Map 1: Busan

Learning from last week’s control map loss, Titans rolled out with Seominsoo instead of Stitch and made no pretensions of playing anything apart from 3/3. Shock came out with their all-Korean roster (plus Moth), which made it clear that they would be running a multi-DPS composition. On City Center, Striker came out on Widow and occupied the flat rooftop that seems custom-made to be a sniper perch, but the Titans had clearly practiced countering it after yesterday’s match. Bumper harried Striker constantly and neutered his impact, which allowed the more sustainable Vancouver squad to stand on point without fear. San Francisco felt mostly locked out of contention and fell without much struggle. They tried for the same strategy on Shrine, but if anything it was even more ineffective because Jjanu had rolled out on Hammond. With two beefy tanks harassing the widow and Twilight pumping out the heals on Ana (plus hitting a crazy long-range sleep on Moth), fights continually went in favor of Vancouver. A late swap to 3/3 had the deck stacked against it, and Vancouver closed out the map 2-0.

Titans 1: Shock 0

Map 2: King’s Row

San Francisco, partially chastened by their loss and partially recognizing that King’s Row has always been a tank-heavy map, brought in Sinatraa and Super to try the greatly-anticipated 3/3 mirror. Things got off to a very bad start for Vancouver when Bumper saw Sinatraa weak on Zarya, pushed forward, and got disconnected from his squad. That death led to a poor last-minute fight, and when Slime was killed on the back end, San Francisco was able to chase down kills literally into spawn. That set up a 4:30 defense on point C, which felt nearly impossible based on how the map had gone so far. The hidden upside was that, somehow, Vancouver had already been winning the ult economy fight even while losing positioning. Now on Point C they had the tools to cycle their defense, and some heroic plays (including Jjanu eating a key grav) ate minutes off the clock until San Francisco finally completed in overtime.

On the attack, the Titans were a bit slower to take Point A, and once they did things somehow got worse. San Francisco again engaged a spawn camp that was only broken with the investment of a grav and a sound barrier with 1:30 left on the clock. A clutch overtime fight delivered Point B, but the time bank had been drained and drained, and the next round came down to one final fight. San Francisco took it from a forward position, lost half their players, and couldn’t regroup in time to take another fight as Titans rolled into Point C.

In the second round, Vancouver defended first, and committed trans, grav, and shatter to the defense of A, all for naught. In overtime, Jjanu threw out a self-destruct and killed both supports, which should have ended the map, but Titans shockingly weren’t able to seal the deal, and San Francisco were only stopped at the gates of B.

Architect tried the same Ana bionade strategy he had employed on Shock’s first attack, but this time Jjanu saw it coming and denied it to unlock the point. The final fight was the highlight of the game, a 5-player clutch that won the map.

With Titans right in front of the victory marker, Super hit a shatter onto Seominsoo. Twilight immediately used trans to save him, which allowed Seominsoo to pin 4 players into a grav. Bumper swung his hammer through, building an instant shatter, which he used right as Slime booped the now-stunned enemies into the middle of the field. The coup-de-gras was delivered by Jjanu, who perfectly placed a self-destruct in the middle of the enemy team.

Titans 2: Shock 0

Map 3: Volskaya

San Francisco made a puzzling substitution, bringing on Nevix to replace Choihyobin. At the time, it seemed as if they had a multi-DPS composition to throw in,  but first Vancouver had to go on the attack. Point A was again a bit rough, and the cap only came through with 30 seconds to go. After a couple of strong defenses on Point B, Vancouver finally capped with a smallish 2:00 timebank.

For San Francisco’s turn, they did not in fact have a DPS composition to throw at the Titans, instead opting for a mirror 3/3. Vancouver were consistently getting first picks until Bumper tried for a cheeky hidden shatter that was spotted out and quickly led to his death. The ensuing fight was hopeless… except somehow it wasn’t, and the Titans recovered to hold the point! Jjanu used a great zoning self-destruct, Seominsoo got some clutch kills, Twilight used trans to save lives, and San Francisco were surprisingly held.

That should have been the end of it–except in the next fight, Bumper used charge to stagger the enemy baby Dva and inadvertently didn’t actually impact the wall, instead flying into the icy river with his target. Another Reinhardt-less defense was a bridge too far, and the Shock got to continue their attack. Vancouver’s defense was stout, and it was only in overtime that San Francisco appeared to gain purchase. But once again, the Titans found a way to clutch out the victory, trading kills in what appeared to be a hopeless fight. Sinatraa, last alive, must have looked around and wondered where his teammates had disappeared to, right before he was punched into next Tuesday by Haksal on Doomfist.

Titans 3: Shock 0

Map 4: Route 66

With victory in hand, the new question became what improvements the Titans had made to their play on Route 66. The map had given us issues against Guangzhou, and the new idea was a Sombra-variation 3/3. There were some promising plays, but on the whole it looked like more practice was needed. Shock pushed pretty quickly into Point C, much like Guangzhou did the previous day. The cart was pushed nearly to the end before Vancouver once again hit an extra gear in crunch time and stabilized. First Twilight clutched with a 2k, then Jjanu hit another clutch self-destruct 3k. That meant that instead of a 2:00 timebank, Shock only completed the map in overtime.

On attack the Titans did a lot to allay my concerns, crushing fights when they needed to and riding the cart to mere meters from the finish with a minute to go. They couldn’t quite finish the map with that fight, but Twilight opened with a frag on the next attack and they capped also in overtime.

On the second attack, Shock found a critical pick with a solo grav onto Seominsoo, taking him out right as he used his own grav. Right after Point A, Twilight again clutched  kills and won the fight for his team, but Vancouver now had a long way to go in only a minute. Super built a fast shatter, but Twilight anticipated it and used trans to prevent damage, then got the opening kill to cap Point A. If the Route 66 doors opened slightly faster, Vancouver would have won, but instead Shock made it back to the cart. Bumper hit a shatter onto Sinatraa and charged in, and if his charge had connected that would have denied the enemy grav: but it barely failed to connect, grav came out, Bumper was locked up, and a Nevix self destruct ended the map.


Titans 3 : Shock 1

Player of the Match

This was a hard one. I almost chose Twilight, especially after his outrageous play on Route 66, but in the end I couldn’t deny the consistent greatness from another player. Titans fans, I gave this award to him yesterday, and I’m doing it again today.

Jjanu is your player of the match.

There are two big reasons. First, he actually ate so many of Sinatraa’s gravs that I lost count. Sinatraa has been one of the best Zaryas in the league, but today he was kept in check by the constant threat of defense matrix. San Francisco executed far fewer bomb/grav combos than Vancouver, mostly thanks to Jjanu.

 Second, Jjanu has a talent for clutch self destructs. After single-handedly saving the team against Guangzhou, he continued pulling their bacon out of the fire, highlighted by the map-winning bomb on King’s Row. Every time he tossed out his mech, you knew the chance was there for the killfeed to explode, and it always seemed to do so at the most critical times.