First impressions can be difficult and the new Vancouver Titans definitely had the weight of the world on their shoulders as they made theirs. The Titans announced their brand new roster of top Contenders talent just days before they were set to take the stage against the Washington Justice for the first time. Marking the Overwatch League debut of:
Main Tank: Abtin “Shredlock” Shirvani
Off Tank: Alhumaidi “KSAA” Alruwaili
DPS: Samir “Tsuna” Ikram
DPS: Dalton “Dalton” BennyHoff
Main Support: Carson “CarCar” First
Flex Support: Randal “Roolf” Stark
The games played against the Justice and a surging Florida Mayhem did not go the way the team was surely hoping. As both resulted in a loss with the team only being able to claim one map. That being said for the most part both games were very competitive. This is a team that has only had a very small amount of time to play together before being thrown to the wolves. Which makes the performance they gave respectable enough to give fans of the team hope for the future. Individually they all had moments in which they shined. Time to take a look at how they fared.
ShRedLock- The Mad Scientist
Coming in to fill the shoes of players such as Chan Hyeong “Fissure” Baek, Sangbeom “Bumper” Park and Janghyeon “Tizi” Hwang is no easy feat. The previous Main Tanks that the Titans have fielded all have experienced great success in their careers. Showcasing great skill at each Main Tank hero. All that said it was honestly a solid showing over the weekend for the Canuck from Ontario. His mechanics on heroes such as Winston were rather impressive, showing a commendable control during his primal rages. He is a very aggressive player showcasing little fear as he dives into secure kills or contest the point. On maps such as Hollywood vs the Justice he had a nice moment in a primal utilizing his multiple jumps to get to the roof, stall there and then continue without touching the ground to secure a kill on the enemy backline on point A.
The main issue he faced this weekend was a lack of coordination with the rest of the team. This is one that caused issues for each player but in particular against the Mayhem it led to his dying first multiple times after diving in and getting hacked. Aggressive play only works if the team is on the same page and at this time the Titans were not. Learning as a team when to engage and disengage. If the team can embrace this playstyle and effectively play around it they could find great success.
KSAA- The High Ping King
To the uninformed this man was definitely one of the best surprises to come from the weekend. Throughout both games he showcased impressive play on heroes like DvA and Sigma. Taking his signature KSAngles to capture kills or stun an enemy with a well timed accretion. With his most impressive play coming against the Mayhem on Junkertown. Essentially shutting the Mayhem down for a decent chunk of time with his Sigma. The main thing that caused issues for him other than ping as he is currently playing with the team from overseas is again coordination.
This word will come up a lot when the Titans are being discussed in these early days. Individually he and ShRedLock had flashes of brilliance but they must learn to work together to truly succeed. One of the main reasons that in 2019 the Titans had such success was that Bumper had been playing with a player like Hyeonwoo “JJANU” Choi. He knew how Bumper played, understood the method to his madness. This is what KSAA and ShRedLock will need to work on most. Supporting each other. It is something that can only come with time and practice. Combined of course with a great deal of practice.
Roolf- The Maple Veteran
The support line for the Titans is made up of two stalwart veterans of the Overwatch Contenders scene. One of them being Roolf. A player who has been in the scene for years, even representing Team Canada at the Overwatch World Cup in 2016. Known for being a skilled Zenyatta and Ana player many were excited to see him finally get his shot at the Overwatch League. The weekend was a rough one overall for Roolf. To be fair there were some flashes of high quality play such as a sneaky little evade while using his ultimate as Moira on the teams point A attack on Anubis vs the Justice. Against the Mayhem however DPS player Kim “Yaki” Jun-Ki made his life miserable. Turning the Titans new flex support player into a pulse bomb magnet.
He and his new compatriot Carson “CarCar” First will need to communicate better in order to coordinate better ultimate usage. There were times throughout both games where they would overlay the ultimate’s which would eventually lead to their inability to deal with an oncoming EMP. It is not all doom and gloom though. On Junkertown against the Mayhem he was able to put up solid healing numbers and even lighting up the kill feed occasionally. With time to work on positioning and communication the support line should prove to be solid.
CarCar- Mr. Path-To-Pro
Making the climb from open division to contenders and finally to the Overwatch League many were excited to see this staple of the T2 scene get to the big stage. He had not played for a team since the disbanding of Atlanta Academy so there was always the chance that he would have to shake off a bit of rust before excelling at the top level. He did appear to be a bit rusty, laying down some ill timed sound barriers and being caught out of position a few times. Really his biggest crime so to speak was that in these initially games he really didn’t make much of an impact. He was kind of just there. Occasionally he got some good boops and secured a kill but his impact was not felt as much initially.
He does have a rather storied history of excellent play during his time in contenders however. Finding success on teams such as Fusion University and Second Wind. With time to get back into the swing of things and adjust to the high level of play found in the Overwatch League fans could see a return to form.
Dalton- DPS Deity
Arguably the player who made the biggest splash during the two games the Titans played was Dalton. The former Gladiators Legion prodigy certainly made his presence felt against both teams, showcasing an impressive Tracer and Widowmaker. Against the Justice he was able to get the better of Lee “TTuba” Ho-Sung on multiple occasions in the Tracer duel. In particular on Junkertown, Dalton was a downright menace. Besting his opponent three straight times on point A attack. In addition vs the Mayhem he was still able to show his prowess. Forcing opposing Widowmaker Sangbum “BQB” Lee to respect him. That being said once he did show respect the tides did begin to turn.
There were times where he was caught out position or caught going for a risky play which ended in his demise. Yaki for the Mayhem did in the end have a better game. He made life hell for the Titans supports which is something that Dalton, despite a great showing, did not match this time. Negatives aside, having a player with the explosive potential of Dalton on the roster bodes well for the teams future.
Oh Tsuna. It was a rather rough weekend for the young French player. Sadly he was the one who gave the overall weakest performance throughout the weekend. On Sombra he did not look particularly comfortable. With his EMP usage being the most noticeable tell. Routinely he would go for an EMP where it would only hit maybe two opponents and there would be no chance for follow up. On account of him failing to hit the enemy Lucio. It doesn’t help that responding to even a well timed EMP requires great team cohesion. Something these new Titans just do not have at the moment. In all fairness he was able to charge EMP reasonably fast so he could try again but time after time it just didn’t work.
His brightest moments came when he was free from the Sombra shackles and got to play Hanzo. Here he actually looked very competitive and even got to show case signs of team coordination when he and ShRedLock combined for a well timed Halt/Dragon on Junkertown point C against the Mayhem. His Hanzo play looked much cleaner than his Sombra. Hopefully in time he can flourish into the player the team needs him to be.
As a Team
As a team they have their work cut out for them. The Second Wind core may have previous experience together but that is only half the team. They can not win on half the required synergy needed to compete at this top level. They have the talent. Individually all these players have shined throughout their careers in Overwatch. Bringing them together is the challenge that now falls to new Head Coach Steven “Flubby” Coronel and his staff. There were definite signs of it happening in the games played, and that was after a minuscule amount of time to practice together. It will take some time but if they can bring these pieces together the team could definitely be a challenger.
Featured photo via Overwatch League
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