It was another unfortunate week of defeats for the LA Valiant, but they should not be counted out yet. Next week, they will find themselves pitted against another very highly regarded team, but also another team considered by many to be mid-tier. This may be the week they finally find their footing and improve their record.
New York Excelsior (4-0)
This series, although not a win for the Valiant, went to a map five and was overall quite close. Even on Ilios, despite losing 2-0, they did not simply give up the rounds. Much like in their series versus the Hangzhou Spark, the LA Valiant put up as much of a fight as any team could. Differently from their match against the Spark, though, the Valiant brought in support Scott “Custa” Kennedy for a couple of the maps. Overall, the LA Valiant may not have won the series, but they proved that they are not to be written off.
The Valiant may be sitting at 0-3 in the season right now, but this early into the season, the numbers aren’t everything. Looking specifically at just how far they took the New York Excelsior throughout the series, they’re looking like they will settle in at a higher spot in the rankings as the season goes on. In other good news, support Min-chul “Izayaki” Kim played superbly in that match. Statistically, he was challenging the likes of NYXL support Sung-hyeon “Jjonak” Bang. He made some big plays, getting picks for his team before fights even started.
Player of the Game
In accordance with the praise he has received, LA Valiant off-tank Indy “Space” Halpern performed very well. It’s safe to say that, without him, the Valiant would not have had as much success in the series versus the NYXL as they did. He did what every good D.Va does: protect his teammates and eat Graviton Surges.
Toronto Defiant (2-1)
The LA Valiant are three for three in close series, but unfortunately zero for three in series wins. The Defiant did defeat them, but they were able to tie up one of the maps in the match. In a similar vein to their series against the Excelsior, this proves that the Valiant has fighting spirit. They are simply unable to overcome these humps. All of the LA Valiant players played decently, but as a team they could not pull through.
Also like their match against the NYXL, support Izayaki played exceptionally on Zenyatta and at times won fights for his team. Right now the Valiant are looking individually strong and even playing decently as a team, but they continue to struggle to finish out games.
Player of the Game
He may not have had the OWL debut he was hoping for, but Izayaki is showing immense potential to be one of the best Zenyattas in the league. He has been very consistent in his performance in terms of damage dealt and game sense. In his current form, he already looks like a better Zenyatta than most.
Vancouver Titans (3-0)
The Vancouver Titans may look to be on the same level as the NYXL because of their current win-loss record, but it’s important to look at who exactly they beat. Their first win was against an overhauled Shanghai Dragons that was struggling in its first week and the second was a 3-2 victory in a close series versus the Guangzhou Charge. Though, their third was in their match against the San Francisco Shock, another team that many see as quite good. Needless to say, they’re not untouchable. However, wins are wins, so this team is not at all to be scoffed at. They are indeed strong.
This series seems like it won’t be very even between the LA Valiant and the Vancouver Titans. The Valiant may have an advantage in that they have more OWL experience. On the other hand, though, the Titans have cohesion that could be similar or better to that of the Valiant, because they all played together in Korea Contenders. The LA Valiant’s biggest win condition will be their ability out-maneuver the Titans. In terms of mechanical skill, both teams are very talented. It’s hard to say who’s better, though, because we’ve never seen them against each other. Based on records alone, the Titans look good to win. The Valiant will need to have superior strategies if they want a chance to come out with the victory.
Prediction: Vancouver Titans win 3-1
Guangzhou Charge (1-2)
This match will be the LA Valiant’s more realistic shot at a win this week if they are unable to take down the Vancouver Titans. The Guangzhou Charge have had a rocky start to their season so far, losing more than winning. The match they did win was a very convincing 4-0 against the Dallas Fuel, though. However, the LA Valiant seem to have generally better players, which in and of itself is an advantage and a win condition.
Though, with the volatility of all of the teams this season so far, it’s still hard to tell who really is better. The LA Valiant have been consistent in pushing their opponents to the limit and both of those opponents were very strong teams. Yet, for the Guangzhou Charge, the matches they lost also went to map fives. That may make the Charge seem better overall, because on top of that they also have one win under their belt.
Despite all of this equal footing between the two teams, the LA Valiant should have more in their arsenal to take the win. They are much more experienced as a team and have proven in these past two matches that they can truly challenge the acclaimed best in the league.
Prediction: LA Valiant win 3-2
Player to Watch
Izayaki’s stellar performance in the Valiant’s series against the NYXL and the Defiant grabbed the attention of many people. Based on the numbers, his skill is on par with JJoNak’s. He is not only a player to watch for the LA Valiant’s next match, but one to watch for the whole season, as he is sure to keep on improving.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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