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London Spitfire: Stage 1 Week 5 Preview

While their match against Shanghai last week was by no means a shutout, London’s loss to a team of the Dragons’ caliber showcased the prominent hesitations about London’s consistency. Thankfully, the Spitfire aren’t out of the running for a playoffs spot yet, though the odds are stacked against them with an overall negative map differential. In order to secure a spot in the playoffs, the Spitfire will need a landslide victory over Seoul, and hope that teams like Guangzhou, Atlanta and Houston under-perform.

Last Week’s Recap

Shanghai Dragons (3-4)

Shanghai
Photo Courtesy of Shanghai Dragons

London’s match against Shanghai had it all: DPS characters, 3-0 map shutouts and signature C9’s. On Nepal and Anubis, the Spitfire read Shanghai like a book, not allowing them to take a single point. But as strong as their performance was on these maps, it was equally weak on King’s Row and Route 66. London’s struggles with consistency are well known at this point, but seeing both ends of the spectrum jump back and forth between maps is unique even for them.

Both teams put their best foot forward coming into the tiebreaker map: Ilios. London started strong, handily taking Well, but they couldn’t keep up the momentum against Shanghai’s aggressive offenses on Lighthouse and Ruins. London ultimately fell to Shanghai, 3-2.

Player of the Game

Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

Hee Dong “Guard” Lee

Guard delivered another strong performance this week, keeping his counterpart Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang in check. Multiple 6-man EMPs, stealthy hacks and backline picks helped solidify Guard’s stellar performance this week. Unfortunately, London can’t continue to rely on stellar performances from Guard alone to win matches; the team as a whole needs to improve their base level of play to succeed.

Preview for this Week

Seoul Dynasty (3-3)

Fighting for the same playoff spot as the Spitfire are none other than the Seoul Dynasty. Like the Spitfire, the Dynasty are no strangers to consistency issues. While they came into the stage with a convincing win over the Gladiators, Seoul’s loss to Boston in week 3 caught many fans by surprise. While Seoul has proven their formidability with wins against low tier teams, their position among the middle of the pack has yet to solidify.

2019-02-14 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Seoul’s lineup is comparable to London’s in many respects, but the two teams’ strengths come from different places. For Seoul, Chanhyung “Fissure” Baek’s commanding leadership helps them successfully run aggressive tactics that other teams wouldn’t dare attempt. For London, the individual playmaking potential from star DPS players like Junyoung “Profit” Park and Guard enable more passive play from the rest of the team until they get their first pick. While both styles have proven moderately successful for both teams, London’s playstyle often requires either a decisive hack at the beginning of a fight, or a slow snowball of momentum to build while Profit gains energy. If Seoul plow headfirst into the Spitfire, neither of these options are as viable, and London may shut down on the spot.

Prediction: Seoul wins 3-1.

London Spitfire, Gesture
Photo courtesy of the Overwatch League

Player to Watch

Jaehui “Gesture” Hong

Seoul and London have dramatically different playstyles that are dictated by their main tank players. It should come as no surprise to longtime OWL viewers that former Spitfire main tank Fissure plays a more aggressive Reinhardt than Gesture. This week’s spotlight will be on Gesture, focusing on his ability to punish Seoul’s reckless positioning. The Spitfire must adapt to Seoul’s tank play by enabling their own main tank to go toe-to-toe, otherwise they risk throwing away their shot at this stage’s playoffs.

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Featured photo from London Spitfire

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