Wednesday, 25 April 2018

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

Week three was on paper the toughest week of the stage for the Spitfire as they had to play not one but two undefeated teams in the Boston Uprising and the LA Valiant. Despite being 1-3 for the stage so far, the team still currently have an outside shot of reaching the stage playoffs with a top four finish. While they are 1-3 going into the week, the Spitfire could very easily be 3-1 instead with a couple of 2-3 defeats that could have swung the other way. 

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 set your sights and pray that our aim is true as it's time to get into the week.
Friday 20th April at Boston Uprising
Starting Line-Up: Closer, Fury, Gesture, HaGoPeun, Hooreg & Profit.
Result: 2-3 Loss
The Good
The Spitfire started out fast and over the first two maps and they looked sgood defensively by shutting down Boston on point B of Temple of Anubis and by preventing them getting to point three on Numbani. While it was a bend don't break approach to both maps, when it came to the crunch the boys lead by Gesture and Fury managed to keep the Uprising at bay just enough to come out 2-0 to start the match.

When you look at Zenyatta play and the Spitfire, you automatically presume that it's Bdosin pulling off another aggressive play to stump an opposition attack. However, on the first two maps, it was HaGoPeun who was pulling impressive play after impressive play to thwart the Uprising on a regular basis. He played really well before being subbed out and his personal highlight was a 4K on  Numbani attack.

The map pool for stage three is not one that goes in the Spitfires favour, Numbani is one that we’ve turned into a fortress of sorts. The team stayed unbeaten on Numbani and it’s very quickly joining Horizon Luna Colony as an instawin map of sorts.

The Bad
It seems that with each new stage there's a slight change in the meta, to keep the game as fresh as possible. While the players have to adjust and learn the in game changes to get the best results they can. Coaches have their own meta game to play in the form of the starting line ups and substitution. Against the Uprising the starting six seemed to have their number being 2-0 up, so it was a bit of a surprise to see the subs they made for map three. It's the first time that, I feel that Changgoon and Jfeel misjudged the situation, when they should have left things as they where.

The Ugly 
Despite said changes, it's still worrying that the team can have such highs and lows with a few changes in the line up. This is a team that has enough quality to be able to handle most teams so to see them throw away a lead such as the one they had. I get that Boston are still undefeated and the best team in the stage but it was disappointing to see it happen.

I sound like a broken record with this Ugly but Oasis is still a shocking map for the Spitfire. With Boston completing the reverse sweep on Oasis, the Spitfire went 1-8 for the season on it. While they're slowly making improvements on it it's a map that will require them a lot more practice on to build confidence.

Saturday 21st April vs Los Angeles Valiant
Starting Line-Up: Bdosin, Closer, Fury, Gesture, Hooreg & Profit.
Result: 3-2 Win

The Good
I've been begging to see Closer be given a bigger role with in the team from the middle of stage one as I felt with the up coming changes to Mercy at the time and the likelihood that Lucio was going to become more meta, that his shot calling would be a better fit for the team. It may have taken him a while to get here, but the combination of Bdosin and Closer at the support role looked promising, very promising. Despite dropping map 3 & 4, Closer's shot calling was tight the first two rounds and the team seemed both more organised and where communicating more. I like NUS but I feel that for at least the rest of the season, the partnership of Bdosin/HaGoPeun and Closer should be the way forward.

The off-tank position is probably the hardest one to pick a consistent starter for the Spitfire because both Fury and WooHyaL are that good. Now I've been wanting to see WooHyaL starting with the way the stage has started, but Fury had an amazing weekend. He was everywhere! peeling for his supports when he was needed, focusing key targets and not letting them have any time to go through there targets and doing everything in between. Fury could easily have been the MVP for the team this week.

The Busan DPS duo of Hooreg and Profit were back and boy did they look like they hadn't missed a beat and were the GC Busan of APEX Season four. Hooreg's Supportive DPS style worked perfectly alongside Gesture and Bdosin meaning that their was a wide spread of damage coming from all angels to help Profit. Profit has been one of if not the most consistent DPS player all season, but in stage three he has popped off. He looked a lot more comfortable being the player to obtain most resources and Hooreg's more passive DPS style clicked instantly with him. While Birdring will likely start upon his return from injury. Profit has every shot of not only being MVP for the stage, but for the season as well.

We won an Oasis tiebreaker! While we're still only 2-8 on the map for the season, it should allow for the team to feel a bit more confidence on the map.

The Bad
While map 1 & 2 were a joy to behold, the next two maps after the half time break would give anyone nightmares. Whether it was just the fact that So0n who had come in for Agilities got hot for those two maps or the Spitfire started to feel a bit edgy about finally getting win #2. The performance dropped a lot in the second half and this is something to address.

The Ugly
Okay, so in the grand scheme of things going into overtime and winning map five doesn't seem so bad, and could be easily forgotten about. However, when you see that the team could be 5-1 and looking to have the playoffs on lock, instead of being 2-4 and having to see the Spitfire virtually pull out a Gauntlet run to make them is a problem. In stage one and two, the Spitfire knew how to close out games. In stage three this seems to have all been lost and it's something that needs to be found ASAP.

So week three is in the books and the team ended a three game losing streak in the process. The games should be starting to turn around for the better from week four on wards. We face the LA Gladiators on Friday 27th April at 12am BST in a match where the boys will want revenge for the lose last stage and then on Saturday 28th April at 9pn BST, the Spitfire take on a seemingly resurgent San Francisco Shock, who's influx of youthful talent has worked for the better. 

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