London fans have felt a little precarious ever since the Atlanta Reign knocked them out of the top 6. Securing the No. 7 regular season seed, however, has at least provided them a bye in the play-ins. This gives them a chance to analyze other teams’ play and an extra day of practice. London’s season has been maddeningly inconsistent. They’ve had difficulties adapting to successive metas, first the three-tank three-support meta at the beginning of the year and then Mei-Reaper compositions in Stage 4. Last year, London made an incredible playoff run partly off the strength of their adaptation to a new meta. So how well will they be able to adapt to the 1.39 patch the playoffs will be played on?
What Is The Playoffs Meta?
Only one day of official OWL matches has been played on this patch so far. This makes it difficult to make confident statements about the meta. However, a few things can be gleaned from Friday’s two play-in tournament matches. First of all, what many pro players have been saying was confirmed: the tank duo of this meta is overwhelmingly Orisa and Sigma. All other hero choices seem to revolve around this dominant duo and their ability to put up two barrier shields. From Friday’s games, Doomfist and Pharah seem like the flavour of this meta. Symmetra and Reaper have also made several appearances, along with more niche Mei-based and Sombra-based strategies.
The support meta is extremely diverse. Ana, Mercy, Moira, and Lúcio are all seeing play, along with the occasional Baptiste. There is, however, a notable absence of Zenyatta; a victim of the double barrier meta, Zenyatta often finds himself unable to deal damage or place his Orb of Discord through multiple shields. Conversely, Doomfist and Reaper’s ability to go through shields and easily escape are what make them strong choices in this meta. Pharah and Symmetra take another approach, able to spam huge amounts of damage in order to break the shields. McCree has also been making appearances, to counter Pharah and combine his ult with Sigma’s Gravitic Flux.
One of London’s biggest assets in this meta will undoubtedly be Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong. Known primarily for his Winston, Gesture unveiled a top-tier Orisa during London’s 2018 playoff run. With perfectly timed Halts and a strong synergy with Joon-yeong “Profit” Park, Gesture might be one of the best Orisa players in the playoff picture.
Playing alongside him, Jun-ho “Fury” Kim has never had the opportunity to play Sigma in an official match, as Stage 4 was played on the pre-Sigma 1.38 patch. However, Fury is an intelligent and highly versatile player with a strong D.Va, Zarya, and Roadhog. It’s very likely that Fury’s gamesense and reaction time will allow him to quickly master Sigma.
Their DPS line is more of a question mark. Neither Profit nor his DPS duo partner Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim have played a significant amount of Pharah or Doomfist in the League. Unless coach Cheolyong “Agape” Hong crafts a Sombra-centric strategy for Control maps, Hee-dong “Guard” Lee is unlikely to see play. However, birdring and especially Profit are some of the most flexible DPS players in the league. With proven excellence on McCree and the ability to play Reaper and Doomfist, if birdring can overcome his inconsistency he should be an asset to London.
The onus may be on Profit to come up with a playoff-caliber Symmetra and Doomfist by tomorrow. If any player can do it, however, it’s Profit. Known for his incredible flexibility, Profit has filled every gap the Spitfire have needed him to this season and should be able to pull it off again. If he can keep the same Halt co-ordination with Gesture that they showed off in 2018’s playoffs, look for Profit to be this team’s star.
The Support Line
Finally, London should feel pretty confident in their support line. Although Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi won’t be able to play Zenyatta, arguably his strongest hero, he should be able to fall back on a strong Ana and Moira. Spitfire fans might be excited to see Jong-seok “NUS” Kim playing Mercy again; his clutch resurrections on the hero helped London out of many difficult situations last year. With Ji-hoon “Quatermain” Song as a backup, the Spitfire’s support line should be perfectly capable of adapting to this meta.
Conclusion: In Flight Towards Playoffs
If London want to overcome the Shanghai Dragons tonight and guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs, their hopes will lie with Fury and Profit. The Spitfire will need Fury to shine on Sigma, and Profit to flex to previously off-meta heroes. However, if there are any players who are flexible, intelligent, and talented enough for London to rest their playoff hopes on, it’s Profit and Fury. Birdring has remained an inconsistent player this season. However, if he’s able to switch on for playoffs, he’ll be an invaluable asset. If he isn’t, Guard is a serviceable alternative. Furthermore, his back pocket Sombra pick could be a secret weapon for the Spitfire. All in all, the odds are on for the London Spitfire to master this new meta. Their potential playoff opponents should be worried.
If London can adapt to the meta, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. The Game Haus took an in-depth look at their play-in chances here.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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