The Vancouver Titans have started stage 2 off hot, leading with a 4-0 crushing victory over the Hangzhou Spark. In this 4-0 win, they set a new world record push time on King’s Row. While that is impressive on it’s own, it’s not the first time the Titans have set a record this season. In the stage 1 finals against the San Francisco Shock, the Titans also set the world record for their insane game 7 payload push on Rialto. Both of these record breaking assaults started with a dominant attack and were then followed up by a ridiculous snowball where the other team could never get control back from the Titans. Are the Titans doing something that nobody else has figured out on attack? It’s clear the Titans are a dominant team with the payload, they won the SFS best of 7 by only winning payload maps, but is their method of attack something you can duplicate?
I’ve already spoken at length about how King’s Row was a failure of a defensive hold by the Spark, as well as how GodsB and the Spark weren’t able to recognize that having a D.va was more important than having a Sombra here, so let’s mix in every team fight on Rialto.
Wait hold on, that’s not supposed to happen on Rialto.
What’s supposed to happen is the Shock are supposed to sit at the top of the stairs and every time the Titans come up to the car, they’re supposed to focus fire them down one by one. This is the second hardest choke point in the map and the Shock just let Bumper do Bumper things and run right into them ready to start swinging. This clip is a bit of an extended team-fight, but the Titans did here what they did against Hangzhou when the Spark tried to retreat to do some poke damage and then get the fight under control. Much like in that instance, Bumper runs directly at Sinatraa and then from what we can see, the whole team unloads on him. Bumper then moves to the right of Sinatraa and puts up shield to protect himself from getting picked and he starts to take a wide angle on the rest of the Shock. This way the Shock are forced to stand back and watch as Sinatraa dies. If they try to push up or use Rascal’s Shield Bash to intervene and protect Sinatraa, that gives Bumper the go-ahead to charge directly into the Shock’s defenseless supports, so all they can do is look on in horror. The Shock try to congregate quickly to contest the tunnel, but Sinatraa has no energy and can’t afford to play his usual flanking style of Zarya. Once ChoiHyobin gets singled out, the Titans take him to the woodshed, Viol2t’s Transcendence comes in too late and it takes a while but the Titans do sort out the Shock one at a time in dominant fashion.
The whole first leg of Rialto was a strong showing by the Titans, with their aggressive style, by pushing aggressively past the buildings, they were able to skip the team fight in the courtyard past the choke but before the bridge entry, this gained them a ton of time and a ton of momentum because ChoiHyobin and Sinatraa were so staggered that there was nothing they could do. The first attack on King’s Row did have a similar element to Rialto, however instead of Sinatraa’s wandering Zarya, it was GodsB who was singled out and sent back to spawn. The Titans used the same method of attack, by running directly at the Spark swinging, it scared the Spark off of the point. GodsB is another notable flanker and when the Spark play GOATS, he is usually the one playing Zarya, so there are a lot of parallels to be drawn here with the style of play of both GodsB and Sinatraa. Once GodsB used his translocation, the Titans knew exactly where he was going to be and GodsB got a face full of Haksal’s flail. The Spark’s use of Sombra is to do what D.va usually does, particularly with how Sombra’s hack abilities do a similar job to defense matrix in terms of negating enemy ultimates and cooldown abilities. Now that GodsB is dead, much like ChoiHyobin did on Rialto, the Titans proceed to push up to the corner of the book store and skip the King’s Row tunnel chokepoint entirely, just like the courtyard fight in the finals.
It’s important to note that something did happen off camera here. Because ChoiHyobin died so early in the fight and it took so long for the Shock to respawn, the D.va player got the early spawn and the rest of the team didn’t when Bumper and SeoMinSoo ran at them. This let them skip not only the team fight on the front of the theatre, but on the first corner too. The next time the fight starts, there is a colossal mistake by the Shock. The whole team jumps down onto the low ground instead of staying on the stairs. The reason this is a key mistake is because the high ground there is so difficult to beat. If Zarya is standing on the high ground protected by Reinhardt’s shield, she can fire directly over the shield, and then if the enemy team’s shield is moved to protect from Zarya’s particle cannon, the defending Zenyatta can fire away under the shield unobstructed to deal massive team damage and get a lot of charge for Transcendence.
