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Why the Titans Will Beat the Dallas Fuel: A Map Analysis

The Titans’ first match of week 3 is against a team with a very curious schedule. The Dallas Fuel played no matches in stage 2’s opening weekend, then they proceeded to roll over the Toronto Defiant in an easy 4-0 win, while handling the Paris Eternal 2-1. The Fuel, in the Overwatch League’s inaugural season, were a team who massively underachieved and dealt with plenty of player controversy and coaching issues which were only magnified by their roster’s incredible notoriety. The Fuel roster was filled with extremely popular players, many from the pro scene and notable streamers like Seagull and Canadian national team main tank xQc. After plenty of controversy that has been discussed ad nauseum, the Fuel, an early favourite, finally got their act together in stage 4.

In an old playoff format that only featured 4/12 teams, the Fuel barely made it into the playoffs. They had a record of 6-4, with a map differential of +5, only one more map win than the Houston Outlaws, and Philadelphia Fusion. They only made the playoffs because of a clutch 3-1 victory over the second place LA Valiant, who had a record of 9-0 at the time, on the second last day of the stage but lost in the opening round to the New York Excelsior.

This year, instead of the clutch play the Fuel showed off in last season’s stage 4, they lost their win and in to the playoffs to the Boston Uprising, in a reverse sweep. Since the Vancouver Titans defeated the Guangzhou Charge in the stage’s last regular season match, the Uprising made it to the playoffs where they were swept by the Titans.

FuelTitans
Control Win %73%75%
Lijiang Tower

This is close. Percentage wise, this is the closest someone has come to the Titans statistically in a while. Lifetime, the Fuel have a mere 44% on control maps, which is actually their highest among map types, which could lead to this being more of a mismatch than it appears to be on paper. Lijiang Tower was their third best Control map out of 5 with a win record of 6-8. The Fuel look a lot better than they did last year, and they underachieved a little in stage 1. With that in mind, Lijiang Tower is a good map for DPS heroes so we could see a similar result to Busan vs the Outlaws.

FuelTitans
Assault Win %28%85%
Hanamura1-0

Uh okay, that’s a little more like what we’ve come to expect from the Titans. Not only is Hanamura extremely favoured for the Titans, but it’s also a map that drastically favours GOATS. Dallas’ GOATS isn’t bad, but it’s not on the same level as Vancouver.

FuelTitans
Hybrid Win %67%93%
Blizzard World1-0

We saw the Titans dominate the Spark on , and lucky for the Titans the map heavily favors 3/3 on attack. One of the common defense themes is a bunker composition, which the Titans did well against on Eichenwalde against the Outlaws and on King’s Row against the Spark. One of the biggest obstacles the Titans will have to deal with is the skill and flexibility of the Fuel players. OGE, the Fuel’s main tank is excellent. He’s one of the better Winston players in the game, his Reinhardt is good as well but his Winston is on another level, he’s likely a top 3 Winston in Overwatch league in terms of overall skill and use of Winston’s ultimate ability, Primal Rage. NotE, their off-tank is not only one of the better D.Va players, but he’s also very flexible and can play several DPS roles like Tracer, and Hanzo.

If the Fuel opt for a 3/3 defense instead of Bunker, their Winston GOATS could be harder to handle for the Titans. Blizzard World’s first point is good for both GOATS and bunker comps. It’s a fairly open map for the first 60% of the payload push before you get underground.

FuelTitans
Escort Win %56%69%
Junkertown

Junkertown is not a map where you need to play GOATS and that could be trouble for the Titans. There are two things pro teams often do on Junkertown, the fun one is the pirate ship comp, where you put a Bastion with an Orisa shield on the front of the car and a Reinhardt protecting the back while Mercy and Baptiste protect the whole team. The serious one is double sniper. We could potentially see Stitch in here to take over for SeoMinSoo and if the Titans opt for a triple DPS attack, Bumper might make the serious flex onto Hanzo while Jjanu uses the Wrecking Ball to disrupt the Fuel.

In terms of predictions, this should be a win for the Titans but it could be close. It’s probably a 3-1 win, but with the radical team comp changes that occur on Junkertown, this could go to game 5. Since game 5 is Control, the longer this match goes, the better it could be for the Fuel. The Titans need to get this match done as quick as possible and not underestimate the Fuel, they look like a pretty good team this stage and could easily make the stage 2 playoffs.

