This weekend, the Defiant nearly did the impossible: beat the San Francisco Shock. With a stunning map one upset, the Defiant looked poise to bring this series to a rousing map five. However, one thing blocked their path to victory: Grant “moth” Espe. A three-man boop sent the Defiant spiraling away from victory, and the series was lost in a sad 1-3 scoreline.
However, that scoreline doesn’t tell the story of the entire series. The Defiant showed a new side of themselves, one that fans hadn’t seen since this team took the dominant Philadelphia Fusion to a map five. The Defiant looked stronger, more controlled, and hungry for a long overdue win. This series was also a treat for hitscan master Andreas “Logix” Berghmans as well. Playing the whole series out, fans got to “Thank Mr. Logix” on more than one occasion. His McCree play was exceptionally clean and a map winner during their bout on Oasis.
Taking a map off of the seemingly unshakeable San Francisco Shock proves that the Defiant aren’t to be dismissed. This team looks better than ever, and with their weakest opponent of the month waiting ahead, there’s a chance at certain success.
Los Angeles Valiant (4-7), May 17th
In the regular season, these two teams rest next to each other, at 14 and 15. With the Defiant looking sharper than ever, this team could pull an upset and win this game with ease. Hero bans this week aren’t exactly a detriment to the Defiant roster, either. With Moira gone, flex support Young-seo “KariV” Park can maintain top play on his best hero, Ana.
Tracer and Mei out of the ring frees up both Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Brady “Agilities” Girardi from her icy prison. Instead, the two can focus on something more interesting — perhaps a dive composition with Genji in the mix is in their future. Logix suffers from a lack of Tracer play, but with McCree still at the ready, it’s always high noon.
The matchup, here, comes at the front of the battlefield. The Valiant, while seemingly well rounded, have a mean stack of damage players. If Kai “KSP” Collins wants to take a break, they’ve got Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa and Johannes “Shax” Nielsen at the ready. In the Valiant’s stunning upset against the Atlanta Reign, Damon “Apply” Conti showed his prowess on new hero Echo. While both teams have the depth to mix and match, the Valiant have formidable players on these damage roles. In order to edge out the competition, Toronto’s DPS line will have to buckle down and put in the work.
PREDICTION: Valiant wins, 3-2
Player to Watch: Surefour
Though he took last weekend off, Surefour will certainly be back in action. With Ashe back in rotation, there’s a chance we see him and KSP duel each other from across various maps. Surefour’s play lately has been shaky at best, and his usual flex skills have been leaving something to be desired. However, Toronto seems to be edging away from the idea of playing into the meta. Therefore, Surefour should be able to do as he pleases, and pull out all the stops. (So long as those stops are Torbjorn, anyways). Toronto’s success hinges on the synergy of their damage duo. Should he play, Surefour needs to make sure he’s at the top of his game. If he is, Toronto could have a clearer path to victory.
Featured Image Courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment.
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