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Los Angeles Gladiators Overwatch

Gladiators Win 2 Out Of 3 In Week 29, End The Season Above .500

The Gladiators finish the season on a three-game stretch. Each opponent is considered tough coming into the final leg of the season, so how much fight is left in the purple and black?

Reviewing Week 29

Florida Mayhem (16-6)

Overwatch League Power Rankings
Courtesy of the Florida Mayhem

The Mayhem are a formidable team this season, and they certainly gave LA a run for their money last time. This time was no different, with the Yaters going down again 1-3. This was actually closer than the score suggested, but a number of factors was what made LA the clear underdogs.

Here is how the game went down:

Map 1 – Lijiang Tower

Mayhem got the advantage in Round 1. BQB managed to help the team pick off the Glads uncontested. LA did stay in it with the team trying a coordinated attack, but it seemed like the Mayhem were always one step ahead. This was very winnable for the Gladiators but it just didn’t bounce in their favor. BQB as Ashe saved his B.O.B. for last that sealed the win. Mayhem take Round 1 100-98%.

In Round 2, the Gladiators win the first team fight and manage to stay on the point for a good 50 percent. The Mayhem plan an attack involving Fate’s Orisa’s halt and Yaki’s Doomfists’s Meteor Strike. This planted the seeds for another Mayhem possession. The next two team fights proved that LA wasn’t prepared for Florida. The third time was the charm with Space and Birdring managing to dismantle Florida’s defenses and regain the point. LA holds in another close one, 100-97%.

For Round 3, Florida was able to reach the point first and build that percentage. The MAyhem had their number early on with them firmly guarding the point and choosing targets. Glads manage to steal the point with OGE being the lone body on the point as the battle continued. BQB with the EMP as Sombra, and Florida shuts LA down. OGE tries to stall, but it’s not enough. This was another back and forth round, but Florida Florida holds on and takes Map 1 100-95%.

Map 2 – Havana
The Gladiators struggled on offense, as the Mayhem played aggressively and tried draining the clock out. The could barely get the payload moving up that first street and they stubbornly had to make hero changes to try to find something that worked. It wasn’t until Shaz as Zenyatta used Transcendence to help the team withstand a Gravitic Flux. Mayhem hustle back to Point A before the payload can reach it and they take LA down one by one. Pitiful showing for LA.
Next, the Gladiators were tasked with trying to guard Point A for 4 minutes. Birdring as Hanzo and Kevster as Widowmaker is what helped them make this possible. Their plan was to keep their distance and take out the tanks while they hunted for the Mayhem damage players. As time expired, the defenses felt apart for LA, with Kris as Baptiste keeping the team alive. Florida refuses to lose again and pull ahead 2-0.
Map 3 – King’s Row

The Gladiators start on offense first. They manage to chip away the Mayhem defenses on their second attempt and take Point A, but the Mayhem quickly answer with an EMP, Primal Rage, and B.O.B. Florida was very resilient at this point in the map. The Gladiators farm their ultimate abilities for one big attack under a minute remaining. The Mayhem had ultimate abilities of their own, but the Glads hang on by a thread and get Point A. It was a fairly even matchup on the way to Point B, and both teams traded the payload back and forth. Birdring as Widowmaker make the difference in getting the payload to Point B. The payload slowly crept closer and closer to Point C but Florida were the ones holding strong in the end.

Birdring was savage once again. On defense, he put on a show as the Mayhem were struggling to take Point A under his watch. Fate however was able to take the Gladiators out one at a time in close quarters, leading to the Mayhem securing Point A. Birdring was quick to respond with a couple lethal headshots to give LA the advantage once more and keep the Payload under the arch. Both Space and Birdring were pivotal here in keeping the payload away from Point B. After Florida forces vanish, LA gets on the board 1-2.

Map 4 – Hanamura
In typical Gladiators 2020 fashion, they were not able to secure down point A; albeit they did get two thirds of it. With four minutes, the Mayhem worked as a crowd to keep everybody going and focused on specific targets. The Gladiators tried changing up their strategies and Kevster changed from Mei to McCree to Echo, but to no avail.
On defense, once the supports went down, it was over for LA. The author of this article does not get how the team manages to fight worse than other teams on this particular map. Florida gets another W in the win column 3-1.

Player of the Match: Birdring

Birdring was at it again on heroes such as Widowmaker, Hanzo, and McCree. He still delivers great accuracy despite his getting older. Picking off damage and support heroes was a cinch for him, and he also softened up enemy tank heroes for his teammates to take out. His performance this season has obviously gone under the radar among OWL experts and reporters.

Two members of the Gladiators that the organization should try to keep for next season are Birdring and Space. Both players have been consistently good, but as we’ve realized this season, they look like absolute experts when they’re being coached by experts. The Glads simply are no match for the Mayhem in terms of coaching right now, as former Seoul Dynasty player Kuki is proving himself to be Florida’s saving grace.

Atlanta Reign (10-8)

2019-07-06 / Photo: Tonya McCahon For Blizzard Entertainment
The Atlanta Reign are also considered a team with a ton of talent, but if this match has proven one thing, it’s that they are not Florida. Thankfully, Los Angeles had their way with the Reign on Saturday after a puzzling loss the day before.
Here is how the game went down:
Map 1 – Nepal
In a move that the Glads’ opponents typically resort to, they have Kevster start the round with Pharah. Birdring still is on a tear as he makes his presence felt on this map. On Round 1, he was able to connect multiple times from the other side of the map. Both Kevster and Birdring were the difference-makers as the Reign weren’t able to ground them. Gladiators pick up Round 1 100-65%.
Kevster is playing as Pharah again for Round 2. He was pivotal this round, being able to knock Atlanta players out of position and off the map. He had been firing into the sheltered control point uncontested for most of this round. With two Rocket Barrages, he scored seven eliminations. Neither Edison nor Saucy appear to have that answer to Pharah. Gladiators win the round and the map 100-58%.
Map 2 – Havana
Mirror plays support in place of BigGoose. Gladiators start on offense. The Reign try to be aggressive right out of the gate, but Kevster as Mei traps Gator behind an ice wall & LA pummels him. From there, they fend off several desperate attacks all the way to Point A. On the way to Point B, Atlanta seemed all out of sorts. They try to attack aggressively but they fall apart each time. Edison as Reaper gets outplayed by Kevster, who shakes things up as Echo by transforming into a Reaper of his own. For most of Point C, Birdring went uncontested as Widowmaker, picking off Atlanta players from the background. Gladiators get to the goal with under two minutes remaining.

On defense, Birdring and Kevster select Hanzo and Widowmaker. Unfortunately, that did not go as planned, as the tanks were left more vulnerable. Atlanta cruise to Point A. Point B was more even as both teams whittle each other’s forces down. But Atlanta prevails and moves the payload ever closer to the goal. The path to Point C was where the Gladiators were able to show some resistance. Eventually, Atlanta gets the better of them and even reaches the goal with little in the way of them. Atlanta finishes with two and a half minutes left.

LA is on offense once again. The Glads try the same wall trick as before but Gator escapes this time. The Reign use a strategy this time where Edison as Symmatra creates a teleporter outside both spawn doors to keep the Yaters trapped inside. It took them a good while to take enough Atlanta players down to where they could start moving the payload. Time expires and the Gladiators withstand another brutal fight where only Space and Kevster are left moving the payload. Unfortunately, the Yaters’ run stops just outside Point A.
On defense, Birdring shows off his archery skills and nails bullseyes on multiple Reign targets. Kevster as Widowmaker also was able to get some. That double-sniper composition that didn’t work previously does work here. The Reign get short of where the Gladiators travelled, and LA scores again.
Map 3 – King’s Row
BigGoose returns on support in place of Mirror. Gladiators start on offense and had trouble getting on Point A. Kevster as Echo transformed into Erster’s Junkrat at one point. With two Rip-Tires, they still weren’t able to dismantle the Reign. Dogman was the X-factor of the moment, keeping Atlanta forces alive and using the Amplification Matrix to successfully defend Point A. Before time expires, the Glads were able to get going thanks to Birdring as Widowmaker once again. Atlanta though was still on the attack. Time expired once again before the payload could move out into the street. They have been able to win two team fights thanks to Birdring, as Ashe, Space as Sigma, and Shaz as Baptiste. The Glads manage to get all the way to Point C as soon as Erster as Mei used Blizzard to disperse LA.
Gladiators go on defense now. As soon as OGE went down, the other Gladiators followed. Easy takeover for Atlanta. The Reign’s momentum continued with Erster as Mei staying alive and healing. Birdring and Space were definitely having trouble against him. The Yaters finally win a team fight outside of Point B. With enough Ultimate abilities, the Reign are able to get to Point B. Atlanta were able to pummel LA, who were holed up inside the small bunker. LA try to race to the payload before it reaches the goal but Erster with a cherry-red wall to seal it. Reign narrow the deficit 1-2.
Map 4 – Hanamura

Gladiators on defense to start. Birdring with more precision shooting and OGE shielding the gates are what made things easy for the Gladiators. The Reign try to power through a couple of times but the Glads target them from many angles and distances while also keeping OGE up. The Reign coordinate an attack that involves a Primal Rage and B.O.B. but LA answers back with an EMP and Self-Destruct. Atlanta tries one last attack, but their B.O.B. gets hacked immediately. A Benny Hill chase follows. Atlanta fans should be none too pleased with that go.

Glads go on offense. Right away, Birdring as Ashe vaults onto the wooden structure and snipes both Edison and Masaa. The Glads then gang up on the remaining Reign players to get a third of Point A to close the game out. Yaters gonna yate. LA gets the win 3-1.

Player of the Match: Kevster
Kevster was stellar in this game vs. Atlanta, being a huge compliment to Birdring. In this game, he used more than four heroes with exceptional skill to help the Gladiators out. While he did start out by playing Pharah, it was only used in moderation, unlike what the Fuel tried doing against the Gladiators last week, in every map.
Kevster came in originally as a damage player that the team just wanted to use for his skills as Genji, but he has fit nicely into the fold and has alleviated the minor flaws in the DPS rotation. Another thing to point out is that the recent play of the damage players should get them to realize how they need to deal with star damage players from other teams, as it was easily a problem this season against the likes of Houston and Washington.

Los Angeles Valiant (12-10)

Overwatch League Power Rankings
Image courtesy of the LA Valiant

The final match the Gladiators had for the regular season was against the LA Valiant. With a similar record, the Valiant have showed they are a built-from-scratch team with a coach that equally had something to prove. At this point, if the Gladiators won, they would move up to the 6th seed for the end-of-the-season tournament. The Yaters had to fight to win this one and fight they did.

Here is how the game went down:

Map 1 – Nepal

Round 1 starts. The Gladiators manage to win the first team fight and get the point. Strangely, the Glads decide to take a tour around Valiant territory. The Valiant get the point, but the Glads get it right back. The Yaters then trick the Valiant into thinking they are leaving again but Kevster as Sombra shows up at the last second for an EMP. Valiant hold, though. Birdring and OGE use their Ultimate abilities and that causes the Glads to get the point right back again. Valiant tries a strategy, but the Glads lie in waiting and thwart those plans. Glads take Round 1 100-89%.

Round 2 coming up, and who else but Birdring makes the first big play, taking out three Valiants and securing the central area. He started the game as Ashe. The Glads stall for as long as possible. Shaz puts asleep Dreamer as Winston as he attempts to maul the purple and black with a Primal Rage. The Valiant do get it back, but not without taking a while to do so. They battle with the Gladiators outside the point in multiple locations in order to screw up their plans. Both OGE as Winston and Birdring’s B.O.B. take possession of the point while the Valiant wait to get pounced. Birdring with the target practice as the Glads take Map 1 100-58%.

Map 2 – Havana
Gladiators start on offense. Mirror comes in for BigGoose. The Valiant keep them trapped inside their spawning area for a while. The two teams have another drawn-out fight on one of the corners with the Glads getting the upper hand once again. However, the third fight took place nearly touching Point A. The Valiant stabilize and manage to cause the Gladiators to retreat. The clock is running out. Space’s Sigma’s Gravitic Flux fails. Mirror as Baptiste does a moon jump over his Immortality Field and KSP is right there to headshot him. Where’s “Shaqtin’ A Fool” when you need it? Valiant stop the Glads outside of Point A.
Glads decide to play conservatively on defense, allowing themselves the room to work on the high ground. That’s fine, but then they cower into the street, which only allows the payload to get closer. Very risky when you have four minutes. The Glads have been able to stop the payload, thankfully. Neither team was willing to waste their Ultimate abilities. KSF as Sombra was distracting Birdring as Widowmaker and it took focus off the action, for sure. The Valiant were able to barrel through with under a minute to go and reach the point where the Glads stopped at. Valiant tie the game 1-1.
Map 3 – King’s Row
The Gladiators start on offense first. It seemed as though the Gladiators had an early takeover of Point A but they failed to finish the battle. Some of their attempts were really good, but either they faced an uphill battle due to emergency Ultimate abilities used by the Valiant, or reinforcements came at the right times for them. Some of the Gladiators ended up losing constantly one-on-one to Dreamer as Winston inside one of the interiors. The Glads only get 44 percent of Point A.
The Gladiators once again put themselves in a rut. The Valiant only needed less than half of Point A here and they got it. The production team was counting on a Primal Rage from Dreamer to do the job and the Glads fall one after another. Valiant getting away 2-1.
Map 4 – Anubis

BigGoose is back in at support, in place of Mirror. Gladiators get defense first. Valiant manage to take down the tank players right away. They take two thirds of Point A before the Glads are ready to contest again. Valiant have Primal Rage and B.O.B. on their side to get Point A in quick fashion. The Glads had to hold Point B in five minutes. Things look out of sorts for the Gladiators, but they have the respawn advantage and come back swiftly. Over the next couple of fights, both teams seem to be pretty even, but of course, the Yaters respawn right nearby. The Valiant try using most of their ultimates but struggle to finish the Glads off again. The Valiant try one last time to take Point B, which leads to another long scramble. They step off the point and only get over 50%.

Offense for the Glads next. The Valiant hold on to Point A, but not without the Glads taking two thirds of it, first. Valiant also win the next two team fights with the help of McGravy and Dreamer in front. Under a minute left on the clock, Dreamer leaps in front of the Glads and Kevter as Sombra gets the hack on him. Gladiators then take him out. That sets the tone to take Point A without much fuss from the Valiant. While trying to tackle Point B, the Glads are met with KSP as Ashe. The next fight, the Valiant decide to go aggressive; big mistake. KSF does the EMP, but then Kevster then does his EMP to reverse it. Valiant collapse right there. The Glads get their Point B and tie the game 2-2.

Map 5 – Lijiang Tower
For Round 1, the Gladiators were able to take the point first. The Valiant take it back shortly with an EMP from KSF after Shaz wastes a Nano-Boost. Kevster does an EMP next and the Gladiators retake the point. They do a decent job keeping the Valiant out, as they found no good opportunity to attack for the rest of the map. Dreamer as Winston tries to leap in through the window but BigGoose as Lucio denies him. Glads take Round 1 100-38%.
In Round 2. Birdring brought the fireworks as Junkrat, allowing the Glads to clear the area and take the point. Kevster as Symmetra lays a teleporter behind the Valiant squad. Birdring Drives a Rip-Tire through the teleporter to deal some damage behind their shields. The Valiant lure the Gladiators away from the control room and KSP even uses a Rip-Tire to keep them away so that the Valiant gain control. That didn’t last long as the Glads take it right back once they return. The Glads make their last one count, winning again 100-38%.

Player of the Match: Birdring

The author of this article would be lying if he believed that Birdring wasn’t the team’s most valuable player at the moment. This time, he had shined as Reaper, Junkrat, Ashe, Hanzo, and Widowmaker. Any character you need him to be, you can count on him, and he continued being on a hot streak at a time in which the Yaters greatly needed one.

If the team doesn’t get very far in the playoffs, I would try my hardest to keep him around in some capacity, as the team likely would be among the bottom teams without him. While he is still learning English, he certainly is meshing well with a team intended to go more into the western culture. He should even contemplate a possible player/coach role. What could go wrong at this point?

Previewing Week 30

The Los Angeles Gladiators finished 11-10 on the season. Regardless of the inexplicable scheduling in which certain teams got more matches than others (such as the Valiant), they are 6th overall in the North American region. Their record places them at the top of “Tier 2”, consisting of the teams ranked 6th to 9th. The other teams in Tier 2 include Atlanta, Dallas, and Toronto.

This Thursday, there will be qualifying matches that take place, in which the teams below “Tier 2” will face one another to continue their season. Houston, Vancouver, Washington, and Boston are among the teams, as well as Toronto, who have already qualified. The Gladiators will then play on Friday.

For the first qualifying match, the Houston Outlaws will face the Boston Uprising. The second qualifying match will consist of the Vancouver Titans vs. the Washington Justice. From there, the Gladiators will choose among the remaining teams who to face off with. Atlanta will choose their opponent next, and Dallas will face the team that neither LA or Atlanta chose.

If the Gladiators lose on Friday, then their season is over. But if they win, they will be placed in the eight-team NA bracket to determine this season’s champion.

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