Los Angeles Valiant

Los Angeles Valiant roster overhaul paying off

Before stage three of the Overwatch League started, the Los Angeles Valiant made a flurry of moves. Bunny, Custa and Space joined the team while mainstays like Unkoe, Envy and Silkthread departed. The drastic change has worked wonders and has made the Valiant look incredibly strong this stage.

Los Angeles Valiant Roster Recap

Los Angeles Valiant

Space and Soe courtesy of Robert Paul

Quick recap of exactly what happened to the Valiant roster. To kick things off, they announced they had acquired Bunny from the Seoul Dynasty. Next, they made a trade with the Dallas Fuel and swapped support Unkoe for Custa. Their next move remains clouded in mystery to exactly what the reasoning behind it is, but they “mutually” terminated Envy’s contract. Following this announcement was that backup DPS GrimReality was moving into an assistant coaching position, removing him from the roster. During the off-stage break, flex-tank player Space turned 18, and became an active player for the Valiant. Their final move was to trade with their rivals, the Los Angeles Gladiators, by unloading Silkthread from their roster.

Los Angeles Valiant

Custa by the Los Angeles Valiant

So for those keeping track, two players from the Los Angeles Valiant’s starting roster, Unkoe and Envy, were removed. Two DPS that weren’t being given a chance anymore, Silkthread and GrimReality, get moved off the roster. With Envy gone, Space takes the D.va role. Bunny starts to challenge Agilities for the second DPS spot behind Soon, and Kariv goes back to being a support alongside Custa.

Has it Worked?

Fans looked on at what the Valiant were doing to their team, and wondered how exactly things would play out. Many weren’t expecting these kind of results however. At the end of stage three, week two, the Valiant have gone 4-0. They played two teams many don’t give much of a chance to, Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel, but they also played up-and-coming San Francisco Shock as well as near-dominant Seoul Dynasty. They rolled through every team 4-0 except for the Dallas Fuel, who looked vastly improved with OGE in the lineup. With a total map score of 14-1 throughout two weeks of play, the roster moves have worked out incredibly well.

Working as a team

Los Angeles Valiant

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

One of the main differences that the Los Angeles Valiant have shown through this stage is their team communication. Custa was constantly touted as a leader in Dallas, and he seems to have brought those skills to the Valiant. Alongside with Kariv, they’ve barely missed a beat together. Space has jumped in and performed as well if not better than Envy, and if the rumors about personal issues were true, the team mindset may be cleared with him off the team. Bunny and Agilities have also been great swapping in-and-out depending on the map. Bunny specifically has given Soon the ability to flex on some different heroes, as his McCree and Reaper have been producing great results lately.

With a new looking roster missing zero beats throughout stage three, the Valiant could easily be contending for the stage three championship. They’re producing great results against both challenging and “easy” teams, showing that they have the drive to win no matter the team. If anything, it’s a great time to be a Los Angeles Valiant fan, and the future looks bright.

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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul

Los Angeles Valiant trading away starting players would be a mistake

There are multiple reports that have the Los Angeles Valiant looking to move a lot of their current players. Moving just one would help free up a starting lineup spot for newly eligible Space, but at what cost could it come? With Envy and Fate being one of the strongest tank duos throughout the first two stages, moving even one of them could lead the team in the wrong direction.

Unkoe for Custa

The main trade that has been floating around for a few days has been swapping Unkoe for Dallas Fuel’s Custa. Credit to both players for their strong play, but disrupting the cohesion of your supports is the wrong move to make for the Valiant. Unkoe and Kariv were near unstoppable during the first stage. He has continued his strong play alongside Verbo during stage two. Moving him and changing the dynamic of the backbone of your team could lead to communication errors. Not only that, but Soon and Unkoe have been friends and teammates for a while. What message would it send to your star DPS player if you swapped similarly skilled players?

Los Angeles Valiant clearing the bench

Los Angeles Valiant

Source: Robert Paul

Silkthread hasn’t seen any playing time since stage one ended. GrimReality has never gotten in to play in Blizzard Arena. While Silkthread looked impressive in the minimal time he got to shine, moving both of these players makes sense to me. They’re not currently playing or on the starting roster, and they can’t be happy with where they’re at regarding playing time. It’s a move that could benefit both teams involved, as the Los Angeles Valiant either free up a roster space or add a new player. For Silkthread and GrimReality, they’d be given a chance to compete for a spot to play, even if it’s rotating in for a single map per match. Silkthread has said previously he believes his time to play for the Valiant is up.

Envy of the league

If there is a player that has meant more or carried the Valiant more than Soon, it’s definitely Envy. Envy’s performance on D.va has been absolutely brilliant, and he has turned games on their head to give his team a chance to win. What possible reason could they have for looking to move him out? There’s been reports from a few sources that site some of the players personalities are clashing. If they perform that well on stage as a team, however, is it worth getting rid of them? Thankfully, the Valiant and Envy have continued to deny this rumor of a possible move, but with Space looking to contend for a playing spot, somebody might be leaving.

