This season has been anything but a smooth ride for the Vancouver Titans. Yet, in the past month, hope returned. The Summer Showdown showcased a young team hungry to prove themselves. Leading to a 2-1 record entering the tournament, and a quarterfinals finish. The team continuously improves week after week, making fans excited to see them each time they play. However, the Summer Showdown is over and for the Vancouver Titans, Week 24 brings a new challenge. The qualifiers for the Countdown Cup are here.
Vancouver Titans vs. Paris Eternal
The Titans kick off their Countdown Cup run with a rematch against the team that not only ended their Summer Showdown run but also went on to be crowned champions. The Paris Eternal is riding high. Coming out of the previous tournament they are looking like possibly the strongest team in NA in the current Genji focused meta. They have a bonafide MVP candidate in Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-Han, whose terrifying Genji led the team to their crown. The team does wonders to enable him to build dragon blades at remarkable speed and to use them with ruthless efficiency. Yet, even if Genji falls slightly out of favor due to the Ana ban and Brigitte nerfs, the team is more than capable to take up the slack.
Benjamin “Benbest” Dieulafait has had the glow up of the year, and each other player on the roster, primarily rookies, are all contenders for Rookie of the Year. Right now they are a fearsome threat across the board. The main key to beating them may actually not affect them all that much. Yet shutting down Sp9rk1e on Genji gives the Titans their best shot.
However, that alone will not guarantee victory. As if they shut down Sp9rk1e,Jung “Xzi” Ki-Hyo is still there. Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff and Niclas “Shockwave” Jensen will have to answer this challenge. In their game in the Summer Showdown, the team was able to at least take map one. Limiting the effect of the Eternal‘s DPS line, while going toe-to-toe with their tanks and supports. The key to taking more than just a map is simple teamwork. They must function as a unit, and rely less on individual pop off moments. The Titans DPS are incredible, but they can not win this match alone.
Prediction: Eternal 3-2 Titans
The Titans showed they can take it to the Eternal, yet were unable to match them when it came down to the Genji mirror. If Genji is still a prominent meta figure they will need to focus the sneaky ninja down hard. If they can make a double hitscan work they may be able to upset. This is putting a lot of pressure on the young DPS line, which could be their undoing. The supports and tanks need to continue to up their game to beat their counterparts. All this said, right now the Eternal are the strongest they have been all season, they will not go down easy. It will be a fight, but in the end, Fiat Lux.
Vancouver Titans vs. Los Angeles Gladiators
To be blunt, the Los Angeles Gladiators are straight-up not having a good time. Sitting at 6-6 they are not looking like the team that folks thought they would be. They have talent across the board. Indy “Space” Halpern is a top 3 off-tank. Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz“Suovaara are a proven, consistent support line and Kim “Birdring“Ji-Hyeok is looking like his former all-star self. In short, this team should easily be in the top ten. The problem is they have not been able to put it together much this season. They will dominate one week, then get blown out the next. This lack of consistent play is somewhat uncharacteristic. They washed out of the Summer Showdown despite some stellar play from new player Kevin “Kevster” Persson.
At this time, it would not be crazy to say the Titans are actually the favorites here. They simply looked better in their loss to the Paris Eternal then the Gladiators did against the Washington Justice. Something is off with the Gladiators lately. If they can’t figure it out and get it together they will face a very unsympathetic Titans squad. A key matchup beyond DPS play will be at the tank line. The bans would indicate the return of Reinhardt to more regular play. Meaning that the master of Rein shenanigans Roni “LHCloudy” Tihonen will likely be starting more often. The maps he has played recently are the best the team has looked, when they embrace the outside the box playstyle he brings.
For the Titans, this will be the best look at the flexibility of Abtin “Shredlock“Shirvani who has primarily played Orisa since joining the league. In the small sample size from the league, the best glimpse at his Rein may have come against the Boston Uprising. Where he was partly outplayed by Cameron “Fusion” Bosworth. He was mostly able to hold his own however, and with time to prep on strategies related to Rein, the matchup should prove even. The main key, if the match leads to LHCloudy led tomfoolery, is to not let it throw them off too much. Anticipate shenanigans, and respond in kind. The DPS line should be able to handle their Gladiators counterparts, where the supports will have a bigger but not insurmountable challenge.
Prediction: Titans 3-1 Gladiators
The Titans are trending upwards. Where the Gladiators are not. Both teams will be looking to rebound, but in this matchup, the recent consistent play across the board on the Titans should prevail. The Gladiators often struggle with hero syndrome, a “fine ill do it myself” mentality. This can and will bring them down against a well prepared Titans. If the Gladiators all play as well as fans know they can then the score could very well be reversed, but one must go off recent performances. In that case, prepare for a force of nature.
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