There was supposed to be one easy game and one challenge facing the Vancouver Titans. No one expected Houston to be the challenge, but there they were, up 1-0 after stealing Busan with their triple-DPS looks. Like every other challenger so far this season, the Outlaws faded eventually and Vancouver remained undefeated.
Week 2 Review
3-1 Victory vs Seoul Dynasty (4-5)
The rematch was supposed to be Seoul’s chance for revenge. After a solid showing last week, the Dynasty looked poised to rally around ChanHyoeng “Fissure” Baek as they gave their best shot at dethroning the champs. Instead, Fissure rode the bench and Seoul looked flustered as the Titans walked all over them for most of the night. It took Seoul until the fourth map before they found any sort of footing, and by then, it was too late.
MinSoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo was back in the lineup after taking Week 1 off, and his inclusion gave some extra punch to the Titan’s GOATs compositions. They manhandled Seoul for the first three maps, finishing Anubis and Eichenwalde in near-record times. Juseok “Twilight” Lee continues to have a massive impact while playing Ana, constantly landing crucial sleep darts and Biotic Grenades. Nothing could slow the Titans until the match was decided, and Vancouver had already secured a stress-free win.
3-1 Victory vs Houston Outlaws (3-5)
Houston shocked the world on Busan when they took the first map in a fairly one-sided 2-0 win. The triple-DPS comps Houston ran – headlined by Jiri “LiNKzr” Masalin’s stellar hitscan play – seemed to throw Vancouver off balance, and they struggled to find reliable answers. Vancouver looked genuinely lost in that matchup, but they eventually righted the ship.
The maps shifted things to the friendly confines of 3-3, where the Titans preyed on the Outlaws. This time they won the final three maps of the series, but Houston certainly gave them a scare. It took one of Sangbeom “Bumper” Park’s best maps of the season to save things on Eichenwalde. He came through when the chips were down and turned a sketchy series into another win for the Titans.
Player of the Week: Bumper
His performance on Eichenwalde was truly phenomenal. His last three Earthshatters were the saving grace after the Titans were held before finishing point B. Bumper took control of the series during the Vancouver comeback, consistently getting the better of Austin “Muma” Wilmot especially here. When Bumper plays like that the Titans are incredibly tough to beat, especially when 3-3 is in the cards.
Week 3 Preview
Dallas Fuel (6-3)
The new-look Dallas Fuel got off on the right foot in Week 2, when they put two wins on the board in their first action since trading Richard “rCk” Kanerva for Lucas “NotE” Meissner. So far so good for Dallas – NotE seems to be a stabilizing presence for a team that had an up and down first stage. He has clearly given the Fuel’s 3-3 comps a boost with his superb D.Va play, but is that enough to take down the Titans.
More than likely the Fuel will need to reach into their bag of tricks. Despite rCk’s absence, the Fuel still run a fair amount of Sombra, with Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo on the hero now. They also showed flashes of bunker compositions and even a 4-DPS look on Paris. If they can consistently execute with the DPS threats, they could give the Titans a run for their money.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
The Fuel and the Titans have the two trios who have played together the longest. Bumper, Chunghee “Stitch” Lee and Hyojong “Haksal” Kim have a history that is only exceeded by that of Timo “Taimou” Kettuten, Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod and Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua. Both cores date back to late 2016, the last remnants of two of the icons of early Overwatch: Runaway and Envy. While Vancouver is thriving, none of the Dallas trio have seen the stage this season, and it’s unclear if they have a place on the current iteration of the Fuel.
Boston Uprising (6-4)
The Titans get to take on both sides of the rCk-NotE trade this week. Boston similarly has benefitted from the trade, leveraging rCk’s Sombra to great success so far in Stage 1. Vancouver has been very good at playing against Sombra so far this season since their aggressive style works as a natural counter to the slow-paced play a Sombra requires.
Boston has much more up their sleeves than just Sombra. They have not shy about running DPS led compositions so far, and that’s one of the few things that has given the Titans trouble this season. Boston has the talent and the flexibility to put pressure on Vancouver, but a truly close match seems unlikely unless Boston’s streak of game 5’s is truly unbreakable.
When these teams met in Stage 1 playoffs, Boston didn’t stand a chance. They’ve switched up the lineup now and the early returns are great. However, rCk is not enough to change the outcome – the Titans should take this one and potentially tie Boston’s 15 match win streak from the inaugural season.
Prediction: Vancouver wins 3-1
Player to Watch: SeoMinSoo
This week when they were tested by Houston, the Titans turned to SeoMinSoo. After losing the first map with Stitch in the lineup, they decided to go all in on 3-3 at the expense of some DPS flexibility. Their Zarya ace delivered, and now Vancouver has some interesting questions to answer. Do they want to keep trying Stitch when they clearly hit their peak with SeoMinSoo in the lineup right now?
History is on the line in Week 3 when Vancouver can win their 15th straight match to open their OWL tenure. It would also keep alive the chance for a second straight undefeated stage, something no other team has accomplished. It’s been a dream run for Vancouver so far, and they don’t want it to end anytime soon.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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