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Tag: Atlanta Reign

Titans vs. Reign Postgame

Hot on the heels of a near-victory over the San Francisco Shock, the Atlanta Reign had a second chance at taking down one of the league’s top teams. The Titans, though, proved too strong, winning 3-1 in fairly convincing fashion. The Reign can hold their heads high after this performance, but the gap between them and the top teams is still evidently present.

Map 1: Nepal

The match started out on Shrine, where Seominsoo immediately made his presence felt. He killed Erster and Masaa in quick succession, earning the Titans a first cap, and things somehow only got more aggressive from there. Despite allegedly being on the defense, it was the Titans who continually engaged onto the Reign and sent them back to spawn. Atlanta got the upper hand in one fight, but had to use all of their ultimates to do it, which set the Titans up for an easy return Q-fest that earned the victory.

Village was a continuation of the same. Vancouver’s aggressivity earned them quicker ult charge and repeatedly brought members of the Reign low. Even when that didn’t result in kills, it forced disengages from the Atlanta team, dragging out the time between fights. Finally, the Reign flipped, but the Titans returned and caught everyone off the point with a grav, taking control back. Nearly the whole of Atlanta were on fractions of their total health pools when Dogman came up with a hero trans to turn the fight and re-establish control. But that used up Atlanta’s stockpile of miracles, and the Titans easily won the final two fights to take the round without much fanfare.

Titans 1 : Reign 0

Map 2: Paris

Atlanta’s defense put Erster on the Baptiste instead of Brigitte, to which the Titans reacted by running their quad DPS composition. This time, Haksal wasn’t able to find free environmental kills, and Seominsoo’s EMP was countered perfectly by Atlanta’s intelligent rotation plus Dogman’s trans. As has seemed to be the case more consistently, the multi-DPS suffered from being easy to eliminate but still lacking in killing power. Vancouver did break through eventually, but it was on a knife’s edge, and probably wouldn’t have happened if Jjanu hadn’t used his Hammond to boop Pokpo off the map.

That forced a low-time reset onto 3/3 for Vancouver, which necessitated multiple econ pushes to build the necessary ults. Up against an Atlanta squad that had used very little on the first point, they were wiped quickly in push after push. Only in the final overtime fight did Vancouver finally have enough resources to win the fight, but a completion with no timebank was not encouraging.

The only path to victory for Vancouver was a strong defensive hold. In preparation for a multi-DPS comp, the Titans put Bumper on Winston, which did get Atlanta to make the desired switch, but didn’t work out in terms of actual play. Bumper’s primal rage built too slowly, and then he was killed by a self-destruct dropping directly onto his head, putting the Titans in a deep, deep hole. Another death, once again before he could use primal, nearly spelled disaster on Point B, but Jjanu’s grav eat and 3k self-destruct saved the Titans for the moment. When Seominsoo was taken out in the subsequent fight, it made winning nearly impossible, and Atlanta finished with more than 3 minutes remaining.

Because the Titans had finished in overtime, their best possible result was now a draw. But once more, Bumper’s Winston was stunned and killed for the first pick, and there was no way back into the fight for Vancouver, who quickly gave up the first tick and lost the map.

Titans 1 : Reign 1

Map 3: Hollywood

It’s been a while since we saw Hollywood North, which the Titans clearly missed. On defense first, they put up a dominant performance. They won the first fight so convincingly that Bumper had already built a shatter, which gave him a chance to pull his famous “sneaky shatter” play. Haksal then dropped from the sky with a rally as the Titans engaged for another wipe. Atlanta’s only good look in the round came when Daco ate Seominsoo’s grav, which led into a hugely protracted fight. The Reign managed two ticks, but the Titans thrive in chaos. They found the necessary kills, stabilized into a ball, and dealt with the staggered Atlanta players as they came in one by one to close out the full-hold defense.

