Jessica S. July 9, 2018
The Blizzard Arena turned purple during the second match of the inaugural season’s playoffs as fans cheered the Los Angeles Gladiators through their 3-0 defeat of the London Spitfire.
Prior to the match, the Gladiators announced that Luis “iRemix” Galarza Figueroa would start over MVP nominee Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung. London looked to come out of its late-season slump, but the Gladiators were having none of it.
The Gladiators showed off their stacked roster with numerous substitutions throughout the match, utilizing the best six players for every situation. London struggled in adapting to the substitutions and kept their same starting six throughout the match.
London depended on a strong dive composition in Stage 1 and couldn’t seem to acclimate to the new double sniper meta. Los Angeles DPS duo Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Joao Pedro “Hydration” Veloso de Goes Telles were dominant, working to deny any forward movement by the Spitfire.
The only player on the Spitfire who seemed able to carry his own weight was Jun-young “Profit” Park, who was a constant thorn in the Gladiators’ side. His ability to adapt and pressure the Gladiators’ back line was a great asset to London during team fights.
The most surprising play of the night came from the Gladiators in the last map, King’s Row.
Five of the Gladiators pushed straight from their spawn and on past the control point and back towards the enemy spawn, leaving the Spitfire confused. No one on the Spitfire noticed Surefour, who was waiting in his spawn as Brigitte, change to Widowmaker.
When the Gladiators got into position on the high ground, they dropped down to ambush the point, while Surefour’s Widowmaker picked off the unsuspecting players from the flank as they tried to defend the point.
The Gladiators were able to take the first point with this unorthodox strategy and ran over the Spitfire from there to win the map, and later, the match.
The Gladiators proved that they can be a force to be reckoned with after some concentrated practice, and the Spitfire will need to be able to adapt if they want a chance at moving forward.
The series will continue July 14.