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Gladiators Suffer Back-to-Back Defeats in Week 25

Week 25 was a tumultuous week for LA, facing two elite teams back-to-back. Winning both these games had been unlikely for them, but the goal for the weekend was rather to find their footing so they can hopefully finish out the season strong.

Reviewing Week 24

Philadelphia Fusion: 17-2

Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

For this match, Mirror moved over into a tank role, where he has a history of playing as Zarya. While he did prevail as Zarya at times, the author of this article felt that the Yaters’ downfall in this match was putting too much faith in him to the point where he stayed in the game from start to finish, which was considered more of a sacrifice than an upgrade to the team in certain maps. Even if Zarya is favorable in the current meta, the better player would excel more often playing as heroes that are more comfortable for him. They gambled and it did not pay off.

Here is how this match went down:

Map 1 – Nepal

Mirror starts the game on flex tank alongside OGE. Round 1 was very back-and-forth with both teams taking over the point several times. Carpe as Tracer acted like a thorn in LA’s side for much of this round. Kevster however was able to answer with Genji’s Dragon Blade. Gladiators win a very close Round 1, at 100-99.
In Round 2, the Gladiators continued their focused ways as they edge out the Fusion in another close outing. While the Fusion gave it their very best, the team stayed in there and Shaz was able to pull off some crucial abilities and eliminations. Down to the last fight, the Yaters had the ultimate advantage to close out the map. Gladiators take the lead 1-0.
Map 2 – Eichenwalde
No substitutions for Map 2. In rare fashion, the Gladiators were able to wipe out Philly in all three sections of the map. Credit Shaz for his great gameplay as Zenyatta. They even were able to render the Fusion’s ultimate abilities useless as they continue their attack and move the payload forward. Gladiators get to the end with 1:42 on the clock. Commentary repeats that the Fusion only had 5 eliminations in that entire possession.
Gladiators get on defense next. Kevster was the MVP for this map, generating multiple Dragon Blades to stop the Fusion’s momentum. Mirror’s Graviton Surge gets all members of the Fusion while Kevster’s Dragon Blade takes them out with 20 seconds to go. Gladiators with one map away from what would be a tremendous upset, 2-0.
Map 3 – Volskaya Industries
The Gladiators start on defense. Fusion take Point A easily in one fight. Gladiators hold for a fight or two but later fall apart after an opportunistic Sado takes multiple Gladiators out in the back line. Alarm as Moira used Coalescence to put this one away with 2:47 left on the clock.
On offense, the Glads needed two fights in order to take Point A. Kevster and Birdring paved the way. On to Point B, the Glads start strong, but take longer than they should to finish, which is a flaw the team has had throughout the season. Nevertheless, the team gets Point B with 2:52 on the clock.
LA stays on defense for the next go-around. Somehow, LA was weaker on defense this time around, as they weren’t able to hold out for longer on Point A. Fury as Zarya led the way to capturing Point B as he lays out a Graviton Surge outside the point and the Fusion takes out most of the Gladiators. Fusion gets to the end with no time left.
Gladiators on offense now and they struggle, thanks to Heesu playing as Sombra. They manage to get Point A with time expired, which only gives them 30 seconds to take Point B. The map was lost when OGE lunged out of position and targeted a couple of Philly players into a room, getting defeated for his efforts. Oopsie. From there, the roll rolled into the favor of the Fusion and they went on the board 2-1.
Map 4 – Route 66
Fusion start first on offense. Gladiators were able to hold for a while, but they were overpowered by the likes of Fury and Funyastro. This was another map where pest heroes favored Philadelphia as Carpe and Heesu excelled as Trace and Sombra, respectively. The Gladiators were able to stall things for a while on the way to Point B. They manage to drain out the clock, but like with Map 3, they can’t manage to eliminate all the Fusion players fast enough. Fusion come back to defeat the Glads and move the payload to Point B. Even with limited time, Philly has no problems taking Point C as well.
On offense, the Gladiators were pretty game in the first part of the map. Gladiators seem like they were going to take Point B easily, but Alarm and Carpe use their emergency ultimate abilities and it pays off. In seconds, the tables turn with a minute left. In the same area the Glads had problems on defense, they had problems on offense as well. The two Gladiators players remaining step off the point for a second and the Map ends there with the game tied up.
Map 5 – Lijiang Tower
In Round 1, the Fusion start out strong by taking the point first. Heesu was the wild card in this Round as Reaper, being mostly in control of each fight that goes on. The round went back and forth and while the Gladiators did have the chance to win, luck, and Heesu, was on Philly’s side. Fusion gets the first round.
In Round 2, it wasn’t a Reaper that bothered LA, but a Junkrat. Carpe brought the damage and repeatedly took out Birdring as McCree. LA did manage to take the point on multiple occasions in the round, but couldn’t hold on for long, even as Carpe switched to McCree. Another close round where Philly got the last laugh as Carpe as McCree flanked the Gladiators from high ground. Fusion come back to win the game 3-2.
Player of the Match: Birdring
Birdring was able to place beautifully throughout the game as Tracer, being the better hero than Carpe was. He managed to play a big role in sinking the Fusion’s forces as Tracer in each map, and he landed more Pulse Bombs than he missed. Shaz is considered the game’s runner-up due to his high skill and comfort playing Zenyatta.
The Glads didn’t win against the team with the best record, but the silver lining is that they almost did. This is the kind of performance that the team needs throughout the season, and it certainly has made Gladiators fans feel more at ease heading into the match against Paris.

