Sunday, 18 March 2018

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

It's week four of the stage two regular season and with it comes another week where the Spitfire face a team near the bottom of the standings in the San Francisco Shock in the first game of the week and then to face another top tier team in the Seoul Dynasty. With the playoffs just around the corner and four games left, it's the business end of the season and it's London's time to shine.
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.

As I missed last weeks games due to illness, I'm going to provide a short summary into what happened in week three. The week started with the surprise departure of Head Coach Beoum-Jun "Bishop" Lee due what's rumoured to be a difference with players. This has left both Jeong-Min "JFeel" Kim and Chang-Geun "Changgoon" Park as the main coaches for the team. While the departure of Bishop is one that is both surprising and one that Spitfire fans were surprised about (I myself have a lot to thank Bishop for with helping me on the player interviews, so thank you Bishop), both Changgoon & JFeel were the respective coaches for GC Busan & Kongdoo Pantera respectivly. Leaving the Spitfire in as good a place as they were before. 

The game themselves had a bit of a revenge week feel too them, with the Spitfire taking revenge against the Boston Uprising in dominating fashion and a 4-0 sweep in game one of the weekend. Only for Fissure to return as the newest main tank for the Los Angeles Gladiators and get his revenge against the Spitfire in helping provide a 1-3 defeat. 

Now that we're all up to date with the happenings of the previous weeks, it's time to shake the web's of those propellers, re-read the manual and take to the sky for week four!

Friday 16th March vs San Francisco Shock
Starting Line Up - Bdosin, Gesture, Hooreg, NUS, Profit & Woohyal
Result: 3-1 Win

The Good
If there's one thing that looks to be different with the change in coaching, it's that substitutions are going to be something that happens on a rarer basis. This is good because it allows the team to be more fluid as a unit, provide rest for those starting players but also allows the part of the team who's playing less more game time. One person to benefit from this is Hooreg, who started to show a lot more confidence in his game but also his variety of heroes playing no less than Seven heroes over the four maps. He showed how good his Widowmaker is and how underrated his Pharah play can be against the Shock. In stage three I'd expect to see Hooreg add Doomfist to his arsenal. 

When it comes to the tank line, Gesture is usually the one in control and pulling the strings. However, against the Shock on Map One: Volskaya Industries, Gesture seemed to be playing too aggressively and was getting picked off a lot. This is when Woohyal too control and managed to provide the tank support and help bring Gesture into his usual playstyle. Woohyal was a consistent threat all game on D'Va.

Now when you're in hero select and you get two players pick snipers, you get a red warning message telling you, you've selected too many snipers. On Nepal Sanctuary, this didn't seem to matter to the Spitfire one bit. As Profit on Hanzo and Hooreg on Widowmaker, provided the perfect amount of long range poke to help secure the point and the map for the team.

Speaking of Profit who had an incredible weekend. It seems that he has no time for Moth's or the previous Moth meta and the best way to kill a Moth, is to hit it with something sticky. On Route 66, Profit hit the most perfectly timed Pulse bomb on to San Francisco Shock Support player Moth.  

This game against San Francisco, wasn't one of Bdosin's best efforts. I'm not sure if it's because he has his mind on the Seoul Dynasty game or something else, but things just didn't seem to click for him. Apart from one stand out play as Ana on where he hit a sleep dart from across the map on the attack of Route 66.

The Bad
Although the Spitfire came out with a 3-1 win, it wasn't clean in the slightest. There were far too many sloppy mistakes that better teams would have punished. The team's ultimate usage was at times abysmal. It was clear to see there was numerous time where the team had miscommunication with each other and their use of ultimate's proved this. 

Now I think we can all agree that when it comes to Supportal Kombat, Bdosin on Zenyatta is one of if not the best at it. However, I'm not sure that having Bdosin and NUS, your two supports flanking on their own when the team has retreated as being the best idea in the world. 

The Ugly
If further proof was needed that the team weren't playing well together and were able to use their individual strength's to see them through. It's the fact that the Spitfire's attacking phases of the game were left wanting. Having only captured one point on Volskaya and being full held on Hollywood isn't good enough. 

Saturday 17th March vs Seoul Dynasty
Starting Line Up - Bdosin, Birdring, Gesture, NUS, Profit & Woohyal
Result: 4-0 Win

The Good
Lets be totally honest here. Coming into the start of the league, the Seoul Dynasty were seen as the #1 team. In Stage one the Spitfire dispatched them with ease in a 4-0. When the meta changed at the start of Stage two, once again the Dynasty were tipped to be the top team, yet once again the Spitfire put on a masterclass and 4-0'd them for a second straight time. 

2CP have been a source of joy for the Spitfire, but the defence against Seoul was a thing of beauty. On the first defence, the Dynasty was left with just 26 seconds if a second attack was required. Bdosin hit a timely 3k during this first defence.

Lijiang Power was in full effect and while Control is definitely the Spitfire's worst map type, there is improvement being shown. Birdring, Gesture and Woohyal stepped up and played on another level. Birding hit 8k of damage and went 8-0, Gesture went 28-6 and Woohyal blocked 10k of damage and went 26-1. Seoul got bullied across the Control map from start to finish.

Defence when it matters is the name of the game and Kings Row has been a map where the Spitfire have been inconsistent. The Spitfire defence held strong on home term and it was done in style as the Wombo Combo from Gesture's Reinhardt and Profit's Zarya meant that the Spitfire were able to go from being a few meters away from completing their attack run to only having two points and looking shaky at best.

The Bad & The Ugly
Once again when it comes to facing Seoul, there was nothing bad or ugly about the performance. The Spitfire were dominant from start to finish and fully deserved their win.

The last week of Stage two's regular season involves games from two of the worst teams in the league. On Friday 23rd March at 3am GMT, the Spitfire face the Shanghai Dragons and then the Dallas Fuel on Saturday 24th March at 8pm GMT. Then it's time for the Spitfire to prepare for the Stage two playoffs. 

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