The Los Angeles Gladiators were one of the more disappointing teams in stage one. The lack of progress prompted a move towards London Spitfire backup tank Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung. With this trade for Fissure, the Gladiators shore up struggling dive and will help on both the front and backline.
Before the Overwatch League, Fissure was looked at as one of the best Winston’s in Korea. His play on KongDoo Panthera throughout Apex was considered the highest level tank play league-wide. In fact, he was the linchpin to four successful seasons with KongDoo Panthera. Even with all his past accomplishments, the London Spitfire had other ideas.
Benched for Gesture
Consider this, the London Spitfire had two of the best main tanks in Overwatch on one roster. It was an embarrassment of riches for one team. Unfortunately, with both tank mains having identical hero pools only one could play at a time. Early in the season, Fissure got more playing time, but as the weeks advanced Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee got most of the playing time.
Comparatively, it’s hard to pick between the two players. Fissure is a more proven player, but Gesture came into the league leading the charge for the old GC Busan roster. Based on Lee “Bishop” Beom-joon’s coaching decisions, Gesture was the more consistent player and had the advantage of familiarity with the GC Busan lineup.
Keeping Fissure on the bench was not the best idea for the Spitfire anymore knowing he could start elsewhere. It’s tough sitting a supremely talented player like Fissure. Animosity in the locker room so the London management made the decision to move Fissure out to avoid controversy. It’s now the Gesture show in London. Similarly to moving backup Tracer player, Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun, who will likely start on the Dallas Fuel. Fissure will find more opportunity for the Gladiators.
Focusing now on Fissure’s future with the Gladiators, he comes in and fills a direct need and will fit in nicely next to Hyung-seok “Bischu” Kim on the flex tank. Combining the aggressive dive potential and precise movement of these two players will make it extra difficult on opposing defenses. Teams are in for a difficult time defending against this newly formed tank line. Allowing Fissure free reign will help alleviate some of the pressure put on the Gladiator’s DPS-mains.
In the meantime, Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa will move to a backup role. iRemiix’s new role suits him, and now he can specialize in certain situations or be used as a counter-pick Reinhardt. iRemiix was by no means bad on main-tank in stage one, but adding a player like Fissure immediately upgrades that tank line and helps in other areas as well.
Gladiators struggle to find consistent DPS lineup
Despite adding a real quality player in Fissure, questions still remain about their DPS-line. In two of three positions on this roster, the Gladiators are set. The two Finnish support players, Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni, were excellent in stage one; based on the newest updates to the meta and their hero pools, it’s likely they’ll improve in stage two.
However, with the tanks and supports looking strong, albeit, with little depth behind the starters, the damage mains will have to step up and make plays behind this new tank line. Fissure will be helpful in getting things opened up for Lane “Surefour” Roberts on Tracer or Soldier 76 or João “Hydration” Pedro Goes Telles on the Pharah. They’ll need more consistency from that group to contend though.
The biggest problem regarding this Gladiators team is trying to figure out which two DPS-mains start on any given map. Stage one lineups were a mishmash of Hyrdation and Asher, followed up in the next game by Surefour and Asher. The substitutions lacked any real structure for the Gladiators and in most cases didn’t work out. Key for a Gladiators turnaround is getting everyone back on the same page. The rotations created a momentum issue and that unit never recovered. It’s for those guys to see if this team makes a stage two run.
If this team wants to compete down the line, picking up another DPS isn’t such a terrible idea considering the need and DPS-heavy free agent market. The Gladiators already improved drastically by bringing in a straight up playmaker on the tank line and the same could happen on the damage side. Fissure, in terms of value, will be worth two or more wins. Freedom to create and playing time is going to make his Winston a sight to behold. Gladiators will be in contention for a playoff spot.
Featured photo via LA Gladiators Twitter