Episode 20 – GOATs Until You Can’t

Joining Chris to talk about the Vancouver Titans is co-host Omni. They pick apart the Vancouver Titans wins over the Seoul Dynasty & Houston Outlaws, address if the Outlaws gave either a quick scare, and begin looking ahead to the possible placement for the Stage 2 playoffs. Plus there’s chatter about the new Overwatch archives event, Storm Rising, a few patch updates and the Dallas Homestand next weekend!

Stage 2 Week 3 Preview: Fuel and Uprising

After two rather easy wins over the Seoul Dynasty and the Houston Outlaws, the Vnacouver Titans have a 3-0 record and are pushing for the OWL record for most consecutive wins. But in this stage, with the strong teams nearly exclusively playing against weak ones, that ‘s only good enough for a 4th-place position. Vancouver find themselves behind the 4-0 New York Excelsior, the 4-0 Los Angeles Gladiators, and the perfect-map-record 3-0 San Francisco Shock.

That perfection will likely continue for the Shock, as they get to face the collapsing Toronto Defiant and the very average Hangzhou Spark. The Titans, though, get a pair of interesting opponents in the Dallas Fuel and the Boston Uprising.

Dallas are, at least for the moment, also undefeated, having won convincing victories over Toronto and Paris. After mostly discarding the old EnvyUs roster and making intelligent trades for uNKOE and NotE, the Fuel are now one of the most successful mixed rosters in the league. Main tank OGE has his confidence back and is staking a claim as a top tank in the league, and his coordination with NotE looks much better than it was with rCK. The DPS lineup seems to have settled on Zacharee and aKm, who synergize nicely on Brigitte and Zarya, even if Zach’s capacities in a new meta are yet to be demonstrated. The support duo of uNKOE and Closer is individually skilled, tracks ults well, and enables big plays from OGE. All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a Fuel fan.

There are three problems for Dallas in going up against the Titans. The first is timing: they have a 2-match week, and the other team is Seoul. The Dynasty seem pretty much even with the Fuel in terms of skill, which means winning that match will require a lot of prep work. With Vancouver a cut above both of those teams, and Dallas looking at a possible playoff berth in the 5-8, non-undefeated part of the bracket, it may be better allocation of resources to focus on beating the Dynasty. If the Fuel invest too much in the Vancouver match, and consequently lose to Seoul, that might be their playoff chance out the window.

The second problem is Zacharee. In the current meta, he’s been the main Brigitte player, and has come under fire for sometimes poor play. Part of that is that everything Dallas does is under a microscope: they’re one of the most popular teams in the league, and came in with such high expectations that recalibrating has been difficult for the fanbase. But another part is his play–Haksal he is not. And that extends to a new DPS meta. Zach looked impressive during his stint with Fusion University–but considering that’s the only organization in Overwatch that can match the dominance of Runaway, it’s not hard to look good when your team is stomping all the competition. Zach can play lots of DPS, but his ability to do so at the OWL level is not yet established. In either case, the Titans should have a real skill advantage at this position.

The third problem is Dallas vs. Fuel. This is a roller coaster of a team, one that constantly cycles between giving hope to the fanbase with good performances, and collapsing like an underdone souffle for undeterminable reasons. Two good games in this stage are encouraging, but they provide no guarantee at all that the Fuel won’t suddenly regress to a soloqueue team.

After last week, I’ve learned my lesson on predictions. The Titans are clearly the better team, but the Fuel have the strength to wrestle a map away somewhere.

Vancouver will win this one 3-1.

The second match of the week is against a team the Titans already faced in the Stage 1 Playoffs, the Boston Uprising. After the NoterCK trade I mentioned in the Dallas section, the Uprising’s roster is slightly different, but it remains essentially the same as the one Vancouver bullied a couple weeks ago.

As was the case then, Fusions is probably the best player on the roster, with AimGod also deserving a shoutout. The rest of Boston is hard for me to analyze because they suffer from what I call “Padres syndrome.” The San Diego Padres are a perennially bad baseball team, but it’s hard to imagine ways to make them better, because compared to itself, the team is well-balanced. That is, each player is just about as good as the next within the team–it’s only once you go outside the team that you realize there are better players on other squads.

So it’s not that, say, Colourhex is a bad DPS player, or that he’s clearly worse than Blasé (or that Blasé is clearly worse than Colourhex). It’s that, when I look at other teams, I see Carpe and Profit, or Sinatraa and Seominsoo, or even Happy and Baconjack.

And of course, when I look at the Titans, I see a team that outclasses Boston at basically every position. Vancouver’s 3-0 victory in their last meeting was anything but surprising, and there was no point at which it felt like Boston might even be close to nabbing the win. Sure, the meta has shifted a bit, but I see no reason to think that will change the fundamental disparity between the two teams.

