The Overwatch League season is drawing to a close, and the stage is set for an epic Grand Final. When the Vancouver Titans meet the San Francisco Shock in Philadelphia it will be the fifth time the two have met this year and their third shared final. In the lead-up, The Game Haus will be going role by role to take a look at the individual matchups that will define the Grand Finals. Supports and Tanks came first, but today we dive into the DPS duos.
Hitscan DPS: MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo vs NamJu “STRIKER” Gwon
Despite taking a bit of a backseat to Doomfist in the current meta, Reaper retains an incredible amount of playmaking potential. Thanks to his incredible burst damage and ability to navigate around shields, Overwatch’s resident edgelord has the ability to singlehandedly blow up an enemy backline.
After spending most of the year on the bench during a meta that didn’t suit him, STRIKER has returned with a vengeance and reminded everyone why he was an MVP candidate in 2018. His Reaper has been stellar throughout the Shock’s postseason run, balancing frontline pressure with opportunistic flanks. His Death Blossom usage has been impeccable so far, and the stats back it up. He leads the league in Death Blossom efficiency, and always manages to have it available at the perfect moment.
If the Titans want to shut STRIKER down, they’ll need to have their heads on a swivel. STRIKER tends to go for sneaky plays where he stays hidden until the fight breaks out. Then he can pounce on unsuspecting targets for a quick solo kill before using Wraith Form to get back to his team safely. That behavior can be studied, so expect the Titans to check their corners to keep STIRKER at bay.
On the other side, SeoMinSoo has been similarly effective for the Titans. He plays a bit safer than STRIKER for the most part, but he does have a tendency to go for some telegraphed plays, both with his Shadow Steps and his Death Blossoms. He’ll need to clean that up a bit if he wants to keep up in the head to head.
Throughout the playoffs, the best part of SeoMinSoo’s Reaper play has been his coordination with Jang Hyeon “TiZi” Hwang for the all-important Supercharger-Death Blossom combo. The Titans were ahead of the curve when it came to that overwhelming set play, though they seemed to go away from it against NYXL in their last match.
These are clearly two of the best Reapers the OWL has to offer, and they both bring a unique style to the hero. SeoMinSoo is the more conservative player, sticking with his team for the most part. STRIKER is more of a playmaker, finding the openings to make his impact felt in a big way. So far in the playoffs, he’s been incredibly successful in that approach, and as long as he can keep it up on Sunday, he gives the Shock the advantage here.
Verdict: Edge to San Francisco
Flex DPS: Hyojong “Haksal” Kim vs Jay “sinatraa” Won
This is it. The matchup that we’ve all been waiting for. The league MVP vs the Rookie of the Year. The two players who have driven so much of their teams’ success this season. Two of the best Doomfists in the league going toe to toe on the hero that is defining the meta right now. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The differences in how these two approach the hero reflect the two Grand Finalists and their overall style. Sinatraa plays around his team much more, relying more on the setups from Myeong Hwan “smurf” Yoo’s Halts to secure kills with his Rocket Punches. His style overall is more straightforward, often diving headlong into the enemy frontline and letting his team back him up. His biggest strength on the hero has been his ability to peel for his backline and punish aggression coming from opposing DPS players.
Haksal, on the other hand, is the freewheeling savant who’s hard to pin down. His style is unpredictable. One fight, he’s playing frontline battle. The next he’s diving your backline and deleting supports before they know what’s hit them. Then he’ll pull back and play to counter the aggression from his opponents. He always seems to know the right play at any given moment.
San Francisco’s is the more structured approach overall, and it makes sense when you look at their postseason run. Since their opening-round loss to the Atlanta Reign, they haven’t been pushed in quite the same way as the Titans. The Shock haven’t had to adapt on the fly nearly as much, because their matches have mostly gone according to plan. The Titans have had to figure things out mid-series, especially in the Winner’s Bracket Final, and they’ve relied on Haksal to be their catalyst.
This is another incredibly difficult matchup to forecast. Haksal has been the more impactful Doomfist so far in the playoffs, but that’s in part because Vancouver has needed him to be their carry. Sinatraa has been a superstar in his own right, but he isn’t as flexible in his style or as important to his team as Haksal. Vancouver needs Haksal to be the best player in the series on Sunday, and luckily for them, he probably is.
Verdict: Edge to Vancouver
In a season where these two teams thrived with compositions featuring no DPS, it seems strange that damage dealers could be the defining role. At the very least, it’s the role with the most variance. Doomfist and Reaper have more potential for solo plays and carry performances than any other heroes right now, and both teams have star-studded DPS duos. Vancouver should be able to win the DPS duel by virtue of having the best player on the more important hero. Haksal was left out of the MVP conversation, but he’ll have a chance to add a Finals MVP to his trophy case if he can bring the Titans to victory.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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