VALIANT 2-2 (2-9 OVERALL) VERSUS FUEL 2-2 (6-5 OVERALL)
Leaving the comfy Blizzard Arena, Los Angeles kicked off Week 4 with a very intimidating game on Saturday night. The Los Angeles Valiant faced off against the Dallas Fuel, and they were already at a disadvantage before the match even started. The crowd was deafening as they chanted “Burn Blue” and “O-G-E”.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 27, 2019
Oasis: Dallas 2 – 0 Los Angeles
The first round of Oasis wasn’t pretty, as the Fuel came out of the gates running. Dylan “aKm” Bignet started to up his charge early, dealing damage as Zarya that caught both Pan-seung “Fate” Koo and Scott “Custa” Kennedy. Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa was able to gain the point through his Graviton Surge, but it didn’t last long. In the final fight of the round, Dallas slowly pressed the Valiant backward until they were outside the point. The Fuel then flipped the point while they were at 99%, causing the Valiant to panic. Rushing back forward, aKm caught Los Angeles in a Graviton Surge and capped the round with a win for Dallas.
Round two seemed to give favor to Los Angeles for a bit, as they found their footing. The point flipped four times, as both teams reached 99%. Min-chul “Izayaki” Kim was helping his team deal an incredible amount of damage, as his discord orb contributed three eliminations in one fight. In the final fight, Lucas “NotE” Meissner absolutely popped off, eliminating three Valiant players to take Oasis.
Anubis: Dallas 2 – 1 Los Angeles
For the rest of the way, the Dallas Fuel simply were one step ahead of the Valiant. Izayaki couldn’t get his transcendence off in time for Brady “Agilities” Girardi, as he was caught in an EMP and melted soon after. Min-seok “OGE” Son began his dominance soon after, as a nanoed primal rage caught Izayaki off balance once again. Soon after, the main tank once again would be a step ahead of the Valiant, producing two Earthshatters in one team fight. The second one was Los Angeles’ thorn, as it stopped a Valiant push at 96.1%.
Needing a little less than a full cap, the Valiant were not ready for what Dallas brought to the table. The Fuel would quickly cap after Fate was lost in the first fight, and attempt to snowball into point B. Fate redeemed himself with a push-stopping Shatter of his own, but the glory didn’t last long. aKm’s graviton would catch two Los Angeles players, and the fire strike on Agilities would lead to a Dallas 2-0 at halftime.
Eichenwalde: Dallas 2 – 1 Los Angeles
Instead of one step, the Valiant were five or six steps behind on this map. The Valiant lost four straight fights, and this was largely due to ineffective ultimates. Izayaki didn’t release his transcendence in time before Fate was melted, then KSF and Fate would waste two ultimates in the very next fight after it was lost. Despite Won-sik “Closer” Jung being picked in what looked like it was going to be a Dallas full hold, the Valiant were able to push the Fuel away to cap the point for a little extra time.
This didn’t lead to anything spectacular though, as aKm immediately spawn camped Los Angeles with a minute left in the time bank. In the final push, OGE’s five-man Shatter and NotE’s double-elimination led to a Valiant overtime stall. In an awkward situation, Fate slowly backed up all the way to spawn during the final overtime push what technically lead to a C9. For Dallas’ attack, it was too easy. Right out of the gate, Agilities was placed in the Fuel’s backline all alone, and it provided an easy elimination. Dallas capped to officially become the only team to win a home match.
Junkertown: Dallas 5 – 4 Los Angeles
Young-seo “KariV” Park was subbed in for Izayaki, and his impact was immediate. The Valiant led the map with the attack, and KariV collected 40% of Los Angeles’ final blows in the first three team fights as Zenyatta. The Valiant continued to roll through the Fuel, finishing the map with over two minutes remaining in their time bank. Dallas would also complete the map, but KariV would continue to cause trouble for the Fuel. His discord orb would cause hesitation throughout the round, but Dallas still capitalized on Los Angeles’ positioning mistakes.
Moving into the overtime rounds, Dallas would be able to run the payload past point A, despite their smaller timebank. KariV was still monstrous, as the final push of Dallas ended with the Zenyatta collecting five eliminations in the team fight. With confidence, the Valiant pressed forward out of the gates. Fate would be too aggressive, being positioned right next to the edge, leading to a Closer boop. Fate would collect himself and gather a couple of eliminations to cap point A, only needing a little more to go to steal at least one map. Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson had other plans, using his excellent moves on Zenyatta to pick off Fate and the rest of the Valiant.
Final: Dallas 4 – 0 Los Angeles
The Valiant were constantly picked off for positioning mistakes and questionable ultimate use, but they were doomed to start. The crowd was booming, and it was claimed that vibrations could be felt throughout the arena. For a team that has played almost their entire franchise history as a home team, they didn’t look ready to be on the other side. It should also be brought up as to why KariV wasn’t in place before. KariV is used for his flex skills, but played Zenyatta the entire time, just like Izayaki. The Valiant need a near-perfect run to even have a shot at the Stage 2 Playoffs, and even then it’s unlikely. Look for KariV to possibly play more in the future.
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