Vancouver is just plain better than Boston. An extra map is only going to make that more clear.

The Titans win it 4-0.

A Game of Throws: Outlaws Edition

Saturday’s tilt between the Vancouver Titans and the Houston Outlaws began with a 2-0 win on Busan, but not by the team you’d expect. The Titans entered the matchup with a 4-0 record on Busan, but the Outlaws used their surprise DPS to pull out one close game and one that was decidedly one-sided. Then, the Titans did what they do and shrugged the loss off to win the next 3 maps with ease.

After Busan, the Outlaws swapped their winning DPS composition in favor of the classic 3/3, but their 3/3 skills were sorely lacking compared to the best team in the league. This led to a fan outcry from Twitter and Reddit, people didn’t understand why a middling team would swap from something that works to something that clearly did not. Let’s take a second and see what the professionals had to say.

How did the Outlaws respond? Not well, to either the tweets or the change in team composition. Of the people I quoted, I think Reinforce is the most accurate. Busan is wide open for DPS heroes, but the following maps were Paris, Eichenwalde, and Rialto, which all favor 3/3. When you look at the way you attack on Paris, heavy tanks and healers are vital. Bastion based bunker teams are great time wasters here, because there’s only one route that takes you through the choke point into the action but if your goal is to win, you’ll want to play Winston GOATS. Since there’s only one way through to the objective, the Titans get to dive the Outlaws backline at the last second as they come through the choke. This way, they get to combine the best parts of 3/3 with the best parts of the defensive counter-Dive.

Above, we see Bumper launch himself into the Outlaws defenses combined with Twilight’s Nano Boost and biotic grenade. Muma launches himself right back to try to force Bumper to peel, which he does, but the Outlaws can’t follow up on Muma’s aggression because they’re attempting to recover from Twilight’s clutch play. Despite the Outlaws losing this fight, going GOATS was the correct call here. If the Outlaws opted for their triple DPS attack, there would have been no way for Muma to distract Bumper and interfere with his feasting on the Outlaws supports. Generally, 3DPS runs either Hammond or Winston as their main tank however Hammond would have been easy for the Titans to handle without Bumper. They simply use Haksal’s shield bash while the whole team focus fires the giant hamster. With Winston, Muma is also a lot easier to kill because he doesn’t have Danteh’s protective bubbles.

This approach, the Outlaws try and switch to Reinhardt to better protect their backline with shield, it doesn’t work though. Both Muma and CoolMatt aren’t paying attention and Twilight gets another huge grenade, this time on Boink’s Lucio, the Titans then spring into action and delete him. In all of Paris, these fights are the two most important. The Titans did slay the Outlaws, but it’s important to keep in mind that the way the Titans were playing would have punished 3DPS even harder than it did GOATS, with no Reinhardt shield, no defense matrix and no energy bubbles from Zarya, there would have been nothing stopping Bumper, Twilight and Haksal from dismantling the Outlaws on their own. This same style was so much harder for the Titans to replicate on Busan because of the long sightlines and platforms that overlook the objective marker, two aspects that favor DPS. In addition, the absurd damage the Outlaws were able to deal on Busan made it incredibly hard for the Titans to push forward and still have enough health once they reached the Outlaws because of their impressive Widowmaker, Soldier 76, and Torbjorn compositions.

On Eichenwalde, the Outlaws started with a Sombra/Pharah team for point 1 but the Titans were able to take it out by swinging around the back of the objective. By the time the Outlaws switched to Sombra GOATS, the Titans had already made it to the bridge, however that’s where the Outlaws 3/3 started to work for them. They held the bridge for over 3 and a half minutes and the Titans were stopped in their tracks.

The Outlaws attack was a full GOATS assault from both sides. Honestly, the Outlaws were actually pretty good on GOATS throughout both sides of Eichenwalde. They had a good chance to move the payload when Muma and Boink combined to kill Bumper but the Titans grav/bomb combo stopped them in their tracks. Following that fight, Bumper then got 5 earth shatters in a minute and forty five seconds ending the Outlaws trip to Eichenwalde on his own.

On Rialto, the Titans are just a better team, they don’t need to be better at 3/3, because the Outlaws are just bad on Rialto with a 0-3 record. This doesn’t compare too favourably to the Titans’ 4-2 record with the 1st and 2nd fastest attacks.

The Outlaws were actually pretty good outside of Paris and the cries from fans and professionals is a little over the top. While they did look really good on Busan, there was no opportunity for them to replicate that type of attack and it seems that the Outlaws are dedicated to getting good at GOATS instead of playing 3-3.