Vancouver went for a rotation into café, but got into trouble when Haksal died first. They struggled with getting picked first throughout the attack round, as both Bumper and Slime also fell victim to it, but the pressure of being perfect was too much for Atlanta to bear. Despite taking out Bumper, the rest of the team was so low on health that Seominsoo was able to beam them all to death, the Titans got both ticks, and Canadian dominance over Hollywood was reestablished.

Titans 2 : Reign 1

Map 4: Gibraltar

Vancouver got to attack first this time, and put up a less-than-stirring performance. It was only a mistake sound barrier from Masaa that that gave them an opportunity to take A–he used it to counter a self-destruct even though his team was able to hide, and its absence was sorely felt when Atlanta were forced back due to their low health bars. Point B was another struggle, which was won in more solid fashion, but not before a lot of time had been burned. Finally on C the Titans made the necessary plays: Haksal pounced on Babybay, who dropped a grav as he died, and Bumper charged Dogman out of the fight, opening a chance for the Titans to remove Pokpo. Atlanta tried for a desperation reset, but couldn’t fight as 6, and a series of Vancouver ultimates cut them down, securing the cap just before overtime.

Atlanta solidly won the first three fights of the map, securing A and getting nearly to B before a last-ditch contest by the Titans stabilized, in a way only they can. Jjanu came out first to contest with his mech health and a self-destruct. As soon as it was used, the rest of the team jumped around the corner, with Slime’s sound barrier covering their approach and Jjanu’s remech. Haksal rallied, Twilight used trans, and Seominsoo locked up the Reign in a grav that they never saw coming, securing an easy kill onto Erster. Bumper’s shatter closed it out, and Vancouver had stabilized.

The Titans did a good job building ults for the next fight, but Atlanta had enough to counter, which meant the Reign took Point B with about 3 minutes remaining. A won fight for the Titans cut that in half, a won fight for Atlanta brought them over the finish line with about 1:30 remaining, and we went to another timebank round.

 This time around, the Titans attack was nothing short of stirring. After trading supports 2 for 2, Bumper charged Daco into the remnants of his squad, the Titans got the kill, and Atlanta’s defense was scrambled. Their contest at the end of A suffered heavily from the poor positioning brought on by that late kill. Bumper was taken out in the next fight, but Twilight wasn’t done, using a trans to save his team before scoring a quad kill onto the Reign. The absolute last fight of the round finally went Atlanta’s way, but the Titans had parlayed a minimum timebank into nearly a full completion of the map.

The Reign had a heavy task ahead of them, and the Titans knew it. Armed with a brilliant push, they put Seominsoo onto Sombra with a very simple gameplan: build EMP, use it to win a fight on point, win the round. In essence, the Titans were changing the name of the game. Winning fights didn’t matter, so much as delaying them did. Of course, a fight win was still worthwhile–the Titans won the first two, bringing Atlanta into overtime before they had even managed A, but Babybay’s grav went down before Seominsoo could counter it with an EMP and suddenly things looked less rosy. The Titans had used nearly all their ults without winning, and now Seominsoo had to get another EMP. By the time he had it on third point, Dogman had his trans ready, which nearly countered the game plan. But Pokpo was taken down anyway, Jjanu (on Zarya) burned Daco out of mech to hit a free grav, and Atlanta’s push was ended along with their hopes of winning the round.

FINAL SCORE

Titans 3 : Reign 1

Player of the Match

This was an odd match to select a specific player from. The Titans won mostly convincingly, but struggled enough that it seemed no one had an exemplary game. I feel like every player had precisely one highlight moment and otherwise was good-not-great. But since I do have to choose, there was one player who was a little above the curve.

Seominsoo’s Zarya has somehow gotten even better than it was previously, and his Sombra flex worked out just fine.

The Titans are very, very good at winning shield battles. In fight after fight, they were able to take superior positioning from the Reign as a result of stronger pressure, and a lot of that comes down to Seominsoo’s Zarya. It’s hard to say without statistics, but my feeling today was that he was holding energy and doing damage at even a higher clip than before, which put the Titans in advantageous positions every time there was a neutral fight.

