The LA Valiant couldn’t have had a more eventful first week. Although they didn’t come out on top, they fought their hardest and gave their opponents a true run for their money. In their upcoming matches, though, the outlook does not look much smoother.
Hangzhou Spark (2-0)
The Valiant’s match versus the Hangzhou Spark was explosive to say the least. However, that’s not just because of off-tank Park “Ria” Sung-wook’s multiple massive D.Va bombs. Both teams seemed to be on as equal of footing as possible in a constant push and pull for the slight advantage over the other. Many of their team fights ended up consisting of one-for-one trades in the kill-feed. On top of that, the two teams found themselves in plenty of overtime fights in order to decide the round, and sometimes map, winner.
In the end, the Spark pulled ahead on Nepal and finished out the third tiebreaker map after a couple of amazing earthshatters from their main tank Jeong “Nosmite” Da-un. The series ended 3-2 in favor of the Spark.
Player of the Game
As mentioned above, the Hangzhou Spark off-tank Ria threw out fight-deciding self-destructs on several occasions throughout the series. Some claimed two lives, while others wiped out four of the six team members. Either way, he enabled his team to gain an invaluable upper-hand in many situations, causing them to win many more of their normally back and forth fights.
New York Excelsior (2-0)
The unanimous number one spot on the power rankings, the New York Excelsior debuted how everyone expected them to, finishing off their week with a perfect record. This is bad news for the LA Valiant, though, as this is very telling of the current strength of the NYXL lineup. The Valiant were able to take them down in Season 1, but not consistently.
The NYXL look very strong this season and are, even for non-fans, the expected winner of their matches. That is simply how it is for this team. Although, their first match of the season versus the Boston Uprising, albeit a win for them, did not go as well as they had expected. Perhaps there is a weakness in their seemingly impenetrable armor?
Even as untouchable as the New York Excelsior seem, the LA Valiant do have a win condition. They were one of the few teams to actually take a series off of the NYXL in the last season. However, this condition is flawed in that the NYXL not only have a new roster that seems extraordinarily strong, but the LA Valiant are also working with a new roster currently with an 0-1 record. A good idea for them would be to bring in support Scott “Custa” Kennedy to play that role in place of main tank Dae-kuk “Kuki” Kim for this match.
Prediction: NYXL win 3-1
Toronto Defiant (1-0)
The Toronto Defiant is another team like the LA Valiant that only had one match for the first week of Overwatch League. Again, like the LA Valiant, this match was also very intense. They pulled off a full reverse sweep versus the Houston Outlaws and were able to claim the win for the first ever OWL match. This says a lot about the ability of the Defiant to adapt to their situation.
Overall, though, this should be a much more even playing field for the Valiant. The Houston Outlaws are not exactly one of the titans that everyone is looking out for this season, so the results of the Defiant’s series against them show that they are probably not at that similar of a level to the New York Excelsior.
If the LA Valiant want to get their first win of the season, this will be the match to do it. Once again, it seems like the best path to take would be to bring in Custa if they want to maximize their chances of success. He is an excellent shotcaller and the shotcaller of any team is the core to success. Without proper direction, no work gets done. Even without Custa, though, the LA Valiant most likely simply outclass the Toronto Defiant in terms of raw player skill. You can’t leave out the potential of another reverse sweep from the Defiant crew, though, as they, like previously stated, seem to know how to adapt well to their situation.
Prediction: LA Valiant win 3-2
Player to Watch
Despite ultimately losing his first match, LA Valiant off-tank Indy “Space” Halpern performed at his expected level: outstandingly. He ate Graviton Surges, properly applied pressure and was overall extremely instrumental to the success that the Valiant had on their won maps. Chances are he will continue to play like this moving into their matches against the NYXL and Defiant. If he plays as well as he did in the match versus the Hangzhou Spark, the Valiant’s chances of winning the series against the Defiant will be much higher.
Featured image courtesy of the Los Angeles Valiant
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