Esports Overwatch Vancouver Titans

Overwatch League Recap: Vancouver Titans Stage 1 Finals

Vancouver Titans Stage 1 Finals

Vancouver Titans (7-0) 4-3 San Francisco Shock (4-3)

On Sunday the Titans stood on the precipice of the Overwatch League’s first perfect stage. A 7-0 record gave way to an even more impressive playoff run. In the way were the San Francisco Shock, a team that has truly hit their stride in the postseason, mirroring the Titans by winning every map so far on their way to the Stage 1 Finals. In a matchup of two of the most aggressive teams in the league, neither was willing to give an inch, and together they delivered an iconic seven map series.

Nepal: Shock 2-1 Titans

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

The Titans struck the first blow as the series opened on Village, winning the frontline battle and sending Matthew “super” DeLisi to an early respawn. A massive ultimate advantage carried Vancouver to a commanding lead, and MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo took over the final fight to take the first point without surrendering control even once.

The Shock returned the favor on Sanctum where they played beautifully around super’s Winston and repeatedly focused Sangbeom “Bumper” Park early in fights. The Titans struggled to find value out of their support ultimates and were themselves kept off the scoreboard as the Shock evened up the score.

It all came down to Sanctum, where some crucial errors sank the Titans’ hopes. San Francisco took the point before the first fight really kicked off and a single loss left the Titans in an insurmountable hole. Super answered back with some big Earthshatters after soundly losing the Reinhardt battle earlier, and the Shock cruised to a victory and a 1-0 series lead.

Numbani: Titans 1-0 Shock

Photo: Stewart Volland For Blizzard Entertainment

Vancouver responded quickly, taking the match to Numbani, where they put together a huge defense. They were able to get more out of some early ultimates and maintained that momentum for the full four minutes. Hyojong “Haksal” Kim was a massive force for the Titans, constantly disrupting the Shock with stuns and displacement. Super was completely stymied this time around and San Francisco managed just 43 percent on point A.

Vancouver’s attack was slow and steady, backed by the knowledge that they needed to win just one fight. San Francisco kept things close with a couple of strong holds, but HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi blew things wide open with a Self-Destruct to follow up Bumper’s Earthshatter. It removed Jay “Sinatraa” Won from the field and paved the way for Vancouver to take the map and even up the series.

Temple of Anubis: Shock 4-3 Titans

Everything was going great for the Titans on Anubis, until it wasn’t. Their defense started strong with several great holds marked by efficient ult usage. They had another full hold in sight, but Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi refused to let the Shock go down without a fight. His Self-Destruct cracked open point A and saved his team. San Francisco raced to point B, where a quick kill on Juseok “Twilight” Lee gave them the advantage they needed to snowball, turning a dire situation into a very solid attack round.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

On their attack, the Titans picked up where they left off. SeoMinSoo got himself on the high ground, and point A fell quickly. The Shock managed to buckle down on point B, repeatedly repelling Vancouver as the teams traded ultimates back and forth. The Titans broke through at the very end, securing the point in a protracted team fight that gave them a chance to bring the map back.

Going into extra rounds, the Titans needed to move quickly to give themselves a chance. They absolutely did so, deleting super immediately and claiming point A in the blink of an eye. The Titans almost pulled point B out of a hat, but the Shock stabilized behind some incredible support ultimates from Minki “Viol2t” Park and Grant “moth” Espe. Vancouver put up a great fight on defense, forcing the Shock into overtime on point B, but Choihyobin came to the rescue with another massive Self-Destruct set up by both of their tank ultimates. San Francisco would not be denied and snatched a 2-1 lead.

Dorado: Titans 2-1 Shock

Photo: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

Vancouver looked incredibly strong on Dorado and stonewalled the Shock for most of their attack. San Francisco pushed through point A in overtime when Choihyobin denied SeoMinoSoo’s Graviton Surge with a brilliant Defense Matrix. The Titans played the time game well from then, taking an early fight on point B and making sure the Shock couldn’t move quickly. It paid off big time, as Vancouver stopped San Francisco just shy of the checkpoint and kept them from triggering overtime at all.

On their attack, the Titans kept that momentum rolling. They slowly pushed the Shock back, then found super just before Viol2t’s Transcendence could save him. With that ultimate out of the way, it was smooth sailing for the Titans. They finished point A and gave themselves over four minutes to finish B and tie the series again. The resistance from Shock didn’t last long on point B when the Titans killed Rascal in an instant and outlasted the Earthshatter from Super with Seong jun “SLIME” Kim’s Sound Barrier. San Francisco couldn’t maintain a last-second contest, and Vancouver evened up the series.

