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Since the Overwatch League is based in LA, they and the Valiant both had chances to win over the city in their first season so it was important to play well.

The Gladiators needed some time to get comfortable, but by the end of the regular season, they had come on like a freight train. They made the playoffs in each of the last two stages and that earned them a place in the Overwatch League playoffs at the end of the season. Unfortunately, they were ousted early there, but they are looking to build off of that in 2019.

Los Angeles Gladiators Owners

Stan Kroenke owns the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and Arsenal, so he is very familiar with running a sports team. However, this has been his first Esports venture, and that led him to bring in Phoenix1 to run the organization for them.

Los Angeles Gladiators 2018 Year in Review

There were moderate expectations for the Gladiators coming into the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The Gladiators boasted a plethora of players that had proven themselves on the international stage, and they were optimistic that they would be one of the six playoff teams at the end of the regular season.

LA did not get off to a good start. The Gladiators showed flashes during Stage One, but they failed to put together anything concrete and ended the stage at 4-6. They gradually improved over the next three stages though. LA went 6-4 in Stage Two and missed out on the playoffs by one game, and they qualified for the Stage Three Playoffs after the field expanded to four teams.

Stage Four was their big breakthrough, with the Gladiators going 9-1 and finishing as the top seed. That allowed them to choose their opponent, and rather than choose the Dallas Fuel (who everyone thought was the weakest team), they decided to be bold and elected to play the Valiant. Unfortunately, that decision backfired, and their inner city rival knocked them out of the playoffs.

They were able to qualify for the Overwatch League Playoffs at the end of the regular season, but they had the misfortune of drawing the London Spitfire. London rallied after being swept in the first match to beat the Gladiators and didn’t lose again on its way to the title.

Los Angeles Gladiators Roster

It all starts at the back with the Gladiators. BigGoose and Shaz are one of the top support pairings in the league, and they have great chemistry together after playing together for a year and a half. The duo played on Finland’s Team Gigantti, and they represented Finland in the Overwatch World Cup, giving them extra time to build synergy. LA obviously likes its Finnish supports because in the offseason the club decided to add a third to the roster in Ripa.

What happens at the tank position will make or break this team. The Gladiators looked much better once Fissure came over from London in late February, and he was a great performer. However, he required a lot of resources, and he left for Seoul Dynasty this offseason. Roar and Panker were brought in to be his replacements, with Roar likely to see the bulk of the action. The off-tank position is in good shape though with Bischu starting and Void providing depth.

DPS is in fine shape too. Surefour and Hydration were two of the stronger players in their roles by the end of the season, and the Western duo worked well together. This offseason, the Gladiators got better in that area too with the signing of Decay. Decay won’t be eligible to play until the end of February because he is 17, but many have said that he has a very good chance to be the Rookie of the Year in 2019.

Los Angeles Gladiators 2019 Preview

The Gladiators are one of the teams to watch for in 2019. Although they aren’t in the elite tier of teams, they are in that next level of contenders and should make the postseason once more this year. If Decay lives up to expectations and the tank play is solid, this could be the best team in the Western Conference.

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