When we last checked in with my favorite Overwatch League team, Los Angeles Valiant, the esports club had just completed a major roster reboot and spent an afternoon with the Stanley Cup. A lot has happened since then: the Stanley Cup came to DC, and success came to the Valiant.
Now, at the dawn of their season playoffs, the Valiant are rallying with the Los Angeles Kings and other west coast champions to lead the charge.
Following their upheaval during stage two and their date with the Stanley Cup, the Valiant went 16-4 in stages three and four, making the stage playoffs both times. They got swept by the powerhouse New York Excelsior in the stage three playoffs, but on Sunday night the Valiant completed a dramatic upset to defeat New York and win the stage four championship.
That win came on the strength of clutch play by every team member. Primary healer Scott “Custa” Kennedy was nearly un-killable on Dorado, the same map where damage player Brady “Agilities” Girardi got a crucial pick on NYXL’s backline to open up the attack (below). Meanwhile, Terrence “Soon” Tarlier countered New York’s superstar sniper Pine and even got to spend some time slaying tanks as his former main hero Tracer.
Indy “Space” Halpern decimated NYXL’s formations with self-destruct ultimates as Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo brawled up close – all while shot-caller Young-Seo “Kariv” Park more than equaled his counterpart on the Excelsior, league MVP Jjonak.
The Valiant are the Pacific Division’s number-one seed heading into the season playoffs, and they’re getting some important backup for the postseason charge. The Los Angeles Kings and Galaxy are partnering with the Valiant for the Live the Legacy campaign. There’s going to be merchandise, promotions, and watch parties.
If the enthusiasm in that promo video is infectious, good; then it’s not just me. Over the course of the first season of the Overwatch League, the Valiant have changed me from a curious but casual observer into a full-on fan. I’ve learned that esports is churning world of drama where the most poisonous of gamer subcultures often dominate, but the Valiant have built a foundation of success through sincerity, kindness, and diversity.
Valiant’s active roster has an American, an Australian, a Canadian, a Frenchman, and two Koreans. They’ve shared their successes and struggles with unprecedented transparency. They have hosted forums for women in esports, thrown a gallery showing for their fans’ creations, and actively participated in LA’s Pride events, becoming the first esports team to have a partnership with You Can Play, sporting rainbow patches on their arms as they beat NYXL this weekend.
The Valiant are a good organization, and this is a good group of boys, well worth supporting. They will be massive underdogs heading into the playoffs, but underdogs have been doing pretty well in my sports world lately.
The playoffs begin on July 11.
From the Valiant:
LOS ANGELES VALIANT ANNOUNCE INAUGURAL OVERWATCH LEAGUE PLAYOFF CAMPAIGN ‘LIVE THE LEGACY’
Ticket proceeds from multi-city watch parties to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2018) — The Los Angeles Valiant, the first ever Pacific Division Champions and Stage 4 Champions of Blizzard’s Overwatch League’s inaugural season, unveiled today the playoff campaign “Live the Legacy” with support from fellow Los Angeles teams, the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS). On Sunday, June 17, the LA Valiant defeated the New York Excelsior in their best-of-five series 3-1 to conclude Overwatch League’s season as Stage 4 champions. For their Stage 4 championship, the LA Valiant will earn a $100,000 USD bonus.
“As a Los Angeles-based team, we aspire to the achievements and excellence of existing iconic sports brands in this city,” said Noah Whinston, Los Angeles Valiant CEO. “Fortunately, we have support from the two-time Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and five-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy who will help the LA Valiant live the Los Angeles championship
legacy, and that starts with our Live the Legacy playoff campaign.”
As part of the Live the Legacy campaign, the Kings and Galaxy will provide co-branded Kings/Valiant and Galaxy/Valiant promotional merchandise, exclusive ticket specials, “money can’t buy” fan experiences, and promotional support, and will activate at the Valiant Live the Legacy watch parties on July 20.
On Friday, July 20, the LA Valiant will compete in the Overwatch League Season One SemiFinals and will host four simultaneous watch parties throughout the team’s southern California territory. Watch parties will take place in Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, and San Diego (see specific locations below). A ticket sales campaign for admission to the watch parties launches today, with proceeds benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Beginning June 18 at 2pm PT, three tiers of watch party tickets will be available for purchase:
– General ($10): One (1) Free domestic draft beer or soda; exclusive, limited edition LA
Valiant team poster (not available for retail sale), and 20 percent off food and beverage.
– Premium ($15): One (1) Free domestic draft beer or soda; exclusive, limited edition LA
Valiant team poster (not available for retail sale), 20 percent off food and beverage, free
LA Valiant ‘hooligan’ playoff scarf, and 20 percent off all Valiant playoff merchandise
– 72-hour VIP Special ($15): All premium benefits, plus a chance to win a trip for two to
the Overwatch League Grand Finals at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on July
27-28 (entries accepted until June 21 at 2pm PST, terms and conditions apply).
Watch party locations are as follows:
– Los Angeles – LA Biergarten, 750 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014
– Orange County – Esports Arena, 120 W. 5th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701
– Inland Empire – Cha2O, 1400 University Ave. STE. 104, Riverside, CA 92507
– San Diego – Cali Comfort BBQ, 8910 Troy Street, Spring Valley, CA 91977
“Since inception, the LA Valiant has been a team and brand that stands for inclusivity, acceptance, and community,” added Ari Segal, Los Angeles Valiant President & COO. “The Valiant fan experience at its core is participatory, and we’re thrilled to use this season’s Overwatch League playoffs as an opportunity to offer a massive, regional ‘in real life’ event for our growing community of fans throughout southern California.”
Tickets and limited-edition playoff merchandise can be found at playoffs.lavaliant.com.
Headline photo: Robert Paul
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