Facing off against one of the only teams to make them sweat, Vancouver calmly dispatched Guangzhou with a 4-0 victory. How much was due to having a real counter to multi-DPS compositions versus just being better is debatable, but hey: at least we’re officially #1!
Map 1: Ilios
I was excited for this match because I thought it would present an opportunity for Vancouver to practice against the multi-DPS style that Chengdu had use to such good effect. Immediately on Ruins, I was not disappointed. Guangzhou ran Tracer/Sombra/Widow with a Hammond as main tank, and it seemed the counter comp was once again swapping Seominsoo onto McCree instead of Zarya. Sadly, outside of one flashbang onto Hotba’s Tracer that allowed a brief capture, the composition was an abject failure. Vancouver essentially couldn’t even approach the point and were easily thwarted. For Well, the Titans tried an Orisa/McCree setup and got first cap against a Winston 3/3, and they built all the way to 99% before ceding the point. The Titans built ults and took control of a fight around 75%, and while the Charge stalled to 96% the Titans won in reasonably comfortable fashion. That brought it all down to Lighthouse, where Twilight came out on a Moira for some reason. Swapping him to Zen meant Guangzhou got better starting position and capped first, but the swap was clearly the right move. Twilight, along with Bumper and Seominsoo, proceeded to tear the Charge apart and wrest control after only 20%, and from there it was the Twilight show. All in one fight he killed Happy, used trans to save Bumper, melee killed Chara, solo killed Rio, and long-range dinked Shu. Vancouver won 100%-20%, giving them a series lead.
Titans 1 : Charge 0
Map 2: Numbani
The Charge brought in Kyb as a replacement for Eileen, I believe to use his greater skill as a Brigitte player (while Eileen’s superior Sombra is more relevant on control maps). Guangzhou were first to defend and managed to pop Jjanu out of mech, but Vancouver rotated brilliantly so that he could bunny blaster his way back to a suit. Following their usual M.O. the Titans immediately had another player die first when Bumper found himself trapped in the hotel room with Rio and Happy, but Seominsoo’s high charge and a key trans from Twilight gave them the strength to fight back and take the point. Stopped despite using lots of ults at the gate to Point B, the Titans played good positional Overwatch to force Guangzhou out of position, quickly built a new set of ults, and won another resounding victory. On Point C, Charge held too far forward, were caught in a grav, and Bumper pinned Rio on the very last defense to guarantee the map completion with about 13 seconds left.
On defense, the Titans were confronted with another triple DPS, this team featuring a Pharmercy from Kyb and Chara. With no long-range damage at all, the Titans were forced to just play in alcoves. They delayed quite well, but eventually Happy (on Sombra) built an EMP and with no resources, Vancouver was wiped. The Pharah continued her reign of terror until the gate of Point B, where the Titans countered an EMP and forced Guangzhou into a series of increasingly-more-standard 3/3s, while the Seominsoo stayed on Sombra and played quite well. His coordination with Bumper on an EMP-into-Shatter was sublime, and the Titans managed the unusual Point B hold to extend the lead going into halftime.
Titans 2 : Charge 0
Map 3: Volskaya
With their stage playoff berth hanging in the balance, the Charge brought Eileen back in to play Brigitte. Their dreams of a reverse sweep died a quick and painful death when he was picked first and the Charge failed to clear out with sufficient haste. That let the Titans chase down staggered enemies while running onto Point B, and they just barely missed out on setting a new competitive Volskaya record with a 6:26 timebank.
Considering what we’d seen in the series thus far, that pretty much guaranteed the win. Guangzhou again tried lots of DPS and Happy even picked Slime first, but the Titans traded back for Rio and in the end it took 2 minutes for the Charge to cap Point A. Forced into a 3/3 mirror on B, they were rebuffed time and time again, and their 5 minutes dwindled to overtime before they finally seemed to gain purchase on the point. It wouldn’t have mattered, since an OT capture meant a draw and thus had already delivered the victory to Vancouver, but in any case the Titans used ults and closer respawns to cut down the members of Charge on the point and seal the victory then and there.
Titans 3 : Charge 0
Map 4: Dorado
With a 7-0 record guaranteed, the only thing left to play for was the bragging rights of a #1 ranking, which Vancouver could take with a victory in this final map. Kyb returned to the lineup because apparently the Guangzhou Brigitte seat is a merry-go-round with two seats, but the Titans did not bring in Stitch or Rapel. This, I suspect, was because they wanted their current starting roster present for the great Haksal-back-on-DPS experiment. This was another response to the Charge’s ubiquitous triple DPS composition, and I think paid the most dividends.
Haksal started on Pharah, immediately saw Happy on widow, and switched to Genji for the rarely-seen 2/2/2 with Seominsoo on Sombra and Haksal on Genji. Were it not for a clutch nano-Tracer from Shu, Titans would have gained the first checkpoint on their first push; instead, it took one extra.
Then came time for the Haksal nanoblade. How many kills could he get? The answer was 0, but in the best way possible. On drawing his blade, Chara booped him away, but Haksal was ready with the dash. Next, Chara used a solo sound barrier to prevent his own death, but even that was worn through quickly with two robotic slashes. What remained? Well, a life-saving nanoboost from Shu! Chara barely escaped with his life, but the use of two key support ults spoke to the respect that a Haksal blade commands.
The next nanoblade didn’t go as well, since Haksal had been caught in an EMP and couldn’t use it even though Twilight gave him nano, but he just used it vanilla and got two kills, bringing the cart to the edge of Point C. One final blade, this time successfully with nano, and the full completion was achieved.
On defense, the Titans went for the exact same composition, and got to spend some time spawncamping before a big EMP forced them to give up Point A. On Point B, the Titans finally acknowledged the current meta and swapped to 3/3. From that point it was more of what we’d seen all match: the Titans are just better at this than Guangzhou, and as a result it didn’t particularly matter how the Charge took fights.
Titans 4 : Charge 0
Player of the Match
Last week I mentioned that, despite a rough game against Chengdu, one player had kept up the same high level of performance. This week he was much the same, except with a strong-performing team around him the plays were of even higher caliber.
Twilight defines a game-changing flex support.
We were lucky enough to see lots of both Ana and Zen play from Twilight in this match, and one of the things that stands out is how he manages to play both at a supremely high level. His Zen shows up constantly in the killfeed, either getting the first pick or bulldozing through the middle of a chaotic fight and firmly entrenching the dominance of the Titans. His Ana keeps everyone alive, builds nano crazy quickly, and finds the right targets for sleep darts and bio nades. I think the ultimate tribute is what he enables, because the casters aren’t wrong: if Bumper were on another team, he’d be feeding his brains out. But with the Titans, he doesn’t, and that’s a credit to Twilight, the only support nutty enough to keep him alive no matter what nonsense he decides to pull.