The Grand finals of the Overwatch League Countdown cup had fans waiting with anticipation and excitement. The Los Angeles Gladiators and the Chengdu Hunters had gone through a long qualifier and winding group stage to reach the finals. Here’s a quick rundown of how the Grand Finals went through.
The first point on Oasis started with Chengdu Hunters’ Yi “JinMu” Hu playing the Pharah. The Gladiators’ Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim was on MCcree and it was a battle between the two DPS players. However, with an ever-vigilant Li “Yveltal” Xianyao pocketing him, JinMu continued to dish out huge amounts of damage from above. The first point saw both teams trade control of the point until, ultimately, the Hunters had a very aggressive play towards the end to win the point.
The second point started off with Chengdu Hunters maintaining their previous momentum. Ga9a burst into the midst of the Gladiators and died. But this distraction allowed Lateyoung and the rest of the squad to deal a lot of damage and win the fight. After securing control of the point, the Chengdu Hunters quickly amassed 82% before losing control. It was too tall a task for the Los Angeles Gladiators to overcome this early lead. When JinMu opened up the fight with a hack on Kevin “kevster” Persson’s Tracer, the Chengdu Hunters quickly converged on their opponents to win the fight.
JinMu was by far one of the most influential players on this map. His Pharah and later Sombra, allowed his teammates the space and advantage to win Oasis.
Chengdu Hunters started the Temple of Anubis on the attacking side. JinMu continued on the Sombra, clearly developing a liking for the hack-hero. Huang “leave” Xin took advantage of JinMu’s initiation and cleaned up the Los Angeles Gladiators. But just as we thought the Chengdu Hunters had the first point, the Gladiators mounted an amazing comeback to stop their opponents. Chengdu Hunters managed just 88.4% control of the first point on the Temple of Anubis. It was always going to be a tough target to defend.
The Los Angeles Gladiators won Temple of Anubis easily and tied the Countdown Cup series 1-1.
Birdring found a sneaky kill on the Chengdu Hunters’ tank, Ga9a, which opened up the point for the Gladiators. It was a very early capture of the first point and now the Los Angeles Gladiators only had to see the payload through to the end.
After a few stalled teamfights before point 2, the Chengdu Hunters completely changed their lineup for the final point. This meant a reset to the ultimate economy, but it was a risk they were willing to take. Young-hun “MuZe” Kim spawn-camped them, and even though he was very low in HP, the distraction was enough for the Hunters. They completed the map with 2:28 to spare on the clock.
It took some time for the Chengdu Hunters to take the first point and they had to invest some ultimates to do so. A couple of teamfight defenses before the second point erased valuable time off the clock for the Hunters. It also allowed the Gladiators to build a stronger ultimate economy. But the Chengdu Hunters barely managed to complete the point off a strong EMP-play by JinMu. They completed point 2 in overtime, already falling behind Chengdu Hunters’ time-bank. The Gladiators managed to stop the Chengdu Hunters soon after and win Numbani. The Gladiators had taken the 2-1 lead in the Countdown Cup.
The Los Angeles Gladiators waltzed into Checkpoint A after winning the first teamfight. The combination of Birdring’s Sombra and Kevster’s Tracer was too much for the Chengdu Hunters. They could not peel for their hacked backlines and this allowed the Gladiators to keep the payload moving despite a few setbacks. It was a battle between the two teams’ EMPs and which team could use it more efficiently. The Chengdu Hunters’ defense was still strong despite some stellar Birdring plays. The Gladiators completed point 2 in overtime, wiping off valuable time from their bank. It looked lost for the Los Angeles Gladiators toward the end of the map, but a few jaw-dropping plays allowed the Gladiators to find their footing. The Gladiators finished the map in Overtime.
The Chengdu Hunters entered point 3 with more time in the bank than the Gladiators had at the time. However, after a few lost team fights, the Hunters switched to Orisa. While Orisa is a great hero-choice for the final stretch on Route 66, it was up against Winston, one of the most mobile tanks in the game. The Gladiators’ speed and movement allowed them to play around the Chengdu Hunters with ease. The Gladiators’s close defensive spawn allowed them to win the series as they pushed the Chengdu Hunters off the payload.
The fifth map was a control map, Ilios. The Los Angeles Gladiators got first control and ramped up more than 80% on the control-meter. Despite losing control to Chengdu Hunters after that, the Gladiators actually had a better ultimate economy. With Birdring’s EMP, the Gladiators always had the upper hand and just had to search for the opportune moment to use their ultimates. But excellent positioning and opponent targeting allowed Chengdu Hunters to take the win.
Ilios was relatively one-sided as the Chengdu Hunters showed how and why they are one of the best teams in the League.
King’s Row started with Chengdu Hunters barely capturing the first point. With just thirty seconds left, the Hunters managed to capture the first point but then it seemed they were near-unstoppable. The hunters finished the map with 1:01 on the clock, a formidable timeback considering the slow start.
The Gladiators had a better start to the map after capturing the first point with 2 minutes in the bank. But the Chengdu Hunters had a formidable defense before the second point, one that saw them erode the Gladiator’s massive time-bank. The Gladiators eventually completed the second point in Overtime, but they were at a huge disadvantage coming into the final stretch of the map. When Chnegdu Hunters won a team fight with just ten seconds left, it was all over for the Gladiators.
The Grand Finals was going to a Map 7.
Leave chose the Widowmaker on the long sightlines of Havana. He was poking damage at the Gladiators’ tanks from afar, but the speed and mobility of the Gladiators’ DPS allowed them to take him out. He quickly switched to Tracer, preferring the same traits in the final map.
The Gladiators had a respectable push, but were unable to complete the map. They pushed the payload 89.50m into point 2. But when Chengdu Hunters switched over to the attacking side, they were unable to pierce through the Gladiators’ defense. The Gladiators shut down Birdring repeatedly and it was their Purple coordination and synergy that saw the Gladiators stop Chengdu Hunters after just one point.
The Gladiators won the final map of Havana and are the Overwatch League Countdown Cup Champions.
One Stage finals appearance. One stage Finals title. That’s how the Gladiators do it.
The Gladiators have now advanced to the Overwatch League playoffs that take place in September. This Countdown Cup grand finals was a stellar display of synergy, coordination and sustainability over a long series. The Gladiators had hiccups throughout the series, but they pulled it off when it mattered the most.
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