Regardless of what happens in the two Friday quarterfinal matches [Editors Note: this was written before the Shock beat the Dynasty and the Valiant beat the Spark], we get the most hype semifinal possible: the rematch between RunAway and Kongdoo Panthera. These two teams matched head to head in the Korean Condenders season 2 finals and it was some incredible Overwatch.
On Thursday, the Titans pounded the Outlaws. It wasn’t even close, the Titans outmanned and outskilled them at every turn. The Dragons on the other hand had a much more nuanced method of attack. They took advantage of NYXL’s greatest weakness; NYXL can’t play against aggressive teams. Shanghai just got in their faces with a ton of damage, used EMP and rolled the NYXL. All year NYXL has been slow to adapt and again they showed they don’t have what it takes to come out ahead when the games get close.
Stylistically, the Titans should match up far better against the Shanghai Dragons than New York did. This is largely because Stitch has been performing better on Sombra than Saebeolbe and Nenne, the hack should have been the way to fight Wrecking Ball but NYXL is too passive as a team to hack proactively. As well, the Titans are a team with far more options of team building among the starting 6, now 7. They could just run 2-2-2 with Winston/D.va and run at the Dragons, something NYXL refused to do. The Titans can also just put Stitch, SeoMinSoo and Haksal on DPS heroes and match them in damage dealt while using their superior team play to eek out small advantages in every fight.
In the Titans match against the Outlaws, one of the reasons they dominated was because the maps the Outlaws were good at, were also maps that the Titans were exceptional at. This is going to be a factor in the Dragons match as well. In stage 3, Shanghai’s two best map types are tied at 86%, Assault and Escort. Unfortunately for the Dragons, their best Assault map is Volskaya, which is also the Titans best map. This stage, the Dragons are 2-0 on both Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Havana, but the Titans are also 2-0 on Havana and 4-1 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar going back the last 3 months with a tied world record.
The Dragons third best map type this stage, Control, was still only a 50% winrate. Nepal and Oasis were both 1-2, and Ilios was 2-0, but the Titans are 3-0 on Ilios this stage, and 9-1 all year. Remember that this will be a first to four, so there’s a good chance we will see multiple of these Control maps that the Titans should be so heavily favoured on. Speaking of heavily favoured, the Dragons have a whopping 14% winrate on Hybrid this month, with a sole win on Eichenwalde.
Considering the history these two teams have, I’d expect both teams to come out hungry for a big win. While the Dragons Season 2 squad does have history playing long matches, it hasn’t been any time recently. The Titans have kept in shape with two stage finals so if this match goes long, the Titans will have the advantage. The Titans are slightly better than the Dragons on the Dragons best maps, but they are considerably better on basically every other map in the pool minus Paris. Mapwise, this is going to be another match that should, on paper, heavily favour the Titans and if the Dragons expect to win, they have to come at the Titans fast and hard with a 4-0 or 4-1 win, if it goes any longer, the Titans will make it to their third consecutive stage finals.