The Vancouver Titans enter Overwatch League Season 2 as one of the most anticipated expansion teams. Fans have long awaited the arrival of the team formerly known as Runaway due, in part, to the impressive DPS unit that the Titans bring to the table.
The DPS group for Vancouver is headlined by one of the most explosive and storied duos in Overwatch. Lee “Stitch” Choong-hui and Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong have been playing together since late 2016, helping to propel Runaway to its meteoric rise through the ranks of the Korean scene. Stitch is a hitscan star who sports top tier a Tracer and Widowmaker. Haksal is the Genji master with an aggressive playstyle. The ceiling for both of these players is extremely high, but their tendency toward streaky play necessitates having some assurances on the roster.
Lee “Hooreg” Dong-eun and Seo “SeoMinSoo” Min-Soo may not have the same history with the rest of the team as Stitch and Haksal, but these are not new faces. Both have experience dating back to APEX Season 4, and Hooreg is the only player on the roster who played in OWL Season 1. In the past, they have been utility players, picking up whatever DPS Heroes were needed to fit their teams’ strategies.
Now that they are apart of a larger group, they will have the opportunity to specialize. In an appearance on the Tactical Crouch Podcast, Titans analyst Harsha “Harsha” Bandi mentioned that the team is working on a DPS rotation, so fans can expect to see a variety of lineups. How exactly that rotation is constructed remains to be seen, but between these four players, there is no combination of Heroes that Vancouver cannot play.
A Brief History of DPS Rotations
If Vancouver does indeed settle on a fluid DPS line, they will attempt to succeed where many before have failed. Several teams attempted similar experiments last season, and few were able to make it work.
By the end of Stage 4, most of the league had settled on their starters, and substitutions became less common. Among those teams were the London Spitfire and Los Angeles Gladiators. Both tried to make multi-man DPS crews work throughout the season but found their greatest success after they stopped all the shuffling. For London, that meant dropping much of the roster mid-season, Hooreg included. His time with the Spitfire could bring some insight into the issues that come with a DPS rotation.
There were a few teams that managed to share the load effectively between three DPS players in Season 1. For the New York Excelsior, Kim “Pine” Do-Hyun served as an ace in the hole. He would sub in for a map or two, blow everyone away with his Widowmaker, and sub back out. Pine was a rare player, though, one who could come in cold and play a lone wolf style that suited his bench role. Replicating that success will not be easy.
Perhaps the better argument for a DPS rotation is the team that eliminated New York in the playoffs, the Philadelphia Fusion. They were a team defined by its DPS play – Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok and Josue “Eqo” Corona were both among the best in the league. Still, Philly found situations where they could effectively utilize Simon “snillo” Ekström. Snillo served as a Tracer specialist for the Fusion, subbing in on maps where Carpe’s Widowmaker was also needed.
Can the Titans Pull It Off?
The Fusion could very well be the model for Vancouver heading into the season. Carpe and Eqo are similar players to Stitch and Haksal, at least in terms of Hero pools. Based on past performances, they are likely to be the main DPS players for the Titans.
The challenge for this team and the coaching staff now becomes finding the right situations for SeoMinSoo and Hooreg to make their mark. What holes in Stitch and Haksal’s Hero pools can they fill? What niche Heroes can they pick up to give Vancouver some surprise strategies?
In Season 2, Vancouver will not be the only team attempting a DPS rotation. NYXL have only added to their already crowded group. The San Francisco Shock are riding with five DPS players. All of these teams will be trying to strike the perfect balance between synergy that comes with familiarity and the ability to specialize. The Titans, thanks to their long history, are as well equipped to handle those challenges as any team in the league.
Featured image courtesy of Vancouver Titans.
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