LOS ANGELES VALIANT (0-7)
Before the beginning of Season 2, most had the LA Valiant up pretty high on their power rankings. Winners of the stage four playoffs, the Valiant were expected to be one of the more dominant teams coming back. Unfortunately for the Valiant, bizarre coaching tactics like benching their team captain Scott “Custa” Kennedy and subpar GOATS play would be their downfall.
Even if one is not a fan of the Valiant, watching their games has been heartbreaking to witness. In their game against the Fusion, they struggled hard during the first two maps. While there were some great moments from Indy “SPACE” Halpern and Min-chul “Izayaki” Kim, the two of them are not able to carry the weight of their team alone. The Fusion, in an unsurprising trend, let their cockiness get the better of them once again after half-time. The Valiant either finally showed up, or the Fusion let their guard down. They were unable to regain their momentum until map 5. The Fusion narrowly squeaked out a victory against the Valiant.
The Valiant officially finished 0-7 during their final game against the Houston Outlaws later that weekend. With the Fusion only facing one team per week until playoffs, it is difficult to gauge whether or not they have improved since their loss against the Florida Mayhem. The 3-2 score against the Valiant is worrisome when looking at how the Valiant have played throughout the first stage. Fans walked away from this game a little worse for wear, but hopeful for a shot at stage playoffs.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – SADO
Throughout this stage, Su-min “SADO” Kim has been getting a lot of flak from fans for feeding. GOATS, or three-three meta, requires constant coordination among teammates to be successful. One toe out of line and the whole team crumbles within seconds. Unfortunately, it is extremely noticeable when main tanks die first because of this. SADO is usually the first to go down in team fights, so a lot of people credit that to him being too aggressive or write it off as feeding. Even with his wild playstyle, SADO had some great moments during their game against the Los Angeles Valiant. On Busan, fans groaned in misery as Josue “eqo” Corona hard fed into the Valiant’s spawn. Those groans quickly turned to cheers as the camera panned back to SADO, who was crouching anxiously in wait to give the Valiant a cheeky surprise. A fat shatter, SADO destroyed the boys in green, and that play gave the Fusion a renewed confidence that helped them secure that 3-2 victory.
PARIS ETERNAL (2-3)
The Paris Eternal might not be living up to expectations, but they certainly are living for the drama. It’s a little too convenient that the Eternal finally took former Fusion player George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha off the bench a week before their match against Philadelphia. Starting as Philly’s original poster boy, ShaDowBurn quickly found himself benched after Stage 1 during the first season. His quiet, calculating playstyle never meshed well with that of the Philadelphia Fusion. Philly is known for their over-aggressive playstyle, and eqo ended up becoming the perfect fit for them. The Fusion released ShaDowBurn not too long after the first season ended. For months, fans wondered where the Genji superstar would end up. Would he retire? Would he follow in the footsteps of former teammate Joe “JoeMeister” Gramano and become a coach? Luckily for fans, the Paris Eternal would end up signing him during the offseason.
ShaDowBurn, along with the rest of the Paris Eternal, have been struggling for the past couple of weeks. Initially, the Eternal were the GOATS team to keep an eye on. They dominated the London Spitfire and beat the Los Angeles Gladiators, who barely managed to draw them on one map. Their devasting loss against the Atlanta Reign seems to have put the Eternal out of sorts.
CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP
The Eternal look lost. It has become increasingly more painful to watch their games because they have moments of greatness that they either cannot capitalize on or they get easily outplayed in the next fight.
One major problem for the Paris Eternal is their support line. While Dusttin “DogMan” Bowerman was trolling when he initially shouted “Kruise is a feeder!”, the numbers seem to line up with his claim. Harrison “Kruise” Pond is a great healer, but his aggressive playstyle often leaves his team in the lurch. That zealousness combined with Damien “HyP” Souville’s mistimed transcendences on Zenyatta has only spelled disaster for the Eternal. If the Philadelphia Fusion can keep their focus on the Eternal’s healers, this could be an easy victory for them. However, after the disaster of the Florida Mayhem game, the Fusion cannot discount Paris if they want any shot at the stage playoffs.
PLAYER TO KEEP AN EYE ON – EQO
Even though ShaDowBurn and eqo have been forced onto two different characters during this meta, it will still be interesting to see how they play against one another. With ShaDowBurn on Zarya duty and eqo stuck in Brig Jail, it will be up to how both teams coordinate with one another to determine who will come out of this battle victorious.
PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA WILL WIN 3-2
Be sure to tune in for the Philadelphia Fusion’s only game of the week against the Paris Eternal at 3 PM EST on March 17!
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