It’s funny how the roles have switched for the Vancouver Titans. Not so long ago, they were the plucky upstarts in the pink sweaters, fighting against behemoths to make their name in the world of Overwatch. Now they are the goliath swatting aside the challenger donning the familiar pink. That’s life at the top of the Overwatch League: at some point, you stop being the underdogs and start being the bad boys.
Week 1 Review
Hangzhou Spark (3-5)
The Titans barely missed a beat this week, even with Chunghee “Stitch” Lee making his first appearance for a full game after seeing scant play during Stage 1. He was immediately tested on Busan, where his hitscan prowess was crucial to taking the first map of the series. He was mostly relegated to Zarya from then on but performed well – if not quite at MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo levels.
For the most part, it was surprisingly easy going for the Titans. It seemed like Stage 2 might give the Spark an opportunity to unleash some of their plentiful DPS talent. That was the game plan, with “SASIN” Song was in the starting lineup, but the plan never came to fruition as Vancouver ran roughshod over Hangzhou whether SASIN or Sungwook “Ria” Park was in the lineup.
The Titans certainly still have a strong place in this meta. They remain the most impressive GOATs team in the league, and Stitch seems to give them the flexibility they need to counter pick when necessary. It might not mean another undefeated stage for Vancouver, but they aren’t going anywhere.
Player of the Week: Twilight
Juseok “Twilight” Lee is starting to build a strong case for MVP of the league. In Stage 1 his Zenyatta helped fuel the Titans en route to a perfect 10-0 run to the championship. On Sunday, he got to break out the hero that might be even better than his Zen – Ana.
Against the Spark, Twilight was a menace. His sleep darts and Biotic Grenades kept they Spark on their toes so much they brought Ria in to keep him in check. It hardly worked on King’s Row, where Twilight still found value on Ana and dropped bodies with Zen during Vancouver’s record-breaking attack round. His plentiful Nanoboosts powered up Stitch and Bumper as the Titans ran away with the series.
Week 2 Preview
Seoul Dynasty (4-4)
In a rematch of the Stage 1 semifinal, Seoul looks to reverse their fortunes after Vancouver easily knocked them out of the way on their way to the title. This is a new look Seoul Dynasty though. So far in Stage 2, they’ve been playing aggressively around ChanHyoeng “Fissure” Baek’s Winston. An inability to deal with bunker comps cost them a win against the Gladiators, but Vancouver should be wary of the upset.
This will be another chance to see the tank matchup of Fissure and Sangbeom “Bumper” Park. Bumper seems to relish the big games against an old foe, and he will get another chance to measure up against his favorite opponent. Fissure looks phenomenal on Winston, but Bumper is no slouch.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
Houston Outlaws (3-4)
Houston got a week off to sit back, study the meta and prepare for the Titans. That alone makes them something of a threat, even if their track record doesn’t scream danger. Houston found most of its success in Stage 1 playing around Dante “Danteh” Cruz’s Sombra. That’s still viable, but it remains to be seen if the Outlaws can actually hang with the best.
On paper, Vancouver is the clear favorite here, but Houston is at least partially an unknown. Maybe they’ve been in the lab crafting monstrous new comps to take down GOATs with ease? More likely, however, is that they remain mediocre at least until the meta shifts dramatically. Unfortunately for Houston, mediocre won’t make the Titans bleed, and that makes this an easy one to call.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 4-0
Player to Watch: Haksal
Even as the meta opened up and pick rates evened out across the board, Hyojong “Haksal” Kim found himself playing Brigitte. Outside of a brief quad-DPS clown fiesta on King’s Row, he was still playing the exact same hero he did in Stage 1. Little has changed, and that can only be good for the Titans.
Haksal has established himself as the top Brig in the OWL. His performance in Stage 1 separated them from teams held back by lackluster performances from DPS players who just wanted to play DPS. Time and meta changes may force Haksal onto those heroes once again, and how he holds up will say a great deal about the Titans’ long term hopes.
This is an important week for the Titans, one with pitfalls aplenty. Two wins here would get them within reach of a playoff spot in Week 3. If Vancouver wants to maintain their place at the top, they can’t have any off weeks. As they continue to feature Stitch more, can they sustain their insane pace from Stage 1?
Featured image courtesy of the Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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