The Los Angeles Gladiators Defeated the San Francisco Shock in a 4-2 Series
Los Angeles Gladiators almost avoided a reverse sweep by the former two-time champion San Francisco Shock by defeating them in a 4-2 series. The Gladiators have now won two tournament championships this year, following their 4-0 victory in the West Region’s Kickoff Clash tournament in June.
Though Los Angeles looked unbeatable in the Kickoff Clash, the Midseason Madness was a bit more of a struggle for the team.
After being knocked to the lower bracket by the San Francisco Shock–their future grand finals opponents–the Gladiators had to take down the Atlanta Reign to earn a spot in the final. They dispatched the Reign in a 3-1 series, and had only half an hour to recuperate before facing the Shock.
As the upper bracket champions, the Shock got to select the first map of the grand finals. They headed to Ilios, one of their most successful maps, but big plays from Gladiators staples like support FunnyAstro and likely MVP candidate Kevster netted the purple team the win.
Eichenwalde has also been a boon for the Shock, but a series of critical mistakes led to another map loss for San Francisco. The Gladiators ran an aggressive and successful dive; tank Reiner’s attacks matched up perfectly with his DPS, and the Shock’s backline couldn’t stay alive.
San Francisco next made the odd choice to head to Watchpoint: Gibraltar, one of the most beneficial arenas for sniper heroes. Though Kilo is the Shock’s ace shot, he was no match for legendary sniper ANS finally coming into his own for the first time this tournament. It was the closest map of the series, but more big mistakes added up to yet another loss for the Shock.
Trying to avoid the victorious arena of Colosseo, a strong map for the Gladiators, the Shock took the series to New Queen Street and forced the tides to turn. For the first time in the series, San Francisco looked truly alive, and DPS dynamo Proper nearly completed the Fleta Deadlift in the Toronto streets.
Next, the Gladiators dragged San Francisco to Lijiang Tower, hoping their aggressive Doomfist play would pay off on the map’s enclosed points. Unfortunately, those walls just trapped them inside with Proper, who clearly wants to put some embellishment on that Rookie of the Year nomination. He ran circles around the Gladiators, who had to look for yet another route to victory.
The series’ final map, Dorado, was the most competitive yet, with both teams appearing to come into their own. Snipers were the absolute highlight of the Escort map, with Kilo arguably playing the best Overwatch of his career against ANS. Firing back, though, ANS deleted his opponent’s DPS and backline when it mattered the most.
Just when fans were expecting an epic final showdown as the Gladiators rounded the corner of Point B on their second attack, no one from the San Francisco Shock was able to touch the cart. Though the Gladiators were able to take home the victory, the real winner continues to be the amount of C9s we saw during this tournament.
The Los Angeles Gladiators head home from Hawaii with the tournament’s grand prize: a whopping $500,000 USD in prize money and four League Points, which will determine postseason placement. As runners-up, the San Francisco Shock earned $250,000 USD and three League Points, still a massive boon for seeding when the postseason hits.
The Overwatch League returns on Aug. 11 with the Summer Showdown tournament qualifier
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