Wednesday, 16 May 2018

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

We're two days away from the London Spitfire starting their stage four against their two biggest rivals in the New York Excelsior and the Houston Outlaws. With the two week break now complete, I felt it was time to delay this version of GBU, so that it would work as a steady reminder as to what happened in week five in our games against the Seoul Dynasty and the Shanghai Dragons. The team were eliminated from the stage playoffs prior to their games being played, so it pride at stake and two extra games to work out the kinks that had been on going throughout stage 3.

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 sit back and take a breather as we go into the last week of stage three.

Friday 4th May vs Seoul Dynasty
Starting Line-Up: Bdosin, Birdring. Closer, Fury, Gesture & Profit.
Result: 3-2 Win

The Good

Considering that the boys had already been knocked out of stage playoff contention after what's been a rough stage, they didn't let it effect them too much. Seoul came out with a different look than they had before with Ryujehong playing in his first game at main tank and going with Gambler and Gido as the main support line. While Seoul got their first two maps ever against the GC Busan/Spitfire line up, he boys managed to react to the changes well enough to stay undefeated against the Dynasty

Birdring made his first appearance for a few weeks at DPS, while he didn't look sharp in the first half of the match, the coaches made the correct move in subbing him out and placing Hooreg in. Hooreg's performance on Sombra this stage has been a delight to watch and he had another great map in helping the team win game five on Oasis. 

Fury once again showed why he was deemed as the best D.Va in the league on the round table prior to week five starting, with another consistent performance. His positioning was key to a few good holds, especially in maintaining the teams perfect record on Numbani. When it comes to the end of season awards, Fury has definitely put himself in a good place to earn more recognition as the leagues best D.Va and potentially best off-tank.

The Bad

I mentioned in the good that Birdring came into play for the first half of this match. While he wasn't bad, his performance wasn't up to his usual level. For me with the Spitfire out of the stage playoffs, it would have been wiser to continue to rest Birdring and check him out in stage four than risk causing further injury to his wrist. It would be interesting to see if the decision for him to play was his because he felt good enough or the coaches to see how his wrist would hold up in a competitive match. 

The fact that this was the 6th game this stage that went to the final tie-breaker map was a bit disheartening. While stage three's map pool didn't favour the Spitfire, they couldn't close out so many games when in the position to do so. Whether this was purely down to maps such as Blizzard World being one the map the team hadn't practised or their lack of control on control maps (which is improving) the Spitfire need to work out a plan to end these tight games. 

The Ugly

This one may be a little harsh but the fact that Seoul were trying out a completely untested line up, with Ryujehong a calling shots from main tank instead of his usual support role, should have resulted in the Spitfire coming away with a better result than a 3-2 win. Especially considering the first two games of the season ended in 4-0 wins for the Spitfire. 

Friday 5th May vs Shanghai Drgons
Starting Line-Up: Bdosin, Fury, Gesture, Hooreg, NUS & Profit.
Result: 3-1 Win

The Good

The last game of stage three saw a return to the London Spitfire that we all know and love. They were decisive in their set plays and the executions were perfect. The Gesture & Profit tank/DPS combination that's been so successful throughout the season was in full effect in this game as they both took it to the Dragons with no remorse. 

NUS came back into the line up and while it was only against the Shanghai Dragons, he brought back some confidence to the team with his play and partnership with Bdosin. His Mercy play and positioning was a lot better than it had previously had been and he was on point with his resurrections and ultimate use. 

The Bad

In a season where every map matters and any 4-0's you can get is key, dropping a map against the worst team in the league probably isn't acceptable. Junkertown has been a fairly decent map for the Spitfire so to drop it came as bit of a surprise. While it's not the worst thing in the world due to the map differential they currently have,  it's a good thing to try not to drop maps that the team should win.       

The Ugly

Once again there wasn't anything that was ugly in the performance against the Dragons and the Spitfire set themselves up with a nice bit of momentum going into stage four. 

Here we are, we're into the last stage of the first season of the Overwatch League. Week one begins tonight but the Spitfire's first game being on Friday 18th May at 4 am against arch rivals #2 the Houston Outlaws and then on Saturday 19th May, the Spitfire play arch rival #1 the New York Excelsior at 1 am. With there being a new stage, a new meta and map pool that fits the Spitfire to a tee, I'm hopeful that the boys will return to the stage four playoffs and secure a decent playoff seed for the end of season playoffs. 

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