The Los Angeles Valiant is going to need all the support it can get at its first Overwatch League home games this weekend. If the Valiant is unable to win one of its two matches against the Los Angeles Gladiators and San Francisco Shock at KitKat Rivalry Weekend, the team will fail to quality for Playoffs.
The Los Angeles homestand is one of three times the Overwatch League has gone on the road for Season 2. The first homestand was hosted by Dallas Fuel at the Allen Event Center in Week 4 of Stage 2. The second homestand was hosted by Atlanta Reign at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre at the conclusion of Stage 3. Teams used to playing at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, CA won't have to travel far the final games of the regular season - the Novo is located at L.A. LIVE in downtown LA.
While the primary focus of a Overwatch League Season 2 homestand is the aspects of a test run for the full globalization model that will be implemented for Overwatch League 2020, the pressure is on for Los Angeles Valiant in a completely different context. In spite of the team's abysmal start to the season with an 0-7 Stage 1, some clever mid-season re-tooling highlighted by a crucial trade with Florida Mayhem saw Valiant surge late in the season.
The first 11 teams are locked in for Playoffs, but if LA Valiant is able to defeat either of its opponents in its first ever home games, the team will secure the 12th and final seed over Chengdu Hunters. To add additional flair for the dramatic, not only will Valiant be playing the games at home, but both matches are against OWL rivals.
The Valiant will face the Los Angeles Gladiators in Saturday's final game. Gladiators is a formidable opponent, and currently sit in 5ths place (4th Pacific) at 16-11 with playoff qualification already secured. If Valiant is unable to win the most important 'Battle for LA' yet, an even taller task awaits in the form of California Cup rival San Francisco Shock. The Stage 2 Champion has qualified for every Stage Finals this season, and sits in 3rd place (2nd Pacific) with a record of 21-5.
In an interview with Inven Global's Chris Cuevo, LA Valiant Tank Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell spoke about the playoff implications in the team's upcoming homestand. "
"We have to focus on our fundamentals, playing our game, and keeping the Gladiators and Shock off of theirs. We need to work together as a team," FCTFCN explained. "I mean, we've played up against the best teams in the league before and beat them when people didn't expect us to. If we continue improving and playing to our strengths, we'll be fine."
KitKat Rivalry Weekend kicks off on Saturday, August 24th at 2:00pm local time. The Valiant takes on the Gladiators in the fourth game of the homestand, which is scheduled to start at 7:15pm local time.