The LA Valiant vs London Spitfire will be the match of the week.
Blizzard and the Overwatch League could not have dreamt for a better start to the inaugural season of their professional league, combining premier broadcast talent in MonteCristo, Doa and Semmler with exciting matches and strong viewership (to the tune of 400k on Twitch) the traditional model of branding sports with home cities seems to be working better than some had feared. Fortunately for fans of the OWL we seem poised to be treated to another incredible match here in week two to rival the action packed match between the Seoul Dynasty and Dallas Fuel. Saturday at 2:00pm EST will see two of the three undefeated teams from week 1 pitted against each other with the Los Angeles Valiant taking on the London Spitfire.
Korea vs the World
The Valiant are one of the most diverse teams in the Overwatch League featuring players from Korea, France the United States and Canada and seem to be western fans greatest hope of cracking the dominance of the all Korean squads(Seoul, London & New York). Standout performances by Valiant’s Terence “Soon” Tarlier and Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo seem to indicate the squad has the star power necessary to compete with the best in the league and carry the team through the toughest moments of a match. The London Spitfire for their part are certainly not to be outshone sporting two superstars of their own and perhaps the league’s finest DPS battery in Jun-Young “Profit” Park and Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim. The London duo are not only incredibly individually talented but unlike other teams in the league these two elite damage dealing talents share competency on many of the same heroes making it difficult for opponents to surmise their team composition and strategy based solely on roster selection. A compelling victory by the LA Valiant over the Dallas Fuel in week 1 has solidified this teams spot as Hope of the West and any fans looking for the world of Overwatch to rebel against its Korean overlords should tune in this Saturday to Soon and his squad duke it out against some of the very best Korea has to offer.
Why the Valiant Have a Chance
If you’ve watched other esports titles like Starcraft or League of Legends you might think that the best of the rest is no real accolade as those games are dominated almost completely by Korea, however if we look at last weeks map records we can find reasons to believe that while the Valiant should not be favored to win the match they still pose a serious threat to the Spitfire.
The Los Angeles Valiant finished the first ever week of the Overwatch League with a league best map score of 7 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw, marginally better than the Spitfire’s 7 wins and 1 loss. If we consider as I do that the Valiant opponents of the San Francisco Shock and Dallas Fuel are a tougher challenge than the Philidelphia Fusion and Florida Mayhem faced by London the fact LA still finished with a better record demonstrates how well they performed in week 1. Looking at maps individually we see that the Valiant have created a solid foundation with 4–1 combined map scores on both Ilios and Numbani. Strong Control performance is essential for taking the tiebreaker in split matches adding another feather to LA’s already plumed cap. SoOn who boasted 131 kills in the first week, second only to Fleta of the Seoul Dynasty has showed the skill and game sense necessary to compete highlighted by a stealthy back-cap on Numbani that was a dagger in the heart of the Fuel’s chances of limping away from their week one match with at least a map and moral victory.
Why the Spitfire Will Win Anyway
I genuinely believe the Valiant are capable of taking maps and even matches against the top teams in the league and I think that belief will be born out over the course of the season but while a map loss to the Florida Mayhem is certainly a blemish on an otherwise immaculate record the efficiency of the London Spitfire is too overwhelming to ignore. Profit was a combined +63 on 104 kills to 41 deaths and his partner in crime Birdring was only slightly behind at +50 racking up 93 kills and giving up the ghost only 43 times. Similarly when we look at map score this incredible effectiveness can be found again with the Spitfire shutting out opponents a ridiculous 5 maps of 8. London was perfect on Numbani (6–0), both Control maps (4–0) and Horizon Lunar Colony (2–0) comparing that to the Valiant who shut out opponents only twice it quickly becomes apparent just how ruthless is the London attack and how complete their defense. During the preseason Profit and Birdring were kept separate with owner Jack Etienne stating he was looking to play the two 6 man rosters against each-other but we can all be thankful the two London prizefighters have been let loose in the ring together as the resulting play is fascinating to watch.
Prediction (LDN 3, LAV 1)
I think in much the same way that the Florida Mayhem showed even gods can bleed we will see the LA Valiant take one map from the London Spitfire while dropping the remaining 3 in close fought sets that should leave both teams satisfied by their teams performance but will by necessity leave only one undefeated.
Clap yo hands if you think the Valiant have a shot against the Spitfire!