Bring out the Big Guns
The second series of this first round of playoffs looks to be an even bigger battle than the first series. Both teams in this matchup have some serious pedigree whether it be the first or the last stage, these teams have been silently making their cases as to why they could win the entire playoffs. These are the wildcard style teams to do it too. Both have shown excellence in being able to beat anybody, including New York during the regular season and post season. London started the season strong but have started to lose their way after a few stages. LA, on the other hand, has only gotten better this season, only improving their standings with every fresh stage that comes through. Either team have big game potential and could easily roll into the finals against whomever they play.
London started out the season extremely strong, consistently making the stage playoffs for the first two stages and giving a tough battle to New York, even taking the very first stage title away from New York in the finals. However, after that, they started to struggle, hard. Eventually dropping to a .500 record in stage three and a dissapointing 4-6 stage four took this solid 3 seed down to a 5 seed, missing both stage playoffs, and struggling to even find a win. The last few patches proved to be a tough change for the Spitfire, they are not a bad team by any means, but they need to have figured out what their problems were otherwise this may be a short series.
The Gladiators have a very strong case for being the most improved team in the league. They started their season out at 4-6, finishing 8th in the first stage standings. But, then they started to gel together and seriously improve. Flipping their record in stage two to have a winning record and winning their first match against London Specifically. These two stats seem to go hand-in-hand with each other because LA won their matchup every time they played this season, scoring a solid 3-0. Those wins add up too, as LA seemingly took London’s spot in the stage playoffs as stages 3 and 4 both saw the gladiators get in on the action. Entering as a 4th seed being called out by the Boston Uprising as an easy win, to becoming the number 1 seed and getting the chance to select which team they wanted to play in the stage playoffs. The Gladiators are quite possibly one of the scariest teams going in to these playoffs because of how well they have come together, it really seems like the sky is the limit for them.
The map pool plays very evenly for the teams, if there is a map that one team has been really good on, there is another one that they have been poor on to even out the differential. Of course, potentially only a few maps will be played, and that all depends on the order in which they play them. If there is an edge it might go to London because overall they had a higher win percentage but it wasn’t enough of a significant amount to give a firm edge to one of the teams.
This patch also seems to play fairly evenly for the teams. The double sniper combination will be extremely strong and the DPS duo of Profit and Birdring are a top DPS pairing and they could easily pop off and completely suppress anything the Gladiators could do. However, there is still a bit of versatility in these maps and heroes like Pharah have a decent chance of being played due to the map picks. This edge has to go to Los Angeles and their core damage dealers, their specialists like Surefour are really good at gaining momentum with their big play potential. The only problem is whether or not they can get past the suppressing fire of the double sniper line to get anything done.
Why London Will Win
London has been here before, they have proven themselves champions before anyone else had in this league and that cannot be forgotten. London has also had a few weeks to be able to rest and prepare for this first matchup, letting them game-plan much more thoroughly than the regular season. This could definitely play to the advantage of London as they might have been getting tired by the end of the season as all of the players said this first regular season was draining for them. After getting a little bit of rest and playing on a brand new patch may be just what London needs to focus up and score some much needed wins to move on to the next round.
Why The Gladiators Will Win
LA has grown so much as a team that they easily have the most momentum of any of the first round teams. They ended the season as the only first round team to make it to the stage 4 playoffs, and they are confident, going after the Los Angeles Valiant in a post-season battle for LA. The Gladiators have also shown a resilience that no other team has shown. Playing in and winning more reverse sweeps than any other team in the league. This is a team you can never count out because the real game doesn’t start until they are down 0-2. The Gladiators have even reverse swept London before in the regular season in their season sweep of the Spitfire.
Both teams at their best can beat anybody in the league and have a legitimate shot at being crowned the first Overwatch League Champions. The main question in this series is who is going to be the more consistent presence in the game. If LA’s tank line can disrupt the snipers enough to let the DPS do what they need to do then LA wins this game. But if the DPS for London can get on a roll, then there is no question that London can win this game. Ultimately though, I think LA will get this done. I don’t think London has been consistent enough recently to have confidence in them, and LA I think is one of the top 3 teams in the league. LA Gladiators win this one in a sweep, 2-0.
What do you think? Has London just been taking it easy on the Gladiators? Is this a GG EZ matchup for Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments down below!