London Spitfire

Does London Spitfire’s inconsistency make the league more interesting?

London Spitfire likes to keep the league interesting. Spitfire are easily the second best team in the Overwatch League. With an impressive 15-7 league score so far and a +30 map differential it’s impossible to deny they are among the best. However they are not perfect by any means. They have three more losses then their rivals New York Excelsior, and they have now lost three matches in a row. They lost to rising stars Philadelphia Fusion, then long time road block Houston Outlaws, and then their aforementioned rivals, NYXL.

London are one of the most dominant teams, but they struggle in odd match ups and often lose to opponents considered much worse then them. But admittedly, their inconsistencies have made them a very interesting team to watch. NYXL looks amazing with flashy plays by Park “Saebeyolbe” Jong-ryeol and Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon, but if you’re anything like me, seeing them win every day is a bit…boring. But a team like Spitfire, well anything can happen.

London Spitfire

London’s abysmal start to stage 3 places them with the bottom two teams in the League. Courtesy of the Overwatch League website

Losses against lower teams

It sounds weird praising a team for their losses, but this does make the whole league a bit more interesting to watch. They lost to two teams I would argue they should’ve easily won. That was Boston Uprising and Los Angeles Gladiators. Now since then both have proven themselves as forces to be reckoned with, but neither team has even managed to make it to stage finals before. The Boston match was a heart pounding 2-3 loss for London. It was an amazing game that lead to their first loss. At that point we thought the three Korean teams were going to dominate the league. London vs Boston was the first sign that wasn’t going to happen.

And when they lost to the Los Angeles Gladiators, they lost by a bit of a margin, 1-3. But it again really fit a story line of Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung claiming victory over his old comrades. In both scenarios, although disappointing for London fans, was actually incredibly hype to see them lose, and totally went against what everyone was expecting.

Roadblock with Houston Outlaws

At this point it’s fair to say that London have a problem with Houston. Maybe it’s that Houston is known as a great anti-dive team. Maybe it’s because all four times they have played Houston it was the same week that they play New York. Or maybe there really is just a mental road block at this point. No matter what it is, if you’re just looking at the regular season they are 0-3 against Houston. Now why is this interesting? Story lines. People like a good story, and a dominant tyrant brought down by a somewhat mediocre (at this point) team is exciting. On top of that once they do win, it’ll be even more exciting since we won’t be expecting it. It was super exciting when they tasted revenge beating Houston 3-1 in the Stage 1 finals. Next win will be just as satisfying as well…if they win.

 

The most interesting rivalry in the league

New York Excelsior is the final boss of Overwatch. With an immaculate 20-2 record and a staggering +54 map differential, they are the top dogs. At this point there aren’t many teams who really put up much of a fight towards NYXL. Heck, only two teams in the entire league have ever actually won against them. Those being Philadelphia Fusion, and of course, London Spitfire. The Spitfire are actually the only team to win twice. Once in the Stage 1 finals and a second time in Stage 2. Unfortunately after a pretty one sided loss against NYXL, they are now 2-2 on sets. Like I said, NYXL always winning does get boring, but as long as London is around, they will never sit too comfortably a the top; if they slip up even a little, London will be looking for blood.

 

Why is this good for the league?

People like to see change; if you watched the same episode of the same show every day it would get boring. Watching the same three teams win day in day out is exhausting and uninteresting. That’s why a team like London is good for the league. Keep it exciting, keep the fans on their toes. There’s a reason in Football no one wants the Patriots to win, they always win. No one wants to see the same result everyday. So London both being the only team to go toe to toe with NYXL while also being a team that any team can strive to beat keeps the league a bit more balanced.

 

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London vs Seoul

Spitfire triumphs over Dynasty: London vs. Seoul analysis

London Spitfire never cease to amaze me. Once again after looking shaky in their last match against the Gladiators, they pull a complete 180 and 4-0 Seoul for the 2nd time. They looked absolutely dominant, an image of the team that won Stage 1. Seoul had been looking strong other then their match with New York, where they loss 2-3. Other than that, they won every match this stage. London on the other hand already lost to Los Angeles Gladiators and Houston, looking like the weak link of the Koreans. That all changed with London vs Seoul.

