The London Spitfire picked up a 3-1 statement win over the Los Angeles Valiant on Wednesday to take a 1-0 lead in the semifinals of the Overwatch League Playoffs.
While the Valiant came into this series as the reigning Stage 4 champions, the Spitfire paid no attention to the Valiant's strong recent form. Picking up right where it left off against the Los Angeles Gladiators last weekend, London looked less like the team that limped through Stage 4 and more like the team fans expected.
The Spitfire got things going early in the first half taking both Junkertown and Lijiang Tower. Throughout these first two maps, anytime it looked like the Valiant was going to start gaining ground, the Spitfire cut the team down to size. Specifically, the DPS duo of Kim "birdring" Ji-hyeok and Park "Profit" Jun-young obliterated the Valiant DPS pair of Brady "Agilities" Girardi and Terence "SoOn" Tarlier. With those two setting the pace, the Valiant didn't have much room to maneuver as London did whatever it wanted.
Once the teams came out of the locker room for the second half, however, it looked like the Valiant simply needed some time to find its groove. King's Row saw the Valiant play much cleaner and decisively than the first half, which allowed L.A. to hold the Spitfire for the third time this season on King's Row to keep alive hopes of a reverse sweep.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles fans, London was more than ready to adjust to the Valiant's renewed aggression. With London running a triple-support composition on Hanamura featuring Ana, Brigitte, and Zenyatta, Los Angeles seemed to have no idea at how to crack through the defense, resulting in a draw. London carried that momentum right into Dorado, where it captured all three points while holding Los Angeles to just two points, locking up the 3-1 series win.
This series was yet another reminder that the playoff bye isn't the end all be all, as both the Valiant and the New York Excelsior have lost both opening series here in the semifinals. London seems to have adapted to the new meta, while Los Angeles looks a bit worse for wear after losing for just the second time in the last 13 matches, now down 1-0.
The teams will now look towards Friday where the Valiant and Spitfire will face off at 7 p.m. ET in the second best-of-five, with a possible third series in the cards if the Valiant can push the series to the brink.