The Los Angeles Valiant are one of the most impressive teams in the Overwatch League right now, finishing the opening stage with a respectable 7-3 record. However, the road to Stage Two was by no means easy, no matter how simple the team made things seem. As we get ready to dive into Stage Two (no pun intended), I wanted to take a look at Valiant’s journey through Stage One and analyze how they got where they are now. This is the Los Angeles Valiant’s Stage One report card.
Bigger, Better, Stronger
In Stage One, Valiant most often ran a typical dive comp, with KariV taking full advantage of the Mercy meta. The biggest surprise for their opponents, outside of SoOn’s sneaky backcaps, was whether Silkthread or Agilities would start. Although both players hold similar hero pools, their playstyles are quite different and allow the team some minor variations in strategy based on the map and opponent. While it may seem on the surface like the Valiant lack an identity, this is, in fact, their identity. Although their wins were not flashy, they were hard-fought, and won with masterful precision. The team beat opponents simply by outclassing them with superior play, not flashy comps.
The Valiant won the matches they were expected to win, but struggled against several top-tier teams. The team kicked off the inaugural Overwatch League season in style with a dominating performance against the San Francisco Shock. Although it seems hard to believe now, the group came into their game against Dallas Fuel as underdogs. Their upset against Dallas was a statement win, and set the tone for the rest of the season. These back-to-back wins were our first taste of how scary Los Angeles can be when the team fires on all cylinders.
A Tale of Two Teams
Despite two losses in Week 2, the Valiant were one of the first teams to play a Korean team close, losing in game 5 to London. The team barely put up a fight against Boston in what was easily their worst showing of Stage One. I’m not one for excuses, but I’d chalk that loss up in part to Silkthread and uNKOE missing the game. And let’s be honest, many people severely underrated Boston’s talent heading into the season. Still, it raises questions to how Valiant will fair against top-tier teams in Stage Two, or if they’re handling their bench correctly, but that’s an article for another day.
Even though each of the Valiant’s three losses were relatively one-sided, when the team was hot, they were hot. The cohesion and chemistry between the starting roster was near unstoppable at times, and their impeccable tank and support play often gave them the edge in close games. The team also showed a mental toughness throughout the stage, winning the games they needed to win, and coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the Gladiators in the ever-so-exciting “Battle for Los Angeles”.
I would have liked to see the Valiant pull off a win versus Boston, and sure, they could have played better against London, but overall, I would give the Valiant a passing grade for Stage One. As of Stage One, I would rank the team below New York, London and Houston (the upcoming week 3 game against Houston is going to be massive).
The Valiant showed potential in Stage One, but there is still room for improvement, despite looking like one of the best teams in the league. Once again, Los Angeles kicks off the action in Stage Two with an important game against Seoul. There are many questions and story-lines going into the game, making it the “must watch” match of day one. It will be interesting to see if Seoul continues to struggle, and whether the Valiant can carry their end-of-stage momentum in Stage Two. Another thing to keep an eye on is if the upcoming meta changes and map pool will allow the team to spread their wings, so to speak, and branch out to other compositions, or whether they will stick to their tried-and-true dive comp. Either way, it’s a great time to be a Valiant fan.
Do you agree with this grade? How do you think Valiant can improve heading into Stage Two? Let us know by leaving a comment below or by checking out our social media pages!
Featured image courtesy of Los Angeles Valiant.