From the first home games played at the Dallas Homestand, to the Shanghai Dragons’ redemption arc, the 2019 Overwatch League season has seen its fair share of history made. It’s fitting then that the team sitting atop the standings is on a historic run. Until their loss at the hands of the San Francisco Shock in the Stage 2 Finals, the Vancouver Titans were a perfect 19 for 19 on the year, in their first season no less.
The Titans rarely had to push themselves during that stretch. They routinely had matches won after three maps and opted to play with their food. Their dominance is unprecedented – even last year’s vaunted NYXL squad never reached these heights.
That all leads to the current dilemma. The Titans are so good, so consistently that every member of the team can realistically be considered an MVP candidate. To choose between them is splitting hairs, but only one can actually take home the hardware.
7.Dong-eun “Hooreg” Lee
6. Sangbeom “Bumper” Park
It feels like heresy to put Bumper in this spot. He is the cornerstone of the Titans, emotionally and tactically. His giddy personality is on display both in his demeanor and in the reckless abandon with which he plays his signature Reinhardt. His aggressive tank play is the axis around which Vancouver revolves.
Bumper’s importance to the Titans cannot be denied, and his place among the best main tanks in the league is deserved. Against the vast majority of OWL teams, he can get away with whatever he wants. He can exert his will over opponents because they do not have the skill or coordination to punish him.
Against the best teams in the league, however, that skill gap shrinks or disappears completely, and Bumper can be exposed. In the Stage 2 playoffs, both New York’s Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim and San Francisco’s Matthew “super” DeLisi got the better of the Titans’ leader, punishing his arrogance. It’s a fine line for Vancouver to walk. Ask Bumper to tone it down, and they could risk losing what makes them great.
5. MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo
Back in Korean Contenders, SeoMinSoo’s stellar Zarya play unlocked the Titans’ – playing then for RunAway – potential as a GOATs powerhouse. He has made the transition to OWL beautifully, instantly making his name as potentially the best Zarya in the league. Through Stage 1, the title belonged to SeoMinSoo.
Now, in most estimations, that distinction goes to Jay “sinatraa” Won, the Shock star who led his team to the Stage 2 title. SeoMinSoo’s case is arguably just as impressive, but with the image of a victorious Shock fresh in memory, he has fallen prey to recency bias. A single great stage could be more than enough to regain his place atop the Zarya foodchain and force himself back into the MVP discussion.
4. HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi
JJANU’s situation is nearly identical to SeoMinSoo’s. His spectacular Stage 1 debut saw him anointed early on as the best D.Va player in the league. He came up huge time and again with Self-Destructs, saving the Titans in crucial moments. His Defense Matrix usage made every enemy Zarya nervous to use their ultimates.
Unlike SeoMinSoo, JJANU isn’t just fending off one rival at the flex tank position. Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi, Tae-Hong “MekO” Kim and Junho “Fury” Kim can all stake their claim as the best D.Va in the world. In such a crowded field, it’s incredibly difficult for anyone to stand above the rest, so they all suffer a bit when it comes to MVP talk.
3. Seong jun “SLIME” Kim
It should be no surprise to see the Titans support line at the top of this list. Together they make it possible for Vancouver to play the way it does. Without their backup, Bumper could never get away with his aggressive positioning.
SLIME is the complete package as a Lucio player. His Amp It Up timing enables the Titans’ decisive engagements, and he uses his ultimates effectively. His greatest skill, however, is likely using Soundwave to punish mispositioned foes – either by booping them into the rest of the Titans or off the map. Both mean certain death.
2. Hyojong “Haksal” Kim
Back during their days as RunAway, there was a time when Haksal’s Brigitte was one of the Titans’ weaknesses. Now he is easily one of their greatest strengths. In just over 1000 minutes on Brigitte, he is in the top three of every major stat, leading the league in damage and ultimate generation. Even with his insane output, his impact on the hero might be understated by the statistics.
To answer the question of Haksal’s value to the team one only needs to watch the Stage 1 Finals. Over the course of seven games, the teams played each other to a near standstill. The one place where Vancouver found its edge was in the Brigitte battle. The statistics bore out Haksal’s edge over DongJun “Rascal” Kim, but it was the clutch plays – like denying the Shock’s Sound Barrier – that really made the difference.
1. Juseok “Twilight” Lee
Much has been written about Twilight and his case for the MVP award, with good reason. His performance this year has been unassailable. He’s one of the few players in the league who could realistically claim to be the best at two heroes. On Zenyatta, he leads the league in damage, eliminations and final blows. On Ana – which he has played more than any of his peers – he has given the Titans another strong option in the face of teams that choose to run Sombra or DPS comps.
Last year SeonngHyun “JJONAK” Bang redefined what was possible from the flex support position, and from a Zenyatta in particular. This season, it has been Twilight pushing the boundaries of the role once again.
His statistical case is ironclad. He has kept pace with the Season 1 MVP no matter how you look at it and even pulls ahead when JJONAK’s shaky Transcendence usage is considered. Even on this historic Vancouver Titans squad, Twilight has managed to stand out, and gives the team a serious contender for the MVP award at the halfway mark of the season.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for the Overwatch League.
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