To the surprise of many, the Los Angeles Gladiators defeated the London Spitfire 3-2 in their preseason match last night. The win definitely sent a message to Overwatch League viewers: The Los Angeles Gladiators are not playing around.
Many players on the Gladiators’ roster are seemingly new to the scene. People haven’t heard some of their names.
But that’s about to change.
Still amped up from the exhilarating match against the Spitfire, the Los Angeles Gladiator’s tank main Luis ‘iRemiix’ Galarza Figueroa spoke with me about how it felt to be up on stage playing Overwatch for an arena of roaring fans, who is the best at Smash 4, and how it felt to be viewed as a team of underdogs. Until the world couldn’t deny their power any longer. #ShieldsUP
How was competing in the team’s first preseason match?
“It felt really good to be on stage competing with my team and showing people what we were capable of. It felt really amazing.”
And how did it feel defeating the London Spitfire? What do you think it means for the rest of the season?
“It means that we are able to show the crowd the team that we are. Being able to get that win, it proves that all the work we’ve done paid off. It makes the people watching us proud. I feel really confident because we were able to beat one of the best teams in Overwatch. With such a little amount of practice and as a new team, it’s just something amazing. The more we practice, the better we’ll get as a team.”
Are there any moments during the match that stood out to you?
“There were many moments where I was hyping up the team. I’d start yelling and being all excited. There were many moments of happiness. One of the best moments was when it was the last game, and you could hear the crowd cheering for the Los Angeles Gladiators.”
That must have been an amazing feeling.
“Hearing the crowd just cheering fur us was exciting. And because of them I never lost confidence.”
You didn’t feel nervous at all?
“I went to a LAN a long time ago for Overwatch. When the scene was younger. I was always nervous even before the matches started, so I learned to try and hype myself up. I listen to songs and try to be really confident. The moment I was walking to the stage, to the chair… All my nerves just went away. And I was just excited to play the match.”
It seemed like the arena had a really good vibe. How did you guys celebrate after the victory?
“We went to a team dinner together. And just talked about the match.”
You’re from Puerto Rico. What was the Overwatch scene like there?
“There wasn’t really a scene or anything. I had a lot of internet issues. I was trying to go pro for a while, but the internet wasn’t the best. Sometimes in tournaments I’d be trying to qualify, but I’d be disqualified because I was disconnected. Once I had good internet, I was able to show how I can play the game.”
How did you get into Overwatch?
“I was playing games my whole life. I started with console games and transitioned into PC, where I played MOBAs. I got so much knowledge, that when Overwatch came out, I saw an opportunity. If I started at the start of the scene maybe I could make it. I was always young in the game when it was season four already. I always joined the games late.”
What other games were you playing?
“The games I first started trying to be competitive was Call of Duty. After a while I transitioned into games like Starcraft and League of Legends. I played small tournaments, but I was late into the scene. It was already developed.”
How did you end up getting onto a competitive team in the states?
“I started grinding the rank system. After season two, I was reaching top four in the ranks out of nowhere. Amateur teams were talking to me to try out for them. Out of all those teams, I joined Kungarna. We came out of nowhere. Nobody knew us. We went to an open qualifier, which was the Winter Premier. That’s when I made it to the playoffs and LAN top four. That’s when I was recognized more as a player in Overwatch. We got picked up by Splyce. As the Overwatch League drew closer, we competed in a lot of competitions and were getting noticed.”
What was the process like trying out for the League?
“They start eliminating players. They ended up with 12 favorite players. They kept watching those players while they scrim. At the start I was nervous. But overall, as the scrims get going I kept playing really good. I was confident that I was going to make it.”
How did you end up on the Los Angeles Gladiators?
“Me and Bischu were trying to be on the same team together. He’s my old teammate from Kungarna. The Gladiators were the team that wanted us to be together and team up. That’s what we were looking for all this time.”
How does it feel being a part of the Gladiators?
“It feels really good to be here in LA representing Puerto Rico and LA. I feel like I’m part of something greater than me.”
What are your thoughts on the Gladiators’ roster? People recognize Surefour, but may not know about some of the other players.
“Everyone on our team works really hard to achieve what they want. They really want to win. We have a lot of underrated players. We have an underrated roster. People don’t realize that me and Bischu work together really well. And we have our support duo that work really well as well. Then we have Surefour, who is one of the best players. I feel confident about our team.”
How has practicing been? What’s the schedule like for you guys?
“Right now we’re training. We started training a week ago. We usually wake up around 10 am. At 11 we head to the training facility. We start around 12 and scrim until 8. With some breaks for dinner and stuff.”
Is there anything else you guys do together as a team?
“We go out to eat. We have been to multiple places… We went to laser tag together. And an escape room together. On off days we play Smash 4 in the house.”
Who’s the best at laser tag?
And at Smash 4?
“That’s a hard question. [laughs] We’re all pretty good. One of the best is me, the coach David [Pei] and Hydration.”
Who do you main?
“I play King Dedede. Who is one of the worst characters. And also Mario. Hydration is the best Ness in the house. David just plays Cloud.”
Back in Overwatch, how did you become a tank main?
“In previous games, I knew that I liked engaging. And commanding a team. And being able to make the first play. The tank role gives you the role of making space for DPS to do damage. I was able to know what I wanted for this game from past experiences. Being able to engage first, being on the front line, protecting the team.”
Which tank do you prefer?
“I think I played more Winston. And I enjoy Winston more. I’m able to coordinate plays with my teammates and be aggressive with them, finishing off targets.”
How do you feel about the current dive meta?
“Sometime when I die, diving with Mercy and Zenyatta is kind of hard if the other team has a Soldier or McCree. My favorite team comp was Lucio/Zen or Lucio/Anna. With that previous meta, I was able to jump in with two people and kill them easier.”
On Saturday, you’ll be playing the other Los Angeles team, the Los Angeles Valiant.
“I’m confident we will have a good game. All the players are really good on both teams. It’s whoever has the better strategy.”
How are you feeling about the future of the Overwatch League?
“I feel really confident that the OWL will work out as a good career for many people. Esports just keeps growing and bringing in new fans. It’ll just get better from here.”
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