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Fusion opens OWL playoffs with win over Uprising

Philadelphia Fusion fans cheer for their team. Jonathan Tayag for Blizzard Entertainment

The Philadelphia Fusion took down the Boston Uprising in a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, going up 1-0 in the series and kicking off the postseason at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.

The Fusion put itself in a great position by dispatching the Uprising, showing just how much firepower Philadelphia has when running on all cylinders. The Fusion kept things simple early on, starting the first game with the same six players that finished out Philadelphia's final regular-season match. The Fusion was quick to change up the roster for different maps, swapping out flex tanks after dropping the second map, Oasis, to the Uprising. Philadelphia also had some tricks up its sleeve, running triple-tank compositions on Eichenwalde that featured flex support player Isaac "Boombox" Charles on Roadhog. The Fusion's creative strategies kept the Uprising on the back foot and gave the DPS all the space it needed to secure decisive wins on Eichenwalde and Volskaya Industries, the latter being Boston's first loss on that map all year, with a league-leading 10-0-1 record. The main star of the show had to be DPS Josue "Eqo" Corona, though, as Eqo's Hanzo tore through Boston with impunity. With a 1-0 leg up in the series, Philadelphia simply needs to stay on track to punch its ticket to the next round of playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Uprising was jettisoned into the playoffs thanks to an incredible 10-0 record in Stage 3, but looks like it has next to nothing left in the tank after poor finish to the regular season. Having lost its head coach prior to Stage 4, the Uprising's strategic diversity and shot-calling has been non-existent. The series against Philadelphia only further highlighted the Uprising's fall, as the team entered the match with the best record among playoff teams on both Volskaya Industries and Eichenwalde, but dropped both maps to the Fusion. Boston was nothing if not predictable against Philadelphia, running a dive composition a majority of the time regardless of situation.

The Uprising had trouble on offense as well, recklessly jumping into the midst of the Fusion and, if main support Kristian "Kellex" Keller tried to follow as Mercy, he was quickly dispatched. The Uprising's strategy did gain some traction on the control point map Oasis, which allowed Boston to avoid the sweep, but it simply couldn't stop Philly's DPS duo from running roughshod and dealing over 2,325 damage per 10 minutes more than Boston's DPS. The Uprising will need to go back to the drawing board if it wants to avoid a swift 2-0 exit from the post-season at the hands of Philadelphia.

The Uprising will have to win back-to-back best-of-five series in order to advance to the semi-finals. Both teams will get an opportunity to recoup with a day's rest before the series concludes on Friday with the first match starting at 8 p.m. ET and, if needed, a second match starting at 10 p.m. ET.