“I think they are the cleanest team I have seen in such a long time.” Immediately following the Vancouver Titans’ second win of the week, Brennon “Bren” Hook and the rest of the Watchpoint crew were singing their praises. During a week marked by chaos and upsets galore, the Titans earned those plaudits by weathering the storm.
Week 2 Review
Guangzhou Charge (1-2)
First up for the Titans in Week 2 were the Guangzhou Charge, who still posed a threat despite a rough debut. The opening salvo from the Charge was impressive, and they took Nepal behind the strength of their DPS focused play, specifically Yiliang “Eileen” Ou’s Sombra. Vancouver answered back, however, when the series shifted toward more standard meta compositions. The Titans rode the strength of their 3-3 compositions to convincing wins on Hollywood and Volskaya.
The series almost got away from Vancouver down the stretch. Some misused ultimates and over-aggression forced Route 66 into extra rounds and opened the door for Guangzhou to get back into the match. Guangzhou busted that door wide open with a quadruple DPS attack that eviscerated the Titans’ defense and forced the series to a decisive map 5.
The teams traded rounds on Ilios, and the match came down to a winner takes all round on Well. It was getting dicey for Vancouver until HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi came to the rescue with a Self-Destruct that secured four kills, wrapped up the map and ensured the Titans narrowly avoided the upset.
San Francisco Shock (1-2)
The most anticipated matchup of Week 2 was also the last. The San Francisco Shock were titans in their own right and had earned a great deal of hype early on. From the first map, it was clear that Vancouver was ready to meet that challenge. The Titans kept the Shock off balance on Busan and throughout the series with their unique style cenetered around Sangbeom “Bumper” Park’s trademark aggression at main tank.
The Shock responded well on King’s Row – for the first time they took the initiative away from the Titans. Vancouver was able to clutch in overtime repeatedly to force extra rounds. Both teams posted great attack rounds as the map came down to the wire, but Bumper and JJANU teamed up for the combo that secured the map.
Vancouver closed out the win on Volskaya, where some careless plays from Bumper kept the Shock from being completely steamrolled. Otherwise, the Titans’ defense was impeccable on both points, an emphatic statement from Vancouver. San Francisco came back to win Route 66 where Vancouver once again fell short in extra rounds. In total, it was among the most impressive wins by any team this season and solidified Vancouver’s place among the OWL elite.
Player of the Week: JJANU
There was much talk over the weekend about Bumper and his place as one of the best tanks in the league. It makes sense, given his role as the team’s centerpiece – the player who gets the most resources and demands the most attention from enemies. Still, JJANU is the one who bailed this team out over and over again in Week 2.
To say nothing of his incredible multi-kill Self-Destructs (of which there were many), the man is constantly denying Graviton Surges with his Defense Matrix. Against the Shock, he ate four of them across King’s Row and Volskaya routinely keeping his team in fights they had no business winning. He is reaching heights of D.Va play unseen since Junho “Fury” Kim’s run in last year’s playoffs. So far, JJANU is playing like an MVP and is a big reason why the Titans remain undefeated.
Week 3 Preview
Los Angeles Valiant (0-3)
After the unrelenting pressure of Week 2, Vancouver has a little less to worry about in Week 3. They have just one game on the schedule, against the LA Valiant, a team that has struggled to find its identity in 2019. Between the loss of Terrence “SoOn” Tarlier, the benching of Scott “Custa” Kennedy and the team’s struggles with the GOATs meta, they have failed to live up to the expectations for a team that finished second overall last year.
The Valiant will be the first team with a tank duo to match what the Titans bring to the table. Pan Seung “Fate” Koo and Indy “SPACE” Halpern are one of the best front lines in the league, despite their team’s early stumbles. They’ve been close in every game they’ve played so far, and they will be desperate to right the ship in Week 3. Even if the tank battle is a wash, the Titans should get more from the rest of the roster.
Prediction: Titans 3-1 Valiant
Player to Watch: Slime
Seong jun “SLIME” Kim has been the unsung hero for Vancouver so far this season. Lucio is a lynchpin in the current meta, enabling his teammates with speed boost and displacing opponents using Soundwave. In both aspects, SLIME has been a standout performer, and his Sound Barrier timings have been superb as well. This week he lines up opposite Daekuk “KuKi” Kim, a tank player who has been thrust onto Lucio in response to the meta. SLIME should be able to assert himself in this series, through his superior mechanics and comfort with the hero.
Vancouver is riding high after escaping unscathed from a tough back to back this week. A lighter load will be welcome as they look to maintain their pace ahead of the pack. The Titans will be heavy favorites, but the league is unpredictable right now. The Valiant are much more than their 0-3 record would suggest, but the Titans should be fine in Week 3.
Featured image courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.
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