“Imma call this the merry-go-round, cuz it makes me laugh, it makes me happy!”
The phrase from Mitch “Uber” Leslie was heard loud and clear throughout the Blizzard Arena in LA on July 11th as the LA Gladiators pushed first point on King’s Row against the London Spitfire.
The Gladiators pulled the greatest trick play in professional Overwatch to date. On King’s Row, the Gladiators came out of spawn running the familiar GOATS comp (Reinhardt, D.va, Zarya, Lucio, Moira, Brigitte). The team rotated through hotel* all the way to the back halls* to take high ground. Meanwhile Lane “Surefour” Roberts sat in spawn on the Brigitte.
When the Gladiators pushed onto the point, Surefour swapped onto the Widowmaker and picked off Ji-Hyeok “birdring” Kim and Won-Sik “Closer” Jung opening the fight wide open. With Closer’s Mercy out of play there was no resurrect for the Spitfire, leaving them at a 4v6 for the fight on point.
The Gladiators cleaned up and took the point resulting in a “Shields up” chant from the crowd. The full video can be seen here:
The 900 IQ play from Surefour is now being called “The Great Bamboozle” by some while others take the name from Uber and call it “The Merry-Go-Round.”
I want to break down the play and talk about its implications for future Overwatch League (OWL) matches especially looking into season two.
The play works under the assumption that the London Spitfire will be running a meta comp. King’s Row meta currently involves the Orisa bunker comp on the Clock* high ground. Triple tank, solo heals has taken over the OWL meta and London ran exactly that.
GOATS comp puts high pressure onto the point and increases the difficulty to get picks. This comp works well to contest the King’s Row meta and makes the trick believable.
The Gladiators push through hotel, all the way to the back. This move forces London to rotate from clock to point. With the Gladiators rotating to high ground, London must hold point.
Gladiators then start the engagement and Surefour swaps onto the Widowmaker and takes high ground in spawn. He catches birdring and Closer in rotation and takes them both out of the fight.
The flank play forced the rotation for London and Surefour was there to capitalize. As birdring took a sightline onto point, it left him open to the sightline from spawn. Meanwhile Closer had to move in to heal his frontline which left him open and caught in a Guardian Angel animation.
Down two, the fight is cleanly finished out resulting in one of the greatest bamboozles in Overwatch.
A play like this has larger implication for future matches in the OWL.
Season one of the OWL was plagued by a lack of time. Time between matches and stages were short and resulted in a lack of preparation for opponents.
The playoff matches occurred almost a month after regular season ended.
The month of preparation time allowed players to adapt to the new meta and develop strategies to counter it. The Gladiators understood that London would play the bunker comp and took advantage of London’s rotation patterns.
In season two, the time between matches and stages will increase allowing for teams to experiment with different compositions and strategies.
Overall, there is much to look forward to for the future of Overwatch eSports.
* Indicates a position on the map pictured below