Boston vs London: What Happened?

January 30th
written by Moirai
2018-01-25 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
2018-01-25 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

It wasn’t supposed to go down like this.

That’s exactly what many a Spitfire fan was probably thinking during the first of two major upsets on Thursday, January 25. “Gods bleed” memes aside, there are some very specific reasons as to why the fights ended up the way they did.

Below, we’ll break down the stats of the game, pointing out some of the most important reasons as to why Boston managed to deliver Spitfire its first loss of its time in OWL.

London won more fights, but not the important ones

Fight Winrate and length for the whole match

Spitfire won more of the total fights – 47.67% of them compared to Uprising’s 45.35% – but the big difference was when those fights were, not necessarily how many.

Boston had a more moments where losing the fight wasn’t the end of the world – if anything, it was precious stalling time on a control point that was currently in Boston’s possession. Lijiang is a perfect example of this: Boston won only 33.33% of the team fights while London won half of them overall. London had first blood more often, with 75% of the time. London, on paper, should have won. The reason they didn’t, though, is because they didn’t win the right fights. Boston didn’t need to win fights as much as they did need to stall, and that’s exactly what they did.

Fight Stats on Lijiang
Fight Stats on Lijiang

Though the average team fight on Lijiang was 25.9 seconds – a few milliseconds longer than the average for Lijiang overall for OWL teams, 25.2 – Uprising used every second of that to their advantage, stalling London as much as possible. Boston took first dibs on the point in both rounds, allowing them the much-easier task of just holding on for dear life while London came after them wave after wave.

Boston had more first blood, often thanks to DreamKazper

First Blood - London v Boston

First Kill stats
First Kill stats

The main reason as to why Boston won wasn’t necessarily because they were more efficient when they took first blood, but rather because they did it more often. Boston had 56.98% of first bloods, winning 67.35% of those man-up engagements; not as efficient as the Spitfire’s stats, but it got the job done all the same.

Those first deaths most often happened to Bdosin’s Zenyatta, who died 14.28% of the fights he partook in. (It should be noted, though, that Bdosin’s Zen is one of the most deadly Zenyattas and actually had 11.69% of the first bloods in the fights he participated in… twice as much as the average Zenyatta in OWL.)

The leader of the first kill party is DreamKazper, who played for the entire game and had 19.77% of first kills. This is in part thanks to three heroes: his Widowmaker with a whopping 35.29% first blood rate, his Pharah with a 26.67% and his Genji, who had 19.44%. Striker, meanwhile, had his Tracer grabbing first blood 13.75% of the time. Though he didn’t play Pharah or Widowmaker a lot, they were still very significant for the fights they were involved with.

On the Spitfire side, Profit only played for about half of the time that Striker did and managed a 22.58% of first kills. Birdring’s Tracer basically matched Striker’s in both time played and first blood percentage, grabbing 13.64% of first kills in the fights he engaged in.

Boston didn’t engage as much unless they had the ultimate economy to take on Spitfire

Ultimate usage - Boston v London
FMU = Fights More Ults | FSU = Fights Same amount of Ults | FLU = Fights Less Ults

In over 40% of the team fights that Boston went into, they had the upper hand in ultimate economy. Though London had the better winrate when they went in with more ultimates than the Uprising, they didn’t do it nearly as often; they only had more ultimates 18% of the time. Boston also used more ultimates in each fight – about 2.3 per fight where they had more ultimates (MUW = More Ults used when Won) – which helped to overwhelm the Spitfire.

This is further confirmed through how many fights Boston won when they were up on ultimate count.

Win % when x amount of ults were used

The counts are the most important here, as Spitfire beat Boston when they were negative in ultimates but then flipped the tables when they had more. Because they had more ultimate charge, however, Boston was less than average in their usages, hence the plethora of red you see in the chart above. What’s important here is that Boston tied London when it was a straight fight – with zero ultimate advantage on either side – and then won more fights when they were ahead in the ultimate economy (which, as stated before, was more common than Spitfire being ahead).


Nus’ Valkyrie charged and held longer than Kellex’s


TTCU = Time To Charge Ultimate | TUH = Time Ult Held
TTCU = Time To Charge Ultimate | TUH = Time Ult Held

Though they played for the same amount of time, Nus had his ultimate charged in about 171 seconds on average while Kellex got his about 103 on average. Kellex was also more freely using his ultimate: Nus held his for about 33 seconds while Kellex only waited about 18.2 seconds before popping the Valkyrie. Though the data shows that Nus had almost twice the effectiveness rating when using his ultimate than Kellex, the numbers suggest this was moreso a “who had it more” game rather than “who played their ultimates better.”

Passiveness is a killer

This is the same graph as the first section above, but it's important here too, so here you go again.
This is the same graph as the first section above, but it’s important here too, so here you go again.

“Passiveness is the killer for all-Korean rosters” seems to be a big storyline at the moment: that’s what was said when the Dragons took a map off of Dynasty and when NYXL lost to Fusion literally the next match after this one. Originally, it seemed like a dismissive write-off of what Western teams were doing; in reality, it kind of is the case.

London’s overall first blood stat is 53.41% of the 513 fights they’ve been involved with. They’ve won 85.77% of those First-Blood fights.

This doesn’t mean that Boston was playing like their usual selves, though; if anything, Uprising was more aggressive overall. In their overall standings, Uprising only had 50.33% of first bloods and won 71.12% of those fights. They used 2.294 more ults on average in their won teamfights against Spitfire when, overall, they generally only use 1.778 more. Though that may not seem like much, that lends to the theory that Uprising did three things better than the Spitfire to get this win:

  1. Boston engaged London more often, resulting in more first bloods despite London having better efficiency when they had the first kill.
  2. Boston used more ultimates on average, possibly to “overkill” the situation and ensure they would win the fight.
  3. While London won more fights, it was really a matter of when they won those fights that made the deciding factor.
  4. London seemed to be a bit more passive in their approach, which was ultimately their downfall.

The moral of the story here is simple: choose your battles, throw everything you can into them and make sure you’re more aggressive than the other guy. If you can do all that, you’ve won against the Spitfire.