In a playoff rematch, the Titans demonstrated (as if it needed to be) that their 4-0 victory in the Stage 1 Semifinals was no fluke. Once again, they easily dispatched the Seoul Dynasty, setting 2 speedrun times in the process.
Map 1: Busan
It appears that Stitch’s appearance last week was a function of the Titans not viewing the Spark as a serious threat, as they brought in Seominsoo for this match and kept him in for the entire game. Seoul opened with a standard 3/3, and Titans did the same but with Twilight on Ana instead of Zen. This is a strategy that served them well for a long time in Korean Contenders, and in the unsettled meta of today they seem to be returning to it. The biotic grenade is extremely powerful against a healing-centered composition, and Twilight is a master at placing that ability in the best areas. That was the story of City Center, in which Vancouver built to 99% before Twilight was picked and Seoul got a last-gasp capture. No worries, the Titans returned, built a grav, Jjanu dropped a bomb which killed nearly everyone, and Titans took the first control point.
On Mecha Base, Seominsoo roasted everyone to death and the Titans demonstrated exquisite coordination in staggering baby Dvas, combining a charge-without-kill and a sleep dart to get 20% capture percentage for free. The Titans built to 81%, but then the point started flipping back and forth. The Titans managed the round better, and entered the final fight with an ult advantage that they emphatically converted in the form of another Jjanu bomb. Without too much fuss, the Titans took the series lead.
Titans 1 : Dynasty 0
Map 2: Anubis
Vancouver clearly enjoyed their experience speedrunning against Hangzhou, so they decided to do it again on Anubis. Entering on the left-hand side, they ran directly into Marve1 on Winston, who had played on control and remained in the game instead of being replaced by Fissure. He was stunned and melted down instantly, putting Seoul in a nearly impossible position and giving the Titans a nearly free capture on Point A. Rushing to B, Seominsoo outdueled Fits on Zarya, and the Dynasty lacked the damage output to evict Vancouver from the point. A 6:18 finish was the second-fastest time ever on that map, and put Seoul in a deep hole.
In response, Seoul came out with the Anubis special, a triple DPS based on a Pharmercy over point and a Widowmaker covering from afar. Fits, on Pharah, was a nightmare to deal with and killed Bumper repeatedly, but somehow Vancouver continually contested and got key kills, managing to drain 2 minutes of time that already set the Dynasty irrevocably behind. An errant nanoboost that hit Tobi on Mercy instead of, well, anyone else didn’t help. Moving onto B, Michelle on Sombra invisibly watched as his team was massacred inside of a graviton, translocated away, and then somehow was still chased down by the Titans, who were clearly operating on a whole other level. In the next fight, Bumper found himself isolated, went down, and in the span of 10 seconds the Titans twice barely failed to take out Fits. Instead he stayed alive, the Dynasty burned the Titans off the point, and we headed to a second round.
This time, the Titans contested Ryujehong’s bridge position far more aggressively, and at first blush it didn’t succeed. Bumper went down first, but somehow Twilight was the first to build his ult, and Vancouver traded efficiently to somehow repel the push. The Dynasty spent their entire 4 minute timebank plugging away at Point A, finishing with about 90% progress, but being denied even a final fight when Marve1 on Hammond was trapped in the side room and killed instead of triggering overtime.
We kind of expected a multi-DPS comp from the Titans, both for fun and as a reasonable strategy, but instead they opted for the standard 3/3. They lost one fight, but the idea anyone could deny them for 6 minutes was absurd, and they won with plenty of time to spare.
Titans 2 : Dynasty 0
Map 3: Eichenwalde
The Titans were first on the attack, and executed the highly complex strategy of “run directly at Seoul and kill all of them,” which frankly is all they needed to do to beat this team. If any demons remain from Runaway losing Eichenwalde in the 7th and final game of the APEX Season 2 Grand Finals, they were surely exorcised by this attack run. Seoul only won a single teamfight when Fits connected with a grav and Twilight was still on Ana, so the team was without the healing output of transcendence. Recognizing the issue, Twilight swapped to Zen, and thereafter nothing troubled the Titans’ inexorable march forward. Having fun,Bumper tried to match the famous “Eye of the Kaiser” play, but sadly all he hit this time was a shield. It was another speedrun, this time the 4th-fastest time ever on this map.
