Fusion give their fans the debut they wanted.
The Philadelphia Fusion is the third team to host a homestand this season, and the Philly crowd did not disappoint. Led by local hometown hero, Gritty, the Fusion debuted against the Washington Justice and handily beat them 3-1. For the Fusion, this season has to be the one where they capitalize on all of the talent on their roster. The meta and hero pools, all play to Fusion’s strengths on paper, and now it’s time for them to show the League what they’re made of. In this opening match, we got to see players who were hampered by the previous GOATS meta, return to form for the home crowd. Dps Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee, support Daniel "FunnyAstro" Hathaway, flex tank Gael "Poko" Gouzerch, and coach Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham spoke to the press after the win.
A new culture
Speaking with the energy of a fresh win, coach ChrisTFer gave the rundown on the difference between the 2019 Fusion and the 2020 Fusion. “Yeah, it’s a huge culture shift. I think one thing I’ve learned pretty quickly is, Western coaches and Korean coaches do things very differently. The way they talk to players and the way they review things is very different. Last year even though we had two coaches, we were definitely a Western type of coaching staff. This year we've shifted to a very Korean style. Western styles tend to focus on the team aspect and the Korean style is more 1on1 focused.”
The Fusion are one of the few teams to keep a majority of their starting roster from the inaugural season, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made impressive additions. Most notably, Philadelphia became the home for highly decorated flex support, Kyungbo "Alarm" Kim. ChrisTFer offered insight on what it’s like for Alarm to make his debut with them.
“Obviously we know he's good. The one thing about Alarm is that he has this instinct for positioning. If there’s a shatter coming or a Mei ult coming, he is just far out of it. He anticipates it 5-10 seconds in advance. He's the best teammate you can ask for. Think about it, he's dominated the game since he was 16 but somehow, he comes into Fusion with no ego. He's happy to learn, he's happy to be friends with everyone. Obviously, he's good in-game, but as a person, he's really impressive too.” Team members Poko and FunnyAstro nodded in agreement.
Picked as MVP of their match, Carpe plays like a monster in-game but is surprisingly soft-spoken out of it. Last season was difficult for Carpe, as he made a name for himself in his first season as an incredibly talented hitscan player. But in 2019, many of these specialists could not play their best heroes for the entirety of the season. How did that GOATS meta affect Carpe?
“The year before that, we made it to grand finals, and I’ll admit I built pride on that. […] When GOATS came around, I didn’t think too deeply about it, and I kind of looked down on the meta. I was a little lazy and I didn’t practice. But what I've learned is that I need to focus on the now and do what I need to do with the role I’ve been given.”
Carpe certainly started his season with a good performance, and if the Fusion can keep up the level of play, they’ll be a huge threat. For Carpe, is there anyone he would like to go up against? “Rather than picking one person out in particular, I'm going to give my best performance against all the other teams.”
Images courtesy Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment.