Philadelphia Fusion and ChipSa
When the Philadelphia Fusion stated on social media that Philip "ChipSa" Graham would be starting for the team against the Vancouver Titans, I didn't believe it. ChipSa's initial signing to the Fusion was met with equal parts derision and confusion. Among accusations of nepotism -- ChipSa is Fusion assistant coach Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham's brother -- from the community, there was also the expectation that he would likely never start on the Overwatch League stage. Philadelphia was already full of strong DPS players, and ChipSa, while popular wasn't likely to start, even on his signature Doomfist, over other DPS players on the roster.
That changed this weekend when he started for the Fusion on Map 1, Oasis, against the Vancouver Titans.
With broadcast statistics such as "ChipSa did not die a single time on Volskaya or Rialto in today's match. Also, he did not play those maps" under a chyron titled "Not Unlucky," a callout to his signature phrase, it was clear that the Overwatch League broadcast was having just as much fun with the start as ChipSa was himself. For the record, Fusion DPS player and regular starter Josue "Eqo" Corona started those maps for the Fusion and won both of them.
In fact, the only people who might not have had fun were the Titans, who lost to ChipSa and the Fusion in a 3-0 sweep. This also led to some fun in-client banter from Fusion DPS star Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok.
- Fusion Carpe (@carpe_ow) May 17, 2020
I'm not saying that starting popular streaming personalities over usual starters will "save" the Overwatch League from the myriad problems that have plagued the league thus far this year (although I suppose it's worth noting that viewership spiked approximately 14K when ChipSa started). Still, it was nice to see something fun for the league instead of another player retirement announcement.
-- Emily Rand
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FISH123 WIN VALORANT SOLARY CUP
On our yet to be named Thursday night weekly VALORANT program on twitch.tv/espnesports, Emily has been singing the praises of the squad known as fish123. Not because of the meme-worthy name, but because of how this team plays. Until even a week ago they were a pretty unassuming European team just looking to showcase their talents.
Enter the Solary Cup.
This past weekend, even though the headlines might have been dominated by Daniel "dafran" Francesca and the controversy surrounding his being banned for life from Solary tournaments, it was fish123 that captured the tournament victory, with a 2-1 series win over (a dafran-less) Team Prodigy. The British contingent have certainly stamped their place as Europe's hottest VALORANT team. This has to land this team of formerly relatively unknown players onto a major org, as a complete unit: fish123 have certainly made the case that a fully functioning cohesive unit might be the better approach to take for a major org as opposed to piecing together a team of perceived superstars that need to build that chemistry (and possibly fail).
After the Solary Cup, Tyler Erzberger called fish123 the best team in European VALORANT. I have to agree, they have earned that title. With a few more tournaments and some more exposure, they will go from being Europe's best kept secret to world contenders, especially after a team like, say, G2, or an org without any VALORANT announcements to their name just yet, pick them up. To me, that's inevitable. Fish123 are too irresistible not to at least have a conversation with to sign them. I give it two weeks, max.
-- Arda Ocal