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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Los Angeles Valiant official roster moves for stage three

The Los Angeles Valiant have been the team circulating the rumor mill since stage two of the Overwatch League ended. As we prepare for stage three to begin this Wednesday, here are the official roster moves the Valiant have made.

Los Angeles Valiant Mutually Terminate Envy

Los Angeles Valiant

Envy by Robert Paul

Rumors of a conflicting personality have swirled around Envy, one of the Valiant’s best tanks. Then there were reports the Valiant attempted a trade with the Dallas Fuel for flex player Seagull. At the end of the day, on April 2nd, the Valiant announced they had agreed to mutually terminate Envy’s contract with the Valiant. No trade, no incoming player. This move effectively creates the opening for incoming tank Space. Envy proved to be an extremely talented D.va player that could take games over for the Valiant. Whatever the reason may be for his termination and removal from the team, Envy is sure to find himself continuing his professional career.

Valiant and Fuel Support Swap

The long rumored, (and personally disliked), Unkoe for Custa swap has finally happened. It separates long-time teammates Unkoe and Soon, while bringing in a veteran player in Custa. Custa is by no means a downgrade from Unkoe, and not essentially an upgrade either. Both the Fuel and Valiant are excited to receive their new players, as they should be. Reports that Unkoe, much like Envy, had personality clashes within the team, could have potentially hindered play. Custa is also an incredible support like Unkoe, who’s great play on Zenyatta and Moira could bring a formidable pair with either Kariv or Verbo on the Valiant. For the Fuel it allows a good triple support rotation between HarryHook, Chipshajen, and Unkoe.

GrimReality Off the Roster

Los Angeles Valiant

GrimReality from Los Angeles Valiant

A player that never got to see any playing time on the Overwatch League stage. GrimReality, Christopher Schaefer, is no longer a roster player for the Los Angeles Valiant. He stays with the team, however, in a surprise move. He joins as the new assistant coach, and it’s a good way that the Valiant extend their relationship with a talented player that never got his time to shine. With a career being a professional gamer now behind him, GrimReality can continue to offer his insight to the team. If his retention is any sign to fans, it’s that his insight and talent have helped the team behind the scenes more than we know.

Bunny Joins in time for Easter

Los Angeles Valiant

Source from the Los Angeles Valiant

The day before Easter the Los Angeles Valiant had an important announcement for their fans. They had received DPS player Bunny from the Seoul Dynasty. A talented player that could be found when Munchkin was rested, Bunny showed off his ability with a deep hero pool, one that could work in tandem with Soon. With Agilities regaining his form in the last couple weeks of stage two, this allows for a player like Kariv to return his focus to support heroes. Having the ability to swap Agilities and Bunny in to pair with Soon, or even resting Soon and having Bunny play Tracer, allows the Valiant a wider range of options.

The Space age

Known primarily as a flex player, Space is joining the Los Angeles Valiant. Space had his 18th birthday at the end of March, making him fully eligible to play starting day of stage three. Joining the team with a focus on tank play, the sudden void left by Envy’s termination is Space’s to lose. He excels at D.va, which effectively swaps out Envy, and also has good history playing Roadhog and Zarya. With Fate locking down the main tank role in Winston, this hero pool will work to compliment the Valiant’s style of play.

4/3 Update: Rival Dealings

Los Angeles Valiant

Silkthread from Los Angeles Gladiators

Today, April 3rd, it was announced that the Los Angeles Gladiators have purchased the rights to DPS Silkthread from the Los Angeles Valiant. That means that the two DPS thought to be moved from the Valiant, GrimReality and Silkthread, have effectively been removed from their active roster. The signing of Bunny has more impact for the Valiant. It also allows for a more proven rotation between Bunny, Agilities, and Soon. Silkthread was known for his great ability to play projectile heroes like Pharah and will bring that to the Gladiators. For stage three fans will have to wait and see which DPS will begin to take on that role should the map call for it.

With stage three just days away, the Los Angeles Valiant starting roster is going to look a lot different than the previous two stages. Envy and Unkoe are gone. Space and Custa should slot in to those vacant spots, or Custa will watch from the sidelines as Kariv and Verbo start as a support duo. Soon and Agilities seem poised to start as the two DPS players, but there’s no sleeping on former Dynasty player Bunny and his ability to challenge either player for their spots. As a Valiant fan, you might not agree with all of these roster moves made during the stage break. However, there is no denying that new players, and a new assistant coach create excitement and hope for a brighter and more competitive team for this stage.

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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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Overwatch League

Overwatch League Stage Two: DPS Zenyatta meta

The Philadelphia Fusion pushed the New York Excelsior to the brink during the Overwatch League stage two finals. Picking up the first two maps, they truly looked like a dominating team. New York had no plans to go down easy however, and came back to take the championship. The Fusion were clear underdogs throughout the finals, against both London and New York. Their strong team play, and key plays by Zenyatta player Boombox, helped carry them to victory.

