The Vancouver Titans are what you would traditionally call a good team. They have elite players at every position, their starting 6 man lineup is all top 3 in the league on their heroes, their benched players would be stars on other teams, and they are the reigning Stage playoff champions. They are the first team to sweep a full stage through the playoffs and they were able to unlock an aggressive style of GOATS play only matched by the San Francisco Shock who proved themselves a formidable opponent and the only team who would take a map off of the Titans in the first post-season.
The Hangzhou Spark are not one of the league’s premiere teams, not even close. Their players are coordinated but don’t have the same star power as the Titans do, they didn’t make the stage 1 playoffs, they didn’t even put up a fight against any eventual playoff teams with a 1-3 loss to the Shock and a 0-3 loss to the Defiant. When you look at their SR rank among teams in the league, they currently sit 13th with a rating of 1452. The Titans are 1st with a rating of 1775. If that doesn’t paint the picture of how bad of a mismatch this could be, let’s do a quick breakdown of their map results head to head.
First, it’s important to note that the Titans and Spark have never played on Oasis, Hanamura or Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Luckily, we have the Titans’ stats from last season as RunAway to help get as much information as possible. Unfortunately since the Spark is an amalgamation of other teams it’ll be difficult to glean the same amount of information, but we can look at X6 Gaming and Seven anyways.
To win this match the Hangzhou Spark will need to take at least 3 maps off the Titans. Unfortunately for the Spark, the Titans are statistically better than them in 3/4 map types. To make matters worse, Control isn’t the one that bests the Titans, which means a longer match likely wouldn’t favour them.
|Control Win %||63%||77%||29%||77%||78%|
The Titans have a consistent record on Control maps, one percentage point over a year and a half is pretty good. What’s also good for them is how dominant they were on Oasis. Their overall win percentage trounces the Spark and while X6 Gaming was in the same realm, Seven got absolutely destroyed with an abysmal 0-3 record on Oasis.
|Assault Win %||21%||55%||57%||80%||76%|
Once again, the Titans have consistent numbers from last year but something happened to the Spark. They went from two mediocre percentages to a rock bottom team win rate on Assault maps. When you look a little closer at X6 and Seven, Hanamura is among both teams best maps. If the reason the Spark’s Assault map win percentages are so low is solely because they haven’t been playing on Hanamura, this could be a trap for the Titans.
|Hybrid Win %||14%||64%||50%||91%||88%|
On Hybrid, the same thing happens as above. The Spark combined two teams who were reasonably good at Hybrid maps but when they’re together, they can’t get anything done. The Spark have a miserable 14% winrate on King’s Row. This could be a near insurmountable climb for them as Hybrid is the Titan’s bread and butter. They have a dominant record on not only King’s Row but all Hybrid maps. The Titans have lost the same number of Hybrid maps as the Spark have won, just 1.
|Escort Win %||71%||50%||40%||70%||70%|
Here, Hangzhou seems to break the trend, where they are somehow far better on Escort than either of the teams they came from were. Seven at least had a respectable 2-1 record on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, even if their overall Escort winrate was a mere 40%, but the Spark have been largely carried by their stellar play on Dorado where they claim a 3-0-0 record. This could be an instance of the Spark’s metrics lending them far more credit than they deserve, while the Titans had a tendency to throw the last map after being up 3-0 to have some fun and or benched players in the match. This happened against the Valiant (lost on Rialto, put in Rapel), the Eternal (put in Rapel), and the Dragons (put in Slime).
What the numbers tell us is that the Titans roster, going back to Contenders Season 2, have been one of the most consistent teams in all of Overwatch and the Spark are going to have to claw and scratch for every inch of space. The Spark on the other hand, have been a tale of inconsistency and mediocre play at the OWL level. They tried their hardest to play GOATS in Stage 1 but were absolutely dismantled by the teams who played 3-3 compositions better than them and they weren’t able to show much resiliency on other compositions either. This will play well into the Titans’ hands, who are one of the most talented, aggressive, and confident GOATS teams in the league.
Throughout Stage 1, outside of the Finals, the only team that really gave the Titans a real scare was the Chengdu Hunters and their unexpected triple DPS compositions. If the Spark come out with something the Titans don’t expect, they could surprise them and take a few maps. Thanks to the Overwatch League’s “Inside the Comms” videos, we’ve seen the Titans were able to stay calm, cool and collected when the pressure was on throughout Stage 1, lets see if the same team shows up again for the first match of Stage 2.