If you know your Overwatch history, this shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Before the OWL, Lunatic-Hai was the dominant force (Eventually becoming Seoul Dynasty). GC Busan (Now London Spitfire) came out of nowhere and won two consecutive 3-0 sets against Lunatic Hai. Now in the OWL, London it 8-0 on maps against Seoul. This means overall their map score is 14-0 against Seoul. Why does Seoul struggle against London? Well overall it’s hard to say, it could be a mental block, or clashing play styles. But as for what happened on Saturday, I can shed some light on why we saw history repeat itself again.

unlikely Hero Picks

For most of the match, Seoul ran fairly basic team comps. Sticking to the meta of Tracer, Genji, D.va, Winston, Zen, and another support. They only veered off this in certain situations. London on the other hand, decided to mix things up quite a bit.

On Hanamura, Jong-seok ‘NUS’ Kim is on Mercy duty. This is odd in Stage 2 since her nerfs making her a more niche pick. This worked marvelous for London however as he focused much of his healing and damage boosting on Ji-hyuk ‘birdring’ Kim. Also this gave them a mid-fight resurrect, that turned the tide of a few fights on Hanamura.

On Lijiang Tower, London went for another odd comp with double hit scan heroes. Usually this isn’t a good idea since it makes it difficult to deal with fast moving heroes like Tracer and Genji, but it shut down Byung-sun ‘Fleta’ Kim’s Pharah instantly. This forced Fleta to switch to Genji, however London’s DPS was so destructive, it didn’t make enough of a difference.

King’s Row was another odd map. London looked as though they were about to lose 3rd point and allow Seoul to finish the map. Joon-yeong ‘Profit’ Park made an incredible switch to Zarya at the last second. Zarya, by the way, has a less then 5% pick rate in the Overwatch league, and one of the lowest win rates overall. This didn’t matter as Profit charged up his Ultimate in only a single fight and helped his team fend off Seoul, denying them map completion.

GOING IN WITH A PLAN

This is the Overwatch League, you need to go in every match with a plan on every map. London had a few strong strategies going into this game. First, they decided to split Seoul’s attention with their tanks. Jae-hee ‘Gesture’ and Seung-hyun ‘WooHyaL’ Sung both went in and distracted Seoul, giving birdring and Profit room to show the league what they’ve got. Profit used this space given to establish my next point.

Je-hong ‘ryujehong’ Ryu must really hate Profit, I mean REALLY hate Profit. Last stage Jehong was on the bench against London in order to “throw them off.” This time Jehong played all 4 maps against London. He’s really an amazing support, he’s known for his great positioning and amazing game sense, but you wouldn’t know that from this match since Profit killed him so many times. Jehong ended the match with 34 deaths and only 8 kills on Zenyatta.

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Jehong giving Birdring a hug after the match. Courtesy of MLG Network and Twitch.

One thing I’ve always praised London for is their last second stalls. Kings Row is a perfect example of this in action. Seoul is about to cap the third point and London only has 2 players left alive. Instead of making the common mistake of attempting to hold out as long as they can in a ultimately pointless effort. They both fall back and hide in spawn, allowing Seoul to push the payload farther, up until the very last second when they are able to come back in with almost full 6, taking control of the payload. Spitfire knows it’s much better to sacrifice those 5-10 meters in order to stop the payload short of completing the map.

JUST BEING OUTPLAYED

Sometimes Overwatch boils down to who plays better. True, the heroes choices and the strategies are important, but sometimes who can click the most heads works too. Fleta is often considered best DPS in the league, but this weekend he wasn’t able to keep up with Birdring who just kept shutting him down.

The Tracer battle between Sang-beom ‘Munchkin’ Byeon and Profit looked very one sided. Seoul for a while now has been known to have weaker tracers, and that contrast is drastic when compared to Profit. And when they both switched to Zarya on King’s row, Profit as mentioned before charged up his ult in a single fight, used 3 Graviton Surges throughout the map which secured 10 kills and had an average energy of 65. Munchkin on the other hand, used only 1 Ult and failed to secure a single kill with it, and ended with an average energy of 35.

This doesn’t end with the DPS, the tanks were just as dominant . Gesture looked as amazing as always match ending with 16 more kills then his Winston Counter part. And WooHyaL on D.va looked just as dominant, dying 50% less than Seoul’s D.va player.

London Spitfire are definitely a force to be reckoned with. They often look shaky and inconsistent, but times like these prove why they are defending champions. Seoul isn’t quite out yet however, with a fairly easy week 5 ahead of them, we may be looking at a rematch in the Stage 2 finals. Even if it ends one sided, the skill range here is still incredibly close. Matches like London vs Seoul are matches I wish we could watch every single week.

 

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