Los Angeles Valiant

Source: Los Angeles Valiant

A hop in their step

With Kariv and Agilities splitting time playing DPS throughout stage two, and no faith in Silkthread or GrimReality, the Valiant wanted another reliable DPS. Seoul Dynasty has gifted them Bunny, Jun-hyeok Chae. Bunny not only has a fantastic name, but he’s a great player too. His play on Tracer certainly fits DPS billing, and he will help challenge Soon or give the Valiant an option to rest the player with no fear. Bunny may also add another dynamic to the team coming from one of the top teams in the league. His view of the Overwatch League may add additional insight to the Valiant and how they approach different maps.

With all these moves, and more possible, the Valiant a fan sees for stage three could look a lot different. Familiar and fan favorites could be on the way out, and a new core of players might be enough to carry them to a stronger record.

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Featured image courtesy of Los Angeles Valiant

Overwatch League

Overwatch League Stage 2: New meta, new roles

New patches and updates hit the Overwatch League with the start of Stage two. With these changes, a new meta and new approach to maps were expected. This was also due to the fact that new maps were entering the rotation for stage two. What fans and teams have gotten with this new meta however is a scramble to adapt. Many players are seeing their usage change, and some are changing completely.

Kariv Surprises as DPS while Silkthread benched

Overwatch League

Source: EsportsHeaven

The first day of stage two did not play into the Los Angeles Valiant’s favor, as they got steamrolled 4-0 by Seoul. Kariv and Silkthread sat on the sidelines as Verbo and Agilities struggled to adapt to the new meta. The coaching staff did not opt for any swaps however, and both players struggled through all four maps. Day four of stage two came around and Valiant’s starting line-up was Unkoe, Verbo, Kariv, Fate, Envy, and Soon. There was no way that Valiant was running three supports, and in fact Kariv was running DPS for Hanamura against Shanghai. No Agilities, no Silkthread, no Grimreality. Kariv actually played mostly Soldier 76 on the map, a hitscan hero that Silkthread and Grimreality specialize in. Reports are that by playing Kariv, the Valliant have an excellent Widowmaker on standby, and that Silkthread and Grimreality are not great on the sniper.

The match ended in a draw and Agilities drew in for Kariv on the next map. Agilities looked much better than day one, and the Valiant won the map. After half-time however, Kariv was back in for King’s Row. To his credit he played a formidable third tank to compliment Fate and Envy. Kariv has looked comfortable and able in the DPS role, but one has to wonder why Silkthread hasn’t seen any time lately, or that Grimreality hasn’t drawn in to any maps so far. Stage two seems to be shaping up to have Kariv and Agilities swapping in and out as the map calls for it.

Rascal snags DPS role, Seagull preparing Tank play

Overwatch League

Source: Blizzard and Twingalaxies

When the Dallas Fuel acquired Rascal, they became loaded with offensive potential. Seagull was already playing in a limited role, with main DPS roles falling to Effect and aKm. However during the first two games of stage two, Seagull did not see any playing time. Rascal, however, did see some playing time. With the changes coming to Dallas, which included xQc joining the line-up after his stage one suspenion, Seagull looked to be out. When Seagull was asked about his lack of playing time, he admitted that he didn’t join the team to be a starter or see much playing time. Not only this, but Seagull stated that at this time he was working on learning D.Va. It may be a while until we see Seagull enter in for a map, but rest assured that he is hard at work to improve himself.

As a side note, both Rascal and xQc looked good for the Fuel, leading them to two wins. These were 3-1 over Shanghai and 3-1 over the Los Angeles Gladiators. Dallas has looked much more comfortable with the change in meta and added personnel on the roster.

Shadowburn on the sidelines as EQO dominates

The Philadelphia Fusion signed EQO after they were disappointed with their stage one results. He was brought in to shore up a position to support Carpe’s excellent play over stage one. Shadowburn was the victim of an excellent signing. EQO played in every map for the Fusion, and helped lead them to two 4-0 sweeps during the first week. EQO looked absolutely dominant in his first week with the Fusion. With EQO in the line-up, the Fusion look to keep pushing and contending for a spot higher in the standings. Unfortunately for Shadowburn, he might not play a large role in that surge. Carpe is a fixture, thanks to his versatility and incredible skill with Widowmaker. EQO showed no glaring weakness, and until the team or he falters, Shadowburn will have to wait his turn. The Fusion used the break between stages to get better, and it was clear they were from the first match.

With so many players being forced to learn new roles to deal with the changing meta, we may yet see more changes. With the possible release of hero 27 (Brigette anyone?), the meta might continue to shift and change. If it does, it’s great for the league to grow as the strategies will have to keep changing. It will really bring out the best in coaches and players to see what they come up with to tackle the updates in Stage three.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment