The day Overwatch League fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. Tonight, the Overwatch League kicks off with the first homestands of the season. The first round of games will take place at the New York Excelsior’s homestand while the second round will take place in Dallas. In Dallas, the Los Angeles Gladiators will face off against the Vancouver Titans.
LA Gladiators (0-0) – Vancouver Titans (0-0)
This game will be the Gladiator’s only game for the weekend. With only one team to prepare for, the Gladiators have a decent shot at success going up against this team. Unlike the Gladiators, the Titans have two matches to prepare for. Out of the two, the Gladiators will probably present more of a challenge than the Los Angeles Valiant. The Gladiator’s significant roster changes also give them an edge because no one knows what to expect. Whereas the Vancouver Titans are practically the same going into the new season.
The majority of the 2019 Titans roster remains intact with a few exceptions. The Vancouver Titans came into the Overwatch League as a single unit. A generation from the Runaway dynasty, they proved all their critics wrong and became one of the most dominant teams of the 2019 season. However, despite their initial success, the Titans struggled with adapting once role lock was implemented. One source of their struggles was their overaggressive tank line. Despite the flack that both Hwang “TiZi” Jang-hyeon and Park “Bumper” Sang-beom received, fans were still sorry to see the team let them go. In their stead, the Titans decided to bring a questionable choice on board for the 2020 season. That choice just might end up working in the Gladiator’s favor going into this matchup.
[Very Reinhardt Voice]: TRAITOR
Okay, not really, but Gladiators fans are allowed to still be a little bitter after the events of the 2018 playoffs. The return of Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung sparked a lot of discussion during the offseason. After his dramatic exit from the Seoul Dynasty last year, Fissure took a break from professional Overwatch. Many figured he was done with the game for good, but then rumors sparked that the Titans would be signing Fissure, along with support star Ryu “Ryujehong” Jehong.
Those rumors ended up being true and Titans fans still aren’t quite sure how to feel about everything. While Ryujehong is an exceptional flex support player, one isn’t sure if he’ll see any playtime when Lee “Twilight” Jooseok is sitting right there. The new travel schedule for teams will hopefully see more players being utilized than there were in the past, but only time will tell if that will be the case. While Ryujehong’s future is up in the air, Fissure’s starting spot is guaranteed and knowing this might give the Gladiators a bit more motivation going into this matchup. If anyone taught the Gladiators just how good revenge can feel, it’s Fissure.
Players to Watch: OGE and Space
The Gladiators tank line has always been a source of struggle for the team. Although Gye “rOar” Chang-hoon and Kang “Void” Jun-woo were a fairly solid tank line, the Gladiators struggled to break away from the top of the pack like the Atlanta Reign and New York Excelsior did. The Glads had an overall consistent season, but nothing about them stood out at the end of the day. They were never able to reach the heights that they could, in theory, reach. Both Void and rOar left the Gladiators during the offseason, and two new tanks are here to take their place.
During the offseason, the Gladiators acquired Son “OGE” Min-seok and Indy “Space” Halpern. OGE and Space are expected to be the Gladiators’ starting tank line going into this match. While it is always possible that fans will catch a glimpse of Aaron “Bischu” Kim or Roni “LhCloudy” Tilhonen, it is not likely. Especially since the meta is expected to be Reinhardt and D.VA, two characters that Space and OGE excel on. The duo already has great chemistry behind the scenes, and fans are excited to see what will happen when these two walk on the main stage.
Both the Los Angles Gladiators and Vancouver Titans are great teams. Although the Gladiators made a lot of changes during the offseason, their core in Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara remains. They also still have an incredible head coach in David “dpei” Pei along with some excellent coaching additions in Rohit “CurryShot” Nathan, Sam “face” Merewether and James “Faustus” Frye. They’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this match, and with it being their only one for this weekend, it is reasonable to expect that Gladiators will do well, or at least make the Titans work for a victory.
Prediction: Gladiators win 3-2
Follow me on Twitter: @Sybil_OW for all things Gladiators and Contenders! I also like to yell about the Fusion and Paris Eternal. Feel free to message me on Discord @ Sybil#3517 – I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written!
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