In the weekend before their Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend Homestand, the Valiant secured another win. However, the Houston Outlaws fell to the Chengdu Hunters. This means that the Valiant’s playoff chances rest entirely on their next two games going forward. If they can squeeze out another win, the 12th seed should be theirs.
The teams they’re facing should be enough to scare Valiant fans into pre-game anxiety. Their victory over Boston could easily be another. Though the boys in green managed to maintain a 3-1 win, the game was much closer than the scoreline insisted. The possibility of a map five was lingering just at the end of Havana, and the Valiant should be looking to clean up their rough edges before taking on the LA Gladiators and the San Francisco Shock.
LA Valiant Review
Boston Uprising (8-18), 3-1
This game started off with a display of dominance from the Valiant side. With Brady “Agilities” Giardi playing the Pharah uncontested, Busan seemed to be theirs for the taking. A game changing boop from Scott “Custa” Kennedy also enabled the map winning triple kill from Indy “SPACE” Halpern’s Self Destruct.
From there, however, the game got a little messier. Boston’s DPS players were often getting the better end of the deal. King’s Row, a map they’d never won, swung in their favor when the Valiant couldn’t break their strong defense. It also took the Valiant almost all of their six minute time bank to earn their map winning tick on Hanamura. Though the game was won due to an overtime push on Havana, it was not done so with ease.
Player of the Match: SPACE
It’s a close call between the offtank supreme, and the king of the Hanzo. However, SPACE’s dominance on the offtank role was what won the Valiant this series. With Boston’s former offtank player Richard “rCk” Kanerva still benched for medical reasons, they’ve been using a strange strategy to cope. Going against Jeffrey “blase” Tsang was easier for SPACE, given that blase is a damage player. On top of his map winning D.Va bomb, SPACE consistently outperformed blase on his intended role. This edge up gave the Valiant the ammunition they needed for success.
LA Valiant Preview
Los Angeles Gladiators (16-11), Aug 24th
In their first matchup in the Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend, the Valiant go against their Los Angeles rivals. This “Battle for LA” has swung in the Valian’t favor more than once, especially in season one. This year, however, the Gladiators took the crown for their own earlier in the season. This matchup is more than just a fan favorite—this matchup is the one the Valiant could manage to win. This is the one they need in order to make the playoffs a reality instead of a dream.
Because of that, the Valiant must be able to keep a calm energy about them. The crowd at the Rivalry Weekend will be full of Valiant fans, but also Gladiators fans. If they can manage to play smart, and channel that energy they had when they toppled the Vancouver Titans, the Valiant have a chance to earn the upset, and secure that 12th seed for their own.
PREDICTION: LA Valiant wins, 3-2
Player to Watch: Custa
While the DPS battles between Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa will be sure to thrill, eyes should fall to the support line. As stated before, the Gladiators have one of the best support duos in the League. Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara have near perfect synergy. Because of the way BigGoose is known to pop off with his boops, Custa needs to make sure he can stand up and do the same. On top of keeping his team up and active, Custa must make sure he can compete with BigGoose on all levels of Lucio play. If he can, the chances of a Valiant victory increase.
San Francisco Shock (21-5), Aug 25th
The last game of the regular season falls to the Valiant and the San Francisco Shock. The Shock are what most would call the best team in the League. Being able to show dominance both in and out of the GOATs meta has really set the Shock apart from the rest of the teams. This mastery of all metas is something that the Valiant haven’t been able to take for themselves. Though they look more comfortable in this 2-2-2 lock the League has implemented, there’s still a sense of tension with these close games and victories.
If the Valiant want to survive, this game needs to be down to the wire. Should they fall to the Gladiators, defeating the Shock are their only chance at the playoffs. A team that’s this clean can be hard to topple. Fans of the League could say that the Valiant defeating the Titans was lightning in a bottle, but sometimes, lightning can strike twice. The Valiant have to be more organized than ever if they want to avoid getting swept off their own Homestand Weekend.
PREDICTION: San Francisco wins, 3-1
Player to Watch: FCTFCTN
Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell has been one of the best new additions to the team in the late Stages of the season. His dominance helped the Valiant climb the ladder in Stage 3, and secure their way into the Stage 3 playoffs. One of the best things about the Shock, however, are their interchangeable main tanks. Myeong-hwan “smurf” Yoo and Matthew “super” DeLisi are both dominant in their role. While smurf takes on the more Winston and Hammond themed maps, super excels with his Reinhardt play. Having two players master one role means that FCTFCTN has his work cut out for him. If he can stand the heat, the Valiant could see success.
Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.
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