Of all the teams entering the Overwatch League’s Opening Weekend, perhaps none had more to prove than the Los Angeles Valiant. Rated extremely low by many this offseason, the Valiant have been labeled as one of the league’s worst before even taking the stage. After seeing them against Dallas on Saturday, perhaps many were to quick to judge this team.
Adding Fuel to the Fire
Once the match was over, the Valiant entered the postgame press conference still clearly on a bit of a high, feeling confident about their performance. When I asked if the crowd affected them at all, either positively or negatively, the answer was unanimous. Offtank Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey instantly chimed in.
“Positively, no doubt.”
After him, Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa jumped in to expand on the positivity the team felt from the crowd’s energy.
“Honestly, I love the energy, even though we were getting booed, I was expecting it… Last year when we played, none of us were expecting it. But this year we were coming in ready. There was so much energy, it was just a great experience.”
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) February 9, 2020
Making a Statement: One Team
Later in the press conference, I pointed out that many had rated the team lower in their preseason rankings and asked if any of the players or coaches wanted to make a statement to the league or their fans. As soon as I asked, I knew coach Mike “Packing10” Szklanny was going to come out swinging, he had a determined and emboldened look in his eye as he spoke.
“it’s great to win, but the first conversation we had when we got back in the locker room was that we need to be better, because how we played today versus how we normally play are two different teams. So, it’s great that we win, but it’s not a sprint, right? One game doesn’t win you everything so we put a big emphasis on just being better. With a lot of new players playing on stage and everything, they’re a little bit nerves but they handled it really well they came together as a team.
When it comes to building the roster and stuff, we told the fans in our AMA to just relax, it’s okay, trust us, that’s what’s important. If you look at the quality of the players we have and the teamwork they play with, I mean, nobody should doubt or sleep on this team because we got a lot of good players and they’re doing their job and we’re going to be great.”
At that point, McGravy, who looked equally as antsy to chime in, posited this.
“One good team can beat six good players. It doesn’t matter if you have no-name rookies or whatever, as long as you have one good team and they play as a unit, you can beat anybody.”
At that, Packing10 jumped back in.
“I want to add to that since we’re here in Dallas. They [Dallas] had all the opportunity in the world to pick up McGravy multiple times. They didn’t. That says something… It was the same thing with a lot of the players with the guys we go from the Mayhem, and things like that. People looked at those players and said, ‘Oh no, that they’re bad players, why would they ever pick them up?’
They’re not bad players, they’re great players. People need to realize and respect that and some teams need to do some better scouting.”
The Valiant are embodying the underdog mentality as they open up the 2020 season. They’ll attempt to really shock the world as they take on the Vancouver Titans in just a few hours. If they come out with this kind of ferocity and fire, it will be a match you won’t want to miss.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Tyler Demogenes for Blizzard Entertainment
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