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Esports Overwatch

Gladiators hit the jackpot on the Fissure trade

It’s been four weeks since the Los Angeles Gladiators made the blockbuster trade for Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek, and in that time one thing has been made perfectly clear: the Gladiators are massive winners here. Let’s take a look at the sort of impact Fissure has made on this Gladiators team.

Gladiators look like a playoff team in stage two

Looking back on stage one, it was clear that this team had potential but a piece was missing. The lack of certainty on dives from the now backup main-tank, Luiz “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa, presented problems for their damage mains and made it tougher on the dynamic support duo of Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni. Gladiators had trouble on payload maps and stages that are typically associated with strong tank play.

The matchups against the best teams in the league were all extremely one-sided. Consider this, against the top five teams in stage one the Gladiators ended up only winning two maps. 2-15 against the likes of the Excelsior, Dynasty, Outlaws, Valiant and even the Uprising. Even with top-notch performances from BigGoose and Shaz nightly, the tank and damage lines were getting badly outplayed.

Fast forward to stage two, the Gladiators currently sit at 5-2 and are a combined 10-7 against a number of those teams that beat them badly in stage one. The major difference? Fissure’s insane aggression on dives and his hunting capabilities have opened the door for every player on that team. Since Fissure has arrived, the Gladiators have looked like a completely different team in every sense. The game plan is different and each player is getting praise for stepping up their play.

Fissure helping the DPS-mains

The one phrase that gets passed around a lot when it comes to Overwatch League tanks is “creating space.” what exactly does that mean? Well, I’d like to direct your attention to any of the Gladiators most recent games and how far up Fissure and D.Va main Aaron “Bischu” Kim position themselves on attacks. It’s never a doubt who’s going to be the aggressor in any given situation, with BigGoose insuring speed-boost, the Gladiators almost always dive first.

Back to creating space, Fissure’s constant forward progress means one of two things. Firstly, all the attention of the opposing team will be forced on Fissure and Bischu. Secondly, with the attention on the tanks, and a retreating backline for the opposition, this allows Joon-seong “Asher” Choi sneaking around to the backline or Joao Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles free shots onto supports with Pharah. It’s a domino effect.

Since Fissure was signed, no other unit in the league has seen as much improvement as the Gladiator DPS-line. Asher is starting to play at an MVP-type level on Tracer. Hydration can play uncontested on Pharah and Lane “Surefour” Roberts is back looking like himself again, getting plenty of time to line up shots with Widowmaker or Soldier: 76. The early deaths in team fights aren’t a problem anymore, and Fissure is allowing this unit to play how they want to play, which is aggressive.

London Spitfire might have made a mistake

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that what the Spitfire did was not the logical move. It most certainly was and is still is at this point in time. Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong is a premier Winston player, and he comes from GC Busan which the Spitfire roster is primarily made up of. Keeping Gesture over Fissure had more to do with familiarity and trust that’s been built over time.

As for whether or not it was a mistake of a player evaluation, this is up for debate. Fissure entered the league with the perception as arguably the best main-tank in Korea. On one of the most consistent teams in Apex, Fissure was the playmaker and main shot caller. He was unbelievable during that time and was definitely in the conversation for the world’s best players.

However, entering the OWL on a team featuring Gesture, who just came off a flashy and dominating Apex season, was going to be an uphill battle for Fissure. Despite the perception surrounding him, he was benched. One of the worlds best sat on the sidelines. And when the time came, the Spitfire chose to keep rolling with Gesture and the two parties had a mutually beneficial breakup.

Four weeks later, it’s hard not to think that the Spitfire might have released one of the most impactful players in the league. The proof is in the record and they’re head-to-head, which the Gladiators ended up taking 3-2. The Spitfire roster has unquestionably more talent overall, but Fissure’s bringing out the best of each player on the Gladiators roster. It’s incredible the transformation this team has made in seven games.

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Featured photo via Los Angeles Gladiators twitter

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