The first half of the Overwatch League season has been something out of a dream for the Vancouver Titans. Despite the rude awakening in the Stage 2 Finals, their OWL debut has exceeded even the loftiest expectations. They enter Stage 3 with a perfect 14-0 regular season record, and now seek to add a third straight undefeated stage to their resume.
Week 1 Preview
Atlanta Reign (7-7)
The first hurdle for the Titans will be one of the Overwatch League’s enigmas. To say the Reign have been inconsistent is an understatement. Last stage, they were the first team to lose to the Valiant all season, and then handed NYXL their first loss of the regular season the next week. They followed that up with a puzzling loss to Guangzhou and another upset over New York to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
All that is to say that no one knows what level the Reign will be at on any given day. Vancouver on its worst days can be caught off guard by teams that shouldn’t be able to hang with them. It hasn’t cost them anything just yet, and admittedly they were much better at taking care of business in Stage 2. Still, Atlanta is a wild card that the Titans might not be taking seriously and that makes them dangerous.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
Player to Watch: SLIME
So much of the Titan’s dominance in 2019 has come from their support line, and Seong jun “SLIME” Kim is no small part of that. He does so much to set up the rest of his team, particularly with big boop players. Whether he’s knocking enemies off the map in clutch moments or sending enemy players into the waiting arms of his teammates, SLIME is the catalyst for the Titans. On the other side is another standout Lucio, Petja “Masaa” Kantanen, who has made his name in shutting down opposing main supports. This matchup is definitely one to watch.
Los Angeles Gladiators (9-5)
Up next is a team that finally found its footing in Stage 2 – until a couple of late losses took the shine off. They sit firmly in the second tier of teams, right below the Titans and Shock, but struggling to match up against the real contenders. Certainly, this team is immensely talented with players like Gui-un “Decay” Jang and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara capable of popping off at any moment, but they haven’t put it all together yet in 2019.
The Gladiators were swept out of the Stage 2 playoffs unceremoniously by NYXL, a team that the Titans then dispatched with relative ease. Now comes a new stage, another opportunity for the Gladiators to live up to their fan’s lofty expectations. For the Titans, the challenge is to maintain their position while staving off challengers like LA. Will they keep their foot on the gas, or will they let the competition close the gap?
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
Player to Watch: SeoMinSoo
It’s rare for the Titans to enter a matchup without a clear advantage at the Zarya spot. MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo has stood head and shoulders above most of his peers, but he will definitely have his hands full against Decay. A significant portion of the Gladiators’ early season woes came from waiting on Decay to turn 18 and activate. If he wants to be considered among the elite DPS stars in the league, going toe to toe with SeoMinSoo is a good place to start.
Stage 3 looks to be Vancouver’s toughest yet. Two matchups against the Gladiators await, and the Titans start the stage with three straight weeks with two games. Still, there’s nothing to suggest they will do anything but march to a third straight 7-0 stage and maintain their spot atop the league standings.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for the Overwatch League.
You can also follow Bradley @shyguyow.