The final match of Friday night was between the hometown heroes Los Angeles Valiant facing off against the Shanghai Dragons. The Valiant needed to take down the Dragons 4-0 to give themselves their best shot at securing a Stage 1 title spot. The Dragons, with a 0-9 record for Stage 1, had one last chance to put a win on the board. Would either team be able to achieve their best possible outcome?
Stage: Stage 1 – Week 5
Match: Los Angeles Valiant vs Shanghai Dragons
Game 1 (Numbani) 5-3 Los Angeles Valiant
Los Angeles brought an aggressive dive to Numbani on attack. A practically flawless first push saw the Valiant take Point A with over five minutes in the time bank. A messy brawl that saw both teams using, charging up, and using their ults again let the Dragons burn over two minutes off Valiant time bank before a Tac-Visor from Silkthread’s Soldier:76 allowed Los Angeles to take Point B. As Los Angeles tried to push the payload past the underpass but strong positioning by Altering on Mercy allowed Undead’s Tracer to confidently stall out the Valiant’s push again and again. Los Angeles was finally able to make magic happen off of a Self-Destruct from Envy that allowed the Valiant to collapse onto the payload and breakthru the Dragons and capture Point C.
The Dragons offense started with a whimper. Diya and Undead tried to find picks to start their attack but were rebuffed by the Valiant time and time again. The Dragons struggled again and again to capture Point A until a Dragonblade by Diya zoned out the Los Angeles supports enough to capture the Payload and begin to push the payload into streets phase. The Valiant tried to stop the push to Point B, but a needed double kill by Diya allowed the Dragons to capture Point B quickly and move the payload thru the underpass easily. A huge play by Roshan’s Winston as the payload rounded the final corner killed DPS and both supports, allowing Shanghai to stagger the Los Angeles respawns and capture Point C with over 2 minutes in the timebank.
Los Angeles had just over a minute on their second attack attempt. A solid stop by Shanghai left the Valiant with 30 seconds to capture Point A. An aggressive dive led by Soon and Silkthread obliterated the Dragons defense and the Valiant captured Point A in overtime. With the payload moving, the Valiant had the often difficult task of not leaving the payload for the remainder of their push. An ult heavy brawl started by Shanghai tried to do just that, but Los Angeles was able to trade and finally lead in kills to hold off the counter-offensive. Then the Valiant went on a wild offensive, killing Dragons players all the way back to their spawn point to secure Point B in overtime. As the Valiant tried to get the payload thru the underpass, a blistering barrage of ults from the Dragons ended the overtime push.
Shanghai started their second attack with more time in the bank than the Valiant. However, their dive to control the Point A highground was neutralized over and over again as Los Angeles refused to actually engage them. Instead, the Valiant would fall back over and over again until Soon and Silkthread could find key picks that allowed the Valiant to shut down the Dragons push. A final desperation push by Shanghai with less than 30 seconds remaining was cut short by a clutch Pulse Bomb from Soon to give the map to the Valiant 5-3.
Game 2 (Temple of Anubis) 2-1 Los Angeles Valiant
The Valiant begin the push for Anubis Point A viciously. The tanks and DPS dove fast into the Shanghai defense, brawling on top of and over the Dragons to capture Point A ridiculously fast as the Dragons were unable to stop the Valla wave. With a dominating lead on ultimate charge, Los Angeles attacked Point B. Soon’s Tracer and Agilities Genji dashed around the point killing tanks and supports with ease. The first push turned out to be the only push as a Pulse Bomb from Soon and a Dragonblade from Agilities helped the Valiant capture Point B with over 5 minutes in the time bank.
The Dragons offense saw Undead bring a Widowmaker to Point A, but the Valiant ran a defense that saw Orisa and Widowmaker take the high ground on Point A. The Dragons attempted over and over to dislodge the tank and sniper combo but were constantly stymied in their efforts. Soon showed his Widowmaker dominance by repeatedly ending Dragon pushes with support kills on the Dragons. Undead was unable to return the favor as the Valiant played around the Orisa shield and sightlines to prevent him from finding targets. Finally, as overtime ticked down, the Dragons made a final push to Point A by ignoring the high ground and forced the Valiant to fight them on the floor. The brawl turned the Dragons way and they were able to capture Point A. with 4 minutes on the clock. Once again, the Dragons were stalled out attempting to capture Point B. The Dragons seemed unable to coordinate their pushes well enough to overcome the Valiant respawn advantage and patient Mercy play by Kariv meant that Los Angeles always had Valkyrie when it was needed. As the Dragons again found themselves attempting an overtime push, the Dragons seemed poised to capture the point until Envy switched off tank and onto Bastion. The withering hailstorm of bullets was unavoidable as the Dragons were forced to either die on the point or lose it anyway. The Dragons failed to take Point B with just a few scant percentage points left as overtime burned down.
Game 3 (Illios) 2-0 Los Angeles Valiant
The mirror Widowmaker between Soon and Undead anchored both teams attacks on Ruins. Soon landed shot after shot but it was the rest of the Valiant offense that confirmed the kills that allowed Los Angeles to capture the point first. Shanghai’s counter-push saw Undead winning the Tracer duel but when it looked like the Dragons would be able to flip the point, Envy’s D.Va was able to delete Dragons and body block Shanghai from getting on the point. A rally by the Valiant respawns let Los Angeles take the point 100 to 0.
The Dragons brought a Pharah to Lighthouse while the Valiant came with a Tracer/Genji combo. A definitive engagement from Los Angeles saw them destroy the Shanghai offense in spite of the Dragons killing off both Valiant supports. The Dragons tried to adjust to the Valiant line-up but a swap by Soon to Pharah forced an aerial battle between himself and Undead that the Dragons player never seemed able to win. While the battle for air superiority raged around the lighthouse, the Valiant tank line was able to win the ground war and take Illios 2-0.
Game 4 (Junkertown) 3-0 Los Angeles Valiant
The Map of Shame didn’t have the same feeling as the Valiant went to Junkertown. A map loss here would end their Stage 1 playoff hopes. Los Angeles brought the Pirate Ship to to play but Kariv on Widowmaker seemed to make Soon’s Bastion pointless with kills on Undead on Widowmaker and Fiveking on Widowmaker. Shanghai manages to stop the Valiant push momentarily but the Valiant answer back and take Point A convincingly. As the Payload made its way to the midpoint of streets phase, Shanghai dove from the high ground to take the payload away from the Valiant and deny Los Angeles their Bastion perch. Soon’s Tracer tried to backcap the payload to Point B before the Valiant was able to secure the point. A hard defensive assault from Diya and Tracer and Undead’s Widowmaker stalled out the Valiant long enough to go to overtime, but a Dragonblade unsheathed by Silkthread slashed apart the Dragons defense and gave the Valiant Point C.
The Dragons brought their own Pirate Ship themselves on their first push on the payload. The Valiant defensive spear, lead again by Soon stalled out the payload and the push causing the Dragons to switch off Bastion and try a more mobile comp. However, the Valiant continued to punish the Dragons push with devastating Concussion Mines from Agilities in enclosed areas broke up the Dragons attack. As the clock burned down, Envy’s Roadhog Hook grabbed Dragon after Dragon to keep Shanghai from capturing Point A. The Los Angeles Valiant won the map and the series.
Match Score: 4-0 Los Angeles Valiant vs Shanghai Dragons
The Valiant DPS player created huge plays in almost every team fight. Whether it was his Widowmaker popping off on Anubis or his Tracer on Numbani; Soon deleted key targets, cleaned up stalled out fight, and secured final kills on capture points. This heroic play allowed the Valiant to shine as a top tier team in the Overwatch League.
Match Rating: 7/10
The final map of the night was more intense than the leaderboard would have led one to believe. As the season had gone on, Shanghai’s improvement saw them grabbing more and more maps against their opponents. This was a trend that the Valiant could not let continue if they hoped to get into the stage one playoffs. After a strong showing on Numbani, it looked possible that Shanghai would play the spoiler for the Valiant that the San Francisco Shock were for the Seoul Dynasty. But in the end, the Valiant showed they could go the distance and got the clean sweep that was needed.