The Great Jebait: LA Gladiators Turn OWL Twitter Upside-Down

The Gladiators' (still) star support duo, Shaz and BigGoose / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Okay, just to be clear, I am the hypewoman for the Los Angeles Valiant, but like my mama always said, “Game recognize game.”

So, as I am casually scrolling the hell that is Twitter and talking to my friends, Suddenly, I read this bombshell of a tweet:

Wait, what?

Rest assured, I am hardly the type to indulge in bitter rivalry over sports teams, and this should surprise you given that I originate from Philadelphia, the home of some of the worst sports fans in history. I have voluntarily declined to go to home games because of this. So if I were to act similarly, I would see this as something beneficial. However, seeing Shaz and BigGoose being unceremoniously and in many respects illogically dropped from the team given them being fan and league favorites did make me raise an eyebrow and provide my own WTF reaction. Both players put up aggressively good numbers during the first season of Overwatch League and helped the Gladiators get to the playoffs, so it really didn’t make sense to me.

And I wasn’t the only one who believed that, as OWL Twitter erupted with comments from fans, players, and the like, most of them shocked and unable to comprehend why. Even Bischu provided a rather simple, yet sad tweet expressing his grief:

On the fans’ side, I have never seen so many sad, angry, and hilariously dramatic gifs in my life. While cruising through them, I saw the love and devotion the Gladiators fans had for this team and their players. I reaffirmed my belief that if you truly loved and cared about a team, you sure as hell were not afraid to criticize if you believed they’d done something wrong. The fiery response was very heartwarming, but you’d best believe in due time, I was laughing my ass off.

Because 18 minutes later, this happened:

The eruption. Was so real. Fans, the media, and damn near everyone in OWL provided a spectrum of reactions that was unlike anything I had ever seen in a long time. The seven stages of grief were replaced with countless stages of ‘WTF’ as the realization set in that the team hadn’t dropped one of the most popular support duos in the league, but had in fact added to it. There was cursing, there was repudiation, there was praise and playful scorn for Analynn Dang, the social media and community director for the team who’d just pulled off probably the best jebait since…well, The Great Bamboozle.

I had gone to the gym for the first time in months this morning, and yet I wore myself out more by laughing. It was perfect. Not only were Shaz and BigGoose staying, but the Gladiators added Riku “Ripa” Toivanen, giving them more strength in their support line. Riku also turns 18 tomorrow, so I imagine this is a perfect birthday gift: a memorable introduction, and being signed to a formidable team to boot.

If the social media campaigns for all the teams continue like this, then we are in for a hell of a ride in season 2. I, for one, cannot wait.

Brittany "Briggsycakes" Gonzalez is a litta bitta switcha hitta Trinirican winna from Philly/New York who now resides in California as the Los Angeles Valiant's official hypewoman/meme victim. She can easily be bribed with apple pie and macaroni and cheese and thrives when writing about her own personal experiences regarding humanity's place in the esports/social media age. Don't @ her unprepared. Follow Briggsy on Twitter here.
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