Author: OmniStrife

From Vancouver Canada. An Instructional Designer by day. Creator of Fun With Akatsuki on YT. A big OWL / Vancover Titans Fan.
I co-host the @readysetpwn podcast.

Arriving for Season 2 – Prepare for Battle!

With mere days away from the moment we have all been waiting for, when our Titans are facing familiar rivals on Saturday, I have decided to make one last pitch to those who’ve just arrived to the fray or are still on the fence and make a short introduction to our Vancouver Titans.

Even prior to the inaugural season of the Overwatch League not many teams could claim the same branding awareness and following as RunAway. A plucky, tightly budgeted but closely-knit group of talented players clad in pink sweaters and led by two well known streamers, the power couple – Runner and Flowervin. The journey towards the big leagues was not a smooth one for this team however… Coming close to, but not winning the championship was a recurring theme for RunAway and finally when OWL season 1 was coming near, no one was willing to sign the whole roster as a team like some of their rivals were.

With the failures of not making the Overwatch League, not winning Apex, not getting a proper sponsorship again and Runner having to leave for his Mandatory military service, It looked like the end for RunAway. But with Flowervin taking the reigns, and the crazy support of their fanbase (seriously, a fan donated a washing machine) the team… no, the family decided to have another go at it in Contenders.

Finally, after a crazy 8 map finals win over KongDoo Panthera, in what many consider to be the best series of Overwatch ever played… RunAway were finally crowned as number one. The tears from Flowervin and the players flowed as the redeeming pink confetti was falling on the stage. Finally, the financial sacrifice, the commitment to the team, the resilience to push through and finally get the long awaited championship, had all paid off.

As season 2 expansions rushed in to fill out their rosters to compete with the now-1 year “veterans” of OWL, not many were as coveted as the Tier 2 champions of the best region. The only question was whether they will be signed together as a team like they had always dreamed of. Rumblings from the Pacific North West soon came… that indeed they were.

Finally, in one of the final roster reveals for season 2, on December 1st, the rumors were finally confirmed: RunAway is in the Overwatch League! The whole team, now clad in the Cascadian blue, green and white and will be henceforth known as the VANCOUVER TITANS. The magnificent snowmen are finally here and are ready to compete on the big stage. Not unfamiliar with adversity and fueled by the desire to prove those who overlooked them wrong, we can expect the Titans to come out strong, fresh out of the gates. With existing synergy, a meta-proof roster and a chip on their shoulders you can expect the Vancouver Titans to be a team to be reckoned with, more so than any other expansion, one that could even rival the top dogs in OWL.

Can Haksal who’s been hailed as a Genji prodigy from the age of 15 live up to the promise? Can Stitch go toe to toe with OWL’s insane hitscans like Carpe, Pine and Surefour? Can BUMPER keep up his ridiculous streak of adapting and improving in any meta or role? Can SLIMETwilight and RAPEL live up to the hype of being hailed as the best support line outside OWL? Can JJANU keep up with the ridiculous talents at the role? Can Hooreg redeem his poor play in season 1 and remain consistent? Can SeoMinSoo prove that he is a top 5 flex player in the world and carry again in the clutch? Can the Vancouver Titans recreate the magic without the pink? Without Flowervin? Only time will tell.

TITANS 화이팅!!

Courtesy of the Vancouver Titans

Branding Review VIII – Washington Justice

Previously reviewed – Atlanta ReignToronto DefiantParis EternalGuanzhou ChargeChengdu HuntersHangzhou Spark, Vancouver Titans.

We have finally arrived at the 8th and last expansion team’s branding review, and what is this… do I hear the The Star Spangled Banner playing in the background? After the long journey through many colours, reveals, animals, otakus, and electric-terminology we’ve made it to the most “red white and blue” team out of the 11 that represent the USA.

Washington Justice

They’re finally here, officially out there, to the surprise of no one.

The Good – With a team that basically had everything spoiled for them, Washington  delivered on the roster reveals promptly and with style, boasting some of the most unique art styles we’ve seen yet. @thepeeetrick is the artist behind the stylized 80s / 90s cartoon – inspired roster rendition, so check his twitter for more stuff.

The Bad – Almost everything about how the brand was managed was poorly executed. The inconsistency of the news flow; Being the first to announce news with Janus and WizardHyeong but then the last to provide any news. Next, there were the offered positions that had gotten rescinded abruptly, putting people’s livelihood at risk. And finally, even the chance of a last redeeming reveal got spoiled accidentally. Lets hope for the Washington team that their luck turns for the better once the season starts.

The Mediocre – Finally, the actual branding is the topic of our conversation. To the surprise of nobody the Justice are going to adorn the red white and blue and I like both how the skins look and how unapologetically patriotic the reveal video was. You wanted that “USA! USA! USA!” feel? Well, you’ve got it. Embrace it fully or go home, I say. On the less positive side, I dislike how the logo looks; It is a couple of small adjustments from being a good one. I think that the black border around the insignia is superfluous and the logo would look much better and more in line with other DC teams, as shown on redditt by her_bri_bri, with 3 stars.

So this is it! Thank you for joining me for the colourful journey across the expansion brands. This series shall return with the 2020 expansions!

Branding Review VII – Vancouver Titans

Previously reviewed – Atlanta ReignToronto DefiantParis EternalGuanzhou ChargeChengdu Hunters, Hangzhou Spark.

