The Los Angeles Gladiators had a great opening week in Stage 2. They faced off against the Shanghai Dragons and the Seoul Dynasty, defeating both. The Gladiators showed that they are ready to take on the best teams in the Overwatch League and fight tooth and nail to make the Stage Playoffs. Their roster is back to full strength, they are communicating at a high level and they have shown that they can play a variety of compositions.
The Gladiators should not have trouble this week in their games. They play the Guangzhou Charge and the Los Angeles Valiant. The Charge may give the Gladiators a run for their money, but should not best LA. The first Battle of LA of the season looks to be extremely one-sided.
Week 1 Review
Shanghai Dragons: 3-6 (0-2 in Stage 2)
Los Angeles took on Shanghai at the beginning of Week 1. The Gladiators were able to carry their momentum from the end of Stage 1 to beat the Dragons. Shanghai looked too stubborn to change their compositions, often times staying with one for far too long. The Gladiators were able to shift their compositions to give them the advantage on many team fights.
LA only lost the first map, Busan, while they were trying out some interesting DPS-focused compositions. The Gladiators came out swinging, and Shanghai was not able to keep up.
Player of the Game:
Gui-un “Decay” Jang was the player of the game against the Dragons. His Zarya play is truly incredible. He continues to be in the top 10 in damage, final blows and eliminations per 10 minutes. His ability to deal damage while playing in a 3-3 composition, as well as flex onto other heroes such as Tracer or Genji, has shown that he was worth every penny the Gladiators spent to land him.
Seoul Dynasty 4-4 (0-1 in Stage 2)
The Gladiators were finally able to hand Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek his first loss to a former team. The game came down to a Map 5, and an exciting Map 5 at that. Seoul was fresh off of their playoff run in which they beat the previously undefeated New York Excelsior, before eventually falling to the Vancouver Titans.
Los Angeles started Lane “Surefour” Roberts again for just the first map. The plan that the Gladiators had fell once again, and they lost that first map. However, the Gladiators let Surefour keep playing, and he landed some great kills to secure Paris. After a back and forth battle in Map 5, the Gladiators were able to rally together and push the Dynasty off the edge.
Player of the Game:
Jun-woo “Void” Kang was the man of the match for the Gladiators. His clutch D.Va self-destruct on Map 5, along with his shutting down of Graviton Surge’s helped the Gladiators to defeated the Dynasty. This game may be the hardest that the Gladiators play in Stage 2 (excluding playoffs), and getting the win will help boost their confidence going forward.
Week 2 Preview
Guangzhou Charge: 3-6 (0-2 in Stage 2)
Guangzhou started their Stage 2 campaign against the Paris Eternal and the San Francisco Shock. They lost both games 4-0. The Gladiators are feeling confident heading into Week 2, and should brush through the Charge. Surefour will most likely start as he has the past two games, and may even get the chance to stay in the whole game. The Gladiators may use this game as a way to explore different compositions. While they cannot simply write off the Charge, it will not be the hardest game they have played this season.
Prediction: Gladiators 3-1 Charge
Player to Watch:
The player to watch in this game is Surefour. This game will hopefully see him get a solid amount of playing time on stage, something both him and the fans are missing this season. If the Gladiators play a variety of compositions, expect Surefour to thrive and be able to play more than two maps this game.
LA Valiant 0-8 (0-1 in Stage 2)
The first Battle of LA of the season. In the past, these games have been very competitive. It was one of the first “rivalries” in the Overwatch League. However, in recent weeks, the Valiant have not been living up to their expectations. The Gladiators are not expected to even drop a map to the Valiant. They have a complete roster that may see some switching around in this game. The Gladiators have not yet played Hyung-seok “Bischu” “Aaron” Kim, Riku “Ripa” Toivanen or Byung-ho “Panker” Lee. Panker and Bischu are currently playing with the Gladiators Legion, but Ripa could see some playing time this week against the Valiant for the first time.
Prediction: Gladiators 4-0 Valiant
Player to watch:
If he plays, the player to watch will be Ripa. He was brought in during the offseason, but was suspended for the first five games of the stage. It is unclear the exact role that Ripa was brought in to fill, especially when the Gladiators have such a great support duo in Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni.
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Featured Image Courtesy of the Los Angeles Gladiators
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