The Titans came out a bit rusty in the first half, as they failed to secure kills on Control and frittered away ult advantages on Assault. But the second half was an encouraging turnaround. In the end, the Titans secured a relatively comfortable victory, but also found some things to work on for the next match.

Map 1: Oasis

In mirror 3/3 matchups, the Defiant surprisingly imposed on the Titans and got control of the point first. Vancouver came back and won the next fight, but a last-minute contest by Roky somehow turned into a messy fight where neither team could get sufficient kills. Vancouver eventually prevailed, but only after 58% had been accrued by their opponents. It was an eloquent demonstration of how difficult it can be to retake a point even in a lost fight. The Titans took the lesson to heart, holding the point with an iron grip all the way to 100%.

City Center followed the exact same storyline. After an impossibly long contest by both sides, the Defiant finally found the cap first and built to 59%.  That percentage was, again, the result of Toronto winning the first fight and losing the second slowly. Also once again, the Titans refused to relinquish the point once it was theirs. The only difference was that the final fight occurred on the point, where once again the teams found it nearly impossible to find kills. The dam finally broke all at once, the Defiant were wiped, and though Vancouver had been less-than-perfect, things looked as expected.

Titans 1 : Defiant 0

Map 2: Anubis

Anubis is the only map anyone is going to pay attention to from this match, because it seems everyone is invested in finding narratives about ways the Titans are mortal. Which, sure. That’s the price of being the best team in OWL–it’s the cool thing to argue that you’re not all that. I’ll just mute the desk when they start arguing that the Shock are superior because they’ve managed to 4-0 a bunch of mediocre teams, while the Titans dropped maps to some of them.

Starting on defense, the Titans opted for a Winston-based hold against Yakpung on Reinhardt, which also meant Twilight played Ana to pump out heals from the backline. Bumper’s ult build was phenomenal, as he arrived at primal incredibly quickly and bashed Neko to death to stuff the first push. In the next fight, the Titans put Bumper on Reinhardt, with nano and grav to work with. The nano came out, but with no grav Bumper was swinging at air and was quickly cut down, leading to a Point A cap. Surging forward to B, Neko sniped Twilight with a zen right click, and the Titans weren’t able to bring the fight back, giving the Defiant a 4:11 snowball capture.

On the attack, the Titans rotated well, but Slime was taken out first, forcing another attack. With every ult except sound barrier ready, and Defiant running Ana and Winston, there were approximately 10 million ways for Vancouver to win the fight. They somehow found none of them. The grav only hit Yakpung, the bomb was late, and the nano shatter came out after two healers were dead. It was among the worst coordination we’ve ever seen from the team, and it was followed by another awful fight. In that one, Haksal was slept, necessitating a bubble to save him from a self-destruct that claimed Bumper’s life. Seominsoo tried to salvage it by dropping grav anyway, got nearly nothing for it, and the Titans were forced into an awful overtime fight that they also lost.

Titans 1 : Defiant 1

Map 3: King’s Row

It was fortunate that halftime took place right after Anubis. I obviously wasn’t backstage, but based on the improvement in play it seems the coaches might have insisted the Titans clean things up. Defending first, the Titans provided stiffer resistance from the get-go. After rebuffing Toronto on the first attack, Bumper was booped forward and killed to secure the cap, a strategy that would never again be successful in this match. Vancouver held in the archway for a long time, only finally ceding ground when the Defiant won a fight with grav. But the fight was far enough forward that Vancouver could come back and comfortably recontest at the entrance to point C, where Bumper shattered down two to win the fight. Roky hid in the subway to get an overtime touch, but Slime was wise to his Lucio games. The Defiant had to desperately fling themselves at the point one by one, Vancouver held, and things were looking much more normal.

They got really normal when the Titans went on the attack. It was Yakpung, not Bumper, who was booped into the enemy team so that he could be butchered, which gave the Titans a quick Point A cap. They lost the first fight in the archway, but there was more than enough time bank to afford that, especially after they steamrollered the next fight. It was so strong, in fact, that the Defiant only contested the victory box at the very last instant, setting up a major C9. When Yakpung, under pressure from Bumper, stepped oh-so-slightly backward, it was game over.

Titans 2 : Defiant 1

Map 4: Junkertown

Junkertown A is so wide open that 3/3 really struggles, even when it’s as good as Vancouver’s. Toronto came out with the Hammond triple DPS, against which the Titans tried a very bad rotation. That was actually a key mistake, as by the time everyone had died and could reset onto the Sombra Genji strat the Titans wanted to use, the point had nearly been capped, and a contest wasn’t really possible. Instead, they went back to a Winston 3/3, which with the ult reset should have been a death sentence. Instead, a nano on Bumper and a sleep kill on Envy gave the Titans early kills while Bumper built primal. He then leapt all the way to spawn, used primal to get even more kills, and exited with what I can only imagine was a huge goofy grin on his face. Neko, easily the MVP of the game for Toronto, found a key nade into a grav which took out Haksal, starting a long succession of kills for the point B cap. But it was here that the Titans made their stand, thanks equally to two abominably whiffed gravs by Ivy and a brilliant play by Haksal. Bumper and Yakpung went for identically-timed shatters, but it was Haksal with the presence of mind to whipshot the enemy Rein, bouncing him backwards. Bumper’s shatter connected, Yakpung essentially fell onto it and lost his own shatter, and the Defiant would go no further.

With the match victory condition now established, the Titans took the attack with a first kill onto Yakpung, then capped point A with another first kill onto Yakpung. Unwilling to be the punching bag, it was Yakpung who got the first kill in the third fight, swinging it in favor of the Defiant, but he couldn’t do anything when the Titans came out better in a twin grav-off. Then Slime booped him away, letting Bumper pin IM37 to take B, and pretty soon the cart was nearly onto the victory box again. Slime once more found a way to displace Yakpung, who was summarily killed and got to watch from spawn as the rest of his team fell against the Titans’ vicious onslaught.


Titans 3 : Defiant 1

Player of the Match

 Sometimes the Player of the Match is awarded for what he’s doing on his end. In this game, though, the most eloquent demonstration of this player’s power was in what he caused someone else to do.

Jjanu got so into Ivy’s head that he forgot how to use grav.

In the first half of the series, Jjanu found a way to eat some of Ivy’s graviton surges, denying the Defiant this key, fight-winning ultimate. In such a situation, a professional player will try to make adjustments. They’ve been coached to do it.

But you can’t coach away the fear.

What if Jjanu is hiding right around the corner, ready to gobble up this ult too?

It’s such a good chance, there are opponents right in front of you. Press Q. It’s right there.

But you can’t let him do it again. He’s done it so much already. What if this one gets absorbed too?

Where is he? You look. He’s far away. But maybe he’s about to boost in.

You look back. The chance is still there. You could go, right now.

But he’s staring at you. His eyes are boring into your soul. You have to look again. To be sure.  He boosts away. This one won’t get eaten.

Remember your fundamentals now. Turn back, look at the ground, press Q. You’ve done it. You’ve…

Oh no. It’s a whiff. You spent so much time on Jjanu, you didn’t realize the enemy team was gone.

That’s why Jjanu is the Player of the Match.