Let me begin by stating the fact that this is me trying to be as unbiased as I can, as I am a Titans fan writing this review on a Vancouver Titans fansite… With this out of the way…

The seventh in our series of expansion branding reviews are the magnificent snowmen from the Pacific Northwest – The Vancouver Titans. A team shrouded in mystery and speculation, trying to take on the challenge of repackaging and redesigning a beloved team that probably, to this day has the strongest and most recognizable brand not just in Korea, but in the global scene of Overwatch: team RunAway.

Vancouver Titans

Can the talented bunch recreate the magic on the big stage without Runner or Flowervin on board?

The Good –  Great venue – ✓, improved colours – ✓,  awesome brand video – ✓,
awesome roster video – ✓, access to the players – ✓, merchandise – ✓, Flowervin – ✓, free food – ✓. When Blizzard had announced the Overwatch League, they had envisioned an amalgamation of the world of e-sport with that of the major sports in North America. I can honestly say that Vancouver’s first step in OWL was the best attempt at this feat so far. The reveal of the team: organization, venue, quality of production were all top notch and exceeded anything we saw compared to other reveals. Of course, sharing an owner with an established NHL team, who also owns the arena helps a lot but the execution was no less than exemplar.

The Bad – While exposure is almost always a good thing, and the gesture was a positive one, I’m not sure if bringing out the roster in front of hockey fans and introducing them on the ice was the right move. Especially, when the real OW fans were waiting somewhere else in the arena. I feel like the roars and cheers from about 150 people in the Sportsbar during the reveal were way louder and warmer than those produced by 20,000 on the rink. A truly wonderful moment that the players have sadly missed while they were awkwardly waving to the impartial crowd.

The Mediocre – While it is a great improvement over the earlier leak, something still feels a bit off with the logo and title. They are kind of eclectic in a way that there’s not much uniformity in the tone, especially with the name Titans and the Yeti over it. Perhaps it’s the generic name that has no local flavour, perhaps the skins that still appear kind of rough, or maybe it is just because it’s really, really hard to forget and let go of those pink sweaters and memories.

Next in line, the Washington Justice.

Branding Review VI – Hangzhou Spark

Previously reviewed – Atlanta ReignToronto DefiantParis EternalGuanzhou Charge, Chengdu Hunters.

Okay, we have to address the pink elephant in the room. We have arrived at our last stop with our reviews, at least until Vancouver and Washington DC decide to finally wake up that is. Currently, the latest to reveal their branding, and by far the boldest, the Spark who are owned by Bilibili – essentially the Chinese Crunchyroll – have fully embraced the anime culture and went all out with a real head-turner.

Hangzhou Spark

With what will be undoubtedly the best selling OWL skins in the game I can only be salty how the Spark have snagged the legendary RunAway colourway from Vancouver and Florida and made it their own.

The Good – While I’m sure the colours are polarizing, you cannot help but look at those incredible Reaper and Winston skins and start imagining how a full team push might look like, or how the colours will look on your hero of choice in the game. The Spark have not only taken an impressive first step into the league, but they’ve also shown us all how dull and uninspiring the majority of the safe ol’ red and blue teams look in retrospect.

The Bad – Meme’s aside, the finger logo is bad. It honestly looks like it was done in MS Paint in 10 minutes. As some of you might be aware, but their far superior original logo and name were rejected by Blizzard (shown below) and while I can see how it might have been challenging to replace at such a short notice, I cannot see how this iteration was chosen. There is value in the finger and it seems like the roster are already embracing the gesture in photos but the execution is where it fails.

The Mediocre – I won’t be expanding to much on this because I’ve already made that rant with the 
Guanzhou Charge review, but the generic electric titles do nothing for me.

Next in line, who knows really?Y

Branding Review V – Chengdu Hunters

Previously reviewed – Atlanta ReignToronto Defiant, Paris Eternal, Guanzhou Charge.

Even though Chengdu will just be one out of four Chinese teams in the upcoming season, it will be the only one bravely boasting a mostly Chinese roster. After the abysmal results of the Dragons in the inaugural season, I can only commend the Hunters with the bold statement they are trying to make. From what we’ve seen in the 2018 OWWC, there is potential in a Chinese roster if done right.

Chengdu Hunters

According to leaks, Chengdu will join the Eternal as the only 2 teams without a single Korean.

Good – The hunters are truly embracing the Chinese brand and boast a rugged Panda logo as the face of their franchise. Other than being badass, the panda has already established some infamy on twitter with its cuter sweater(?)-clad rendition, incessantly appreciating everyone’s support.

Bad – Does the Hunter label really fit with the cuddly lazy Panda bear? not really. While a cute dichotomy, I can’t help to think something better could’ve been chosen for the Chengdu Panda whose meat consumption constitutes even less than 1% of its diet…

Mediocre – While I do consider it to be the best attempt (so far) at pulling off the difficult yellow as a main colour brand (and it is better than the Mayhem’s or the Valiant’s attempts). So why is it under mediocre you ask? Because when I’m looking at the official skins and the logo image, I still don’t get what the colour palette is. Is that orange or brass? where’s that yellow in the logo? There’s not enough uniformity of colours in that particular image like with other teams – a big no-no in branding.

Next in line, the Hangzhou Spark.

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