Welcome to the Maple Matchup. The battle for the hearts and minds of Canadians has come. With five out of the seven Canadian players in the League on these teams, national pride is on the line. Forget about the May Melee, this is the battle for the crown of the north. The most glorious prize in all the land. Sorry Stanley Cup and Larry O’Brien Trophy you had your time, but the future is now! This one is for all the marbles. Not only placement in the tournament but placement in the hearts of all Canadians.
Who will win the Beaver Bash? Who will take ownership of the Golden Goose? These two teams are coming in hot off a couple of losses, one is filled with fresh faces, the other, veterans of the league. Bragging rights, the title of Canada’s team, and of course a year’s supply of the finest maple syrup is at stake. Time to dive into this most polite face off.
Toronto Defiant (4/8) May 22
The Toronto Defiant enter into this most delightful matchup looking to at last secure a win that has alluded them in their past few games. Despite their recent losses, the Defiant is on a noticeable upswing in terms of their overall gameplay. They have put up very respectable performances against the San Francisco Shock and Los Angeles Valiant. Those two games were honestly a couple of fights or one Moth boop away from being Defiant victories. The addition of new Main Support Harrison “Kruise” Pond has given the defiant a new aggressive edge and his impact has been felt already. They are playing like a more confident team overall, showing that they can compete with teams of high quality.
The Team Canada boys on the roster will surely be looking to slap the hockey sticks right out the Vancouver Titans’ hands. The Canadian Superstar Lane “Surefour” Roberts, returning to play after a week off, will be looking to politely send the Titans home empty-handed. Known for his extreme flexibility and in-game leadership, this legendary player will not go quietly into the goodnight. Backed up by his fellow former Silver Medalists in Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Liam “Mangachu” Campbell, this poutine fueled trio will be looking to continue with their recent upswing in performance to gain victory.
Breaking it down to the Timbits
To be blunt this matchup should, in theory, be in favor of the Defiant. In the Tank battle Adam “Beast” Denton and Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson have been inconsistent but overall a well-performing duo. Having months together to establish synergy, and to know how the other likes to play. Whereas the Titans tank line of fresh-faced Canuck Abtin “ShRedLock” Shirvani and Alhumaidi “KSAA” Alruwaili, despite some impressive individual moments, still have to figure out how to play to each other’s strengths. The lack of synergy has led to some questionable engages in their recent games.
DPS is theoretically where the Titans are currently their strongest, mostly courtesy of the skills of Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff. Yet even with Dalton the team still has kinks to work out. Too often is he caught out while trying to carry the team on his back. Be that with a risky flank or a random moment of poor positioning. Samir “Tsuna” Ikram did look improved in week 15. Yet he and Dalton share such a similar hero pool that it leads to them having to flex onto heroes they may not be comfortable on.
This is not even mentioning the monsters that populate the Defiant DPS lineup. Surefour, Agilities and Mangachu are all tremendous examples of Canadian excellence. In addition, fans of the Titans will surely be fearing the arrival of Andreas “Logix” Berghmans. Mr. Logix has been on an absolute mission. Even in losses, this man has been a downright menace on the hitscan heroes. Popping off any time he gets the chance to take the stage. In order to have a chance at victory, the Titans will need to contain his wrath.
The supports of the Titans have performed admirably since joining the team. Randal “Roolf” Stark and Carson “CarCar” First have been quiet but decent. Roolf will be looking to show he can compete against his former Team Canada teammates, but his task is daunting considering his opposing flex support is the sleep god Youngseo “Kariv” Park. Roolf may have shown some commendable moments in the past weekend, doing his very best to keep his teammates alive but Kariv is simply on another level. On his signature Ana he is a real danger to his enemies and with no hero pools, he is free to play her all he wishes.
CarCar is still looking like he is trying to find his footing on his new team. Not quite making the impact his team needs, and at times looking a bit rusty. Kruise had been in a similar situation until joining the Defiant. Not seeing much playtime with the Paris Eternal after they acquired rookie of the year candidate Brice “FDGoD” Monscavoir. However, he has not shown to have suffered from his time on the bench. Coming into the team and aiding them to look more like a threat than in previous games.
Prediction: Defiant 3-1
Ideally, the Titans will come into The Maple Matchup having learned a lot of lessons from their harsh losses in week 15. They will need to show signs of improvement to give their fans hope that this season can be at least partially salvaged. The Defiant though will be coming into this game angry. Angry that they came so close to a reverse sweep against the Valiant and were denied. This combined with their recent elevations in gameplay should make this a somewhat one-sided victory.
The Maple Matchup
Canadians will be treated to an Overwatch game that will surely break the hearts of many. The Maple Match up will feature Canadians battling other Canadians in a digital landscape that features very few Canadians. In the end, a team will be crowned champion and will ride off with their gaggle of Geese into the sunset. O Canada ladies and gentlemen. Strap in, it’s gonna be a polite ride.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @EthanButler for all your Vancouver Titans, Overwatch League, Valorant and Esports needs.
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