Vancouver Titans (14-0) vs Atlanta Reign (7-8)
After the last match against the Bay Area bombers, Vancouver Titans vs Atlanta Reign was expected to be a real fight. The Vancouver Titans were the second of two challenging teams for the Georgia team. Sangbeom “Bumper” Park and the Titans haven’t played since suffering their first lost in about a year in the Stage 2 playoffs. The question surrounding this game was how would Atlanta take advantage of fights where Bumper dies first, as he often does? The Reign lost to San Francisco on Thursday but they took the Stage 2 champions to five maps. Atlanta are 8-6 against New York Excelsior and San Francisco Shock so taking Vancouver to task wasn’t a huge ask. Atlanta’s only win condition hinged on forcing Vancouver out of sequence.
Nepal: Vancouver 2-0 Atlanta
Both teams entered the shrine running Reinhardt 3-3. Jun “Erster” Jeong died before control point unlocks, giving early advantage to Vancouver. Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman died early on the second approach as the Titans continued to catch supports peeking past shields. The Reign baited Bumper into pushing alone, bursting him down before wiping the entire team. Heyonjun “Pokpo” Park flipped at 80 percent. Vancouver took shrine back immediately to win the first stage.
Vancouver was just sprinting into the Atlanta Reign on every fight. Early control went to the Titans. Atlanta punished Bumper’s attempted flank shatter, forcing Zenyatta’s ultimate. Andrej “Babybay” Francisty used his ultimate in response to clean up the fight. The Reign took the objective at 79 percent. Vancouver lost an ultimate economy push and capitalize on their second attempt despite catching Dogman early again with a self-destruct from Hyunwoo “Jjanu” Choi. Pokpo got with his team only to fall short, losing Erster and Petja “Masaa” Kantanen in a scrappy scuffle. Vancouver would go up 1-0.
Paris: Vancouver 2-3 Atlanta
Atlanta’s Baptiste 3-3 forced Vancouver onto Wrecking Ball/DPS comps. The Reign allowed themselves to get EMP’d into a choke, giving up a tick of progress but ultimately winning the fight. Minsoo “Seominsoo” Seo clutched the final seconds of their attack with an EMP and clean up but Daco stopped the snowball with a clutch self-destruct. The Reign mounted a few crushing holds on B, sending Vancouver to the drawing board after swapping to a 3-3 comp. With more last-second heroics the Titans completed the map, putting the onus on Atlanta.
Atlanta attacked into Vancouver’s Winston 3-3 (sometimes called flying goats or floats). Unphased by losing Babybay early in the early fight, Pokpo secured the capture for his team with an early Earthshatter. Jjanu saved his team by eating a Graviton Surge after losing Bumper in the poke phase. Babybay used his ultimate but got out of the interaction 75 percent towards another one.
With the map tied 2-2 Erster and Dogman exacted some revenge, punishing Bumper’s overly aggressive Winston dive. That edge was all they needed and the series was tied 1-1 going into the break.
Hollywood: Vancouver 1-0 Atlanta
The Robin Hood of the Overwatch League (taking maps from the good teams and giving maps to bad ones) started to test their 3-3 mirror out of halftime. Bumper shook the stadium with a flanking Earthshatter following an extremely brief first team fight. Bumper and Pokpo went down in the next, long squabble, with each team trading ultimate abilities. Seominsoo sat on high ground uncontested for a majority of the brawl enabling Vancouver to hold their opponents to 67.4 percent.
Vancouver executed a full rotation on their attack, taking high ground and forcing the Reign onto their back foot. Atlanta spent more time hiding from the damage, not committing to the split member of the Titans. Slime and Bumper both fell after Daco saved the round with a clutch Defense Matrix of Seominsoo’s Grav. Bumper would drop again in the next sequence but Jjanu and Seominsoo separated the supports from Pokpo’s shield. Those kills swayed the momentum of the fight giving Vancouver the round and a 2-1 lead in the series.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar: Vancouver 6-5 Atlanta
The Overwatch League made changes to Assault (2CP) maps to avoid draws. This change helped to shorten matches that eclipsed their time slots. Apparently, Escort maps picked up the slack and Watchpoint: Gibraltar was another long haul. The final map took over 35-minutes to end as both of these behemoths took their turns running the map on each other. What was truly telling in this final exchange came in the final corner of the third point. Seiminsoo hit a huge EMP to lock down the series, winning 3-1. There was no doubt after this game that the Atlanta Reign can hang with the top teams in the lead, getting significantly better in every match they play. The rest of the league better take note, the Reign are coming for the Stage 3 playoffs.
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