The first week of the Overwatch League is here and the LA Valiant have two matches in the first week. This will be a weekly article series that normally recaps the previous week and prepare fans for the next week’s matchups to ensure that they are caught up on the games. Without further adieu, here is the LA Valiant Week 1 PreReview.
LA Valiant (0-0) @ Dallas Fuel (0-0)
February 8th, 7 PM EST
This matchup is between two teams that were the first few just on the outside of the play-ins in 2019. Both teams had disappointing seasons and both made massive changes to their respective rosters. What makes this matchup interesting is that they had very different offseasons but likely will finish the season with a similar record.
The LA Valiant reset a lot of their entire roster selling off big names like Indy “Space” Halpern and Young-Seo “KariV“ Park in favor of a cheaper, younger roster with promising players like Kai “KSP“ Collins and Rick “GiG” Salazar. Their DPS line of Johannes “Shax” Nielsen and Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa in addition to off tank Caleb McGarvey all returned to a mostly new and unproven roster looking to make noise this year.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Fuel went big this offseason. Former mainstays like Timo “Taimou” Kettunen, Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod, and Min-Seok “OGE” Son are all no longer on the roster. Instead new, young talent has entered the fray. Star DPS Gui-un “Decay” Jang arrived in a trade via the LA Gladiators, they reunited Lucas “NotE” Meissner with his former Boston Uprising teammate Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh, while both Dong-ha “Doha” Kim and William “Crimzo” Hernandez enter the roster from successful stints in Contenders with Element Mystic and Team Envy respectively. This team is looking to right their previous wrongs and become successful this season, but that outcome is far from a sure thing.
Now the match this weekend occurs at Dallas’ homestand, so the crowd will be against the Valiant. As long as they block out the noise and play their game, there is a good chance they can “upset” the Fuel in this matchup. If one has been listening around the scrim bucks stock exchange, the Valiant look promising.
Player To Watch: McGravy
We don’t know who will be starting as the main tank for the opening game of the season, but whoever it is will be important to the Valiant’s chances to win this match. Looking at both rosters, the teams match up somewhat evenly on DPS, with Decay being the only ones of the group that particularly stands out. When it comes to support lines, both teams are close unless Dallas starts Crimzo. That then leaves the tank lines, which one could argue is where the Valiant can win this matchup.
As long as GiG or Dreamer can tread water, they can at least have an even main tank matchup. Where they can gain a distinct advantage is the off tank battle. Many people feel NotE is washed and is quite frankly a D.VA one trick. Packing10 praised McGravy on the Tactical Crouch Podcast for his leadership and work ethic. If that praise is true, McGravy has a chance to become an above-average main tank. If he outplays NotE, which is quite possible, the Valiant could have a distinct advantage over the Fuel in this matchup.
Prediction: LA Valiant win 3-2
LA Valiant (0-0) @ Vancouver Titans (0-0)
This is match has dueling storylines. On one end, it is a grudge match for the Vancouver Titans. They won’t forget how last season the Valiant ended their undefeated streak in shocking fashion. Meanwhile, the Valiant are playing with house money and have nothing to lose in this matchup. Man for man, they have no reason to win this match. If the Valiant prove to be the more coordinated team, that could be just enough to win.
One of the main things to look at in this matchup is the DPS matchup between the DPS lines. Hyojong “Haksal” Kim is by far the best DPS player in this match, but his partners are nothing special. Chunghui “Stitch” Lee and Minsoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo are both talented but are average compared to other talents at their position in the league. The Valiant meanwhile have as a collective the better DPS line. KSF, formerly of XL2 Academy, is an extremely talented hitscan player with international experience from The Gauntlet and with Team UK in the Overwatch World Cup. To go with KSP, KSF and Shax are both talented individuals on a plethora of heroes dating back to before last season.
Player to Watch: KSP
This is the lone position where the Valiant holds a distinct advantage over a given team. Vancouver has a better flex DPS, better supports, a better off tank, and a better main tank (as long as he does not implode). This is the one position where if they can dominate their mirror and in turn the other team. He is supremely talented on hitscan heroes and is better on all of them than SeoMinSoo or Stitch. Whether it be Hanzo, Widowmaker, McCree, or Reaper he can play any of them. In fact, KSP can outplay any Vancouver DPS in any fight not named Haksal. If KSP dominates, the Valiant could give the Titans a scare.
Prediction: Vancouver Titans win 3-1
That is all for the PreReview of LA Valiant’s Week One schedule. Make sure to support the Valiant this weekend and watch the opening weekend’s matches on the official Overwatch League YouTube page
What are your predictions for week one? Tell Christian what you think @TheWiz_SPM
Featured image courtesy of Los Angeles Valiant
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