Why Philadelphia Fusion may exceed expectations

December 30th

Joemeister

In many people’s estimations, Philadelphia fusion is a team which will most likely place in the bottom half of the first season of Overwatch league. However, in this article, I will argue that, despite their organisational shortcomings and what some consider to be a weak roster, they will exceed these expectations and may be battling for a playoff spot come season’s end.

They have a bigger point to prove

While success and victory in the Overwatch League is plenty motivation, Philadelphia’s players and their management certainly have a bigger point to prove than most.

The Fusion has had, arguably, two of the biggest issues coming into the first season of OWL; with Visa issues preventing them from being present at preseason and SADO receiving suspension due to boosting. While the SADO affair was handled swiftly by the organisation, it has still lead to questions over the acquisition of such a player and to whether or not the organisation was even aware of this issue before the player was signed. While missing out on Visas is arguably something out of the control of any organisation, the fact that every other team was able to represent at preseason does demonstrate poor organisation by the Fusion. Due to these shortcomings, the organisation now has a point to prove, to demonstrate to the league and their investors that they are there for a reason.

With regards to their players, as Snillo and SADO are out for most of stage one and two, the battle for a starting spot is much simpler, especially for Fragi, the only main tank. This means that between now and the time that these players become eligible, the rest of the team must demonstrate why they should remain in starting spots. Offering a greater level of motivation than the mid-season transfer window and the race for the title does already.

Both of these have the potential to drive every facet of the Philadelphia Fusion to perform beyond expectations.

Team construction

Following many of the roster announcements came the theorising of how they came about, furthering that came the OWL pellets rosters. Looking into Philadelphia Fusion’s roster, it seems that they have combined both the Moneyball and ‘Core’ approach. An approach which has created a statistically impressive roster which has the potential to outperform expectation.

Moneyball is an idea developed from baseball, popularised in the film, where a selection is based on finding statistical strength rather than relying upon simply what scouts pick up by watching the game. From their performances in Contenders S1, the statistics for much of this Fusion team indicate significant ability. I will be focussing on the Winstons Lab’s player rating – the formulation of which can be found here.While much of the team’s rating may not have been noteworthy, such data cannot be compared across players whose teams have drastically different win rates. So they must be contextualised against the team average (see the table below). For example, to compare Boombox (1083) against Zuppehw (1148) may show that Zuppehw was the better player throughout contenders, however, for Boombox to achieve his rating in a team with only a 27.32% win rate can be considered to be statistically more impressive than Zuppehw’s, whose team won 89.16% of their games. This data indicates that these players were able to perform well, irrespective of their background, indicating that their acquisition may have been part of a Moneyball approach.

Player Individual performance Team average Performance differential
Boombox 1,083.00 960.00 123.00
neptuNo 1,075.00 977.67 97.33
Carpe 1,159.00 1,072.67 86.33
ShaDowBurn 1,120.00 1,072.67 47.33
Poko 1,007.00 962.40 44.60
Fragi 1,062.00 1,077.00 -15.00
Joemeister 1,015.00 1,072.67 -57.67


Taking the outlook which fellow Winston’s lab writer Yiska holds dear, the idea of building a team around a pre-established core of players is one way to ensure that a certain level of synergy can be maintained – this idea is covered in greater detail in Yiska’s OWL Pellets team announcement. The Fusion have taken what many believed to be the main driving force behind FaZe Clan’s later success, the DPS duo of Carpe and ShaDowBurn, as well as shot-caller Joemeister – who also demonstrated his proficiency on Mercy during Canada’s World Cup run – to create a core of three that the rest of the team is likely to work around.

The combination of these two approaches has created a team which has star potential in each and every role, as well as a platform off of which these players can launch themselves into the playoffs and past most evaluations. 

YungBoop

I'm better at watching Overwatch than I am at playing it. So I thought I'd try writing about it. Most of my writing is based on my opinion/interpretation so feel free to disagree with me.