His flexibility was also a big plus. On the last map, Vancouver knew they only needed to win a single fight, so it made all the sense in the world to put him on Sombra. All three times, he hit big EMPs onto nearly the whole of the Reign, which twice gave his team the win.

Reign Beat Good Teams, Gladiators Don’t, Titans Will Beat Both

In the first week of Stage 3, the Titans are facing off against two teams that are polar opposites. Coming into Season 2 of the Overwatch League, many saw Atlanta as a team that would be outside the playoffs, while the Gladiators were seen as a powerhouse team that could be playoff contenders all year. In typical fashion, the opposite happened. Atlanta made the Stage 1 playoffs while the Gladiators fell short, Atlanta also lost a key player in Dafran while the Gladiators added an insane player in Decay. When things normalized and Atlanta fell out of the playoff picture in Stage 2, why then were they able to defeat NYXL while the Gladiators couldn’t make anything work in the playoffs?

From what we’ve seen so far in Season 2 of the Overwatch League, there are two ways to defeat NYXL. Either you run an aggressive Sombra GOATS team and beat them with EMP or you run a more traditional GOATS team and run directly at them. The Reign opted for the GOATS and run strategy, which paid off both times these teams faced off. In the Stage 2 playoffs, the Gladiators tried the same strategy but were never able to run at the Excelsior with the same aggression as the Titans and Reign did.

There’s a reason that among teams who have won a playoff round this season, most of them are aggressive teams. The Titans, Shock, Dynasty, and Spark are all teams who aren’t afraid to run at you. The two less aggressive teams who have won playoff rounds are the NYXL, who defeated the equally passive Gladiators and the Philadelphia Fusion. The Fusion are a weird case, where they have some very skilled players, but because of the meta, elite players like Carpe aren’t put in a position to succeed. The Fusion were able to defeat the Reign in the playoffs because their players are so much better than Atlanta’s, however when the Fusion had to face off against the Shock, it was a clean sweep in favor of the Shock.

All this being said, which team will give the Titans the bigger challenge this week? In this Owl’s opinion, I’d say that the Reign will put up more of a fight. Not only are they the more aggressive team, but the Titans historically falter when playing multiple teams in a single week. In stage 1, both times the Titans played a double feature, one of the matches went to game 5, fortunately they did get their act together in Stage 2. The Titans lost some extra maps they probably should have won, but they seemed a lot more prepared than in Stage 1’s extra map wins against the Charge and Hunters.

The Shock were taken to their limits against the Reign in a match that can only be described as a clown fiesta. The Shock look like they may have relaxed too much over the break while the Reign were hungry to get back in the playoffs. Hopefully the Titans have been practicing, because if they need a map to shake off the rust, Atlanta might never take their foot off the gas. Statistically speaking, the Titans and Reign are both 50% winrate on the first map Nepal, 2-2 and 1-1, Hollywood is equally close, 3-1 and 3-0. Paris and Watchpoint: Gibraltar on the other hand are blowouts in favor of the Titans. Not only are the Vancouver squad drastically better on map types, but Atlanta is 0-3 on Watchpoint and 1-2 on Paris, while the Titans’ only loss this season on either of these maps was to the Shock in the Stage 2 finals. Still, while none of the Reign’s map type win percentages are above 60%, they seem to play to their opponents level where they can beat elite teams while still losing to average and below average teams.

The LA Gladiators on the other hand, had exactly one elite map type in Stage 2. They sat around 90% winrate on Hybrid maps, but when you look over the whole season, they also don’t have any map types where they win over 60% of the time. Ilios, the first map in this tilt, has been a tough location for the Gladiators, they have a 1-1 record this season but an awful 4-11 record all-time. Other than Ilios, the teams are pretty close in terms of single map win percentages. 3-0/2-0 on Paris, 3-1/2-0 on Hollywood, and 2-1/2-1 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. While these teams are similar enough statistically, their play isn’t close, the Titans are a far better team with better players who play a better style of Overwatch. The Gladiators can’t even opt to play Sombra goats because Decay’s Sombra hasn’t been up to snuff at the OWL level yet.

