The London Spitfire and the Los Angeles Gladiators meet in one of the most highly anticipated match-ups of the Overwatch League Playoffs.
Spitfire all about talent
London entered the Overwatch League as one of the expected title contenders, with an incredible wealth of talent and doubts only about which players would be able to secure a continued starting position. London looked incredible throughout the opening stage, eventually becoming champions of Stage 1 in a narrow 3-2 victory over New York Excelsior.
Trade still debatable
Yet after that London struggled to repeat their early season success, with various line-up changes and a key decision to trade Fissure to the Los Angeles Gladiators. This was a perfectly reasonable move at the time as the idea was to play Gesture, one of the best Tanks in the league, as the primary starter. However, this move proved to be more positive for the Gladiators than the Spitfire.
London finally found a decent formula in Stage 4, placing four players into inactive status while focusing on a small, concise core of versatile stars that could build synergy moving forward. While unable to reach the stage playoffs with a 4-6 record, London at least began to show flashes of their brilliance from the start of the season, giving them a rekindled hope entering the League Playoffs.
Gladiators have momentum
The Gladiators had a completely different road to the League Playoffs, starting off slowly with a 4-6 record in Stage 1 that put them in 8th place.
A day before the start of Stage 2, the Gladiators were able to acquire Fissure from the London Spitfire for their Main Tank role, replacing iRemiix. The difference was clear from the start as the Gladiators secured six victories in both Stages 2 and 3, which was even good enough for the playoffs in Stage 3.
They hit their peak in Stage 4 as the Gladiators achieved a 9-1 record and claimed top spot in the league. Unfortunately for the Gladiators they chose their inner-city rivals the Los Angeles Valiant as their opponents in the playoffs and it was they who would go on to become Stage 4 champions.
Coupled with the incredible play of Fissure has been an overall rise in the quality and status of all the other members of the Gladiators, with DPS players Surefour and Hydration in particular excelling with the space provided by Fissure.
Latest patch will impact
This clash consists of best-of-three matches, with each match being best-of-five maps. This will test each team’s ability to adapt not only to the latest patch, which will have significant influence on the meta, but also to their strengths and weaknesses that show themselves throughout the week of play.
Spitfire must soar once more
For London it’s all about finding consistency, with this team having some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any in the entire league. The zenith for London is being a possible title winner aided by the incredible play from the likes of Gesture, Profit and birdring, who at times show an ability to dominate even the fiercest of competition.
The concern comes from their previous inability to show adaptability, particularly in the latter half of series during the season as they have constantly gone 2-0 up before falling 3-2 in the end after making minimal half-time adjustments.
Solid frontline key for LA
For the Gladiators it’s all about picking themselves up after their brutal defeat to Los Angeles Valiant to close out Stage 4. The Gladiators have a solid frontline that can cause incredible damage, but their weakness lies in their Support line, who can be caught out of position at times.
How fitting then that the key match-up will be between the player chosen to remain the starter for the Spitfire in Gesture against the player shipped away to the Gladiators in Fissure. It should be a classic series with this added edge.