Finally, here’s one of the Outlaws’ projectile DPS players, Jake, with a pretty bad take. 3DPS isn’t a hail-mary strategy like he seems to think it is. Hopefully the rest of the Outlaws, and the rest of the pro players don’t think that anything non-GOATS is a cheese team composition as well. Yes, the Outlaws lost a fairly close match against an elite team, but if they tried to play 3DPS while the Titans did their Titan things, they would have been flattened.

King’s Rialtow: A Fight-by-Fight Examination of the Titans’ World Records

The Vancouver Titans have started stage 2 off hot, leading with a 4-0 crushing victory over the Hangzhou Spark. In this 4-0 win, they set a new world record push time on King’s Row. While that is impressive on it’s own, it’s not the first time the Titans have set a record this season. In the stage 1 finals against the San Francisco Shock, the Titans also set the world record for their insane game 7 payload push on Rialto. Both of these record breaking assaults started with a dominant attack and were then followed up by a ridiculous snowball where the other team could never get control back from the Titans. Are the Titans doing something that nobody else has figured out on attack? It’s clear the Titans are a dominant team with the payload, they won the SFS best of 7 by only winning payload maps, but is their method of attack something you can duplicate?

I’ve already spoken at length about how King’s Row was a failure of a defensive hold by the Spark, as well as how GodsB and the Spark weren’t able to recognize that having a D.va was more important than having a Sombra here, so let’s mix in every team fight on Rialto.

Wait hold on, that’s not supposed to happen on Rialto.

What’s supposed to happen is the Shock are supposed to sit at the top of the stairs and every time the Titans come up to the car, they’re supposed to focus fire them down one by one. This is the second hardest choke point in the map and the Shock just let Bumper do Bumper things and run right into them ready to start swinging. This clip is a bit of an extended team-fight, but the Titans did here what they did against Hangzhou when the Spark tried to retreat to do some poke damage and then get the fight under control. Much like in that instance, Bumper runs directly at Sinatraa and then from what we can see, the whole team unloads on him. Bumper then moves to the right of Sinatraa and puts up shield to protect himself from getting picked and he starts to take a wide angle on the rest of the Shock. This way the Shock are forced to stand back and watch as Sinatraa dies. If they try to push up or use Rascal’s Shield Bash to intervene and protect Sinatraa, that gives Bumper the go-ahead to charge directly into the Shock’s defenseless supports, so all they can do is look on in horror. The Shock try to congregate quickly to contest the tunnel, but Sinatraa has no energy and can’t afford to play his usual flanking style of Zarya. Once ChoiHyobin gets singled out, the Titans take him to the woodshed, Viol2t’s Transcendence comes in too late and it takes a while but the Titans do sort out the Shock one at a time in dominant fashion.

The whole first leg of Rialto was a strong showing by the Titans, with their aggressive style, by pushing aggressively past the buildings, they were able to skip the team fight in the courtyard past the choke but before the bridge entry, this gained them a ton of time and a ton of momentum because ChoiHyobin and Sinatraa were so staggered that there was nothing they could do. The first attack on King’s Row did have a similar element to Rialto, however instead of Sinatraa’s wandering Zarya, it was GodsB who was singled out and sent back to spawn. The Titans used the same method of attack, by running directly at the Spark swinging, it scared the Spark off of the point. GodsB is another notable flanker and when the Spark play GOATS, he is usually the one playing Zarya, so there are a lot of parallels to be drawn here with the style of play of both GodsB and Sinatraa. Once GodsB used his translocation, the Titans knew exactly where he was going to be and GodsB got a face full of Haksal’s flail. The Spark’s use of Sombra is to do what D.va usually does, particularly with how Sombra’s hack abilities do a similar job to defense matrix in terms of negating enemy ultimates and cooldown abilities. Now that GodsB is dead, much like ChoiHyobin did on Rialto, the Titans proceed to push up to the corner of the book store and skip the King’s Row tunnel chokepoint entirely, just like the courtyard fight in the finals.

It’s important to note that something did happen off camera here. Because ChoiHyobin died so early in the fight and it took so long for the Shock to respawn, the D.va player got the early spawn and the rest of the team didn’t when Bumper and SeoMinSoo ran at them. This let them skip not only the team fight on the front of the theatre, but on the first corner too. The next time the fight starts, there is a colossal mistake by the Shock. The whole team jumps down onto the low ground instead of staying on the stairs. The reason this is a key mistake is because the high ground there is so difficult to beat. If Zarya is standing on the high ground protected by Reinhardt’s shield, she can fire directly over the shield, and then if the enemy team’s shield is moved to protect from Zarya’s particle cannon, the defending Zenyatta can fire away under the shield unobstructed to deal massive team damage and get a lot of charge for Transcendence.

