The Los Angeles Valiant spent the off-season looking for a new identity after saying goodbye to familiar faces and a full rebranding of the team’s colors.
The team can use Saturday’s game as a top four seed in the Overwatch League May Melee Tournament to take away any remaining doubts from other competitors.
The Valiant is one of two teams from Los Angeles in the professional esports league, consisting of 20 teams playing the video game Overwatch. The Valiant’s main rival, LA Gladiators, is owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
While the Valiant are not affiliated with chargers or owner Dean Spanos, the two organizations now share common team colors. Owned by Immortals Gaming Club, The Valiant traded the green and yellow color scheme the team had used for the first two years in favor of blue and yellow ahead of the 2020 season.
The selection was changed during the low season with the departure of the most notable stars such as Indy “Space” Helpern, Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Scott “Custa” Kennedy (retirement).
Led by coach Mike “Packing10” Szklanny, the Valiant have used a younger group this season to surprise many in the league. Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey was among the notable returners and has taken on a leading role for LAV.
“The off-season was difficult because the organization wanted to implement the changes and adopt a different style to build the selection,” said Szklanny. “It was a challenge to get started, but it was rewarding … it was important for us to prove it can work.”
Despite losing six of the first eight games, the team has turned the season around winning the last three games and earning a top four seed and a first round in the tournament.
With high hopes for his young squad, Szklanny admits there is some disappointment but appreciates his players’ efforts during the hardest part of their 2020 schedule.
“We have the opportunity to become 6-6 in the mid season after having played (San Francisco Shock) three times this season and some other really good teams in our division. 6-6 is a very good record as we are allowed to play the soft part of our schedule (in the second half). ”
The Valiant needs a victory over the Paris Eternal (today at 6 pm) to reach that .500 mark.
Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, a former Valiant player, and the Eternal defeated Boston Uprising 3-2 in a knockout match on Friday to continue.
Space and the Gladiators play the Philadelphia Fusion in a quarterfinal match at 4pm.