luck of the draw, the Fusion find themselves matched up with the Countdown Cup champion Los Angeles Gladiators. The Philly players recognize the Gladiators are coming in hot, but they're not letting that fact affect their focus.
"The Gladiators have the momentum right now," Alarm admitted before following with "but I am not worried." Carpe echoed that sentiment, saying "though the Gladiators have the momentum from winning the [Countdown] Cup, we aren't afraid."
"I feel that our team spirit and momentum isn't too bad," Carpe continued. "We got a lot of confidence when we won consecutively and we have grown as a team."
When asked about the team's approach to the Gladiators, FunnyAstro answered with three keys: hard work, sharp mechanics, and "remember[ing] what made us win the Play-Ins." Alarm's strategy is a bit more simple--saying the team can't make any mistakes--but sHockWave was willing to pull back the curtain on one of his top strategies: "kill Kevster."
Last But Not Least
The seventh-seeded Fusion are playing those fourth-seeded Gladiators in the first round. How? None of the top three seeds chose to play them. Top seed Shanghai elected to play sixth-seeded San Francisco. The 2nd seed Dallas Fuel went with the eight seed Washington. The third-seeded Chengdu Hunters, with the final choice, decided on the Atlanta Reign.
Where some teams may feel slighted by this, the Fusion sees it as a sign. No one in this bracket wants to play them. Carpe says the snubs "proved they are scared of us," while sHockWave believes the Fusion were passed over for strategic reasons.
"I think a lot of teams don't have a clear read on us," the flex damage player said. "I also think we can play a lot of different comps which makes us a scary opponent."
FunnyAstro agrees with the composition theory, thinking that the team's versatility made them a daunting challenge. "We are comfortable enough to play every team comp in the playoffs," he explained. "The other teams play a more distinct style - that's probably why they were picked first."
How Do The Fusion Make A Run?
With the first opponent set and the path to the title laid out, what does the team think are the biggest keys to making a run? For Carpe, reacting to how opponents play them is a major key, saying "it is best to adjust to the opposing teams during matches." Alarm admits his knowledge of Western Conference teams is limited, so he has been "analyzing past game plays" and logging many practice hours.
Most importantly, unlike the previous stages this seasons there are no Hero Pool changes between Play-Ins and Playoffs to change the meta, so the Fusion will need to keep their strategies close to the chest. As sHockWave puts it: "It's really important that we don't keep playing the same comps on the same maps. We have to make it mysterious for our matches."
We'll see if the Fusion can walk the walk when they face the LA Gladiators in the first round of the 2021 Overwatch League playoffs. Check out every match over on the official Overwatch League Youtube page.