Gladiators – Dynasty –
Los Angeles entered this rematch hoping for a different result from their previous outing against Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek and the Seoul Dynasty. Coming off a victory over the Shanghai Dragons, a second victory over the Dynasty would help cement the Gladiators as major contenders in Stage 2.
Oasis: Gladiators – 0 Dynasty – 2
Lane “Surefour” Roberts was once again absent from the starting lineup for LA. His counterparts Gui-un “Decay” Jang and João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles started in order to better enable the Gladiator’s 3-3 compositions.
Fissure and the Dynasty opened Oasis with control of the objective and never surrendered a single percent to LA. Unlike on University, the Gladiators managed to gain control in City Center before Fissure’s aggression could take over. Unfortunately, after manhandling Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni, Fissure and company continued their dominance from Stage 1 and claimed Oasis.
Paris: Gladiators – 2 Dynasty – 1
Surefour returned to action on Paris to lead LA’s bunker setup on defense. His Bastion stood strong for a while, but a clean dive from Fissure and Dong-eon “FITS” Kim’s Genji cleared the entrenched Gladiators and won Point A for the Dynasty.
LA had better luck on Point B, managing to put together several clutch combos between Decay‘s EMP, Surefour’s Tank Mode and even BigGoose’s Amplification Matrix. Their hold on Point B gave them a strong opportunity to claim the map in short order.
On attack, Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye and Decay saved their attack on Point A with an impressive Graviton Surge, Earthshatter combo. The combo eliminated Fissure and won the fight for LA. Seoul failed to muster a successful defense similar to LA’s on Point B. As a result, the Gladiators tied the series as they went into halftime.
King’s Row: Gladiators – 3 Dynasty – 2
On the 3-3 dominated King’s Row, Los Angeles did just that on attack. ROar’s dominant Reinhardt eventually forced Fissure to swap off Winston and mirror to even stand a chance.
Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu’s Ana enabled Fissure to deal constant damage through the streets of King’s Row. A Nano Boost provided a massive burst heal for the Dynasty but replaced the important Transcendence Shaz had to offer LA.
With mere meters to go, Seoul’s spawn advantage proved to be too much to handle. Swaps from FITS and Fissure brought out Wrecking Ball and Doomfist respectively. Both were integral in halting any more progress from the Gladiators.
On defense, it was Decay’s turn to display his Bastion prowess with devastating results. Multiple Riptires from Hydration removed FITS’ Dragonblade twice, but it simply wasn’t enough.
Seoul rolled through streets but finally met a brick wall as they approached the final checkpoint. Decay singled out Seung-soo “Jecse” Lee with a Grav from hiding to prevent Seoul’s final contest.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar: Gladiators – 3 Dynasty – 4
It was evident before reaching Gibraltar that Seoul’s best win condition revolved around feeding Fissure resources. Since Map 1, the Dynasty’s synergy had fallen apart as the series wore on.
Decay’s Zarya dominated through LA’s attack on Gibraltar. With both teams in a mirror 3-3, Decay continuously outperformed his counterpart FITS. Many Seoul fans were left wondering “Where is Fleta?”
Finally, without any fear of overcommitment, Seoul dumped ultimate after ultimate into their own attacking push. Each time, the Dynasty managed to win their fight and claim the contested checkpoint. Three strong Graviton Surges from FITS each highlighted the onslaught of ultimates from Seoul. The Dynasty matched LA’s progress and the Gladiators would attack once more.
Seoul had found their second wind, repelled the final Gladiators assault and tied the series to force a fifth and final map.
Lijiang Tower: Gladiators – 2 Dynasty – 0
After returning to form just in time, Seoul dominated the initial engage on Gardens. However, another key Grav with a masterful follow-up from Decay stole Seoul’s momentum and pushed the Gladiators onward to victory.
On Control Center, both rOar and Fissure’s Reinhardt’s would meet with the series on the line. In the final fight, Jun-woo “Void” Kang put the team on his back, ate FITS’ Graviton and killed three of the Dynasty with an impressive Self Destruct. The incredible play exhausted Seoul’s ultimate pool and removed the contesting Dynasty from the point. With that victory, Los Angeles would claim the series.
There were plenty of momentum shifts throughout this series, but one thing was certain. Seoul struggled when up against a strong Bastion composition. Los Angeles had the Dynasty’s number on Paris and a majority of King’s row, but when Seoul started to regain footing against LA, Hydration’s intense focus on stunning and disrupting Fissure helped nullify the Seoul main tank. The Gladiators displayed a wonderful grasp of the incoming meta for Stage 2. Their success handed Fissure his first loss to a former team and firmly entrenched the Gladiators as major contenders going forward.
The Los Angeles Gladiators return to action next week against the Guangzhou Charge Saturday, April 13, at 5:15 p.m. PST. Check back with The Game Haus to recap the action.
Featured and Player Images Courtesy of the Overwatch League
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