Sunday, 11 February 2018

London Spitfire: Stage One, Week Five & Playoffs - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


The first stage of the London Spitfire's inaugural season is officially in the books and this week was a week full of action, as it saw both week five of the regular season and the playoffs being played in one weekend. This weekend ended up with the Spitfire starting off low before rising up and obtaining the result that every Spitfire fan wanted. Without further ado, it's time to look into how the final week went for the Spitfire did in this weeks The Good, Bad & Ugly.


Hopefully by now, the London Spitfire: Good, Bad & Ugly is a part of your weekly reading list and if you are a regular, you've got a special treat as this week's instalment will include both the regular season ending and the the playoff games. However, if this is your first time reading, here the deal with this series. Each week I'll take a look at what I thought was good about the performances this week, what was bad and finally, what was down right ugly. This week will have a slightly different structure to it, as we have four games to review. To avoid any confusion I'll review each game this week and will see how the feed back is. So lets shake the bogey's from our six and get to it.

Game One - Thursday 9th February @Houston Outlaws 
Starting Line Up - Birdring, Closer, Gesture HaGoPeun, Profit, Woohyal

The Good
I'm strongly considering a change to the format of this for stage two, to the Good, The Bad, The Ugly & Just Gesture Things. Once again in a losing effort, Gesture was incredible with his consistent pressure and overall tank play. Gesture's been so good that Fissure has only played in two games all stage and three maps total, though this may change in stage two. Gesture has been on MVP form to start the season and he's only looking to get stronger.

While there wasn't a lot else to cheer about in the game against Houston, the fact that the boys weren't 4-0'd in fact turned into a good thing. At the time there were about five different scenarios in place to see who made the stage one playoffs. While they lost 3-1, it's definitely a case right now of every map counts! As this helped secure a playoff spot for the Spitfire. 

The Bad
When it comes to hero pools and choices, I feel that the Spitfire are pretty on point with their selections. However, I do have a question to ask. When it comes to maps such as Eichenwalde and Oasis, WHERE'S HOOREG, WHERE'S RASCAL & WHERE'S PHARAH? Hooreg and Rascal haven't had a lot of time to shine as the Profit/Birdring DPS partnership has been godlike, but neither can play Pharah. Hooreg has been a consistent threat when on the hero, especially on Eichenwalde where he's undefeated and Rascal has shown a proficiency for her on Numbani . Yet on these maps the compositions have gone away from a perceived strength. I know that both these maps are soon to come out of the rotation, but I would like to see the Hooreg/Rascal/Pharah more in stage two, if Pharah is still a viable hero. 

Dive, Dive, Dive. The dive composition has been the composition of choice for the Spitfire and although it's produced wins, the play has been inconsistent to say the least. Last week, there was a shift to a more patient build up and a tactical execution that stomped Seoul hard. It was a return to the dive comp this week and it was shut down quickly and emphatically by the Outlaw. I feel that there needs to be more flexibility and that the Spitfire need to be able to change on the fly.   

The Ugly
Oasis is forever going to be known as the bogeyman, so much so that I'm renaming it Woeasis and can't wait to see the back of the map in stage two. Houston dominated from start to finish on what has been the worst map for the Spitfire in stage one. It's a the point now where if a pick ban situation. The Spitfire would ban this map into oblivion.


Game Two Saturday 10th February vs New York Excelsior
Starting Lineup - Bdosin, Birdring, Gesture, Profit, NUS & Woohyal

The Good
While a win and the number one seed would have been the ideal situation, London had to win at least one map to make it to the playoffs. Knowing their objective the Spitfire played well and were unlucky to have lost this match 3-2. They secured the maps required and pushed the NYXL hard, making them work for their win.

Bdosin once again showed by he's one of if not the most dangerous Zenyatta in the Overwatch League with consistent and timely picks from the support position. He was able to be a thorn in NYXL's side on a regular basis and made them think about focusing him as the match went on. Woohyal on D'Va also showed up on a regular basis protecting his back line when he could and also hitting some timely ultimates. 

The Bad
The main problem the Spitfire had against NYXL in their first meeting was that they struggled to defend at certain points, as if there wasn't a lot of clear direction going into targets. This is shown pretty clearly on Anubis where the NYXL managed to steamroller the Spitfire defence. The other problem was that NYXL was given too much range to smother the Spitfire at every possible opportunity. Playmakers such as Saebyeolbe, Pine and Mako weren't shut down quick enough and this allowed the NYXL to snowball into positions that they shouldn't have been allowed to get to. 

The Ugly
Control Maps. Need I say more? Probably not but I will. Pine was given absolute freedom on Widowmaker during Illios and was ruining hopes of the #1 seed that the Spitfire had.

 Game Three - Playoffs Saturday 10th February vs Houston Outlaws
Starting Lineup - Bdosin, Birdring, Gesture, Profit, NUS & Woohyal

The Good
The first stage of the London Spitfire playoff revenge tour started against the Outlaws and it was effective. After a slow start on Dorado, where worry was starting to creep in that this wasn't going to be the Spitfire's day. The team made the adjustment from a dive composition to an anti-dive one and Birdring and Profit went off from the DPS roles to a degree that we've not seen so from the duo. Jake was shut down on Junkrat and was shown by Profit how to really play the hero, Linkzr couldn't get into any sort of flow with McCree or Tracer and Birdring out played him in the 1v1 Widowmaker battle and managed to show how good he really is on McCree on a consistent basis.

Control maps are the blight of the Spitfire's game plan. However, Illios has been the one control map that there has been some success. Fury entered as a sub for Woohyal at the point where the Spitfire were 0-1 down and took over the map on D'Va. His protection of the back line was incredible and his targeting was on point when it came to diving into the control area. Also NUS helped immensely when it came to protecting Fury and was able to position himself better than he had in recent games. 

The Bad
Dorado has been a map that the Spitfire have had a good win ratio on all stage but I feel that the two game losing streak they were on played a factor in map one of this series. The teamwork and communication didn't see to be there for those first two points. The dive composition isn't currently working for the Spitfire and it's the only real weakness in their play style that needs to be addressed.

The Ugly
I'm happy to admit that there was no ugly moments within this series as the Spitfire managed to turn the series around from map two onward.

Game Four - Playoff Final Saturday 10th February vs New York Excelsior
Starting Lineup - Bdosin, Birdring, Gesture, Profit, NUS & Woohyal

The Good
The Spitfire found their inner Cloud 9 League of Legend team and pulled out a stunning reverse sweep against the New York Excelsior and it all started on Horizon Luna Colony. Horizon has been the perfect map for the Spitfire all stage, they have been able have a couple of full holds and have bossed every team they have faced so far. Map three was no different, Birdring went from carry to super sayian hyper carry mode and the NYXL had no answer. It helped that Profit once again had been a force on Junkrat, but Birdring was out of this world on both Tracer and Widowmaker, whilst showing that he does indeed have a Genji to add to his hero pool. 

The fight back and heart this team showed was great to see, considering that they played a total of 14 maps in the space of 8 hours shows just how well everyone was able to re-focus after each game. Credit really has to go to Changgoon, JFeel and Bishop for how they managed the team on the last day. Bishop is also a big winner for the day as he's now able to kill off the role swapping meme and the people who questioned his ability to coach. It really was a well deserved overall stage victory for the London Spitfire. 

The Bad 
NYXL got off to a fast start on Junkertown and both Pine and Jjonak being able to snowball hard and fast into a problem that the Spitfire couldn't shoot down. When Saebyeolbe came in on for the second map Oasis. He did the exact same thing and continued to pressure and pick off the Spitfire, pushing them into a constant stagger that they couldn't work out from. While the DPS and Tank lines did what they could, it seems that target recognition may need a little bit of work during the two week break.

The Ugly
The fact that the team had to play 14 maps to get to this point on the same day was pretty ridiculous. I have very little to moan about during stage one from a team or production perspective, but the fact that the final day of the season and the playoffs were on the same day was a huge oversight. It's one that I'm glad that OWL Commissioner Nate Nanzer has realised and will hopefully have nipped in the bud for stage two. 

The last game the Spitfire played on Woeasis ended the same way as six of the other seven did. In defeat. NYXL dominated both rounds and pushed the Spitfire off the point with ease. I know I won't be the only one grateful that Oasis is about to turn into a mirage. 

I know that NUS isn't a natural Mercy main and has been trying to play her and shot call at the same time due to the current meta, but at times his positioning with her caused him to die more times than he actually should have throughout this series. Now that the Mercy meta is dead, I'm interested to see how he performs on his favoured Ana. 

That's it, Stage one as a whole is now completed and we now have a two week break before the start of stage two. Once again we will be facing our fellow play off contenders with the Houston Outlaws on February 22nd at 10pm GMT and the New York Excelsior at 12am GMT on February 24th.
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