Saturday, 31 March 2018

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

The playoffs were all but confirmed at the end of week four after successful wins against the San Francisco and the Seoul Dynasty. This meant that the two remaining games against the Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel were all but formalities in the run up to the stage two playoffs and the prospect of free Spitfire OWL is always something to be enjoy. It also means that stage two, week five of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is another extended version.

Each week of the regular season, I'm going dive into both games and provide to you what I thought was good, what was bad and finally what was down right ugly about the London Spitfire's performance. If you've not already seen the games this week then leave now, as this will reveal the result and the starting line ups. So grab your scarf's, strap down your goggles and twiddle those moustaches, as it's time for the final week of stage two review. 

Friday 23rd March vs Shanghai Dragons
Starting Line Up - Closer, Fury, Gesture, HaGoPeun, Hooreg & Profit 
Result - 4-0 Win

The Good
The fact that Bdosin, Birdring, Nus & Woohyal all managed to get a rest against the worst team in the league. The substitutions of Closer, Fury, HaGoPeun and Hooreg came into the side and managed to control the Shanghai Dragons from start to finish with out missing a beat.

Gesture who has been the Ironman for the Spitfire all season came out strong again from the main tank role. He controlled Fearless and Xushu with ease on his signature Winston. He also provided us all with an extra special treat, by playing Widowmaker on Watchpoint Gibraltar and straight up styling on the Shanghai Dragons with her. 

Hooreg again showed how deadly his Solider 76 is when he took control on Lijiang Tower's Night Market, securing the round with his Tactical Visor 3k. This was probably the best game Hooreg has had on stage so far as his more cautious and versatile DPS style is starting to make it's mark. 

The Defence was once again looking strong as not only did they win the match 4-0, it was almost a perfect game with the boys only giving up one round on the map. 

The Bad & The Ugly
When you produce back to back 4-0 wins. There's not a lot that can be bad or ugly.

Saturday 24th March @ Dallas Fuel
Starting Line Up - Bdosin, Birdring, Gesture, NUS, Profit & Woohyal
Result: 3-1 Win

The Good
The final game of a strong split ended how most others had for the Spitfire, Victory! It was in fairly convincing style as well. The team managed to adapt to the recent position changes for Mickie and Seagull well and kept their focus to the match at hand.

The Gesture/Woohyal tank line is the best in the league, I'm happy to debate this with anyone and it was out there for all to see throughout the match, because it's about positioning. Where one goes the other isn't that far away and they always have their team in their sights to peel if needed. This is on show during Volskaya attack, as Gesture went HAM and got a 5K with Woohyal by his side. These are the top main tank and D'Va players in the league and it's hard for anyone else to suggest otherwise.

Speaking of Volskaya, the only person to be fragged on the defence was Birdring and he got caught 3 times. Volskaya for the Spitfire is either a full hold or a slug fest. So it was nice to see it be the turn of the team to fully hold.

Is there a more ironic game mode name than Control for the Spitfire? The most inconsistent map time for the team all season was on show once again.On Night Market the zone control was on point, especially from Birdring and Profit who were putting Effect and Rascal in their places (The Helix Rocket to a Blinking Effect was unreal). To then going on to Control Centre and being bullied off the point. The only reason this isn't under bad, is due the the ream rallying hard and winning Garden to go 2-0 up.

After this series, Chipshajen would have all the evidence needed to put in a harassment case as Birdring and Profit were constantly rushing him to the point it was a surprise not to see his name flash up in the kill.

The Bad
There's two types of D'Va Self Destruct ultimate, the ones that come out of nowhere like an RKO that hit you like a brick and the ones where you could be flash banged, bound and still make it out alive. Well on Lijiang Tower Seagull managed to get a double kill with a Self Destruct on Birdring and Profit, who were both on highly mobile DPS with Solider 76 & Tracer. I fully understand they wanted to clean up but it was a lack of awareness that could of been avoided.

The Ugly
Okay boys and girls, it's arts and crafts time. Grab your boards, erasers and black marker pens. Use the eraser to wipe of the number 42 (this is an estimation), grab your black marker pens and write a big fat round 0 on to your boards. Ladies and Gentleman we've had a C9. The second attack on Hollywood with about 5 seconds left, Birding, Gesture, Nus & Woohyal all managed to avoid or come off the point in true C9 fashion.

Sunday 25th March vs Philadelphia Fusion 
Starting Line Up Bdosin, Birdring, Fury, Gesture, NUS & Profit
Result - 3-2 Loss

The Good
The game started on Watchpoint Gibraltar a map that has been a huge strength for the Spitfire all stage as they were undefeated on it. This didn't change at all in the semifinal as the Spitfire took the Fusion to task. Lead by Profit and Fury the Spitfire were able to get the full hold on defence and then easily pushed through to take the map. Birdring took the difficult 1v1 Widow duel vs Carpe & EQO who had had the highest damage on Gibraltar and came out on top. 

Kings Row has been a wild ride of a map for Spitfire fans and considering we were 2-1 down at this point, panic was a perfectly fine feeling before coming into it. Well those feelings of panic were evaporated and fairly quickly on. The Spitfire committed to Triple Tank quickly and while it took them till the second defend to win the map, it was this decisiveness that ultimately won us the map. 

Birdring again came out huge on a winning map with a perfectly timed 3k Rip Tyre on the second defence. Profit also once again showed just how good his Zarya is, with the ability to charge his Gravition Surge at a remarkable pace and then use it at the perfect time. 

The Bad
Nepal just like every other Control map has been shaky at the best of times. However it was the Fusions worst map of the stage and they outright bullied the Spitfire around from point to point. Both EQO and Carpe were given too much space to roam and the tanks allowed Fragi to pressure the supports too much. 

With this being the line up that had previously 4-0'd the Fusion twice in the last two stages, I understand why they went with it. However, I'm wondering personally if swapping out Woohyal for Fury was the correct move. While Fury came out big on Watchpoint Gibraltar, he faded fairly quickly throughout the other four maps and maybe substituting Woohyal in would have been the better choice as the tank line pairing with Gesture just seemed to be all out of sync. 

The Ugly
If the Fusion did one thing well against the Spitfire compared to their two previous meetings, it was that they have learned and adapted well on the fly. They also managed to obtain a ridiculous amount of picks on key targets to stall the Spitfires game plan. This caused the Spitfire a giant headache as they were the ones struggling to enforce themselves like they previously had. 

Hanamura and Route 66, two maps that the Spitfire were undefeated on. Key word here is were and the Fusion did it in abusive fashion. Getting full held on Hanamura due to some outrageous plays from both Boombox and Neptuno and then not preparing to see Snillo on Route 66 resulted in the unexpected lose. 

So the 2-3 loss to the Philadelphia Fusion brought the Spitfire stage two to an abrupt halt. We're currently in the mid stage break, so there's no games for a further week. When we do return though we start stage three playing rivals the Houston Outlaw on Friday 6th April at 4am BST(GMT) and stage two winners in the New York Excelsior on Sunday 8th April at 1am BST(GMT).  Enjoy the mid season break and we look forward to seeing the Spitfire come back strong for stage three. 

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