We want to ignore London Spitfire’s first map against the Los Angeles Gladiators during day two of the Overwatch League’s preseason exhibition matches. As a new map, Junkertown is an anomaly—and we can’t yet trust it as a test of player skill.
The Spitfire crumbled to the Gladiators on Junkertown, consistently knocked out by Lane “Surefour” Roberts’ Bastion, which was, of course, riding atop a Junkertown pirate ship. And, friends, that’s the tale of how the Gladiators took a map from the South Korean juggernauts of the Spitfire. It seemed like a fluke, but the Gladiators’ performance proved the California home team could stand up to the big guys in a major way. We couldn’t ignore it.
Map two took the teams to Horizon Lunar Colony, where Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun stepped off the bench and onto Mei—a hero we don’t see often in the current meta. Rascal used Mei as a DPS hero with serious zoning potential, using both Ice Wall and Blizzard to push the Gladiators right where he wanted them. Although Mei is considered unconventional in the current meta, it actually made sense on Horizon Lunar Colony’s wide open second point.
Rascal showed his flexibility by switching to Sombra and McCree on offense, where Rascal’s sneaky Sombra nearly took the entire first capture point for free. From the moment the Spitfire loaded into the second map, it was clear that they had woken up. That momentum pushed the Spitfire forward into a decisive win on Illios, after the Spitfire switched rosters once again, bringing more of the former GC Busan players back in.
But if there were a place where the Spitfire looked less dominant, it was on the payload pushing maps. The South Korean roster struggled a bit to get the capture point and get the payload rolling on Numbani and failed to hold the Gladiators off from pushing the payload further.
The tiebreaker map took both teams to Lijiang Tower, where the Gladiators surprised with a first point capture that rolled into a second point capture, too—the rounds were close, thanks to the Gladiators’ improved communication and ridiculous Zenyatta play from Jonas “Zenyatta” Suovaara.
Many Overwatch experts ranked the Spitfire as one of the Overwatch League’s top-performing teams, which makes the Gladiators’ upset in the preseason exhibition matches a huge deal. After all, much of the Spitfire roster that played today are fresh off a win at both the OGN Overwatch Apex season four and the 2017 APAC Premier.