The Gladiators gave it their all, but their season comes to a close in the North American tournament. Each battle over the weekend was tough, but what direction was the team headed at the end of the season?
Reviewing Week 31
On Thursday, two matches took place to decide who continues their season and who goes home. The Boston Uprising upset the weapon-laden Outlaws and the Washington Justice pounded the Vancouver Titans down once more. Of the three teams to choose from, however, the Gladiators chose the Toronto Defiant. While both Boston and Washington are considered underperforming teams, they both gave LA some embarrassing defeats which the front office can’t afford to allow again. Toronto was considered a smart pick as they weren’t able to stand much of a chance against the Yaters in each of their encounters.
Here is how the game went down:
Map 1 – Ilios
Birdring is benched while Mirror and Kevster play the dps. Agilities starts on tank. He plays as Roadhog, whom this current meta favors. Zykk as Pharah was able to limit how much success the Yaters had this first round. The Gladiators looked like they were going to flip the point but Agilities was a juggernaut and refused to go down thanks to a nano boost from Kariv. Roadhog is just too cheap. Defiant hold on to win Round 1 100-83%.
Round 2 was redemption for LA. The Glads played aggressively once they took possession over the point. Defiant manages to waste both their Sound Barrier and Deadeye at once as Kevster blows Logix up with a Pulse Bomb. It had managed to pay off as Defiant players go down. Defiant desperately try one last attack but Gladiators corral them up and off the point. LA wins Round 2 100-27%.
Mirror chooses Pharah to counter Zykk’s Pharah. Toronto gets the first possession and holds it. OGE tried to take down Agilities as Roadhog all by himself. Winston is as resilient as a stormtrooper going up against him. Toronto manages to get to 84% when LA finally manages to take the point for the first time. But for the next fight, Logix as Sombra leads the way with an EMP to take the point again and the map. Toronto wins Round 3 100-43%.
Birdring comes into the game in place of Mirror, fighting illness. Gladiators start on offense. Shaz goes down early and the rest of the team flock to the other section. Once he returns, Agilities goes on a tear taking out BigGoose and Birdring. Third times the charm, as the Glads needed a bunch of ultimate abilities and damage targeted at Agilities in order to take him down. They get Point A and get the cart moving. They get to point C after coordinating an attack. OGE, Mirror, and Birdring all did well here to get the payload to the end with time expiring.
Birdring stays in the game. LA defends first. OGE also stays with Wrecking Ball. Both teams were losing players on Point A, but the X-factor was Agilities as Roadhog. The Glads needed to defend Point B for over five and a half minutes. It looked like Toronto was on its way to a quick Point B takeover. OGE had other plans as Wrecking Ball, laying down a clutch minefield. Defiant backed off once Agilities went down. It appeared that Toronto was going to seal Point B, but Kevster and Shaz manage to take out Kariv, Logix, and Agilities on the point with time expiring. Amazing clutch play from Kevster and Shaz. Defiant come out with only 1 point.
Gladiators go on offense now. To win this map, the Glads needed to take 91% of Point B. Gladiators and Defiant traded casualties on Point A, but Toronto stuck around to keep LA from fully capturing it. LA win the numbers game, though, getting the point as soon as the last Defiant fell. Gladiators go right on the attack at Point B, managing to take two-third of it. Toronto regains its support. For the next fight, they target Agilities. He is Nano-Boosted, but is not able to get a single elimination. Kevster as Sombra gets an EMP off and LA regains their momentum in getting to that 91%. Gladiators regain the lead 2-1.
Player of the Match: Kevster
Kevster was a very methodical player this round, particularly as Tracer. He was just the player the Glads needed this game in order to keep the team from losing possession of points and payloads. He was able to use Pulse-bombs on Agilities, Nevix, Kruise, and Kariv, without it seeming like it went to wast, which is often the case with Tracer.
Good on Birdring for playing and stepping up. This is the kind of player they needed in Fissure two seasons ago. Unless he has been gravely ill, it would have been a mistake to have sit him out of this game.
Mirror plays tank in place of OGE to play as Roadhog. The Yaters needed a few attempts to get Point A with the help of a Rocket Barrage and EMP. Kevster has managed to generate ultimate abilities very quickly as Pharah. He unleashes three more before even getting to Point B, albeit they needed to work to get there. Gladiators manage to stop the payload just outside of the goal.
Defense was another story. Philly managed to take LA down fast and get the payload going. They continue their parade of brutality down the street. The battle outside of Point B was long and brutal. In the end, it was Roadhog was stayed alive and took out the remainder of Philly’s forces. The next fight, however, the Fusion were able to take advantage by taking out both Mirror and Kevster in the sky. Glads needed to defend the payload for about four minutes. The Fusion just needed more than three, and the Glads were overwhelmed as Philadelphia cruise to victory.
Gladiators are on defense now. They hold Point A pretty well, allowing a couple of minutes to be shaved off the clock. They tour into the buildings. Birdring had a Death Blossom waiting for them but he died before he could use it. Fusion take out LA and secure the first point. The Fusion had a good attempt to take Point B right away by focusing on Birdring once again. Kevster answers with an EMP.
Gladiators on offense once more, and have one minute to take Point A. They copy the Fusion’s composition. They opt to take their time; it’s like they forget they only had a minute on the clock to work with, and the Fusion get the upper hand by targeting OGE. That worked well.
With the loss to the Philadelphia Fusion, the Gladiators were placed in the “Loser’s Bracket”, with their opponents being the Florida Mayhem. Florida lost to the Los Angeles Valiant in the very next match.
The Gladiators, while they seemed to be within competitive reach in terms of record, have never been able to figure out Florida all season, so it certainly was a do or die game here.
Here is how the game went down:
Map 1 – Busan
Round 1 starts and it was already disastrous for LA. As Florida won the point, Shaz and Moira used a Coalescence that had no effect. By the time the second fight engaged, the Mayhem already had well over 60% on the point. Third fight, BQB crashes LA with a Death Blossom as Reaper. Mayhem wins 100-0%.
BQB has his presence felt again in Round 2, getting a couple early kills which allow Mayhem to take control of the point. The Yaters had a better chance this map as Yaki as Sombra managed to botch an EMP. OGE pounces to eliminate a couple of Florida players to take the point for LA. The Gladiators held the point for a while, but were not prepared for the Mayhem’s next attack. They take the point again. One more fight, and it was BQB and Fate that closes out the map for Florida, taking LA forces down piece by piece. Florida get round 2 100-93%.
Gladiators start on offense. Mayhem behave like a swarm and go after stragglers early. The Glads had difficulty in finding a way to penetrate the Mayhem’s defenses. On the third fight, the Gladiators were able to get two thirds of point A, but BQB is there again to quash any effort. Another instance where Glads take too much time. Just embarrassing. Florida is able to hold Point A with barely any challenge.
Florida didn’t even need an elaborate strategy to take Point A. They only needed 89% just by pressing their attack on LA. Kevster fell, OGE fell, Birdring fell, from there, Florida won. They pull ahead 2-0.
Map 3 – Volskaya
Gladiators back on offense. They had two attempts to take Point A and fail. It all came down to not targeting BQB as Ashe. BQB has been yet another star DPS set out to embarrass the Yaters. This map is a draw.
Player of the Match: Birdring
This was a hard choice due to the inferior play that the team faced on the last game of the season. The guy shows promise, though, despite his age. Picking of a pre-EMP Sombra was the last glimmer of a potentially successful season, but he also was able to play well on maps 2 and 3, too.
Just a disappointing season overall, compared to how they’ve played in previous seasons. The author has found four factors in their decline in their performance this season: