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)
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%.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Los Angeles Valiant (12-10)
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%.
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.
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.
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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