In anticipation for the Battle of Los Angeles on Week 2, I spoke with LA Valiant’s Fate on his take about the series. He was not shy to give me this answer, "We think every time since last season, every time we never think Gladiators are better than us." He had every right to make that statement, as the Valiant won 5 out of 6 matches against the Gladiators since the inception of the Overwatch League.
The day after my interview with Fate, it was only fate that the Gladiators had a match against the Guangzhou Charge. They charged forward to victory with a 4-0 sweep, a statement that could be indirectly sent to the Valiant for their match on Sunday.
After the match against the Charge, Inven Global spoke with Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara about what made the Gladiators unstoppable so far in Stage 2, and if he has any words for the Valiant.
Congrats on the victory. First of all, I want to know how the Gladiators became unstoppable in Stage 2?
Basically, we figured out everything. Like, we got the synergy with the new players, we figured out our communication, and the strats with the comps.
You mentioned synergy being one of those attributes. What about the synergy do you think the team improved on since Stage 1?
I think synergy is like playing with each other a lot. It's just experience. I don't think it's anything specific. I think it's playing off from each other, knowing what the other person is going to do.
In terms of communication, how was that improved since Stage 1, especially with 3 Korean players in the lineup?
Their English is getting a lot better. Everybody found how vocal they need to be for our communication system to work.
I know that BigGoose is learning Korean, but I don't have the patience for that. He's very invested in learning Korean. I don't think he's necessarily doing it for anything work-related. I think he's doing it more for fun. He's just really likes learning.
Last stage, the Gladiators missed the playoffs. Did missing the playoffs made you and the Gladiators hungrier than before heading into Stage 2?
I would say yes. I think everybody at the start of the stage was like I'm not sure if it's like disappointed, but like not happy at all with their performance. People were really happy at the end of Stage 1 about their performance. We weren't too sad about it, but we still think about it.
Going into Stage 2, how confident was the team as a whole?
I'd say we were also confident last stage, even the matches we lost, we were confident going into them. It just didn't work out. We're definitely confident going into our matches now.
What kind of struggles do you think you all had in Stage 1?
I think depending on our communication into matches like on all of our scrims, our communication was really good in practice, but matches were lacking a bit. We definitely fixed that going into Stage 2.
Why do you think your scrim results did not translate into wins on the stage?
I'm not sure, to be honest. I don't think anybody is not used to playing on stage. I think everybody feels comfortable on stage. I can't really say what it was -- we just managed to fix it somehow.
I spoke with other players and when I brought up what team is underrated in the whole league, they always mention the Gladiators. Do you agree with that?
I think other teams and players don't underrate us, but maybe the fans do because of our standings.
I don't think about where our team is rated. I don't think about where our team is in the standings or where people see us.
Let's switch topics into the game tomorrow against the Valiant. Based on last year, you guys don't have a winning record against them. What are your thoughts about the game tomorrow?
I just want to say I'm relieved that they won their first game of the season. We don't have the pressure that we're going to be their first win of the season. Now, we're going into this game like any other game. There's always that battle of LA thing, but it's just another game.
Before, there was that pressure. Now, there's no pressure. I do think they're going to try hard to beat us tomorrow. We'll be prepared.
Who do you think is a major threat in the Valiant?
It has to be Fate. He's just mechanically good. I've also heard that he leads the team like he does most of the communication and shotcalling.
A lot of the community seems to criticize Fate for his lack of presence in games. What is your opinion about that?
I haven't seen any of that myself. I think he's like one of the toughest tanks in the league like he was last season. Last year, Fate was one of the leaders in MVP votes.
For the Valiant overall, do you feel like you guys should not sleep on their performance?
I'm confident we will do fine. You have to watch and see that tomorrow.
What do you think the score will be tomorrow?
We will sweep the Valiant tomorrow.
Actually, I spoke with Fate yesterday. He said every time they play you guys, they are confident they will beat you. What's your response to that?
That's interesting. We will see.
Lastly, I'm glad to see the Gladiators play well so far in Stage 2. Are there any shout outs you want to give to the fans?
I just want to say thank you to the fans for supporting us. I hope we can keep entertaining you all. We are 3-0 now. Our chances are good we will make it into stage playoffs.
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