Esports Overwatch

Overwatch: Los Angeles Gladiators’ Five Most Important Games

Gladiators

The Overwatch League recently announced their schedule for Season 2. The highly anticipated second season of the massively successful Overwatch League kicks off on Valentines Day, Feb. 14. The second season includes a few changes. First, each team will play 28 games, instead of the 40 they played in Season 1. Next, teams can play either two, one, or zero games in a week. This gives teams a bye-week so players from other countries have the option to travel home. Finally, the entire playoff system has been overhauled. There will be playoffs for Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3. Each of these playoffs will include eight teams. Instead of a Stage 4 playoffs, the seventh-12th placed teams will compete in a knockout playoff to determine who makes it into the Season playoffs. The two division leaders, the next four best teams, and the two teams to survive the knockout playoff.

Gladiators
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Gladiators

For the upcoming season, the Los Angeles Gladiators will be playing their 28 games, all in Los Angeles. The Gladiators will be looking to bounce back in Season 2, after falling short in the playoffs against the London Spitfire. Here are five of the most important games during Season 2 for the LA Gladiators.

Seoul Dynasty (Stage 1, Week 1)

First we have the third game of the opening day of the Overwatch League Season 2, where the Gladiators will take on the Seoul Dynasty. This is the return of main tank player Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek to Los Angeles. Fissure infamously sat out the Gladiators playoff series against the London Spitfire. The Spitfire ended up winning the series, and eventually the Season 1 playoffs.

This game will pit the newly revamped Dynasty against the newly revamped Gladiators. Both teams are looking to bounce back after seasons where they both did not live up to their potential. The Dynasty missed out on the Season 1 playoffs. Fissure’s return is sure to be a tense one, with some fans sure to boo him.

Gladiators
Courtesy of USA Today

Additionally, this will be the first look at the Gladiators lineup, where fans are not sure about who will be lining up as starters. The support duo of Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni will for sure start, with Lane “Surefour” Roberts being a mainstay as a DPS player. It will be a toss up between João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles and Gui-un “Decay” Jang as to who plays the other DPS. At tank, expect to see newcomer Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye alongside his former Kongdoo Panthera teammate Jun-woo “Void” Kang.

London Spitfire (Stage 1, Week 3)

If the Los Angeles Gladiators want to show that they are a top team, they must compete with the London Spitfire. The London lineup has not changed much from their victorious Season 1 playoff run. They added Hee-dong “Guard” Lee and Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung. This will still be early on for the Gladiators. This is their fourth game of the season.

The Gladiators are pitted against the team that sunk their playoff dreams. They will come out with a chip on their shoulder, and will have their main tank playing. Expect this to be a tense game, full of evenly fought team fights, with a few incredible moments that stand out and change the course of the game.

Los Angeles Valiant (Stage 2, Week 2)

Next is the first iteration of the Battle of LA. The two Los Angeles teams will duke it out in front of the home fans. The past Battle of LA’s have been extremely fun events to witness, with the Valiant having a 4-1 series advantage. The Gladiators will look to pull the series in their favor this season. The first rivalry of the Overwatch League has continued to blossom.

The Valiant brought in one player while releasing a few. They ended their season last year in the playoffs with a loss to the eventual champions, London Spitfire. Expect this rivalry to continue to grow this season. This game will show the home crowd the best Los Angeles-based team, and will give the winning teams’ fans bragging rights for the second season of the Overwatch League.

Philadelphia Fusion (Stage 3, Week 2)

Next up we have the Gladiators versus Fusion. Many fans of the Overwatch League would argue that the Philadelphia Fusion and LA Gladiators are competing for top three teams in the league, behind the London Spitfire and New York Excelsior. In fact, these two teams have only met three times, with the Gladiators taking a 2-1 series lead. Both teams made smart offseason moves, with the Gladiators bringing in more players, and the Fusion letting go of some players that did not help their team.

Gladiators
Courtesy of Liquipedia

This will showcase the battle between two of the best DPS players in Surefour and Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee. Both are well loved by fans of various teams. Stage 3 will be very important for teams hoping to push for an automatic playoff bid. Both teams, on paper, seem like teams that could secure those automatic spots in the Season playoffs.

Los Angeles Valiant (Stage 4, Week 5)

Lastly, we have the second Battle of LA. Not only is this the second Battle of LA of the season, it will not be played at the Blizzard Arena. This game will be hosted by Microsoft in Los Angeles. This is one of three sites chosen to be granted road games this season, also including Dallas and Atlanta. While it is hard to say where either of these teams will be by Stage 4, this rivalry will continue to to be a mainstay for the Overwatch League.

Need More?

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Featured Image Courtesy of the Los Angeles Gladiators

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