Ilios: Shock 2-1 Titans

The second control map started poorly for the Titans. On Lighthouse, they found themselves down early after Moth booped Twilight off the map. A strong ult economy gave San Francisco 85 percent, and Vancouver was unable to outlast them in the end. The Shock flipped the point while holding ults in reserve, ults that gave them the advantage in stopping Vancouver’s last gasp attempt.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

On Ruins, the Shock continued to assert themselves with Sinatraa’s Zarya constantly at high energy. They found an early kill on Bumper and carried that momentum to 99 percent before Vancouver managed to flip the point. San Francisco needed to win just a single fight, but they were unable to find it as the Titans became the aggressors for the first time on Ilios. The Titans held on thanks to that aggression and forced the map to a third point. 

It all came down to Well, where Vancouver switched things up to great effect. Bumper on Orissa and SeoMinSoo on McCree gave them a massive advantage over the Shock’s Winston GOATs. It was all looking great for the Titans until sinatraa’s Graviton Surge forced them out of position and gave the Shock control. Vancouver made the swap to the mirror comp, but looked indecisive as the Shock continued to accrue progress. It cost Vancouver dearly as they were forced into a desperate final attempt while lacking resources. They couldn’t pull off the retake, and San Francisco found themselves on match point.

King’s Row: Titans 3-2 Shock

Sinatraa maintained his dominance on King’s Row, quickly deleting SeoMinSoo after he sat a bit too far forward. The Shock kept up the aggression on point, forcing out key ultimates from the Titans while making steady progress. Viol2t charged his Transcendences incredibly quickly and the Shock had over three minutes to capture point C. Vancouver clutched up in the end, winning fights while saving crucial resources. San Francisco flubbed a couple of ultimates and came up just short.

Vancouver needed a strong attack to save their championship hopes, and they delivered. A SLIME Sound Barrier gave the Titans the heft they needed to push through point A, and they kept up the pressure from there. Shock never got the chance to fully regroup allowing the Titans to steamroll through point B. SLIME booped Viol2t off the map mid-Transcendence, and Vancouver forced the series to a decisive seventh map.

Rialto: Titans 4-3 Shock

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

It all came down to this, and San Francisco came out swinging. Despite winning the first fight, Vancouver lost some members late and had to give ground to the Shock. San Francisco leveraged their Reinhardt vs Winston advantage and some misplayed ultimates from Vancouver to capture point A. From there the Shock stomped on the gas pedal and forced their way into point C with over four minutes remaining. A couple good Earthshatters from Bumper pushed them to the limit, but the Shock would not be denied as super and Viol2t pushed them over the line.

The Titans were down to one attack to save their perfect stage, and they absolutely played like it. Vancouver kept up their trademark aggression, and the Shock crumbled under pressure. They used ultimates ineffectually, and the Titans punished every mistake. Twilight came up huge with contributions in the killfeed and with ultimates to save his team at crucial moments, and Vancouver demolished the record for fastest attack on Rialto.

In extra rounds, the Shock had just a minute to work with and they almost pulled off a miracle. An early fight went their way when Vancouver couldn’t secure any kills inside SeoMinSoo’s Graviton Surge. Even with an ult disadvantage, Vancouver managed to recontest at the end of point A, where Twilight’s flanking kill onto Viol2t deprived the Shock of a key member. They were unable to sustain during the ensuing teamfight, and Vancouver was on the verge of a Stage 1 title.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Thanks to their remarkable attack, the Titans had over four minutes to claim point A. It was far from easy, but Vancouver slowly but surely pushed the Shock back until they were making their final stand. Vancouver played patiently, forcing ultimates out of their opponents and giving themselves a huge resource advantage. They engaged with both support ultimates, and the Shock fell one by one. The Titans closed out the map and capped off an incredible first chapter in their Overwatch League story.

Conclusion

It was an instant classic – a match that people will remember for years to come. With the league featured prominently on ABC, these two teams delivered a showstopper of a series. In the end, Vancouver had just enough in the tank to cross the finish line and complete a perfect run through Stage 1. They remain undefeated on the season, exceeding everyone’s expectations for what an expansion team can be. It was the first time a team has completed a perfect stage, and now Vancouver sits alone at the top of the Overwatch League.

Featured image courtesy of the Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment.

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