Vancouver Titans (17-0) vs Hangzhou Spark (9-7)
Vancouver Titans Starting Lineup
Sangbeom “Bumper” Park
HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi
Seong jun “SLIME” Kim
Juseok “Twilight” Lee
MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo
Hyojong “Haksal” Kim
Vancouver Titans 3-1 Hangzhou Spark
On a day of chaos in the Overwatch League, the Vancouver Titans were looking to maintain the status quo and pick up their 17th straight regular season win. Standing in their way were the Hangzhou Spark, a team that has been on a tear ever since they were swept by Vancouver a stage ago. They were seeking revenge and nearly got it on Thursday, making the Titans sweat and almost forcing a Map 5.
Oasis: Titans 2-0 Spark
The Titans’ opening round on Gardens was like something out of a textbook. They took the first fight by controlling the high ground, giving Bumper an early Earthshatter that kept the hold going. Hangzhou came back to retake the point, but only after a long fight drained them of ultimates and meant they had to win every fight from then on out. They didn’t have the ultimates they needed to hang on, and Vancouver won the point comfortably after SeoMinSoo’s Graviton Surge sealed the deal.
University might have been an even more impressive showing for the Titans. Despite losing the first fight when Bumper went down early, they answered back quickly as SeoMinSoo found a triple kill with his first Grav. The Titans won a couple of fights off single picks before yet another Zarya ult caught the Spark without any defensive tools to save them. Vancouver was looking good as they jumped to an early lead.
Horizon Lunar Colony: Spark 3-2 Titans
After a dominant first map, the Titans decided to put their Sombra GOATs to the test to mixed results. SeoMinSoo struggled to build EMP in the face of Hangzhou’s aggressive defense and even got his first ult denied by Jaehwan “Adora” Kang. A great Shatter saved the day for the Titans, and Vancouver marched to point B. A couple of eco pushes gave them six ults, and they needed it. Another flubbed EMP, this time only hitting Qiulin “Guxue” Xu, put the Titans in a hole, but they pulled it out to finish with 2:22 left on the clock.
Vancouver’s attempts to play Sombra continued to disappoint on the defense. They won the first fight but fell apart immediately. Bumper got over aggressive with an Eartshatter forcing the Titans to commit ults just to stay alive. Any hopes of a recontest died when Guxue’s Earthshatter connected with four Titans. Hangzhou stormed into point B with ults and momentum and finished the map swiftly after Sungwook “Ria” Park’s Self-Destruct caught JJANU out of position.
In overtime, the Titan’s went back to the traditional 3-3, but sloppy ult usage cost them a shot at taking point A. JJANU was close to some heroics with a double kill Self-Destruct, but Heechang “BEBE” Yoon came through with a clutch Transcendence. Hangzhou had a lot of time to capture just a little of point A, and they succeeded. They took out Bumper first and slowly whittled away at the rest of the Titans to even the score at the half.
Numbani: Titans 3-2 Spark
Vancouver looked much more comfortable on Numbani, where they got back to the 3-3. After two strong holds for the Titans, Hangzhou broke through point A when Guxue pinned SLIME out of Kyeong Bo “GodsB” Kim’s Grav. Vancouver very nearly pulled off the stop in streets phase, but SeoMinSoo died just as his ult came online, and the Spark pushed on. Hangzhou made a strong attempt at finishing the map, but they lost too many members before GodsB’s EMP came up after a last-minute swap to Sombra.
Vancouver’s first attack was played to perfection. They used JJANU as bait and isolated Guxue to kick things off and take point A. Things ground to a halt on point B, where Hangzhou turned up the intensity. They got hyper aggressive near Vancouver’s spawn where they stopped the cart for four minutes. After some sloppy ult usage, the Titans pulled it together and pushed through when Guxue went down right as Bebe’s Transcendence came online. Vancouver came through in the clutch again on point C, where they got aggressive to avoid losing Numbani for the first time.
Havana: Titans 1-0 Spark
It was Vancouver’s first time playing Havana, and the Spark gave them quite a welcome, holding the Titans at spawn for nearly two minutes. Vancouver finally gave up on Sombra with a minute remaining on the attack, but it was too little too late. Hangzhou backed off after losing Adora and forced a final overtime fight to take point A. Guxue came up huge with a massive Earthshatter that took out SeoMinSoo and SLIME each about 15 percent shy of their ults, and Hangzhou held the Titans short of the first checkpoint.
Vancouver needed an unreal hold to avoid a fifth map, and they delivered. The Spark put themselves in the driver’s seat when Ria sent the Titans back to spawn with a huge EMP. Vancouver managed to get back out for a recontest and repelled Hangzhou to force a decisive final fight. Once Ria’s second EMP was negated by SeoMinSoo’s Graviton Surge, Hangzhou didn’t have anything left in the tank. Vancouver surged forward and cleared the Spark off the cart to put an end to any hope of an upset.
Vancouver came close to throwing away this match, going back to Sombra multiple times despite their struggles on the hero. They continue to look nearly unbeatable on 3-3, but Hangzhou made even that matchup close tonight. Experimentation can be valuable, but the Titans risk getting burned if they keep playing with fire.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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