The Vancouver Titans are reeling after their worst showing of the season against the Washington Justice on Sunday. In just their second regular-season loss this year, the Titans showed their first real signs of weakness. They have some serious issues with the current meta, and they’re struggling to compensate with individual skill.
Week 2 Review
Vancouver Titans 0-4 Washington Justice
That was rough. If you watched that game with the names and skins removed, it would look like Vancouver was the team eliminated from playoffs and Washington were the league’s top team. Washington were the team that had a solid grasp of the meta. They had the star DPS players in Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel and came ready to play.
The Titans, on the other hand, were struggling with the basics. The constantly wasted key cooldowns like Ice Wall and Fortify. They played fast and loose with ultimates, leaving their economy in tatters. Their positioning was constantly leaving them vulnerable and isolated, especially Sangbeom “Bumper” Park.
The Titans went away from their Week 1 strategy centered around Hyojong “Haksal” Kim’s Genji, and they couldn’t find their footing without his signature pick. Dong-eun “Hooreg” Lee wasn’t finding the same success on Widowmaker, and the Reaper pick yielded no results. When those two can’t find openings, the Titans fall flat.
Player of the Week: Stratus
Much has been made of Corey’s performance during this match with good reason. He was exceptional, but Stratus was quietly having an equally stellar showing. His Mei, especially in comparison to Haksal, was revelatory. He was clutch, intelligent and active in so much of what his team was doing.
On the Titans, no one really came close to that kind of performance. Every member looked disconnected from the team, even in the rare moments of individual brilliance. They’ll need that cohesion to return if they want to turn things around going forward.
Week 3 Preview
London Spitfire (15-10)
Until Week 2 happened, this was slated to be one of the most anticipated matchups of Stage 4. Vancouver was the team of 2019, looking to maintain their dominance during a meta shift. London was the Innaugural Season champion trying to get back on top after a rocky season in a meta that didn’t suit them. That all went out the window when these two lost to the league’s last-place teams.
Now both teams need a bounce-back win to build confidence and secure their playoff positions. London is fighting for their top-six spot, while Vancouver can secure the Pacific Division crown with two wins in Week 3.
Heading into this matchup, Vancouver has to learn from its mistakes. Even with London’s struggles, they are extremely dangerous. They have a strong tank line with experience playing the meta picks. They have a DPS star in Junyoung “Profit” Park who could take over the series. Luckily, for the Titans, London has had trouble with Control maps. If Vancouver can push it to five maps, they have a good shot against the Spitfire.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-2
Philadelphia Fusion (14-11)
After two tough Map 5 losses in Week 1, the Fusion bounced back a bit with wins over the Outlaws and Defiant. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Philadelphia got the job done and avoided becoming the second playoff-hopeful to be upset by Toronto. Now they have to prove themselves against what should be stiffer competition. Whether the Titans can provide that remains to be seen.
Philly hasn’t quite had the Renaissance most expected with Jaehyeok “Carpe” Lee and Josue “eqo” Corona back on DPS. They’re still dealing with the same coordination and communication issues that have plagued them all season. They remain a serious threat if they can ever put it all together, but so far, the team play hasn’t caught up to the individual skill.
Vancouver can theoretically win the frontline battle and work from there, but they just aren’t the same team with Bumper on Orissa. They can’t only let his aggression propel them and create opportunities. Now those have to come from elsewhere and Vancouver is hampered by the more patient style the meta favors at the moment. If they can work out how to keep Bumper in more fights and get HyunWoo “JJANU” Choi more comfortable on Roadhog, they should take care of the Fusion.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
Player to Watch: Bumper
It’s obvious that Bumper isn’t an elite Orissa player at the moment. He uses cooldowns wastefully, he sets up Superchargers that his team can’t use and he constantly finds himself out of position without a shield to save him. His no-holds-barred aggression on Reinhardt doesn’t translate well to the slow-and-steady approach required by Orissa. His progression this week will say a lot about where the Titans stand in this meta.
For the first time, the Vancouver Titans are under the microscope. After a season of dominance, questions swirl around the team and their ability to adapt to 2-2-2. One week won’t sink the Titans. Even five straight losses to close the season can’t drop them below the third seed. They have time to solve their issues, but they’re at risk of breaking down just before the finish. Week 3 will provide answers, good or bad.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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