The LA Gladiators have been a team on the rise since their blockbuster addition of Fissure to the roster at the beginning of Stage Two. A team without an anchor suddenly found their stability and the exponential growth for a roster finally on the same page has paid off immensely. A team that was once pigeon held to a few heroes with very linear playstyles has developed into a versatile puzzle of a team that is as dangerous as they are deceiving. While some pundits believe the LA Gladiators have reached their peak, SureFour and co. are out to prove they are more than a one stage wonder.
The train keeps rolling
It was a hopeful start to the season as LA Gladiators fought tooth and nail for an eventual top seven finish in the first Stage. Even though they avoided the bottom of the barrel, LA Gladiator’s weren’t necessarily trending in the right direction with some of their most shaky performances coming at the end of the Stage. With a decent but struggling record, there were some obvious disconnects between playstyles on the team as iRemiix’s tank play did not mesh well with the DPS core of the Gladiators.
When iRemiix was aggressive, his team couldn’t follow suit. When he reverted to more passive play, their damage never got the chance to make the plays necessary to win. The Gladiators were buoyed heavily by the solid healing of Shaz and BigGoose through the first stage, but it was apparent with each series that the LA Gladiators were missing a ‘secret sauce’ component to their team. A player and or player(s) that could change the game with their addition and how they imposed their will on the map. That’s when things started to change heading into Stage Two.
Bringing it all together
On paper, there’s no denying LA Gladiators had a team capable of achieving great things. But in this league, you have to be more than great to get wins consistently because the level of competition is so high. With all the footage, analysis and extra gameplay that has been injected into the scene with the introduction of the OWL, the team staff becomes just as important as the starting six on any given line-up.
Enter Fissure. When you look at players that have put their stamp on a team’s philosophy, there are few that can rival the impact of this Tank stalwart since joining the Gladiators. The former London Spitfire substitute has taken the LAG from meddling bottom half team to legitimate playoff contenders in one stage. Their insistence on mastering the dive compositions early in the split gave them more flexibility towards the end as Hydration, SureFour, Fissure and Shaz were able to show out on a variety of playstyles.
Fissure isn’t just one of the best tanks in the Overwatch League (if not the best overall player), but his ability to make everyone around him that much better has given the Gladiators a whole new lease on life within the league. The Gladiators team infrastructure is also crucial to their success. Having a dedicated D.Va main in Bischu that can adequately communicate ideas between Fissure and the rest of the team has been ideal. Bischu has also steadily grown into his own brand of D.Va play that merits his opponents attention with the amount of pressure he can put on any given map.
For all the stability that Fissure brought to the table when he signed with the LA Gladiators, the main goal for LAG is to remain humble and keep up the pressure on a weekly basis. The ability to rest on your laurels is heightened when you gain a newfound confidence. But with each team vying for playoff spots, complicity will only lead to dips in performance. LA Gladiators have all the tools to succeed as a top four to five team, but the continuation of progress is key to survival.