Once the skirmish actually starts, Bumper donates his Earth Shatter, as if an offering to the payload gods, but when the Titans quickly realize that ChoiHyobin is nowhere in sight again, they immediately use Graviton Surge and the teams exchange defensive ultimates. When the Titans Graviton Surge expires, the Shock attempt to back up as a group but Slime uses his Lucio boop to separate Sinatraa and Moth from Super and Rascal and the team weaves around the boxes. Once the team has Super in their sights, Sinatraa tries to Graviton Surge, possibly to stop this madness from snowballing any further than it already has, but he and Moth immediately get wiped from the face of the earth as Rascal, ChoiHyobin and Viol2t attempt to get back to contest the payload before the second point is reached. While attempting to retreat, Viol2t and Rascal are immediately deleted and SeoMinSoo gives chase on ChoiHyobin, leaving him without his mech and unable to re-contest.

Meanwhile, on King’s Row, the Spark have been much better at saving their ultimates for a big push back, unfortunately that push never comes. Now that the Titans have made it through the underpass, they are a Slime and Bumper combo away from clearing through the streets section of King’s Row. Slime uses his right click to bounce Guxue in the air and Bumper shatters the whole team, who is then promptly swept up by Stitch and Twilight. Their ultimates are going to be key for defeating the Spark if they decide to attack the point again before objective B.

Since that last part was another extended team fight, we’re going to have to look at two clips since the Spark were able to re-contest. Here, GodsB does nothing and is forced to run away from Haksal. In the meantime, the Titans have rolled the rest of the Spark into a nice little Graviton Surge ball and Bumper finishes off the Spark.

The Titans start the last leg of Rialto off strong, once the payload reaches the high ground, they turn to Super and run directly at him swinging. Once they catch up to the retreating Shock, Jjanu uses his Self-Destruct and Haksal uses Rally, then runs at Super and uses Shield-Bash on him at the last second as soon as he starts to swing his hammer. This is a massive pacing move, Jjanu’s bomb explodes taking Sinatraa and Viol2t with it. Bumper and SeoMinSoo clean up the rest of the team and the payload starts to turn the corner. Once the Shock’s respawns come out, SeoMinSoo and Bumper both unleash the ultimates they earned in the last fight and the Shock can’t do anything to stop the bleeding.

The Spark’s final stand is a lot more disappointing to watch. In the last fight, the Spark do a whole lot of nothing. They misuse EMP, Earth Shatter, and they don’t use either of their support ultimates or Graviton Surge. What the Titans did on Rialto was a story of coming back from being down a game the whole series only to break a world record and prove to the Overwatch League that they are the best team in the world. King’s Row against the Spark is all about bullying a young team who hasn’t yet found their way in the league.

The Shock’s reaction to the Titans’ aggressive and energetic style of play was that of a young, inexperienced, tired team who had already given it everything they had. The end result was what you would expect from a team full of competitive veterans, the Titans may be new to OWL but they have been on strong teams and have been learning from veterans for years. This finals was an all new experience to the Shock roster but the Titans had been there before, 3 times already. This hugely contrasts with what happened to the Spark. The Spark came in as a team with fairly high expectations but who were unable to produce. Where the Shock proved everyone wrong in being able to play far above expectations, the Spark did the opposite. The Spark’s disappointing 3-4 stage 1, included wins against the LA Valiant and the Shanghai Dragons pre-Gamsu, their sole win against a good team came against the LA Gladiators, who were still just a mid-table team in stage 1.

Outside of the end results, these two maps don’t share a ton in common. One inexperienced team who gave it everything they had but couldn’t hold on one more game and one team with players who had a lot of success in South Korea but haven’t played up to par with the Overwatch League. The Shock used their ultimates and brought the fight to the Titans every chance they got, they were just outclassed by a better team. The Spark on the other hand, just sat back and took it. They refused to use ultimates, they refused to do any sort of ability combos, they refused to switch when they badly needed a player on D.va and they frequently weren’t able to bring the attack to the Vancouver players.

Are the Titans doing something no other team is doing? Not really, but it is clear that aggressive 3-3 compositions are the way to go from here on. When it’s looked at in depth, it becomes clear that the Shock played exactly how they had played all of stage 1, like a talented young team who play aggressive Overwatch. The Spark defense on the other hand, was sloppy, unorganized, and they massively underperformed, also exactly like how they had played all of stage 1.

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