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LA Gladiators the big winners, but green shoots for Shanghai

LA Gladiators the big winners, but green shoots for Shanghai
All photos by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

Week four of stage three of the Overwatch League is behind us, meaning just one week remains before the stage three finals this weekend. Most teams who needed two wins last week failed to cash in, resulting in four teams sitting at 4-4 heading into the final week. The Houston Outlaws (16-12), Philadelphia Fusion (17-11), Seoul Dynasty (18-10), and San Francisco Shock (10-18) will have to make every map count, as map differential might keep some of these teams out of the stage finals. The big winners of the week were the Los Angeles Gladiators (15-13). They won both of their games against the London Spitfire (18-10) and Houston Outlaws, which gives them some breathing room up at fourth place for the stage. In case you didn't know, there is now a fourth spot available in the stage finals, so that's huge. At the bottom of the standings, the Shanghai Dragons (0-28) continue to show signs of improvement. They nearly took one away from Philadelphia this week, forcing a fifth map before running out of breath.

Gladiators show off fundamental Overwatch

An interesting bit of Overwatch League trivia is that the Los Angeles Gladiators remain undefeated against the London Spitfire so far. It doesn't seem to matter what London throws at Los Angeles - they always end up falling short in the end. This time around it was solid fundamentals that won the day for Los Angeles, as we saw on Blizzard World. Out of the gate, it looked like the Gladiators were having trouble finding traction on point A. Hooreg was racking up the kills on Widowmaker, forcing Los Angeles to stay indoors - but then something weird happened. While the fighting raged on off to the side, Aaron "Bischu" Kim on baby D.Va and Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara on Zenyatta sat on the point and actually flipped it. Rule one: Fight on the point. Point B was a bit of a struggle, as usual. Lane "Surefour" Roberts and Joao Pedro "Hydration" Veloso de Goes Telles stepped up big time to give London a hard time as Widowmaker and Sombra, respectively. It seemed as though Hydration was able to get hacks on high-value targets every time Fissure initiated a dive, and Surefour was ready for cleanup from afar as London struggled to find their positioning. Rinse and repeat, and Los Angeles came up with point B. Rule two: Attack together and call out targets. [caption id="attachment_103542" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Jun-Sung "Asher" Choi and Chan-Hyung "Fissure" Baek Jun-Sung "Asher" Choi and Chan-Hyung "Fissure" Baek[/caption] The home stretch felt like a bit of a steamroll thanks to a couple of staggered spawns from the point B fight. London made a few hero switches that looked good on paper, but they didn't pay off. Los Angeles stayed in their face for the whole attack, and Bischu delivered the killing blow off the back of a huge D.Va bomb at their spawn and a brilliant follow-up for a couple extra kills. Three points for Los Angeles. Rule three: Smart aggression pays off. Los Angeles went on to full-hold London, adding another satisfying victory to their collection.

Shanghai is getting better

The talk of the town on Saturday evening was the Shanghai Dragons' match against Philadelphia. They managed to force a very dramatic tie-breaker on Oasis after trading wins with Philadelphia all set long, though they fell short in the end. It was another loss for China's team, but there were a lot of bright spots for them throughout the set. Gihyeon "Ado" Chon continues to prove himself as a formidable Genji - a hero that Shanghai has been without for much of the season. He comes up with big kills, but it's his confidence and instincts that shine in clutch situations. There was a play on Junkertown where Shanghai was on defense, and Jae-Hyeok "Carpe" Lee was giving them a hard time on Widowmaker as he's prone to do. Ado made his way around the side of the map to not only kill Carpe with a huge Dragonblade, but to deal a massive amount of damage to Philadelphia's front line. These are the types of plays that Shanghai has been missing. [caption id="attachment_103541" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Chon "Ado" Gihyeon Chon "Ado" Gihyeon[/caption] Seyeon "Geguri" Kim has given life to many pushes that Shanghai probably would have dropped before. Her D.Va bombs have been superb since she started playing, which is a big part of it. On Blizzard World, she lobbed an ultimate over the right wall as they approached point B, causing massive damage and allowing the rest of her team to clean up. If this new Dragons roster can keep growing together, hopefully we'll see them get their first victory next stage.