The Los Angeles Gladiators started to really click in Stage 3 of the First Season of the Overwatch League. They finished in fourth, and lost to the Boston Uprising in the playoffs. In Stage 4, they came out strong and finished in first place that stage, before crashing out to the eventual stage champions: the Los Angeles Valiant.
After Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek did not play in the Season 1 playoff against the London Spitfire, rumors swirled as to what kept him out. Fissure has since left for the all-Korean roster of the Seoul Dynasty. With six players currently signed to their roster, what type of players do the LA Gladiators need to bring in before Season 2 kicks off in February?
Tanks, Tanks and More Tanks
With the departure of Fissure, one of the most exciting tanks in the league, the burden fell upon Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa, who has since been released by the Gladiators. The Gladiators also have two flex players Hyung-seok “Bischu” Kim and Jun-woo “Void” Kang. Since Bischu and Void are widely considered flex players, playing D.Va and Zarya on tanks, the Gladiators are left without any true tank players.
What player could the Gladiators bring in? One name being tossed around is Chang-hoon “r0ar” Gye of the Kongdoo Panthera roster. He would be joining his former teammate Void, and his Winston and Reinhardt play would fill the gap left by Fissure. Recently, he helped his team finish second in Korean Contenders Season 2, where r0ar played an integral role at tank.
Another option would be to bring in a tank from the Gladiators Legion, the Contenders affiliate of the LA Gladiators. The only true tank on that team is Byung-ho “Panker” Lee. Pulling up a player from their affiliate team would show that the Gladiators have faith in their system. This move would be similar to the Philadelphia Fusion bringing up Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher from their affiliate, the Fusion University. The Gladiators Legion finished 4th in the group stages. They ended up in the 5th spot for the playoffs.
The DPS duo of João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles and Lane “Surefour” Roberts are phenomenal. Their stellar play helped push their team during Stage 4. Both Hydration and Surefour play for their national teams: USA and Canada, respectively. Surefour was the winner of the Widowmaker 1v1 battle at the All-Star Game from Season 1. Hydration had a fantastic World Cup Group Stage for the USA, topping the Los Angeles stage, giving the USA the first seed.
What the Gladiators could do is take a page from the London Spitfire, and bring on a DPS player that specializes in a certain Hero. The Spitfire brought in Hee-dong “Guard” Lee, a fantastic Sombra player, to back up the stellar duo of Joon-yeong “Profit” Park and Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim. The Gladiators could do the same thing. Hydration and Surefour both have a wide hero pool. Potentially bringing in a specialist player, in the rare case that they need to make a switch, could be a good idea.
Support for the Support?
The Finnish support duo of Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara is widely regarded as one of the best in the league. There is not much room for improvement for the Gladiators in this department. The support duo should be able to thrive in this current meta, and the communication that BigGoose provides is unparalleled.
There are only two reasons that the Gladiators would bring in a new support Hero. The first would be as a bench player that would only play in emergencies, such as injuries. The other would be getting a relatively unknown player (like London did with Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung) and seeing if they have the ability to break into the first team. If they were to do this, it would be hard to crack the synergy that BigGoose and Shaz have.
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Featured Image Courtesy of The Overwatch League
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