With the Overwatch League in full swing and the playoff race heating up, there are plenty of matches that are worth watching. Each week, ESTNN’s Charlotte August will pick one of these matches as the one to watch, with a detailed explanation for why you shouldn’t miss it. Without further ado, let’s get into the first choice of Stage 3, Week 1!
Match of the Week: Vancouver Titans versus Los Angeles Gladiators
Some may consider this a strange choice, but there were quite a few matches to choose from this week. This match-up will be the one for viewers to watch out for for several reasons.
For starters, both of these teams are looking very, very good. The Vancouver Titans are currently ranked 1st in the standings for the League, and whilst the Los Angeles Gladiators sit in 5th, the gap between 4th and 5th place is very slim. In fact, the gap is actually only a single map, with the 4th place London Spitfire holding a +12-map differential whilst the Gladiators have +11. And while the Gladiators only have a win-loss record of 9-5, it’s nothing to scoff at. It may look rough for the Gladiators going up against the 14-0 undefeated Titans, there is still hope for the purple squad.
Raw Talent for Days
Another reason this match will be good is because of the raw talent that both teams have. The Vancouver Titans’ have shown how solid their coordination is, pulling off what seems like an impressive Self Destruct every time the D.va Mech goes into the air thanks to JJANU. The team has been competing together for a long time; they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But while the Gladiators also have that, the coordination isn’t as solid as it could be. Where the Gladiators gain some points, though, is their flexibility and their ability to surprise.
There have been several times have the Gladiators showed off their ability to flex into strange compositions and pull off even weirder strategies. One good example is their Great Bamboozle during last year’s playoff match against the Spitfire. Another being Surefour’s Bastion or Hydration’s Mei, either of which can appear at a moment’s notice. The element of surprise can throw any team off, and all it takes is a small swing in momentum when we’re talking about teams this talented. If the Gladiators can induce this momentum swing, they may stand a chance against Vancouver.
History says Vancouver, but don’t count out Los Angeles
Most of the losses that the Gladiators have suffered were at the start of the season, well before they hit their stride over Stage 2. During that time, however, they managed to take down the Stage 2 Champions, the San Francisco Shock. That match is one of only three that the Shock have lost so far in the regular season, with a final score of 3-2 in favour of the Gladiators. It might have only been the start of the season, but the Shock have looked strong since the Season began. The Shock then went on to have a perfect Stage 2, not dropping a single map nor match. They finished their victory run with an epic Stage 2 Final win against the Vancouver Titans, where they took home the title of Stage 2 Champions.
From many points of view, history favours the Titans when you look at results and statistics, but you can bet that this match will be an exciting one. And though the odds may be against them, the Gladiators will be bringing their A-game to try and bring an end to the Titans’ reign.
The Vancouver Titans and the Los Angeles Gladiators face off at 8:15pm ET on Sunday 9th June.
Image VIA: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment