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Few people expected the Boston Uprising to make it to Overwatch League play-ins this season. For a while, it looked like it may not happen, with the team losing their final regular season match against their chief opposition Florida Mayhem. But the Mayhem were ultimately unable to keep their heads above water and the Uprising scraped into play-ins. Regardless of how it happened, the fact remains: the Uprising are currently the ninth seeded team in the West Region, and their season is still alive.

The organization hasn’t had an especially illustrious history. Other than a second-place finish during a 2018 stage final, the Uprising have generally been lackluster over the years. They’ve also been plagued by high-profile player scandals. But, this year, the team have slowly been rebuilding their reputation. They’re currently fielding, arguably, the strongest roster they’ve had since 2018 and they have pulled off upset wins against teams like the Houston Outlaws and Paris Eternal this season. It’s not out of the question to think that they could come from behind to catch the more heavily favored teams off guard.

The Uprising picked up several rookies this year, but all of them have had extensive experience in Contenders. According to main support Kim “Faith” Hong-gyu, the wealth of competitive experience between all the players helped them develop the team’s chemistry.

“A lot of players were rookies this year, at least in the Overwatch League,” Faith said. “But most of the rookies were from the same team previously, and the non-rookies were basically veterans. So building team chemistry was somewhat seamless because the rookies already knew how to play together as a team, and the veterans knew how to integrate themselves.”

The Boston Uprising added both rookies and league veterans to the roster in 2021. | Provided by Overwatch League

It isn’t Faith’s first time getting used to a new team. It isn’t even his first time playing on a mixed roster. He was part of eight different teams before joining the Uprising, including WGS Phoenix, who previously won Contenders Korea.

“I’ve been in multiple teams, including some foreign teams, so I’m already used to living with other players,” Faith said. “Getting used to this team was pretty easy. When you scrim in a mixed roster you can’t make calls in Korean, but I was already used to that coming into the team.”

The Uprising players are well acquainted with high-stakes competition, but they also have a tendency to get live-or-die by momentum β€” either their own or the other team’s. Going into play-ins, Faith’s biggest concern is the team’s ability to stay focused even if things don’t seem to be going well.

“This season, we haven’t reverse swept at all,” Faith said. “That comes down to, I think, not having a strong mentality. Every time we lose a map, everyone will be pretty devastated and upset. It’s kind of hard to bring ourselves back up. So, my main focus for us is to have stronger mentalities and to not give up if things go badly.”

Keeping a team’s mentality in check requires everyone to be on the same page; something that Faith is happy to help out with. He thinks of himself as the “assistant” or “mediator” of the team, always there to back up his teammates’ calls and keep the morale high.

It’s a role that will be ever more important as the Uprising head into play-ins, with the goal of proving that things are different this year. It won’t be easy β€” with top dogs like the San Francisco Shock and Houston Outlaws to contend with β€” but the only way out is through. The Uprising are looking to finally change the team’s image and prove that they aren’t just chasing their past success. They’re aiming to prove that they can, in fact, exceed it.