Overwatch League Final Team Similarities

There was one binding element that each of the three teams shared throughout their lineups. They had one scary good Zenyatta player. London had Bdosin, Philadelphia had Boombox, and New York had Jjonak. Jjonak has been the focus and spotlight for the high amount of damage and eliminations he racks up over the course of a match, but the other two really showed they can follow suit over the course of Sunday. Having someone that can utilize their healing abilities while also providing and focusing down high-value targets is an amazing addition to any team. The prioritization of Zenyatta’s discord orb, along with impeccable aim allows for Zenyatta to shred through squishy and tanks alike. With focus fire coming in from DPS teammates, it can delete an enemy before their support can get a heal in.

DPS to Zenyatta?

Overwatch League

Jjonak Hero damage from Overwatch League

An interesting theory about Zenyatta’s recent play throughout stage two is that some flex DPS players may start practicing the monk more. The damage and disruption a damage focused Zenyatta can do to the enemy team may prompt teams to replicate it. Someone with incredible aiming abilities like Kariv has for the Los Angeles Valiant may take over Unkoe’s signature hero. A quick discord and orb volley can quickly turn the tide of a map or battle in your favor.

Zenyatta Can Still Heal

Even with the massive amounts of damage Zenyatta can pump out in the hands of a player like Jjonak, he’s still a healer. Being able to provide secondary healing while pumping out damage is a luxury most supports don’t get. Currently the only hero that is capable of similar sustained damage while healing is Moira, who can provide massive AOE heals. Ana’s biotic grenade does a fair deal of damage, but its main focus is the utility of anti-heal that it provides. No one does damage in a support role better than Zenyatta, and a damage boosted Zen is truly something to fear.

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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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Valiant

OWL Stage 2: The Valiant suffer crushing defeat

UPDATE: Saturday has come and gone, and the Valiant went 3-0 to best Shanghai. Shanghai looked good, but after disappointing showings both Verbo and Agilities looked great. Kariv also drew in to the starting line-up alongside Verbo and Unkoe. Kariv did not play his typical support role however, and the series saw him play both DPS and the third tank in a triple tank composition. For all the thoughts that maybe the Valiant’s coaching change and new meta had upset their chemistry, they showed with a vengeance that they’re still the same team from stage one.

 

Verbo hadn’t seen much playing time during the first stage of the Overwatch League. He drew into the lineup during week four while Unkoe sat out with an injury. He looked fine during their match-up with the Philadelphia Fusion. Against the Boston Uprising, Verbo looked severely outmatched as the Valiant were steamrolled with a 4-0 Uprising victory.

Verbo Starts for Stage two

Valiant

Source: Los Angeles Valiant and Blizzard

It was a surprise to many to see Verbo on the starting lineup for Stage 2. This was likely due to the fact that the most recent patch was added between stages, making Mercy a much less attractive pick. With Kariv’s focus on Mercy, it made sense for Verbo to draw in and play Lucio.

Unfortunately for the Valiant, Verbo looked out of place on the Overwatch League stage. The first map, Volskaya Industries, saw Verbo look outmatched as he made mistakes against Seoul. Seoul’s defense saw them playing Zenyatta, Lucio and a Sombra, which proved to be kryptonite for the Valiant. In the end, the Valiant failed to even capture point A on the map.

Verbo drew back in for control on Nepal, and his mistakes continued. Seoul handily took Nepal 2-0, and the Valiant headed to half-time down 2-0. Verbo wasn’t the only player making mistakes during these games, as Agilities found himself out of sync with his teammates. Broadcasters suggested that the possible switch of both Verbo and Agilities for Kariv and Silkthread was more than likely for the second half.

More of the same

Valiant

Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

OH how I wish that had happened. Verbo and Agilities were both back to fight in Dorado to try and take map three from Seoul. To their credit, they looked much better than they did in the first two games. Unfortunately, Valiant still lost the map and had effectively lost the matchup. Verbo’s play, although better, was severely outmatched by his Seoul counterpart on Lucio. Their healing discrepancies were about 5,000 total points of healing. That is an incredible difference for the same hero over the course of the same time-frame.

They could still try and take map four to improve their overall map differential however. With pride the only thing left to play for, and Verbo’s poor performance, Kariv still did not appear. Once again Seoul would run a double support and Sombra defense. Once again, the Valiant failed to even take a single point.

What happens next for Valiant?

There’s a lot of questions to ask as the Valiant look to rebound against the Shanghai Dragons on Saturday. Will Kariv and Silkthread start, or even draw into the lineup? Will the crushing defeat start an avalanche of losses for the Valiant? Will they figure out how to adapt to the new meta and start challenging teams?

As we wait for the answers, the Valiant have to prove themselves. The team’s confidence was not in a good place following their 4-0 defeat to Seoul. One can only imagine the kind of damage they might suffer should they be the first to fall to Shanghai.

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