Tag: Boston Uprising

Midnight in Paris

On April 21st, the Vancouver Titans tied the league record for 15 consecutive wins. The previous record was held by the Boston Uprising, so it’s fitting that the Uprising were the team standing in the way. It wasn’t close, the Titans swept the Uprising for the second time this season. In terms of quality of play, Boston played pretty well, but they were still no match for the dangerous Vancouver squad.

In a match full of impressive events, including a 5 minute spawn camp, the best moment was watching the Titans figure out how to attack the Uprising on Paris. It took their entire time allotment, but it was fascinating to see how a Symmetra assault turned into an aggressive Sombra and Wrecking Ball composition.

In the opening fight, we saw Haksal on his patented Symmetra. We saw the same composition work successfully against the Houston Outlaws, but the Uprising came prepared, they opted to add a Junkrat to the team to stop the snowball with his massive burst damage. The Titans were forced to make a change.

This time, the Titans come with a big shield and an Ana to try and out-heal the Uprising. It did not work.

Okay, how did Winston do? SeoMinSoo used his Graviton Surge, but Colourhex doesn’t care and the Titans get melted, go again.

The Titans have under 30 seconds left, so they do the only logical thing, go Sombra and Wrecking Ball and take the point. Bumper and Jjanu’s peel to protect Twilight here was huge, this team supports each other better than any other team in the league. This story could have gone a whole other way if Colourhex didn’t have to go through an ultimate animation.

With all the momentum behind the Titans, it was an easy snowball onto the second point, there was nothing the Uprising could do. They were completely outmatched and it was obvious.

Part of the reason this match on Paris was so interesting was because it heavily foreshadowed what would lead the Titans to success again on the final map of the series, Watchpoint: Gibraltar. When the Uprising bunkered up on the first point defense, the Titans switched back to their Sombra composition but added a Genji to complete their dive team, also affectionately called Hack & Slash.

Their attack here was so strong that it forced the Uprising off of bunker and back onto Winston, and later, Reinhardt 3/3. The Titans also opted for the speedrun strat, ending with over 3 minutes in the time bank.

On the Titans second attack, they also correctly decided to use their Hack & Slash combo against Boston’s bunker and it was incredibly effective. For fans who think the Titans will have a lot of trouble when not playing 3/3, here’s proof that they have A-tier Dive ability as well. Bumper’s timely usage of Primal Rage gives them another 2 points. The Titans proceed to spawn camp Boston for almost 4 full minutes on their attack. Boston is forced to switch to Sombra GOATS but by the time they swap off of attack Bastion, they are at a severe ultimate disadvantage. RCK does eventually get his EMP, but it’s too late for the Uprising to take advantage and they take the L, another 4-0, another victory for the Titans who appear to be on the way to another league record, and another impressive showing in the stage playoffs.

Titans vs. Uprising Postgame

In another playoff rematch, the Vancouver Titans continued their run of dominance against the Boston Uprising. The clean 4-0 win happened differently from the 3-0 in the Stage 1 Playoffs, as Boston tried to counter compositions instead of running mirror matchups, but it made no difference as Vancouver adapted their way to victory.

Map 1: Lijiang

From the very start of the match, a battle on Lijiang Night Market, Boston was trying to use new compositions to counter the Vancouver 3/3. Here, it was a triple DPS with Pharah/Sombra/Widow and a Hammond as main tank, which got the necessary kills and wrested the point from the Titans first. RCK followed with an EMP to win the next fight, but then the Titans demonstrated just what makes 3/3 so strong. When they ran directly onto the point, Boston were totally unable to dislodge them, giving them a capture they ran all the way to 99% before Blasé found the key kills with a Barrage. But once again, the Titans ran onto point, Haksal stunned an incoming Fusions to lock down the kill, and Boston had no ability to exist on the point.

In Control Center, the dynamic was much the same. Boston had a huge amount of damage, but struggled to evict the Titans from the point even when they got some kills. The incredible Titans peel for supports was on display: at one point, Twilight committed a nanoboost to save Slime’s life; at another, Twilight was set upon in the back but saved by Jjanu’s heroic intervention. The Titans healers never died, so the rest of the team never died, so they won the map.

Titans 1 : Uprising 0

Map 2: Paris

The Uprising tried for the same triple DPS as they’d used in the first map, providing a natural experiment for what might have happened if the Houston Outlaws had run such a composition on Paris A. The answer, apparently, was that that the Titans would have engaged their magical clutching powers. Boston absolutely, utterly, without question won a fight at around 2:00 remaining, with only Seominsoo and Jjanu remaining alive. Fighting back was hopeless, even the casters questioned why the two weren’t resetting, and then they managed to kill all the nearby opponents while reinforcements streamed in, thereby stabilizing the point. Sure, the Uprising hit a big EMP in the final fight (which, even then, they barely won), but that impossible turnaround victory made it hard to imagine Boston ever winning anything against Vancouver. Point B went the same way, with the Titans crushing fight after fight for four minutes. In the final push, rCK’s EMP made Bumper killable and the Uprising got the completion in overtime, but Titans fans could feel optimistic.

Against the Uprising’s Bastion bunker composition, we got to watch the Titans adapt in real time. First, they attempted the Symmetra flank we’ve seen previously, then when that failed tried a 3/3 with Ana. That too struggled against the massive DPS Boston could bring to bear, so it was time for a divier Winston/Zen version of 3/3. Even that wasn’t sufficient, and the clock was now nearly depleted. The final idea was to run a Hammond/Sombra to touch point and force Boston to move. The fight was utter chaos, in which the Titans were saved once more by incredible peel when Jjanu arrived to save Twilight from certain doom. Having clutched their way to a Point A take, the Titans now had a huge advantage with Boston caught between compositions. They leveraged the snowball to its full effect, getting the completion with about 3:00 left on the clock.

The adaption continued, as Vancouver knew the Uprising would likely try the bunker again. This time, the strategy was the Hammond/Sombra with Haksal on Genji. Vancouver also took a new approach, staying low to avoid deadly sightlines while Bumper started contesting the point. They managed to sneak nearly directly underneath Colourhex’s Bastion, forcing him to exit turret mode and make his way across a bridge. At that moment, the dive was on, he was cut to pieces, and the bunker was dismantled on the first try.

Titans 2 : Uprising 0

Map 3: King’s Row

On the ultimate 3/3 map, Boston were finally forced to try a mirror, albeit with a Sombra in the mix. Uncharacteristically, the Titans were pushed off the point, and then lost the first fight on the streets phase, forcing them to defend Point B with more than 3 minutes still on the clock. Despite stabilizing briefly, Vancouver were unable to counter EMP because they had Ana instead of Zen,  which gave Boston the second point and nearly took them to the third. Finally, Twilight built to trans, giving the Titans the necessary sustain to counter rCK’s ultimate, and they stabilized for real. Boston had a respectable attack, but were unable to push the cart all the way to the end, giving the Titans a chance to immediately win the series.

Recognizing that the Sombra wasn’t going away, Twilight started out on the Zen. Despite him getting the first pick onto Fusions, Boston surprisingly brought the fight back, then won the next as well. Finally, the Titans took the point via a perfect bomb-and-pin combo which killed Kellex. Twilight hid from EMP so he could bring out the transcendence healing, winning another fight for the Titans and bringing them to the precipice of Point B.

After being stopped for a bit, Vancouver gave a perfect demonstration of what makes them so good. Seominsoo’s grav locked up the Uprising, who countered with a trans. Twilight brought his trans out later, giving them the sustain to kill Fusions. Boston stormed back with Sound Barrier and a 5-man EMP together–but Slime was positioned outside and had his own Sound Barrier ready. Colourhex locked up the Titans with a grav and Slime went low, but Bumper angled his shield and Jjanu covered everyone with matrix to avoid the damage. Finally, they chased down Colourhex, killed him, and the fight was won. As Uber said, “Vancouver are prepared for every single eventuality.”

From there, it was an easy roll to the finish. Seominsoo caught the Uprising out with a grav, they wiped, and the payload approached to within centimeters of its destination. When Fusions was brought low, he was forced to retreat, giving the Titans a win without even requiring a final fight.

Titans 3 : Uprising 0

Map 4: Gibraltar

The Titans, starting on defense, made their now-standard substitution of Rapel for Twilight. The Uprising tried something a little less standard, setting up a pirate ship supported by a Roadhog. It was astonishingly effective, the strongest performance they had in the series by far. And that’s not just in the context of this matchup: their time was the third-fastest ever recorded on this map.

The Titans weren’t going to let that stand–they’re the ones who do speedruns, not their opponents. Once again faced with a bunker composition (this time including a Torbjorn), Vancouver went straight to the Genji/Sombra, though this time using a Winston instead of Hammond. Haksal’s nanoblade got the necessary kills to break the hard point, and Boston had to swap to their Sombra 3/3 at an ult disadvantage. There was barely even a fight during the second point, and on third Seominsoo had an EMP ready. He hit five, Vancouver got the team wipe without spending ults, and Boston’s final contest was snuffed out when the Titans cashed in all those saved ultimates.

