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The Overwatch league is a push into establishing a structured esports league for Overwatch. Blizzard first announced the Overwatch League at Blizzcon 2016 and followed it up with almost a year of planning. The gap left in Overwatch esports during this time left a lot of dismayed fans. But the community’s response to the Opening day of Overwatch League has been nothing short of impressive. With over 400,000 fans tuning into Twitch for the first day, one can definitely call the League a success.
The Overwatch League consists of twelve teams in its first season. Slated for expansion in subsequent seasons, the League bears a strong tilt towards North American teams. There are nine teams from North America, One from Europe, One from South Korea and finally a Chinese team from Shanghai to finish the lineup. Each team is allowed a maximum of twelve players, with teams being allowed to substitute players after each map. The Overwatch League has seen investments from several non-endemic to esports investors such as the Kroenke family, Robert Kraft, Hersh Interactive amongst others. At the same time, we have some well-known esports organizations involved in the regular handling of the teams. EnVyUs, Misfits, Immortals, and Cloud9 are some of the most well-known esports organizations with rosters in multiple titles.
The Overwatch League started on January 10th, 2018 and will continue through August 2018. The league comprises four stages, each stage having five weeks of matches. The top three of each stage will receive prize money, along with show matches on the last Saturday of each stage. These so-called ‘title matches’ will be held on the last Saturday of each stage and feature the best players fighting for a prize money.
New York Excelsior won Stage 2 Playoffs and are comfortably leading the overall leaderboards for the League. They have put forth a really strong showing so far with London Spitfire definitely being their arch nemesis. But the western teams are definitely catching up as we saw Philadelphia Fusion reach the finals of Stage 2. The gap between the western and Korean teams is diminishing with each successive weak. This is what makes the Overwatch League extremely competitive and fun to watch. Shanghai Dragons, on the other hand, will be playing their first match against Los Angeles Valiant.
Stage 3 looks much closer than the previous stages with London Spitfire and NYXL no longer as dominant as they were previously. This stage also will have four teams in the playoffs, so we should expect more western teams in the Stage Playoffs.
You can check out more information on the official website at Overwatchleague.com.
Credit to Liquipedia
Regular Season – January 10th – June 16th, 2018
- Matches in the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will play out live from the Blizzard Arena each Wednesday through Saturday. Though the season is divided into four stages, wins and losses will count towards teams’ full-season records and all-important seeding for the postseason. On the last Saturday of each stage, the top teams will compete for hefty bonuses and the title of stage winner.
- Stage 1 – January 10th – February 10th, 2018 
- Stage 2 – February 21st – March 24th, 2018
- Stage 3 – April 4th – May 5th, 2018
- Stage 4 – May 16th – June 16th, 2018
- All matches in the Regular Season will consist of four-map sets
- Each Stage of the Regular Season will have its own 8 map pool.
- The top team in each Division, and the next top 4 finishers from the entire league, advance to the Championship Playoffs in July.
Los Angeles Gladiators vs Los Angeles Valiant
Los Angeles Gladiators
Los Angeles Gladiators Roster:
The Gladiators are owned by the Kroenke family one of the most well-known families involved in regular sports. They also own several sports franchises and have been involved in several other esports ( League of Legends).
The Los Angeles Gladiators; biggest change happened when Fissure joined the roster. The addition of one of the best tanks in the League, if not the best tank has definitely made them extremely strong and efficient in their current form. Fissure remains one of the best tank players in the league. With his ability to stay alive for so long as a tank has enabled the DPS players to create a lot of space for themselves. Fissure’s experience and guidance was the primary reason for the huge uptick in the Gladiators’ performance.
The DPS player list for the Los Angeles Gladiators have been unlocked partly due to Fissure’s playstyle Surefour, Asher and Hydration have all stepped up and improved their performance in the League. Surefour widowmaker has become one of the best Widowmakers in the League currently. The current map pool favors Widowmaker on several maps such as Junkertown, Ilios etc. So when Surefour goes off on his Widowmaker the Gladiators secure a huge advantage for themselves. Over the past few weeks, we have seen Surefour be able to stand up to the best Widowmakers in the Overwatch League.
Hydration presents the opportunity to play a myriad of heroes. He can play the Genji, Doomfist as well as Genji with relative ease. His ability to stall out team fights for really long periods of time via his Doomfist makes him one of the deadliest Doomfist players in the League. Hydration’s Pharah is well known for his direct hits on his opponents. He can eliminate the opposing Pharah or at least keep them constantly engaged in order to reduce their impact on the team fights. The Gladiators have been putting Hydration in the lineup a lot more and their current form shows that it is working as intended.
Los Angeles Valiant
Los Angeles Valiant roster:
The Los Angeles Valiant is one of the top teams based in Los Angeles. The city is the hub of the overwatch League and has a lot of local fans. It is owned by Noah Whinston, CEO Of Immortals. They have a lot of experience in the esports market having patronized several esports teams in various titles. They regularly release video content as well as updates on social media to keep their fans acquainted with the team.
