The Los Angeles Valiant’s Stage 2 went much better than their Stage 1. Now sitting at 3-11, they left with, in comparison, a much better win-loss record, and even threw in a couple of upsets. However, they did not make stage playoffs, and their overall performance still leaves much to be desired for the next stage.
Week 1 gave the Valiant squad only one match to play, but it could not have been against a tougher opponent. They were against the San Francisco Shock, a team that had just come from a strong second place finish in the Stage 1 playoffs, almost beating the Vancouver Titans.
The match went as everyone had expected, and the Shock swept the LA Valiant in 4-0 fashion. This didn’t mean much, as the SF Shock went on to have a perfect Stage 2, not dropping a single map. This match was more a show of just how strong San Francisco was, rather than how weak the Los Angeles Valiant were.
The Valiant, now sitting at 0-8, had a similarly tough road ahead of them in Week 2. For their first match, they needed to take on the Atlanta Reign, who were looking formidable after making it to Stage 1 playoffs. Despite the massive on-paper gap between these two teams, the Los Angeles Valiant prevailed and won in a close 3-2 series. This was their first upset of the stage.
Though, they were not so lucky in their rivalry match against the Los Angeles Gladiators. The series was also quite close, but the Valiant simply could not pull through. In the end, the Gladiators won 2-1. Although, the Los Angeles Valiant and their fans were happy to grab their first win of the season this week.
The LA Valiant had another single-match week in Week 3. They looked good to win it, though, as their opponent was the Washington Justice. The Justice were, and still are, one of the few teams seen as worse than the Valiant. Everything went as expected, and the Los Angeles Valiant walked away having won 3-1.
Week 4 was the Valiant’s true test of how far they had come since Stage 1. First, they were to face off against the Dallas Fuel, who were sitting at the higher end of the mid-tier teams. Now with two wins to their name, some thought that the LA Valiant might just be able to pull off at least a close match. However, that was not the case, and the Fuel swept them 4-0.
Their second opponent was the Seoul Dynasty. Many held the Dynasty in higher regard than the Dallas Fuel at this time. Therefore, they expected another stomp. This was not the case at all, though, and the Los Angeles Valiant brought the whole series down to a tiebreaker map. Unfortunately, they ultimately lost 3-2, but it was a solid showing.
Week 5 was another week with only one match to be played, and marked the LA Valiant’s second upset. They were pitted against the Chengdu Hunters, a team that sat comfortably in the middle of the pack. This was in contrast to the Valiant’s positioning near the very bottom.
The series went back and forth numerous times, but on the tiebreaker map, the Los Angeles Valiant truly showed up and won it without dropping a round. The final scoreline was 3-2 in favor of the Valiant.
The Los Angeles Valiant did not walk away with the glory of a solid stage, but they showed crucial improvement. Being now already half way through the season, if they had continued the same way they did in Stage 1, that would have been a sign of serious underlying issues. Fans can be glad that the team is now no longer winless, but there is still much room for improvement.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment