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Los Angeles Gladiators – 2020 Season Preview

It’s a new season, Gladiators fans.
The long off-season is about to wrap up and the Overwatch League 2020 season will soon be upon us. The Los Angeles Gladiators are coming off a stellar 2019 season, finishing in 5th place with a record of 17-11. Regardless, the team needed much to improve upon in order to stay competitive with the league’s elite teams. Such teams are the San Francisco Shock and New York Excelsior.
As with most of the league, the team has undergone some major roster moves, full of big signings but also just as big departures. Here is how the Gladiators roster will look like at the start of the season.

DPS Players

Photo by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyeok has been a major off-season signing, coming fresh off of a London Spitfire championship team. Coach David “DPei” Pei has confirmed on the Tactical Crouch Podcast that the team will go more in a western direction. Despite this, Birdring commits to learning English and will be a part of the team moving forward. Critics question Birdring’s consistency, but us Yaters fans are hoping for the championship-caliber player we’ve known from two years ago.

Chris “Mirror” Trịnh will be the second DPS starter alongside Birdring. Mirror is the first Vietnamese player to enter the league. He offers several different compliments to Birdring’s playstyle, playing as heroes such as Hanzo, Genji and Doomfist. The Gladiators picked him up from Boston Uprising Academy’s roster. The Academy finished first in Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2 Trials: North America.
Jason “Jaru” White will play backup on DPS. While having a similar hero selection to Mirror, Jaru serves as a developing player and reliable substitute in times of need. Jaru comes from Team Envy, who finished first in Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: North America West.

Tank Players

space owl
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Indy “Space” Halpern is the first of many major moves at tank. Having spent two seasons on the Los Angeles Valiant, the flex DPS is famous for his play on D. Va and Sigma. He has come in clutch for the men formerly in green on many occasions. His performance at the 2019 Overwatch World Cup has only proven him even more to be a top talent. Team USA took the gold in 2019 in a seamless fashion.

Minseok “OGE” Son had been an asset to the Dallas Fuel roster, but is now a Gladiator in exchange for DPS player Decay. The league heralds OGE as one of the best main tanks in the league, and with Space, they make for a scary tank duo on paper.
Roni “LHCloudy” Tiihonen is a former tank player from Paris Eternal, and will assume the backup position to OGE this season. As LHCloudy had been starting as tank for Paris, they have decided to go in a different direction with their team. Thus, his next chapter is with the Purple and Black Pack.
Kim “Bischu” Hyungseok is returning to the Gladiators after spending half of a season with the Guangzhou Charge. A team favorite, Bischu is a charismatic and positive player on and off the stage, and had been highly praised for his bilingual skills. Odds are, he won’t play much this season in favor of Space. However, he certainly is a difference-maker when needed and had been a core part of the Gladiators organization from the start.

Support Players

Los Angeles Gladiators
2019-02-17 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni is one of the two last remaining players on the original team back in 2018. Having been a Lucio and Mercy player, BigGoose has been a consistently skilled booper on Lucio in the past two seasons.

Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara is the other half of the Finnish support duo. They have previously played together on Team Gigantti. Shaz is a dependable Zenyatta player, but can also play Ana or Baptiste if need be. Both BigGoose and Shaz are one of the best support tandems in the league.
Nolan “Paintbrush” Edwards is the third support player on the Gladiators, backing up BigGoose. Paintbrush had previously played for Mayhem Academy and Revival before getting called up to the Yaters. While not known for being a high asset pickup, he is a welcome addition to the team’s support rotation.


The roster has undergone several drastic changes over the off-season. And so, the organization has had to say goodbye to a number of players from the previous season:
  • Utility player Hydration became a free agent after two seasons on the Gladiators, signing with the Houston Outlaws.
  • The sharpshooter Surefour also leaves LA after two seasons, being signed to Toronto Defiant.
  • Void was the backup flex tank filling in for Bischu in the last two seasons, but he now joins the Shangai Dragons for the 2020 season.
  • Roar leaves the Gladiators after just one season, becoming the current main tank for the Washington Justice.
  • As mentioned earlier, Dallas Fuel acquired DPS player Decay in a trade in exchange for OGE.
  • Lastly, the Gladiators parted ways with both Panker and Ripa after the previous season.

Early Outlook on the LA Gladiators

While a few key players have joined new teams this off-season, they pick up suitable replacements. The team has also signed formidable backups to create a versatile rotation that can be relied on all throughout the season.
The Gladiators are bracing for a bumpy ride throughout the year, as every team is looking to give it their all. This is especially true at the start of the season where face division rivals Vancouver Titans and defending world champions San Francisco Shock at the very start.
Hopefully, this new-look team will surprise the league with favorable results against the toughest that each team has to offer. We’re looking forward to another explosive season and hope for a championship run after the regular season. Here’s to another grand year for the Yaters.
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