The Los Angeles Valiant might have ended Season 2 on a poor note, but Stage 3 has been nothing short of amazing for the team. They started off with a 12-0 record in Stage 3 until they ultimately lost a map to Dallas Fuel. However, they still managed to win the match against Dallas and are currently at the top of the Stage rankings at 4-0.The biggest change to the Los Angeles Valiant is their new coaching staff led by Coach Moon. The Coach has been able to properly harness the strengths of the roster and utilize them efficiently.
The Los Angeles Valiant team have shifted Kariv back to the support role. While Kariv had an excellent time on the DPS role towards the end of Stage 2, it was a temporary decision meant to fill the time while Coach Moon joins the team. The Coach has reinserted his assertiveness in the Agilities’ skills. But he has also been rotating the DPS Players a lot more, making the LA Valiant starting roster extremely unpredictable. With Bunny available to the Valiant now, he is a stronger contender to start for the team. Bunny received very little playtime on the Seoul Dynasty. In Los Angeles Valiant, Bunny is a much more effective Tracer than he was on Seoul. A lot of the credit has to go to the fact that the team is building itself once more, especially after they almost imploded post Stage 1.
Along with Soon and Agilities, the two types of forefront for the Valiant have been able to be extremely effective. They do revert back to Agilities from time to time, but the coordination between Bunny and Soon is much better right now. With Bunny on the team, it leaves a lot of room for Soon to play other hitscan heroes. We have seen Soon play Mccree, Widowmaker to a higher level of precision in the past few weeks. We have seen how the Tracer and Widowmaker combination has come in handy for the team on certain maps.
The support lineup for the team has definitely made several changes to their playstyle. Coupled with the efficient tank players, the supports stay alive for a longer time. Custa has the great leadership qualities necessary to guide the teammates through the fight. He has been able to guide the supports and stay alive just long enough for the team to win the team fight. The supports do eventually fall but the team fight has already been won. The Los Angeles Valiant looks extremely strong right now with their current form.
Fate and Numlocked are the two tank players for the Valiant. They have been able to properly supplement Soonn’s playstyle, but with the DPS being much more potent right now their effectiveness becomes all the more important. The tank players are not really standout players or amazing in their individual performances, but together they are able to consistently maintain their role in the team. The Los Angeles Valiant might not consider the tanks to be superstars on the team, but they are definitely the only reason why the supports and the DPS are able to fulfill their current roles.
Going into Week 3, the Los Angeles Valiant are definitely on the verge of easily making it to the playoffs. Their only contender is the Boston Uprising roster, which currently is sitting at the same match wins in the leaderboards. The Los Angeles Valiant have most of their matches against mid-level teams in the next few weeks. This match against Gladiators will be extremely important to set their record straight and maintain their position near the top of the Stage standings.
This matchup between the two local Los Angeles teams keeps getting interesting every stage. The two teams have their own set of fans and it is interesting to see how the local derby represents the movement of the teams’ performances through the stages.
Stage 1 saw the Valiant dominating the match and winning easily versus the Gladiators. But Stage 2 saw Gladiators make a comeback, especially with the addition of Fissure. It is rare to see individual plays from the main tank player which is highlight worthy. But Fissure constantly keeps using his talent to stay alive for long as well as to ensure he creates the space necessary for his teammates to perform well. Ofcourse, there is always the odd occasion when he has been able to individually win team fights by booping players off or eliminating multiple opponents himself as a Winston. His ‘flanking Reinhardt’s’are extremely effective in disabling multiple opponents and securing a big advantage for the Gladiators in their team fights.
However, his primary role for the team remains the space created on the roster. Fissure has been taking all the glory, but we cannot really ignore Surefour who has been amazing with the Widowmaker. This match will depend heavily on surefour’s performance as the Widowmaker positioning and performance can make a huge impact on the performance of the team. The Soon vs Surefour battle will be important since Surefour will have the help of his tanks. Soon is still a great player, but with the lack of positioning for the player, he is bound to suffer.
The four maps for this match are
- Temple of Anubis
We can see the importance of Widowmaker on these maps especially on Ilios and Junkertown. It forms a crucial part of the team’ performance and if Surefour is able to maintain the same level of performance as in the previous weeks, we should see a strong performance by the Gladiators.
Hydration has been showing a lot more versatility in his hero pool. We all know how good his Pharah is, but we are also seeing a lot more of his Doomfist. There are very little direct counters to doomfist in the current meta and Hydations excellence with the hero takes advantage of that fact.
The Valiant however, have been looking extremely good in the past few weeks. Their undefeated map record did not stand the test of time, but it does not really take away anything from their playstyle and form. The Los Angeles Valiant look like a well-oiled machine, especially after the addition of Bunny. With Bunny and Soon, they can punish the minor mistakes on the part the Gladiators. While the tank plays for the team leave a lot to be desired, the DPS players definitely have the potential to carry the team on their back.
Based on their performance so far in this stage, we have to recommend small bet on Los Angeles Valiant. The local derby brings out the best in both the teams and we are hoping the Valiant can continue their performance.