To summarize how the Countdown Cup went for the Vancouver Titans one only needs two words: not well. The Titans met a swift end at the hands of the Atlanta Reign in the knockout stage. While they showed signs of life at certain points it was overall not a good showing for the team outside of a few players.
That’s all in the past, however, as all eyes now turn toward what lies ahead. For the Vancouver Titans in Week 28, a mighty challenge awaits them. The team will play not one, not two, but three games. These final two weeks will truly be the fight of their lives as they play not just for playoff glory but likely their places on the team for 2021. Can these scrappy young lads spread across the globe rally together and give their fans something to cheer for?
Vancouver Titans vs. Florida Mayhem (8/14)
This matchup will be a really tough one for the Titans to handle. The Mayhem is a ruthlessly good team, easily ranked top four in North America. With the ability to go toe-to-toe with all the top tier teams in the region. They play a very aggressive style which has been led by the relentless skills of one Junki “Yaki” Kim, himself a contender for season MVP.
The Mayhem thrive by being very successful at capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes or poor positioning. If they catch a player out of position or going in deep with a misplay of over-aggression they pounce. Swarming like bees to honey. They play extremely well together, making space for stars such as Yaki, Beomjun “Gargoyle” Lee, and Namjin “Gangnamjin” Kang to pop off. The Hero Pools this time around, however, could actually aid the Titans upset plans, as it removes two of Yaki’s most dominant heroes, Genji and Tracer, from the rotation.
Titans Need to Come Together
The Titans are one of the few teams that can benefit from the lack of Genji. Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff had been steadily improving on the cyber ninja, but he was never his strongest hero. Putting Dalton on a hero that he is more comfortable with should allow for greater synergy with his monster of a partner Niclas “Shockwave” Jensen. DPS has been the Titans‘ newest and greatest strength. This duo is capable of taking it to the duos of higher-ranked teams.
The real pressure will fall to their tanks and supports. While Alhumaidi “KSAA” Alruwaili has proven himself as a quality player, Abtin “Shredlock” Shirvani still is looking to prove himself. Far too often, he dies first on account of mistimed aggression out of step with his supports. If he and his supports fail to be on the same page, then the Mayhem will destroy them without mercy. Team Cohesion difference will likely be the decider even if Shockwave and Dalton can handle BQB and Yaki.
Prediction: Mayhem 3-0 Titans
Vancouver Titans vs Dallas Fuel (8/15)
The Fuel is coming out of a rough week of departures which ended with a victory over the Washington Justice before falling to the eventual champions, the San Francisco Shock. They are in a rather substantial rebuild period as the season comes to a close, which has led to further questions about their ability to compete. Coming out with a win against a team who knows all too well the struggles of rebuilding mid-season could be just the kick they need to keep their heads high.
The last time these two teams faced off was in Week 20 where they gave the new Titans their first taste of victory. The matchup is rather even overall with the strongest source of power for both teams being DPS. Even without Jang “Decay” Gui-un, the Fuel is not lacking in firepower. Kim “Doha” Dong-Ha and Stefan “Onigod” Fiskerstrand are a very capable duo. The team however seems to struggle immensely in the clutch. In that when the pressure is on in those final moments they begin to make costly mistakes. If they can tighten up their gameplay, and have the rest of the team play at their full potential then they could take the win.
Titans Are Out For Blood
However, the Titans do have a real chance of winning. Their last matchup showed Shockwave coming out on top over Onigod for the most of the game. In addition, Dalton was more than capable of keeping Doha in check. For this matchup, it all comes down to which heroes will be played. With hero pools taking out a couple of the Fuel’s strongest heroes, the most fascinating matchups will be tanks and supports. This is where the Titans have their greatest challenge.
At this time, Youngjin “Gamsu” Noh has a sizable edge over Shredlock, and William “Crimzo” Hernandez has the same with Roolf. Yet the rest of the players are pretty even. KSAA, CarCar, Lucas “NotE” Meissner and Nolan “Paintbrush” Edwards are somewhat equal to each other. One of them will have to give for either team to gain a more significant advantage. As at DPS, the Titans formidable duo may be too much to stop.
Prediction: Titans 3-2 Fuel
Vancouver Titans vs. Atlanta Reign (8/16)
The wild weekend for the Titans ends with a rematch with the team that ended their Countdown Cup run. That game was a mostly dominant affair for the Reign outside of two points of dominance from the Titans on Numbani. Any time the Reign roll out on Double Shield with the Orisa Sigma they are generally at their best. The tank line has great synergy in this composition and is able to not only generate space for their teammates but also make big plays themselves.
Despite the struggles the Reign have had this season, it would be foolish to not have them as the favorites in this game. They outplayed the Titans by a fairly large margin last time due to their synergy and superior defensive skills. They did not let the Titans even finish a map in the last game. However, the return of hero pools and the removal of Genji and Tracer adds a nice wrinkle to the proceedings.
How Much of a Wrinkle?
The Hero Pools this week could make no difference or could make all the difference for the Titans. No Genji definitely helps, though, as it allows Dalton to play his best heroes. The main priority for the Titans in this matchup is making sure that Blake “Gator” Scott and Xander “Hawk” Domecq have zero fun. If they have fun, the Titans will most definitely not.
An upset win is not out the question if the team can clean up their act, and better capitalize on the opening’s their DPS make. No matter which way one spins this, the game is going to be tough. A week is not a lot of time to properly learn from their mistakes and implement solutions. Not even mentioning that they also have two other games to prepare for. All this may prove too much for this young squad to overcome.
Prediction: Reign 3-1 Titans.
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