The Los Angeles Gladiators finished 6-1 in Stage 2, with their only loss coming in the very last week against the Boston Uprising. They faced off against the New York Excelsior in the playoffs, which saw them fall quite spectacularly. After almost a full month break between Stage 2 and Stage 3, the Gladiators have been practicing quite hard. They now have their full roster, with Hyung-seok “Bischu” “Aaron” Kim returning from his stint with the Gladiators Legion. The Gladiators have two games this week, facing off against the Dallas Fuel and Vancouver Titans.
Week 1 Preview
Dallas Fuel: 9-5
This game may prove to be the most pivotal game for the Gladiators in this stage. Of the teams they face this stage, only the Dallas Fuel, Shanghai Dragons and Vancouver Titans made the Stage 2 Playoffs. The Gladiators beat the Dragons last stage quite handily. Los Angeles can expect to lose against Vancouver, seeing as they have only lost one game; the Stage 2 Playoff Final. If the Gladiators can beat the Fuel, another team aiming for a playoff spot, that should put them in position to finish 5-2 on the stage.
The Fuel finished Stage 2 with a 5-2 record, only losing to the Vancouver Titans and the Seoul Dynasty. Head to head, the teams have both won two games against the other, all four of which were last season. In Stage 1, the Fuel also failed to make the Stage Playoffs, finishing 4-3. The Fuel are also seeking a 5-2 stage, with expected losses to the Vancouver Titans and the New York Excelsior. Whoever wins this game will be on the right path for a solid seeding for the Stage 3 Playoffs.
Prediction: Gladiators 3-1 Fuel
Player to Watch:
The player to watch for the Gladiators has to be Gui-un “Decay” Jang. He has been the best player week in, week out. The Gladiator’s rookie of the year has proved time and time again that he is one of the best players that joined the Overwatch League for the 2019 Season. If Decay has a good game, which he usually does, the Gladiators should be on the front foot.
Vancouver Titans: 14-0
The Vancouver Titans lost their first game in over a year as a team in the Stage 3 Final. While they may have taken a slight stumble, fans should not expect the Titans to simply wilt and fall down the standings. The Gladiators may have to pull off a miracle if they want to even take a map form the Titans. That is not to any fault of the Gladiators, it is simply because the Titans are nearly unstoppable. Los Angeles should use this game to figure out what they need to work on as a unit, and where their strengths are. They can also use this game to practice new strategies that may be a bit unconventional. Since they are expected to lose this game, even taking a map off of Vancouver will be an accomplishment.
Prediction: Titans 4-0 Gladiators
Player to Watch:
The player to watch in this game is Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye. The main tank for the Gladiators can learn a lot from the Titans’ main tank, Sang-beom “Bumper” Par. rOar has not been the most consistent for the Gladiators, having some bad game and some very good games. It will be interesting to see how Vancouver targets rOar, and how he handles the pressure of one of the giants of the Overwatch League.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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