If the Titans show up to Stage 3 prepared, they win both of these games. If they come in rusty, they will need to shake it off quickly as both of these teams are hungry after disappointing stages. This first week will be the most critical games for the Titans if they want a third 7-0 stage in a row and it’ll be interesting to see if the team has the mental strength to bounce back into shape after a long break.

Stage 3 Week 1 Preview: Reign & Gladiators

Another stage dawns, but this time with an unfamiliar feeling–for the first time in their history, the Vancouver Titans are returning to the Overwatch League stage in the aftermath of a loss. Their defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Shock in the Stage 2 Finals has cemented a Shock-Titans rivalry as the definitive storyline of this season, but settling that score will have to wait for the Stage 3 playoffs. In the interim, the Titans need to regroup, identify the issues that led to that loss, and figure out how to fix those to regain their top spot.

This week, they’ll be trying out new tricks against the Atlanta Reign and the Los Angeles Gladiators. It’s not about winning, per se–at this point, I expect the Titans to win against any team that isn’t the Shock or the Excelsior–but instead about how they do that winning.

The Atlanta Reign are the unluckiest team in the league for this first week, as they’re going to have to play the Shock and then the Titans in quick succession. I’m not even sure what you do, as the coach, in that circumstance: typically you would prepare for the weaker of the two teams, but in this case there just isn’t one.

Atlanta’s roster is a very mixed KR/NA/EU one. Their tankline was the former Element Mystic duo of Pokpo and Daco, though recently they’ve swapped Dva play to frd as a result of something happening with Daco (though there were plenty of rumors, I haven’t seen anything definitively explaining the change). The DPS duo has mostly been Babybay and Erster, and the support line has had Masaa on main support and either Dogman or Kodak on flex support.

It’s hard to talk about Reign without noting their utterly incongruous results. The Reign are 7-7 in overall record, which makes them seem like a perfectly average team. Let’s look at the list of teams this average squad has defeated! Atlanta have defeated… The Florida Mayhem. Washington Justice. Houston Outlaws. Paris Eternal. Toronto Defiant. New York Excel… wait, no, that can’t be right, I must be reading this wrong.

Let’s see here… April 19, 3-1 score, winner… Atlanta Reign. Ok, so I guess they did win. But what’s this, they played NY again on May 4, where I’m sure the Excelsior got the revenge win. Flip to that day… Hold on a second. Atlanta won again, 3-2?

Yes, indeed they did. This team, which has lost to Boston, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Gladiators, Fusion, Spitfire, and even gave the LA Valiant their first victory, was able to twice defeat the 3rd-best team in the league. A lot of the credit for that goes to the support line. Atlanta has a very weird setup, where Masaa is (in my opinion) one of the best Lucios in the league, while both Dogman and Kodak have been impossibly inconsistent at flex support. But when it came time to play NYXL, both Masaa and Dogman played out of their minds. The Atlanta Lucio zoned Anamo out completely, and seemed to hit boops to displace Mano on every single attempted push. Meanwhile, Dogman was, for the day, the top dog (I know, I know) over Jjonak. It was his right clicks that found opening kills, and his trans usage that kept his teammates alive.

All of this is to say, Atlanta are clearly a weaker team than the Titans. But if you beat NYXL twice, that’s not an accident. There is talent on this roster, and when it’s firing on all cylinders, they can be dangerous. However, Vancouver is not NYXL, and I don’t think they can be exploited in the same way.

The Titans should get this one 4-0.