Once the skirmish actually starts, Bumper donates his Earth Shatter, as if an offering to the payload gods, but when the Titans quickly realize that ChoiHyobin is nowhere in sight again, they immediately use Graviton Surge and the teams exchange defensive ultimates. When the Titans Graviton Surge expires, the Shock attempt to back up as a group but Slime uses his Lucio boop to separate Sinatraa and Moth from Super and Rascal and the team weaves around the boxes. Once the team has Super in their sights, Sinatraa tries to Graviton Surge, possibly to stop this madness from snowballing any further than it already has, but he and Moth immediately get wiped from the face of the earth as Rascal, ChoiHyobin and Viol2t attempt to get back to contest the payload before the second point is reached. While attempting to retreat, Viol2t and Rascal are immediately deleted and SeoMinSoo gives chase on ChoiHyobin, leaving him without his mech and unable to re-contest.
Meanwhile, on King’s Row, the Spark have been much better at saving their ultimates for a big push back, unfortunately that push never comes. Now that the Titans have made it through the underpass, they are a Slime and Bumper combo away from clearing through the streets section of King’s Row. Slime uses his right click to bounce Guxue in the air and Bumper shatters the whole team, who is then promptly swept up by Stitch and Twilight. Their ultimates are going to be key for defeating the Spark if they decide to attack the point again before objective B.
Since that last part was another extended team fight, we’re going to have to look at two clips since the Spark were able to re-contest. Here, GodsB does nothing and is forced to run away from Haksal. In the meantime, the Titans have rolled the rest of the Spark into a nice little Graviton Surge ball and Bumper finishes off the Spark.
The Titans start the last leg of Rialto off strong, once the payload reaches the high ground, they turn to Super and run directly at him swinging. Once they catch up to the retreating Shock, Jjanu uses his Self-Destruct and Haksal uses Rally, then runs at Super and uses Shield-Bash on him at the last second as soon as he starts to swing his hammer. This is a massive pacing move, Jjanu’s bomb explodes taking Sinatraa and Viol2t with it. Bumper and SeoMinSoo clean up the rest of the team and the payload starts to turn the corner. Once the Shock’s respawns come out, SeoMinSoo and Bumper both unleash the ultimates they earned in the last fight and the Shock can’t do anything to stop the bleeding.
The Spark’s final stand is a lot more disappointing to watch. In the last fight, the Spark do a whole lot of nothing. They misuse EMP, Earth Shatter, and they don’t use either of their support ultimates or Graviton Surge. What the Titans did on Rialto was a story of coming back from being down a game the whole series only to break a world record and prove to the Overwatch League that they are the best team in the world. King’s Row against the Spark is all about bullying a young team who hasn’t yet found their way in the league.
The Shock’s reaction to the Titans’ aggressive and energetic style of play was that of a young, inexperienced, tired team who had already given it everything they had. The end result was what you would expect from a team full of competitive veterans, the Titans may be new to OWL but they have been on strong teams and have been learning from veterans for years. This finals was an all new experience to the Shock roster but the Titans had been there before, 3 times already. This hugely contrasts with what happened to the Spark. The Spark came in as a team with fairly high expectations but who were unable to produce. Where the Shock proved everyone wrong in being able to play far above expectations, the Spark did the opposite. The Spark’s disappointing 3-4 stage 1, included wins against the LA Valiant and the Shanghai Dragons pre-Gamsu, their sole win against a good team came against the LA Gladiators, who were still just a mid-table team in stage 1.
Outside of the end results, these two maps don’t share a ton in common. One inexperienced team who gave it everything they had but couldn’t hold on one more game and one team with players who had a lot of success in South Korea but haven’t played up to par with the Overwatch League. The Shock used their ultimates and brought the fight to the Titans every chance they got, they were just outclassed by a better team. The Spark on the other hand, just sat back and took it. They refused to use ultimates, they refused to do any sort of ability combos, they refused to switch when they badly needed a player on D.va and they frequently weren’t able to bring the attack to the Vancouver players.
Are the Titans doing something no other team is doing? Not really, but it is clear that aggressive 3-3 compositions are the way to go from here on. When it’s looked at in depth, it becomes clear that the Shock played exactly how they had played all of stage 1, like a talented young team who play aggressive Overwatch. The Spark defense on the other hand, was sloppy, unorganized, and they massively underperformed, also exactly like how they had played all of stage 1.