The Titans had been slightly slower than Boston, but they still had plenty of time for their second run. The Uprising tried the same bunker comp, and this time it was dismantled with clinical efficiency as the entire team dove in at the same instant, eliminating Kellex before he knew there was danger afoot. On B, Haksal’s nanoblade would have wiped everyone if Blasé hadn’t hit a critical shield bash to force the Titans to turn tail. Bumper, however, stayed in, and looked for all the world as if he were going to be staggered. Instead, he used primal, got two kills, the rest of Vancouver streamed in and somehow a lost situation had been converted into a win. With only 30 seconds on the clock, an rCK EMP spelled the end of the attack run, but even with 4 minutes the Uprising couldn’t have been feeling optimistic.

And they shouldn’t have. Vancouver had been burned by the pirate ship once–it wouldn’t happen again. The Titans zoned the Bastion off the payload, forcing a wholesale swap to the same Sombra 3/3, now with only 2 minutes remaining. Even worse, the Titans had a major ult advantage, which they could slowly ration out. A grav, an earthshatter, and another grav won three fights in a row, while support ults just ensured everyone’s survival in general. Boston didn’t even make it past the carwash, an ignominious end for a map that had started so well.


Titans 4 : Uprising 0

Player of the Match

One of Vancouver’s biggest strengths is their flexibility, both in composition and approach. Fans who have only seen them in Overwatch League, or Contenders Korea, could be forgiven for thinking that the team is just a 3/3 machine–after all, they are the undisputed best team in the world at this meta. But there’s another trick hidden up their sleeve, one that provides the necessary counter-to-a-counter.

Haksal’s Genji made the victory possible.

We’ve seen Haksal bust out his world-famous Genji on a few occasions before this, mostly in map 4 scenarios where the Titans let themselves have some fun. This time around, Boston’s insistence on bunker compositions pretty much obviated his top-tier Brigitte: what good can she do when there’s a Bastion set up on the high ground? No, the Titans needed Genji, with his sneaky wall-climbing, his dash resets, and his super-damage dragonblade. All that practice in unnecessary scenarios paid off as Haksal, well, massacred the clumped-up members of the Uprising. I’ve been saying it all along, and I’ll repeat it here: the Titans are a force on 3/3, but if the meta returns to a more DPS-focused one, they have all the tools to succeed in that too.

Why the Titans Will Beat the Uprising: A Map Analysis

The Uprising are a team on the decline, this bodes well for the Titans. Boston won 3 regular season reverse sweeps in a row, with a quarterfinals loss to the Titans sprinkled in the middle, but they took a break from being good to lose to the Spark, a team the Titans 4-0’d. The Spark aren’t an elite team by any means, so the Uprising fell drastically in the rankings.

Are the Uprising actually a secretly bad team? Or was the Spark match simply an outlier?

Control Win %38%75%
Lijiang Tower0-2

This looks like it’s going to be a mismatch. Not only did the Titans 3-0 the Uprising with ease, they have kept the win train rolling, while the Uprising have stumbled recently. The Titans have never played on Lijiang Tower as themselves, but Lijiang is not a great spot for the Uprising.

Assault Win %50%85%

Another mismatch, the Titans are so good on assault and Paris is a great map for GOATS. We saw the Titans use a fun attack Symmetra composition on Paris against Houston, so let’s hope they do something like that again if Boston tries to avoid the GOATS mirror.

Hybrid Win %64%93%
King’s Row0-35-0

Boston is alright on Hybrid in general, but King’s Row is not their favourite place to be. With the Titans’ insane 5-0 record, this is looking grimmer and grimmer for the Uprising.

Escort Win %60%69%

This one might be close, but it could be too late for the Uprising. As usual, take the Titans win% on Escort with a grain of salt, they hate trying hard.

This looks like it could be an easy 3-1 win for the Titans, possibly even a 4-0. The Uprising are a team on the decline and the map pool favours the Titans heavily, this is also the second day of back to back matches for Boston. After they play the Spitfire, another solid team, they might be out of gas for the Titans. As well, if they try and stack their prep against the Spitfire as it’s the more likely win, they might just take the L against Vancouver and try to double up their efforts against the Spitfire if their goal is to make the 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.

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