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Vancouver Titans Win Overwatch League Stage One Playoffs

March 24, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Overwatch League Vancouver Titans

It was a scrappy, back-and-forth brawl, but the Vancouver Titans emerged from the Overwatch League Stage One playoffs as the victors. The Titans capped off an undefeated stage and sweep through the early stages of the playoffs with a 4-3 map win over San Francisco Shock to take home the win.

The Titans are an expansion team for the Overwatch League’s second season and one of two teams to go without a loss in the first stage, which saw each team compete in seven out of the twenty-eight games they will ultimately play this season. The team is made up almost entirely of a team from Overwatch Contenders Korea in RunAway, who won Contenders Korea’s third season. That had them positioned with high expectations coming into the season and led by the aggressive play of main tank Sang-beom “Bumper” Park, they carried their momentum through a triple tank/triple support-dominated meta in the first stage.

The Stage One playoffs saw the Titans and the New York Excelsior — the other team which went undefeated during the stage — tipped to be the teams playing in the finals. However, the Excelsior fell victim to a massive upset by the Seoul Dynasty in the quarterfinals, while the Titans powered their way through the Boston Uprising and then the Dynasty in successive sweeps to hit the finals. That left the field open for the #6 seed Shock to come in strong, sweeping first the Toronto Defiant and then the Philadelphia Fusion to earn a shot at the Titans.

The Stage Finals are a Best of Seven series, and things were truly back-and-forth through the first six maps as both teams’ aggressive styles served them well. The Shock were buoyed by main tank Matthew “super” DeLisi’s stellar play in which he generally outplayed Bumper, hitting regular Earthshatters on Reinhardt and managing his shield use well to give his team the chance to unleash. Offtank Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi showed his skill at D.Va by getting a lot of kills with his Self-Destruct Ultimate ability. Their play allowed the Shock to take the first, third and fifth maps, while the Titans battled back with help from Zarya player Min-soo “SeoMinSoo” Seo to take maps two, four and six.

That brought it down to an exciting seventh map, which took place on the hybrid map of Rialto. Rialto is a map strongly tilted to defenders, with only 39% of teams finishing the map in the League. The Shock came through strong on offense and finished the map with time to spare. Not to be outdone though, the Titians raced through and destroyed San Francisco’s defense to set a record for finishing the map with three minutes and thirty seconds. They then managed to just hold the Shock from taking the first point and finished it off themselves to win the playoffs.

The stakes are not the do-or-die for Stage Playoffs, to be fair. Pitting the top eight teams against each other in a single-elimination tournament, the Stage Playoffs have no effect on the seasonal playoffs and are mostly for bragging rights and money. By winning the playoffs, the Titans earned $200,000 in prize money, while the Shock took home $100,000 for second place. (The Dynasty and Fusion each earned $50,000 for making it to the semifinals.) Winning the playoffs is still a big indicator of which teams to watch out for, though; in last year’s inaugural season, the London Spitfire were the Stage One champions and ultimately won the Overwatch League season playoffs.

While the Titans were the winners, the Shock should still be feeling good at this point. After a tough first season, they’ve established themselves as one of the dominant teams of season two. In addition, the hero changes in Stage Two are expected to scale back the “GOATS” three tank/three support meta toward a more traditional DPS-friendly meta. That’s something that San Fransisco is well-poised for with a stacked roster of DPS players. The Titans, on the other hand, may have a more difficult time as they’re built somewhat around their GOATS play, and Bumper’s aggressive style in particular is more likely to be punished in a 2/2/2 composition meta. Even then, they remain a strong team who look to be finishing in the upper tier (if not the top again) of the Pacific Division.

The Overwatch League returns for its second stage on April 4th.

article topics :

Overwatch League, Jeremy Thomas