The time has come once more, the dawn of a new season of the Overwatch League. The fan-favorite fellas who represent Vancouver are coming in hot after a stellar inaugural season in the league. Many highs mixed with minimal, but devastating, lows made up their inaugural run. However, their puzzling offseason moves have led to there being doubts in the team going into 2020. Will the boys come together and give the community a sequel worthy of The Dark Knight, or will they fall from grace?
Time Gone By
The Vancouver Titans, as a team, came from the fabled Korean Contenders team Runaway. The hype and excitement of the championship roster being picked up together was massive. With fans especially eager to see the infamous “Runaway isn’t OWL level” meme laid to rest.
To put it mildly, they obliterated that meme quickly and without mercy. Right out of the gate the Titans were truly a force of nature. Starting the season off with a bang by going 7-0 in the first stage before winning it all in a straight-up bonkers seven map set against the San Francisco Shock. That stage win gave the Titans glory on the big stage. Showing the world that not only were they Overwatch League ready, they were ready to dominate.
Following that momentous victory, the lads went off. Continuing to dominate and clutch out wins from anyone who had the misfortune of crossing their path. However, their winning ways finally came to a stop when they met their new rivals the Shock in the stage two finals. As the season went on they would show more kinks in the armour with upset losses to the Shanghai Dragons and the L.A. Valiant.
The Titans were always a force to be reckoned with but were never truly able to capture glory the same way they did in Stage 1. Despite making it all the way to the grand finals they fell in a rather underwhelming match against the seemingly unstoppable San Francisco Shock to end their first season run. Despite that heartbreaking end, as the offseason began, hopes were high that the Titans would enter 2020 ready to get their revenge. Only some madness could dispel such high hopes.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Not like this Titans, please, not like this. To many, the offseason for the Titans was downright bananas. After leading the team for 4 stages, winning a stage championship and making his way into the hearts of countless fans, Vancouver did the unthinkable. They released a beloved player in Sangbeom “Bumper” Park. Suddenly millions of hearts cried out and the tears fell. The mad lad himself, with his cheeky grin and hyper-aggressive playstyle drove the Titans to glory all throughout the season, was gone. This loss hit the fandom hard, as he had been with this team, this family, for years.
Joining Bumper, in the looking for team club, would be Janghyeon “Tizi” Hwang. The other former Runaway Main Tank who joined the team late in the season and who would take the starting spot in the playoffs. Tizi was yet another skilled player who the Titans let slip away. They would also release back up flex support player Junggeun “Rapel” Kim who joined released coach Harsha “Harsha” Bandi and former player Dongeun “Hooreg” Leeon at the Houston Outlaws.
These moves led to the team taking a decent fall in the power rankings going into the new season. Especially considering the people they brought in to fill the mammoth-sized shoes of Bumper and Co.
The 2020 Lads
Head Coach: Jisub “pajion” Hwang
Main Tank: Chanhyung “Fissure” Baek
Flex Tank: Hyeonwoo “JJanu” Choi
DPS: Minsoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo
DPS: Chunghui “Stitch” Lee
DPS: Hyojong “Haksal” Kim
Support: Sungjun “Slime” Kim
Support: Juseok “Twilight” Lee
Support: Jehong “Ryujehong” Ryu
To fill the gap left by Bumper, Tizi and Rapel, the Titans turned to two very familiar faces. Fissure and Ryujehong. No one should dispute their skill level, but their place on this roster is somewhat puzzling. Ryujehong is a highly-skilled veteran of the scene with years of experience who could theoretically start elsewhere. So his joining the team to likely play back up to superstar Twilight is an interesting move. However; bringing his immense experience to this roster could prove valuable in bringing the team together despite the changes.
Fissure, well, is Fissure. A highly aggressive player with a deep history of being a difficult person to have on a team. Fans need to hope that the pre-existing synergy that brought the Titans so much success in 2019 will be maintained with a new person leading the charge. He plays a style not dissimilar to Bumper, so ideally, Fissure will be able to slot in quickly with his new team.
All that aside the rest of the roster is downright stacked with talent. From the ever-dangerous Haksal, the adorable Stitch, all the way back to their all-star support line of Slime and Twilight. The Titans are not lacking in heavy hitters at each role. The only addition that could have been made on top of the aforementioned Fissure and Ryujehong could have been to add an additional DPS player to round out their rotation. Though having three MVP caliber players in this role doesn’t hurt.
2020 Here They Come
Beginning the season the Titans find themselves in the heart of Texas, taking the stage in Dallas. Here they hope to shatter the hopes and dreams of all LA fans when they take on both the Los Angeles Gladiators and Los Angeles Valiant. With their own revamped rosters looking to prove their quality, the Titans will have to come out strong right away. Showing that this may be a new team, but the same fearsome Titans.
Following opening weekend the Titans will be spending a large part of their season on the road with their only two homestead being in May and June respectively. Their roster is on the leaner side so the team will have to come together to make sure that they can remain focused and motivated as the season moves along. Anything less than finishing right where they left off will come as a disappointment. The team has to prove that the moves made were for the best.
If the roster changes play out the way the team wants them to the Titans could come into 2020 stronger than ever before. If not, then they could be in for quite the sophomore slump.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @EthanButler for all your Vancouver Titans, Overwatch League and Esports needs.
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Featured image courtesy of Vancouver Titans
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