The Dynasty’s attack on point A was astonishingly slow, which meant nearly everyone built ults before any engagement actually occurred. When it did, Seominsoo’s early grav was countered by a trans from Ryujehong, Marve1 hit a lucky pin onto Bumper, and the cap came through. But on B, the Titans had an ally: the famed Eichenwalde Bridge. Vancouver’s defensive position was impregnable, and in fight after fight the Dynasty were forced to jump en masse into the creek far below in order to reset. Finally it was the last fight, and instead of choosing to jump, the Titans grabbed their opponents and tossed them aside, staking an emphatic claim to ownership of the bridge and winning the series.
Titans 3 : Dynasty 0
Map 4: Rialto
The Titans went on the attack first, and executed a far more cunning plan–so cunning, in fact, that most people won’t even believe that it was a plan. Haksal stood on the second floor, feeding ult charge to Marve1 on Winston. The Titans then turned their focus to the monkey, forcing out a primal rage, and Haksal spotted his moment to advance forward. Seeing him split forward, Marve1 booped him further away from the Titans, but directly into the Seoul backline, where Haksal was able to get a quick kill on Ryujehong to open up Point A, which then snowballed into stagger kills at the Point C archway. All of this, of course, was perfectly calculated by the Titans and in no way just a thing that happened.
At this point, though, the Titans actually started to struggle. Well, struggle in the context of this series. What happened was this thing that fans of other teams are familiar with, where their team “loses fights.” For about 2:30, the Titans didn’t advance, and then reality returned and they started moving forward again. Seominsoo tried to use grav to lock the Dynasty into their spawn, but was a bit overzealous and did it too early, allowing Seoul to come back and stop the cart right before the end of the map. That, plus the previous time burned, put Vancouver in a rough spot. Bumper’s hail mary shatter didn’t connect, and for the first time in the series, the Titans did not complete a map.
The Dynasty’s attack led with Marve1 again on Winston, and they adjusted their playstyle to go extremely aggressive against the Vancouver defense. Caught flatfooted, the Titans sat dumbfounded as the Winston repeatedly crashed onto them. It wasn’t until halfway into Point C that they managed to stabilize, and at that point they were staring down the barrel of a 4-minute hold. With that in mind, it was time to cycle ultimates. There’s no team in the league that does this quite like Vancouver, who don’t just win every fight, but win them while also getting more ults than they started with. After 3 minutes, Seoul panicked, committing ults to a lost fight and setting up a difficult final push. The Titans had an opening, but couldn’t capitalize on Seominsoo’s grav. Instead it was Fits who got the lockdown, delivering at least one map win to his squad.
Titans 1 : Dynasty 3
Player of the Match
In a match where the Titans generally dominated their competition, everyone had pretty good games. There was one storyline that stuck out, and that was one player’s magical ability to never, ever, ever die.
Jjanu only died 9 times across the entire match, an impossible figure that underscores his brilliant Dva play.
Dva is, of course, a hugely survivable character. With the largest health pool in the game, boosters to exist dangerous scenarios, and defense matrix to block incoming damage, she’s hard to even demech. Add in that you need to kill baby Dva too, and you have a recipe for a low-kill character. But Jjanu has taken that to a whole other level.
My best explanation for Jjanu’s insane k/d ratio is the following. The Titans are a squad that peel aggressively for their supports, and Jjanu is the point person for making sure the healers are protected. Slime, Twilight, and Haksal, recognizing the importance of that service for their own survival, are inclined to repay him by making sure that Jjanu also never dies. Is this accurate? Almost surely not. But I like to imagine that’s what’s going on.