The other matchup is against the LA Gladiators, who by the standings are the stronger opponent, but are in my estimation less dangerous. LA has, thus far, mostly feasted on weak teams, and owe their 5th-place position in the standings to a fortuitous win against the Shock during the very first week of the OWL season. With the exception of that win, the Gladiators have done a great job beating the teams they were expected to beat while losing to the ones they were expected to lose to. That leaves them, deservedly, somewhere in the tier of “playoff alsos,” teams #4-8 in the league who can compete against each other but fall clearly short of the Titans/Shock dominance tier, or even New York’s “close-but-not-there” tier.

Their roster is another successful mix of the world, for which Bischu deserves a lot of credit. The support line is three Finns–BigGoose, Shaz, and backup Ripa–who have to coordinate perfectly with the all-Korean tank line of Roar and either Bischu or Void. The DPS duo is the American Hydration and the Korean Decay, further complicating strategizing and calls. Fortunately, Bischu speaks fluent Korean and English, and despite probably being the inferior Dva choice when Void is also on the roster, when healthy he has been the starter because it keeps the whole team more coordinated.

That’s fitting for the Gladiators, a team for whom it’s hard to identify a star. The support line is strong but not particularly flashy–you rarely see them make a big play, so much as you feel their impact when the Gladiators find little edges in fights. After Fissure’s departure, the tankline functions similarly, effectively pushing forward and creating space in a way that doesn’t show up on highlight reels. The closest thing to a star is probably Decay on Zarya. His addition took the team from a marginal squad, forced to make do with Surefour on Zarya, to a powerful unit that can beat pretty much anyone outside of the top 3.

This is a great matchup for the Titans in the first week. The Gladiators are strong enough to mostly play standard 3/3, to just about the highest standard Vancouver can find in an opponent. If mistakes are still being made, LA will at the very least try to exploit them, which is precisely the feedback Vancouver will need. If the Titans aren’t on their game, I could even see the Gladiators taking us to a map 5. But I think Vancouver will be playing hard.

A 3-1 Titans victory seems most likely.

Branding Review I – Atlanta Reign

It has been very quiet here on the Pacific Northwestern front of the Overwatch League and the influx of news for the other expansion teams only makes it more apparent. Colours, skins and logos were revealed to the delight of the community and have kept the OWL flames burning while we all patiently wait for the 2019 season. Of the 8 expansion teams, 6 were officially revealed, one leaked unofficially and lastly, nothing from our Vancouver… Titans? who knows what we’ll be called, really?

What is left to do in the meantime then? Why, criticizing the branding of our rivals of course! I will go by the order of reveals and give my (entirely objective) opinion and state what I have found to be Good, Bad and Mediocre.

Atlanta Reign

The team to spearhead the reveals, initially famous for their peaches but now mostly for the Dafran experiment.

Good – The Reign’s reveal video is, in our opinion, the standard to which all video reveals should aspire to be. The music – awesome, the editing – awesome, the jebait at the end – legendary. Nothing quite sets the tone for the Reign’s wild ride like their video does, and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out. 

Bad – While I do not hate the logo’s appearance and colours, I cannot ignore its uncanny similarity to Pokemon Go’s Team Valor, and the fact that everyone inthe organization did ignore it is strange. It’s not a bad logo but it is unoriginal.

Mediocre – The team’s name could have been a bit better, with no local relevance to Atlanta (unless there was some regal Atlanta history I was not aware of) the “Reign” kind of comes off as too generic and too reminiscent of Seoul’s “Dynasty” template while lacking in context.

Next in line, is the Toronto Defiant.

Atlanta Reign

While we continue to wait for any further signs of life from the Vancouver franchise, other expansion teams have not only been active from the get-go, they are already dropping huge news.

The Atlanta franchise, now known as Atlanta Reign, is the first expansion team to announce both their name and their branding.  And while we’ll learn more about the Toronto team later tonight, they’ll always be second-place to the Atlanta announcement.

It should also be noted that Atlanta has been extremely active on social media and have been pumping out personnel announcements for over a week now:

Now if only Vancouver would follow suit sooner than later.

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