London appears to be getting back into their championship-winning form after making a few roster adjustments last week. After putting up a mediocre showing against the Justice, they came into their match against the Spark running Hee Dong “Guard” Lee on Brigitte and moving Junyoung “Profit” Park onto Zarya duty. The results were a significant improvement, and this new core lineup should bring London back into relevancy as the stage continues.
Last Week’s Recap
Washington Justice: 0-2
This match highlighted extreme issues with both teams and their ability to run GOATS compositions. London looked afraid to take team fights, playing so passively on Busan that Washington was able to take objectives for free. After halftime, London scrambled together to reverse sweep the Justice, but it was not an impressive showing. Regardless, a win is a win, and the Spitfire took Thursday’s game with a score of 3-2.
Player of the Game
Seungtae “Bdosin” Choi
Bdosin struggled during week 1, often being the first to fall in team fights. But against the Justice, he came back in full force. Sure, he might have used transcendence while his team was at full health, but overall his improved survivability helped better sustain the Spitfire throughout their engages.
Hangzhou Spark: 2-2
Ji Hyeok “birdring” Kim’s Zarya play against the Justice was lackluster, and his underperformance resulted in him being subbed out for Sunday’s match. Thankfully, Profit’s Zarya and Guard’s Brigitte helped London solidify a 3-3 composition that could fight against the best. They looked dominant against the Spark, quickly punishing poor positioning and maintaining a strong ultimate economy. While they ended up giving up the last map for a final score of 3-1, London’s performance this game was miles above anything we’d seen so far this season.
Player of the Game
Jaehui “Gesture” Hong
Gesture was on fire this match, looking leagues better than his questionable performances last week. On Numbani in particular, he managed to build primal rages in the blink of an eye, and punished the slower Reinhardt-centric offense of the Spark. While his own Reinhardt still leaves a bit to be desired, his Winston this week was the foundation on which the team built their dominant synergy.
Preview of this Week
Los Angeles Gladiators: 1-2
The LA Gladiators are a formidable team, even if their current win-loss record doesn’t show it. Their past losses this stage were against the 5th-ranked Seoul Dynasty and 3rd-ranked Paris Eternal. Their sole victory came against the rank 13 San Francisco Shock, a similarly formidable team despite their equally deceiving record. This week, we’ll see how the Gladiators fare against the Spitfire, who are currently ranked 9th, right in the middle of the Dynasty and Shock.
It’s hard to tell how London will fare against the Glads this week. While London has shown their ability to play well against a mid-tier team with their new starting roster, it’s only one data point to make predictions off of. London has a history of being an inconsistent team, and their performance with their new core lineup could fluctuate at a moment’s notice. This match will serve as a proving ground for both teams to establish themselves as above average talent.
To succeed against the Gladiators, the Spitfire will need to punish them when they go for aggressive plays. The Glads have a tendency to overextend during critical moments that could determine a map, which Seoul took advantage of on Route 66 to win the series. If London can capitalize on baiting out aggressive positioning from Los Angeles, they’ll have an easier time eliminating isolated players like João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles’ Brigitte. But if London aren’t ready for the aggression, the match could easily swing LA’s way as they plow through an unprepared defense.
Prediction: Los Angeles wins 3-2.
Spitfire Fun Fact
The Spitfire’s Horizon Lunar Colony offense against the Hangzhou Spark last week was the fastest yet this season. Completing the map in 2:10, their record now stands more than 30 seconds ahead the second fastest time: the Los Angeles Gladiators’ own 2:42 completion. London has shown strength on Assault maps this season, where they have often swapped off the 3-3 lineups that pervade nearly every match this stage. Hopefully they can keep this momentum going on Volskaya against LA this week.
Player to Watch
Junyoung “Profit” Park
Profit’s Zarya helped transform London from a below-average team into a tremendous one last week. But as the competition ramps up, he’ll need to deliver consistent results on the hero to ensure that London remain a dominant team for the rest of stage 1. Stay on the lookout for setups for shiny plays from gravitons, and keep an eye on his barrier usage to monitor how quickly he builds charge. Profit has the potential to make or break London depending on his performance; if the Gladiators can shut him down, it spells doom for the rest of the team.
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