Finally, after a long season full of ups, and ups, and downs and downs (perhaps some left right left right “B”, “A”, Start) we have at last reached the play-offs. I think that it is time that we look at what some of the trends that we have seen in the months leading to this. We will define what makes these teams great. Is it the players? Is it the hero’s that they pick? Is it the coaches, who can quickly identify an opponent’s critical vulnerability then, create a strategy that will exploit this and lead the team to victory? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s all the above.
The London Spitfire is a team that has had their fair share of adversity during this season. With a Win-Loss record of 24 and 16, this puts them currently at 5th overall in the league. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. This was enough to put them in the lower bracket of the play-offs. And, with a team built the way this one is, I think that this might be exactly where they want to be. Let me explain.
The Spitfire currently have an active roster of 7 players. Each of them extremely talented and almost all of them able to expertly play different roles. Now, before we get into each individual player and what they bring to the table, I think we need to really understand the impact of having a small team roster. Spitfire’s ability to always work cohesively is something that sets them apart from the competition. At first glance, it is abundantly clear that the team mesh’s well. With a small team you constantly build familiarity. Each player knows exactly what the other will do. If a strategy isn’t working, the team knows who needs to switch and can do so implicitly. This saves valuable time and frees up the chat for critical target spotting.
For me, going against a small team would be scary. It would be increasingly more horrifying if it was made up of players even half as astonishing as those on the Spitfire. So, let’s look at each player and try to define what makes them so terrifying.
To name someone “captain” of the spitfire is difficult to do. But, I don’t think that anyone would be offended if we said that about “Gesture”. As the primary tank for the Spitfire, “Gesture” always finds a way to be exactly where he needs to be, between the enemy and his team. However, “Gesture” does find the time and opportunity to hunt down the wounded enemies and remove them from the battlefield. We normally see “Gesture” as a Winston or, as we saw against the Dynasty, an Orisa. Whichever Hero he decides to utilise we know that he will be the most effective tank on the map. There is a reason that on this team of amazing players he is the only choice for the Overwatch all-star game.
We have all seen the amazing DPS characters that “profit” can use but, it would be tough to put a “finger” on the best one. We have seen him blink through the map as Tracer or, make quad-kills with Genji. We know that when “Profit” is on the map as DPS, it is hard to find a safe spot, you might be only lucky enough to find a “safer” spot. “Profit” is known for his ability to, locate, close with and destroy any target that is on the map with precise effective fire, and split-second manoeuvrability.
Support classes are the unsung heros of Overwatch. Highlight videos and montages very rarely show a support hero as little more than a background player. That is not the case for “Bdosin”. With Zenyatta or Ana in his back pocket “Bdosin” supports his team with a fantastic mixture of heals and DPS. If season 1 gameplay is any indication of what we can expect in the playoff, then we should see Zenyatta pinging the enemy from around corners, melting tanks, and executing perfectly timed transcendence. “Bdosin” is an extremely clutch team mate, removing the enemy from the battle field while keeping his team in the fight.
“Birding” terrorises the opposing team. As we have seen in earlier games, he can pick up a McCree or a Solider and become a barrier for the enemy to attempt to manoeuvre around. Surprisingly, that isn’t his main play style. When Birding, is utilizing Widowmaker, he denies the opposing team their freedom of movement. Forcing and funnelling the enemy into his teams kill box. There is no other way to put it. When Birding is utilizing Widow, it is artwork. All that you need to do is, step back and watch him to paint his masterpiece.
Another unsung hero. It is unfortunate that most times we will see the praise and glory go the DPS players or the tank’s. But we tend to forget that players like Nus are the life blood of the team. Forcing heals onto his team mates, finding the cover that he can get behind in order to pump heals with out getting picked off by a sniper or worse, being ran up on by DPS. When choosing a Hero like Mercy, you show up to the battlefield with a target on your chest. However, time and time again, Nus has shown that this isn’t a problem. Effectively utilizing a Res or a Valkyrie, can change the outcome of the game. Nus might not show up on many highlight reels but, he is the reason those players can make them. And for that, we love you.
You see many teams utilize the double tank team composition, because it works. But, not many of the teams make it work as well as the Spitfire do. When Fury is utilizing D. Va or Roadhog, you can expect to have a very long fight on your hands. Fury can be seen picking off weak targets as D. va, sliding her “self-destruct” in at pivotal times during a match forcing the enemy off the objective, and allowing friendlies to rejoin the fight. Fury expertly utilizes Roadhog as well. Whether he is solo holding an objective or going fishing with his hook, Fury’s Roadhog is often the missing link for his team. Fury is an irreplaceable asset to the Spitfire.
As the third support main on the Spitfire, we don’t see Closer as often as his other team mates. This does not mean that he is less effective than the others. When we have seen Closer play, he is utilizing Mercy. Closer does well when he is floating through the map attaching his healing beam to team mates at important moments or hitting the Valkyrie and switching the player count, allowing the Spitfire to regain fire superiority. Closer also brings a Lucio to the team. Couple the Lucio with a Mercy or a Zenyatta and you have an effective fast pace movement to the objective with the heals to remain on the objective.
Knowing how strong the Spitfire is we can’t forget to define their weaknesses. Although, this team is built extremely well each player complementing the other, they still have flaws. The Spitfire’s flaw isn’t in gameplay. I know this sounds like a “cop out” but it is true. The Spitfires main weakness is confidence, and nerves. You will often see the team name other players in the league as being better than them. Humble as it may be, at times it feels that they don’t trust in what they can do. This is cancerous. When a player doesn’t feel as effective as the other team, they don’t take risks, they avoid 1v1’s, they neglect to make the moves needed to win the game.
Secondly, their nerves. Many of the players in the past have voiced concerns that they feel “shaky”, or have “tremors”, or that they still do not feel comfortable in front of the fans or on the camera. This is also cancerous. Some players on the team will say that these butterfly’s go away after the first match. Fair, but this is the playoffs, we can’t afford to not play our best in every match. You must crush every single game.
Now that we have the good and the bad, we can attempt to try and hammer out what the Spitfires most likely course of action will be while fighting in the playoffs.
Gesture is going to play Winston. This is his strongest character, this is who he is comfortable with. I would take Bdosin as Zenyatta for the DPS, the occasional heals, and the transcendence if we get into a pinch. I am bringing Nus as Mercy, the continuous heals will allow Bdosin to sling orbs. Fury will come in as D. va , I want him to zip through the map pick off weak targets and have that devastating ult at my disposal. I am taking Profit as Genji, he will bounce around the battlefield being more than just a distraction. Finally, Birdring, as Widow painting a victory.
I want Gesture and Fury to dive on to the Objective followed by Profit and Nus. We will have Birdring waiting on a perch, not revealing his location just yet but providing a bit of over watch for the movement. Bdosin will be slightly behind but by the time at he arrives on the objective he can sling a couple of heals (probably to Nus) and then start melting tanks. Birdring will begin to pick people off and start bouncing to his favorite perch’s.
That’s it. That’s the formula. Poke a hole. Exploit it. Hold it. This is what the Spitfire does extremely well. This is what will win the playoffs. Defense? If we switch Gesture to Orisa, I think that we can keep the rest. I believe that these guys are amazing in their roles, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
If they can do this as efficiently as they have in the past, there is no reason why we will not see them in the grand finals.