Paris Eternal: 14-6

Image courtesy of the Paris Eternal

For this match, Mirror moved over into a tank role, where he has a history of playing as heroes such as Zarya.

Here is how this match went down:

Map 1 – Busan

The Glads faces a steep uphill battle in Round 1. The Eternal were working like a well-oiled machine throughout and had an answer for every strategy that LA tried. The only signs of life the Gladiators had were at the very end, and even then they failed to control the point once.

Round 2 was next, and LA did not fare any better. There were opportunities but the results did not follow for the Yaters. Mirror as Zarya wastes a Graviton Surge as the team almost was able to successfully control the point. The rest of the team try to store their ultimate abilities for one coordinated attack but they don’t do much. Spark1e’s Dragon Blade made the difference instead. Paris gets the 2nd round and the map.

Map 2 – Eichenwalde
Gladiators start on defense first. The Gladiators crumble on Point A in the first fight. On the way to Point B, LA shows signs of life with a Pulse Bomb from Birdring and a Primal Rage from OGE. Paris is on the attack to finish Point B but LA answers with successful stall tactics. Paris gets point B, but the Glads find better luck from inside the castle. The team uses ultimate abilities wisely as they stop the payload from moving any further.
On offense, LA wasn’t as successful as Paris to secure Point A. There were multiple attempts to overthrow Paris, but those hopes were dashed largely due to Nosmite on Winston. The Gladiators finally power through with a minute on the clock. LA was faced with just as much resistance on the way to Point B. OGE and Kevster were the ones that helped LA get on track. Outside of Point B, the Glads once again fail to defeat all their opponents quick enough. Kevster’s Dragon Blade attempt fails as the Eternal stop them outside the castle. Paris gets away 2-0.
Map 3 – Volskaya Industries
Glads start on offense. They manage to win a long team fight on their first try with OGE playing multitasker. LA had around five minutes to take Point B. In one of the early fights, they spoil three of their ultimate abilities and fail to get inside the stronghold. Gladiators finish the round with 55 seconds remaining following a Pulse Bomb from Birdring.

LA switches to defense. They hold early on thanks to an EMP from Kevster’s Sombra. They lose the momentum once Mirror performs a Graviton Surge because Soon does an EMP to a crowd of Gladiators. Paris gets the upper hand and take Point A. Taking point B was also no problem for the Eternal. After hitting the right notes, Paris got Point B after one attempt with 3:17 remaining.

Gladiators have one minute to take Point A. They were met with a brick wall in the shape of Hanbin. Teams switch again and once Soon as Sombra flanked the Glads, that was all she wrote. The Eternal sweep the Gladiators 3-0.

Player of the Match: OGE
OGE played as Winston throughout the whole game, with the exception of Roadhog for a few seconds. He had carried the team on his back through this game, helping the Gladiators withstand many aggressive Paris attacks. In particular, his performance on Eichenwalde was very smooth, which isn’t like anything we’ve seen from him as Winston this season.
The Mirror as Zarya experiment has not panned out all that well. In small doses, it may be a good idea if they feel that it is absolutely necessary, but it’s certainly not worth to put a World Cup champion in catering over. D. Va and Sigma are still capable heroes in the current meta, so hopefully Space will return to the rotation next week.

Previewing Week 25

Next week, the Gladiators will finally play the Florida Mayhem. This will be the first time the two teams meet this season, but Florida is a team that has been just as impressive as Paris and Philadelphia.

Florida Mayhem: 13-6

Florida Mayhem victory
Image credit: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

This team has slowly built itself together since the middle of last season. Sayaplayer, BQB, and Yaki are the team’s damage dealers. Karayan, Gargoyle, and Fate play the tanks, the latter which was previously on the LA Valiant. Byrem, Kris, and Gangnamjin round out the team on supports.

This will be another tough test for LA, as they have enjoyed some favorable momentum since the start of the season. Among the players and management itself, the Gladiators cannot afford to mess up much, as this is a franchise that had seasons of mistakes and have overcame them immensely.

Prediction: Florida Wins 3-1

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