Category: Teams

The 2019 Los Angeles Gladiators: New Shield Who Dis?

Meet the Gladiators

DPS
  • Lane “Surefour” Roberts
    • Surefour returns for a second season with the Gladiators. He demonstrated his DPS prowess during All-Star week, winning the Widow 1v1 challenge. His deep hero pool and affinity for Zarya bodes well for a GOATS meta.
  • João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles
    • Whether he was wielding a dragon blade or Doomfist’s gauntlet, Hydration consistently racked up kills in season 1. More importantly, he is the first OWL player to release a holiday album.
  • Gui-un “Decay” Jang
    formerly Kongdoo Panthera

    • Decay and Kongdoo Panthera placed 2nd in the second season of Korean Contenders. His hero pool overlaps with Hydration and Surefour, with a notable exception: Tracer.

Aaron “Bischu” Kim / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Tanks
  • Aaron “Bischu” Kim, Off Tank
    • Besides off tank, Bischu wears many masks for the Gladiators. His energetic personality made him a perfect candidate for interviews on behalf of the team and league. More importantly he played the role of English/Korean interpreter during games. As the Gladiators add four new Korean players to the roster, this last skill is sure to get some use.
  • Jun-woo “Void” Kang, Off Tank
    • Void joined the Gladiators during stage 4 at the rumored request of Fissure. They had previously played together on Cloud9 Kongdoo. While the Gladiators ended stage 4 with a 9-1 record, Void spent most of the stage finding his footing with the team (57% map win ratio to Bischu’s 68%, in the same period of time). Of all the returning Gladiators, Void’s role in the upcoming season is the most up in the air.
  • Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye, Main Tank
    formerly Kongdoo Panthera

    • Whether he likes it or not, rOar (that’s an ‘o’ not a zero) has big handsome main tank shoes to fill. His aggressive tank play is not unlike Fissure’s, which worked well in the Gladiator’s first season. However, while Fissure was known for his Winston, rOar’s go-to is Reinhardt a better fit for GOATs.
  • Byung-ho “Panker” Lee, Main Tank
    two-way player with Gladiator’s Legion

    • A popular pick-up for the Gladiators, Panker is the only two-way player on this team. It’s too early to tell how he will affect the team. He’s notably absent from the Gladiators roster video. He may only appear should rOar be unable to play, or the team may bring him in intermittently to mix things up.

Benjamin Ville Aapeli “BigGoose” Isohanni / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Support
  • Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigG00se” Isohanni
    • It’s hard to talk about one Glads support without the other. The Finnish players make up what is considered one of the best support duos in the league. Through the Gladiators’ ups and downs, they held steady throughout season one. Shaz healed his team more than other Zenyatta in the league. Meanwhile, BigG00se spent most of the season on Mercy boosting, resurrecting, and dealing a surprising amount of damage.
  • Riku “Ripa” Toivanen
    formerly Team Gigantti

    • So what happens when we add a third Finnish support into the mix? We will have to wait and see. Ripa, who played for Team Gigantti after Shaz and G00se left, has been suspended for 5 games. If the GOATS meta persists through Stage 1, we may see him play alongside the Shaz and G00se. Or Gladiators coaching may have the trio swap around based on maps.

Staff

Kevin “Kez” Jeon, General Manager

David “dpei” Pei, Head Coach

Timothy “Tim” Albanese, Assistant Coach

Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing, Assistant Coach

Carl “PCC” Daubery, Performance Coach

Shang-yeon “Shibainu” Han, Korean Translator

Learn more about the new members of the LA Gladiators staff

OWL 2019

Many outlets place Gladiators within the top five OWL teams. However, with so many changes in the second season, it could be anyone’s game. As head coach dpei puts it on Twitter:

“While it’s great that people have us high in power rankings, I think everyone should level their expectations because I view us as a completely new team.”

However, if the Gladiators are to be successful, I believe it will be due to a few factors.

Pre-Built Roster

In season 1, the team included two sets of players from the same team (iRemiix and Bischu from Kungarna, Shaz and BigG00se from Gigantti) and later added a third (Fissure and Void from Cloud 9 Kongdoo). Season 2 brings three new Kongdoo Panthera alumni Decay, rOar, and Panker. Ripa also rounds out the Gigantti support trio. By relying on these pre-existing connections, hopefully less time will be spent building trust, which leaves room for them to focus on higher levels of play. Of course, they’ll still need to make connections outside their former squads.

Big Brain Bamboozles

I don’t expect plays as wild as the Great Bamboozle every week. However, since the first one worked so well I wouldn’t be shocked if they don’t float something unique once a stage. With fewer games overall, there may be more room to practice unseen strategies. And with a hero pool as deep as the  Gladiators they have room improvise.

The Bischu Factor

As previously mentioned, Bischu is core to the Gladiators with his split role as tank and interpreter. When Fissure joined the Gladiators in stage 2, Bischu began his bilingual role. And while much of the focus was on the new tank Fissure, then-DPS Asher also found new footing in the team. Asher, who had previously seemed off on his hunt, was enabled to be a better team player. Bischu noted that interpreting and playing is challenging. But if its a skill he’s been sharpening, we may see the Gladiators with a new set of fangs with Decay and rOar.

Can the Gladiators in deliver in 2019? According to head coach dpei, “We have the potential to be first or last, but it’s completely up to us and the work we put it.”

We’ll get our first glimpse of that potential on February 14th. The LA Gladiators are up against the Seoul Dynasty (playing against former main tank Fissure) in an opening game you don’t want to miss.

Shields up, Gladiators!

 

Daniel
Daniel is life long game player and day dreamer living in St. Paul, MN. He holds a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adult from Hamline University and writes scripts for both comics and plays. He enjoys playing competitive Overwatch, even if he isn't so great, and enjoys hosting friends for couch co-op gaming. Check him out on Twitter!

8 Things To Watch For: OWL 2019’s Chinese Teams

Overwatch League has added three new Chinese teams during the expansion. Each has their own unique storyline going into this season. The Chinese region has an increased global attraction after the success of their 2018 World Cup team as well as the powerful rosters within their Contenders region. Here are two things each team should look for this upcoming season.

Read more …

Eren
Kenobi has been gaming since he could hold a PS1 controller. Currently studying Game design, he's been in love with Overwatch since beta and loves writing and talking about it with anyone. He's also an Overwatch color caster who has cast Open Division and Chinese Contenders Season 2.

Shanghai Dragons Team Preview

In the weeks leading up to the start of Overwatch League’s second season, we’ll be introducing you to each team and updating you on their rosters, staff, and history. 


The Shanghai Dragons have had it rough. A grand total of zero wins to forty losses in the inaugural season of Overwatch League solidified them as the worst team in the league. The off season was marked by a major restructure of the team: new coaches, new management, almost an entirely new roster from some of Contenders’ finest. And with nothing to lose, the Dragons are ready to take their crown.

Read more …

Billy
Billy "Korjubzot" Walker is a journalism student with a newfound passion for esports, based in Queensland, Australia. He spends most of his time playing RPGs, competitive shooters and platformers, and he always thanks his healers.

Contenders: XL2 Makes Shocking Cuts After Exiting Playoffs

XL2 Academy, the Contenders team owned by the New York Excelsior, sent shockwaves through the Contenders scene on Saturday evening by parting ways with nearly half of their playoff roster.

Liam “Mangachu” Campbell, James “Cloneman16” D’Arcangelo, and Anthony “Goliath” Pietro all announced via Twitter that they were no longer part of XL2, and were looking for teams. Read more …

Rainee
Rainee's loves for both gaming and writing began in her childhood, mostly because they could both be done inside in the air conditioning. She is an alum of the University of Mississippi, recovering Junkrat one-trick, and chronic mom friend. Follow Rainee on Twitter!

Minority Report: A Year I needed

It’s December 31st, the year is over, and I’m sitting here at the computer, slightly hungover, tore up from the floor up, trying to process it all. My latest self-assignment for Minority Report was a year-end article that summed up the year on a positive note, as someone pointed out to me that my last few pieces have been pretty tonally negative.

I mean, I suppose there is a point there. The initial idea behind Minority Report was to create a way for me to connect with fans, players, and industry folks who were people of color – people who are often overlooked, or harassed just for doing what they love. It ended up, though, becoming so much more than that. It was a space that allowed me to tell my journey through Overwatch League while exposing the flaws and mistakes it made during in its inaugural season and discussing what it could do to be better. I didn’t find much joy in doing the latter, but it was necessary, with Blizzard’s varying levels of missteps.

However, Overwatch League ultimately made 2018 a transformative year for me. A year I truly needed to happen just the way it did. So after a year of those callouts, of focusing on the bad to help it become good, I’d like to take a moment to do something different. I’d like to, with real sincerity, say “thank you.” And I’m not going to make this fancy, or show off my extensive vocabulary, or try to be acerbic. I’m just going to speak from the heart.

The OWL Grand Finals crowd / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Thank you, to the Overwatch League. For as long as I live, I will never forget how incredible, exciting, and inclusive this inaugural season has been. These were some of the best times of my life, and as old and grumpy as I am, the fact that you were able to embrace my natural passion for the game means more than you could ever understand. From the very first game; to the Grand Finals, to the All-Star Games, I have never felt such joy. I know that the second season will have its ups and downs as well, but I’ll be there screaming my head off each and every time.

 

 

Thank you, to the Los Angeles Valiant. They were a team that I picked entirely by accident, but they accepted me as their official hypewoman and gave me opportunities that I never thought were possible. They showed they truly cared about their fans and their community with their Be Valiant program and special events throughout the year; and by doing so, they inspired other teams to do the same. They genuinely are ground-breakers in the esports scene. I’m proud to back a team full of passionate players who give it their all every time, and I’m especially proud of all the managers and coordinators who welcomed me with open arms. I know I’m just a fan, and cannot fully comprehend all of the hard work that you all put into making this team so successful. But I can appreciate it, and I can show you that when the chips are down, I will be there to cheer you on no matter what.

Thank you to Overwatchscore.com and especially to my mentor Brandon Padilla, who believed in me and in what I wanted to say. He took a huge chance, and it turned out to be more successful than either of us could have imagined. I wasn’t sure that pointing out racial inequality in esports would be acceptable, but he encouraged me to keep writing anyway. And now, I have people from all over telling me about how my writing helped them and changed them, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little girl. I was able to start real conversations and help shift the discussion concerning esports. Additionally, with the support of the current writing and editing staff, I hope to improve my style and broaden my scope, to continue telling exciting and thought-provoking stories.

Thank you for my fellow super fans. When I first moved here, it was hard for me to make friends because I was always on the grind. And truthfully, it isn’t easy for me to trust people, especially in a city that is known for its duplicitous nature. But even as a seasoned writer, it is tough for me to put into words how humbled and grateful I am to have such genuine, loving people in my life, who genuinely care about me and my well-being. We are the ones who help give Overwatch League a heart, and we will never back down. You guys are the best friends a woman could ask for, and I love you guys to death.

Thank you to my best friends for life, Elton “Altecha” Kwok and Chris “Widget” DiMauro, for being the architects of probably the best cosplay I’ve ever seen: the Brigitte cosplay they created in secret as my birthday present for Blizzcon. I was not only impressed with how they kept me in the dark for so long but how they were able to take a passing comment I made back in July during New York Excelsior’s Homecoming and make the most incredible armor I’ve ever had the privilege of wearing. It made that weekend so memorable and embodying a character whose personality matches my own filled my heart with more joy than I could ever fathom. And the response? I still get likes and retweets for it, and it happened almost two months ago. I cannot wait to see what you have planned for next year.

Thank you to my family, for being 100% supportive of my journey in esports, and for asking me when I would be on TV so they could see me and cheer me on. Thanks to my mother, for listening to me and reassuring me of my strength when I felt weak. My sister, for reminding me that life is just ridiculous sometimes and that I should roll with it. My brother, for constantly reviving my passion for video games by sharing his with me. Last, to my father, for keeping me on my feet when I felt like I couldn’t move anymore. Even after my grandmother’s death, our family’s resilience shows, and we are now closer than we have ever been.

Finally, I wanted to thank you. Yes, you, the person who is reading this right now. I know I can be very blunt when I speak my mind, but you stuck by me. You retweeted and up-voted my articles. You are those who sparked real discussions (good and bad) about the content – discussions that helped change the way that people think. I cannot begin to express how much it means to me that you are willing to listen to what I had to say. Understand that you are more powerful than you could ever know. We can make esports an inclusive, exciting space for everyone, and to allow me to help you make that happen with my work is a dream come true. I hope I can continue to make you think, to make you feel, and to remind you that it’s okay to be uncomfortable sometimes, as that generates real and lasting change.

I will admit, it was challenging for me to write this article since I am unsure of what 2019 will bring. I want to have this year end on a positive note, yet with all of the good that happened, I can’t deny that a lot of bad came with it. A lot of things that I believed would carry over into 2019 simply were not meant to do so. I saw a lot of friendships end, a lot of trusts broken, and a healthy reminder that I need to be more careful about who I allow around me. Conversely, I’ve received a lot of incredible opportunities, including chances to learn from the hardships this year threw my way.

Most importantly, I learned that sometimes things don’t go your way – and it’s not within your control, nor is it your fault. But what you can control is how you react to adversity, no matter how big or small. My promise is that I choose to respond proactively and positively, even when it feels like the end.

For as the artist Childish Gambino said earlier this year: “I think endings are good because they force things to get better.”

So here’s to a better 2019.

Keep fighting and keep smiling,

Briggsy

Brittany
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.

Overwatch Score’s Way Too Early OWL Power Rankings

The off-season is drawing to a close. The season approaches. That light blue and orange on the horizon? That’s the London Spitfire leading the charge. Champions of the Inaugural season. There is no reason to think the Spitfire won’t come back with the same fire and adaptability that they possessed last year; and yet, do they have new contenders for the title?

Will the season start with the familiar names out on top: Valiant, NYXL, Fusion, even Seoul? Or will the second season see the rise of new names? The Vancouver RunAway…er I mean Canucks…er, sorry the colours, I mean Titans, perhaps. Could the blue and orange be replaced by a wave of green and…a different blue?

These are OverwatchScore’s “Way Too Early” power rankings (with some adjustment by me, RogueBludger).

Read more …

Austin White
Austin White is Overwatchscore’s ‘London Spitfire’ beat writer. An avid esports fan and gamer, Austin spends his free time playing, watching, and writing about video games. You can find his articles both at Overwatchscore as well as EGF. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Back to the Grind: Watchpoint 2019 Preview

Finally, after months of waiting, the first Watchpoint of Season 2 aired — and provided the much anticipated opening week schedule. There were some big changes that will be implemented in season 2 in the hopes of providing a much more dynamic year and taking into consideration the players’ needs.

First, the eight expansion teams were formally introduced. In the Atlantic Division, the Atlanta Reign, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant, and Washington Justice were added, along with the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, and  Vancouver Titans for the Pacific Division.

Read more …

Brittany
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.

Vancouver Titans Aim to Run Away with OWL Season 2

The worst-kept secret of the first Overwatch League offseason has finally been revealed.

The Vancouver Titans were unveiled as the seventh of the eight new OWL teams during Saturday’s Vancouver Canucks hockey game. The team is owned by Canucks Sports & Entertainment, and is co-managed in partnership with Canadian esports veterans Luminosity Gaming. The team’s blue and green color scheme echoes that of their sister NHL team and its AHL counterpart.

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Rainee
Rainee's loves for both gaming and writing began in her childhood, mostly because they could both be done inside in the air conditioning. She is an alum of the University of Mississippi, recovering Junkrat one-trick, and chronic mom friend. Follow Rainee on Twitter!

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

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:

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Brittany
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.

Toronto Defiant Announces Final Season 2 Roster

The Toronto Defiant have finalised their full roster for the Overwatch League, announcing the move on Twitter earlier today.

Read more …

Billy
Billy "Korjubzot" Walker is a journalism student with a newfound passion for esports, based in Queensland, Australia. He spends most of his time playing RPGs, competitive shooters and platformers, and he always thanks his healers.
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