Sunday, 4 March 2018

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

Week one of stage two was the hardest week of the stage and saw the Spitfire splitting their matches two matches for the weekend with a loss to the Outlaws, but once again beating the Excelsior in 5 map fashion. The second weekend of the stage gave the team a more forgiving set of opponents in the 3-13 Florida Mayhem and the surprisingly resurgent 9-5 Philadelphia Fusion, who were 3-0 in stage two coming into our game this weekend. 

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 lets lock and load, it's time to dive in. 

Friday 2nd March vs Florida Mayhem
Starting Lineup - Closer, Gesture, HaGoPeun, Hooreg, Profit & Woohyal
Result: 3-1 Win

The Good
It's Hooreg's time to shine and boy did he take his moment. Hooreg came in to give Birdring a break and showed just how versatile he is by playing no less than six different heroes throughout the game. He showed how spectacular his McCree is and also played Pharah, Reaper, Soldier 76, Sombra & Widowmaker in a mixture of different compositions to great effect. While he is unlikely to be starter, Hooreg showed that he will be more than able to cover in case of injury or to allow Birdring and Profit the chance to rest and avoid burnout. 

If there's one thing that can be said about hard carrying and the London Spitfire, it's that when it comes to hard carrying, Gesture has this on lock. If there was one thing that seems to be certain with the Spitfire it's that Gesture is going to continue to be a leader on this team, even when things aren't going the way the team may want.

Control maps in stage one was a mess, Woeasis needed to be deleted from the game and The Spitfire just couldn't find a strategy that would work. Drop Oasis from the map pool, add in Lijiang Tower and everything seems to be right with the world. I want to keep an eye on this but it's looking likely we may have sorted out our Control woes.

The Bad
If there's one thing that seemed to be bad, it was on Volskaya Industries. Volskaya had been a good map for the Spitfire in the first two games of the season but it seemed that Florida had their attacks and second defence were on point. Volskaya and 2CP maps have been a strong point for the guys so overall, I'm not concerned about losing the map but being too transparent with the Sombra hold might be something to look out for. 

They say that the grass is always greener on the other side. I was expecting Closer to come in and take the reigns as a caller and leader of this team with the change in meta, yet so far that hasn't happened in the first three games. I'm not sure if it's the stage or the fact that compared to the other supports on the team he's not played as much, but Closer doesn't currently seem to be playing as he was during APEX Season Four. I expect this to turn around but it's one thing to look out for. 

The Ugly
Overall there was nothing for me that stood out as ugly in this game. There seemed to be moments where there were miscommunications but in all it was a good performance. 

Saturday 3rd March vs Philadelphia Fusion
Starting Line Up - Bdosin, Birdring, Fury, Gesture, Nus & Profit
Result: 4-0 Win

The Good
If I put down everything that was good in this game in one section it's going to look more like a scroll of commendations than a blog post, I feel the best place to start is the defence. The Fusion were 3-0 coming into this game and had just reversed swept the Outlaws, they as indivduals made their names during the dive meta and are currently in their element. That was up until the Spitfire completely shut them down. The Spitfire defence had two full holds on Hanamura and Hollywood and made Nepal looks likes child's play. The Fusion only managed one point on Route 66, that's how smothering the defence was. 

Now I'm not saying that my player interviews help those guys out, BUT Bdosin came back into the line up and absolute tore Philly apart as Zenyatta. He's also shown that he's got more heroes in his locker as he pulled out a Sombra pick and his smack talk, tag talk on Route 66 shows that he's more than happy to continue with smack when he can. 

Speaking of supports, NUS is a player who's probably the happiest when it comes to the Mercy meta being over as he selflessly picked her up for stage one. The Fusion was the first game for him in stage two and man did he look both more confident and impressive. We all knew that NUS has the Ana in the bag and he plays her to a high level, but his Lucio play this game was what stood out. He timed his sound barriers perfectly and took control of the shot calling. It was the most clinical the team had looked in OWL so far. I'm really excited to see if this can continue as he stepped up big here. 

Birdring came in fresh after being given the day before off and he was locked in. He's Soldier 76 play was crisp and his positioning was impeccable. This allowed him to pick off targets at range with ease and he didn't look uncomfortable once the entire game. 

While Bdosin got the MVP for this game, it's hard to not think that it should have been shared with Fury. Over the four maps, Fury died a total of six times, just SIX. His aggressive style was perfect to counter that of Fragie's and his constant harassment of the Fusions support line was perfect. It's nice to see that he and Gesture have seemed to have found that level between attack and defence that suits them both. 

Finally Gesture, his ultimate on Route 66 to push the Fusion back was timed perfectly and his utter rejection of Shadowburn would have made any NBA Centre proud. He also deserves props for stepping up and taking part in the Lemons for Leukemia challenge and doing it like a boss.

The Bad & The Ugly
The perfect game was so close, so very close but the Fusion managed to get that one point on the last map. In all seriousness though, there is nothing about this performance that could be deemed bad or ugly. The guys were spotless from start to finish and this domination should put the rest of the league on watch. 

Week two is done, but week three is just around the corner. It's a week for revenge as on Friday March 9th (Saturday 10th in the early UK & European hours) the 7-7 Boston Uprising are the opponents and this will be a game that the team will surely want to win. Then on Saturday March 10th, it's the return of Fissure and the 6-8 LA Gladiators. A key match up will be Gesture vs Fissure as it's two of the top three tanks in the world going against each other.  

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