Not a whole lot has deviated from its standard course in the second week of Overwatch League. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Dallas Fuel are still winless after four games. Once thought to be the “Savior of Western Overwatch,” the boys in blue only have the Shanghai Dragons to keep them company in the cellar after losing to crosstown rivals, the Houston Outlaws. The Korean rosters - London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, and New York Excelsior - all sit with four wins at the top of the standings.
A dramatic comeback
The Los Angeles Gladiators are the scrappiest team in Overwatch League, and they’ve proven it time and again. With only seven players on their roster, the Gladiators have had to fight for every inch of ground thus far with healthy doses of creativity and perseverance. This week, they were put to the test against the Philadelphia Fusion - a team with a 12-man roster coming off of a very good week one. Junkertown was a rough start for Los Angeles. They did keep Philadelphia to two points, but were unable to gain much traction once it was their turn to push the payload. Philadelphia’s tanks and DPS were more than ready for the challenge, often stuffing advances before they really started. The Gladiators came to life a bit more on Temple of Anubis. Though they dropped the map, they did force an extra round after some amazing displays by Lane “Surefour” Roberts on DPS, and Luis “iRemiix” Figueroa on tanking duties. Whatever chip the Fusion might have had on their shoulder was starting to falter. It was the third map, Ilios, where Los Angeles brought it all together. Choi “Asher” Joon-Seong cranked his Tracer up to 11, winning most of his duels and being a constant nuisance to Philadelphia’s support line. Even though George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha’s Pharah made the Gladiators’ lives difficult on Lighthouse, it wasn’t enough. Los Angeles took Ruins off the back of Joao Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles’ aggressive Roadhog, giving them their first map win of the set. [caption id="attachment_100350" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment[/caption] Numbani was a nailbiter. Philadelphia pushed all the way to the museum, but the Gladiators stalled them out just short of a third point capture. Hydration switched to a risky Doomfist at the last minute, but he was able to make it work by keeping out the Fusion’s tanks. He also picked up a clutch kill onto an ulting ShaDowBurn who would have surely secured victory for his team had he lived. Everything snowballed in favor of Los Angeles when it came time for them to push, practically holding Philadelphia in their spawn room during the final stretch and forcing a fifth map. The reverse sweep became more of a reality on Garden of Lijiang Tower. After solidly winning with a combination of triple DPS and Roadhog play, their fans began the infamous “Shields Up” chant to open Control Center. Philadelphia looked good to start, getting up to 99% to LA’s 94% capture, but the Gladiators somehow managed to evict them for the victory. This is what Overwatch League is all about.
The other Los Angeles team really brought out their big guns against the London Spitfire last week. As far as tanks go, the Valiant have always been a mixed bag going back to their Immortals days. Koo “Fate” Pan-Seung and Lee “Envy” Kang-Jae work well together, but sometimes the rest of the team is left playing catch-up. That was not the case when it came time to take on their fellow South Koreans representing London. [caption id="attachment_100352" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment[/caption] Practically every single dive the Valiant attempted worked out on their favor. Fate was on top of supports as Winston, and Envy did an excellent jobs keeping the skies Pharah-free as D.Va. On Eichenwalde, Envy had to use his ultimate to re-mech, and managed to take out the enemy Pharah with his bunny blaster in midair. Fate actually switched to a questionable Orisa for the final push inside the castle, but his team played around it and took the round and the map from London. The Valiant did go on to lose the match, but they made a strong case for being legitimate competition for the strong, all-Korean rosters in Overwatch League.