The Vancouver Titans had a unique opportunity this week – two wins and they would reach the halfway mark with an undefeated record. No one has been able to measure up to the Titans so far, and that didn’t change against Toronto and Seoul. Neither opponent really put up much of a fight as Vancouver cruised to their impressive milestone.
Week 5 Review
3-1 Victory vs Toronto Defiant (7-7)
The Titans struck the first blow against their northern rivals and they struck it decisively. Outside of a bizarrely bad attack on Anubis, the Titans were in the driver’s seat all night. Sangbeom “Bumper” Park was his usual self, asserting his will in the main tank matchup against Keongmu “Yakpung” Cho.
It was a true team effort for the Titans with big plays from everyone on the roster. Toronto had some fight in them to start the series, but it faded down the stretch as Vancouver took control. The Titans’ attack rounds on King’s Row and Junkertown especially were untouchable. They tore through the Defiant like wet tissue paper, controlling space and winning nearly every even teamfight.
4-0 Victory vs Seoul Dynasty (7-7)
Vancouver’s sweep of the Dynasty was probably their most impressive win of Stage 2. Seoul looked frisky to start the match, breaking out a triple DPS setup that caught the Titans off guard and stole the first point of Lijiang Tower. After that, they were mostly forced into the 3-3 matchup where the Titans are at their best.
For the second time this stage, the Dynasty found themselves without any answers for what Vancouver brought to bear. Just a day after calling out Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu, Juseok “Twilight” Lee had a dominant performance. His Ana play on Anubis stands out in particular, and he even got to break out Doomfist in Vancouver’s 4-DPS comp on Blizzard World.
Player of the Week: HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi
Against the Defiant, JJANU completely got in Toronto’s heads. He took away two of SeungHyun “Ivy” Lee’s Graviton Surges during the first map, and it affected the Defiant’s Zarya for the rest of the match. The result was a cautious Ivy who completely whiffed on multiple Gravs due to the fear of losing another ultimate.
Stage Playoff Preview
Dallas Fuel (9-5)
Despite another undefeated stage, the Titans enter the playoffs as the third seed thanks to sharing a division with the San Francisco Shock. As a result, their first-round game is a rematch against the Dallas Fuel. Last time around it was a clean sweep for the Titans, and nothing suggests this time will be any different.
Since the addition of Lucas “NotE” Meissner to the Fuel lineup, they’ve been much improved on 3-3 compositions. However, they’ve lost some of the flexibility they had with Richard “rCk” Kanerva. It’s been a good tradeoff for Dallas but probably doesn’t do much for them against a team like the Titans.
Vancouver is simply too polished and powerful in the current meta. They confidently outclass the Fuel at every position in a 3-3 mirror, so Dallas may try to go outside the box. That’s not the Fuel’s strength, but it might be their best chance.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-0
Player to Watch: Sangbeom “Bumper” Park
A huge part of Dallas’s stellar Stage 2 has been the play of their main tank Minseok “OGE” Son. He’s leveled up his Reinhardt over the course of the season, but Winston is still where he shines. Bumper is an incredibly difficult test for any main tank who considers themselves elite, and OGE must win the matchup for Dallas to have a chance. Vancouver is built around Bumper and his unique style and has to be at the front of any opponent’s mind.
A second straight perfect stage is making the Titan’s excellence seem routine. In reality, it is a monumental achievement. No OWL team has ever been as consistently great as Vancouver this season. It seems unlikely that they face a real challenge until the stage semifinals at the earliest.
Realistically, the San Francisco Shock might be the only team that can actually stand up to the Titans. A rematch of the Stage 1 Finals is in the cards as long as the two favorites take care of business once again. If Vancouver can come away with another title this time, it will be time to start thinking of them as the great Overwatch team of all time.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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