The Los Angeles Gladiators started Stage 3 like many expected. They had two games; the first against the Dallas Fuel and the second against the Vancouver Titans. They dominated the Fuel all match, and came out with the 4-0 victory. They lost at the hands of the Titans, falling 3-1 on Sunday. Week 2 sees another two game week as the Gladiators take on the Philadelphia Fusion and the Washington Justice.
Week 1 Recap
Dallas Fuel: 10-6 (0-2 in Stage 3)
The Gladiators hosted the Fuel on the first day back of the Overwatch League. Both teams needed a win to kick-start their stage, and the Gladiators were able to kick it off in style. They bested Dallas 4-0, looking dominant on every map. Fan favorite Lane “Surefour” Roberts returned to the starting lineup, playing the entirety of the game. The map that truly displayed their dominance was Paris. The Gladiators substituted out Jun-woo “Void” Kang for João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles, with the latter playing Orisa at times. Los Angeles showed that they are the kings of Paris, and their interesting Bunker composition and other strategies carried them to victory. Though Dallas came alive for the final map, they did not do enough to take a map off the Gladiators, which may prove pivotal for both teams when it comes to seeding the Stage 3 Playoffs.
Player of the Game:
The player of the game against Dallas has to go to Surefour. His presence has been missing from the Gladiators lineup, and he showed he deserves to start. His Brigitte play was at a high level, and the synergy with the rest of the team is there. Fans and players alike will be happy that Surefour has returned. That is, unless they have to face off against him.
Vancouver Titans 16-0 (2-0 in Stage 3)
As expected, the undefeated Titans remained undefeated. They have only suffered one loss (the Stage 2 Finals against San Francisco) and they are still one of the best Overwatch League teams. Teams that attempt to mirror composition with them cannot measure up to the aggression and level of synergy that Vancouver boasts. The Gladiators did have a silver lining, and that was their map win on Paris. They ran many different strategies, including Hydration running Mei, that proved that Paris is their map. Taking a map off of the Titans is no easy task, as the game went into multiple rounds. Los Angeles was patient, and their defense held strong. It was a very entertaining map for fans of the Overwatch League, especially those tired of 3-3 compositions. While they did get embarrassed on Gibraltar by not getting their first elimination until the Titans had amassed 42, they should be proud of the way they played on Paris, and look to emulate that in the future.
Player of the Game:
The player of the game against the Titans was Hydration. Though he only played one map, that was the map that they won. His ability to play multiple heroes such as Orisa, Roadhog, Mei and Pharah was key to taking down the Titans. Though he has been reduced to a role on the bench, his presence is still very important to the Gladiators. While many would not have imagined substituting Void, so far the decision has paid off.
Week 2 Preview
Philadelphia Fusion: 8-7 (0-1 in Stage 3)
The Los Angeles Gladiators are 2-1 all time against the Philadelphia Fusion. This is the first meeting of these two teams since the Inaugural Season last year. Philadelphia has failed to live up to their potential as Season Finals Runners Up, but that does not mean they are a bad team. They currently have an 8-7 record for this season. Last week they fell 4-0 to the Hangzhou Spark, a very good team. The Gladiators should be able to get a win against the Fusion, especially if they play how they did against Dallas. The Gladiators kick off a difficult week for the Fusion, who have to play the Boston Uprising later in the week. Los Angeles should feel confident heading into the match.
Prediction: Gladiators 3-1 Fusion
Player to Watch:
The player to watch versus the Fusion is Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni. The Lucio main has not had the same level of consistency as he did towards the end of the Inaugural Season, but has still shown signs that he is an elite player who is important for the Gladiators’ success. If BigGoose has a good game against the Fusion, that should inspire his whole team and they should defeat Philadelphia easily.
Washington Justice: 2-13 (0-1 in Stage 3)
The Gladiators’ second match of the week sees them play the Washington Justice. The Justice have struggled to adapt to the Overwatch League, winning only two games so far. This results in them sitting in 19th place in the standings. The Gladiators will need to be careful not to take a laid back approach to this game. Sometimes the teams that are not playing for the playoff spots can be the most dangerous, as they have nothing to lose. Hopefully the Gladiators are able to take complete control of the game and dominate against the Justice. If they do, fans will hope to see the return of off tank Hyung-seok “Bischu” “Aaron” Kim, who had previously been ill, then played on the Gladiators Legion. His smile and presence in the lineup have been missed by fans, and if the Gladiators get a solid grip on this game, they will hopefully let Bischu play on stage again.
Prediction: Gladiators 4-0 Justice
Player to Watch:
The player to watch in this game is Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara. The battle of the flex supports in this game will be crucial. Nikola “sleepy” Andrews of the Justice has shown that he is a solid flex support, as he boasts a place in the top 10 for healing per 10 minutes. If Shaz can continue to show his dominance on Zenyatta, he will guide his team to victory. However, the most exciting part of this matchup is not on the 3-3 composition. Both sleepy and Shaz are known as being very good Ana players. If either team switches from the typical 3-3 compositions that most teams run, the matchup between the two healers will become even more exciting.
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