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Episode 28 – Bumper, Haksal, Eyemoji

Hosted by Chris, he is joined by co-hosts Omni & Sam to talk about the Vancouver Titans. They discuss the start of Stage 3, the corporate merger news and are also joined by special guests Bumper & Haksal of the Vancouver Titans.

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.

FINAL SCORE

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.

Episode 17 – A Game of GOATS

Joining Chris to talk about the Vancouver Titans Stage 1 Playoff Championship win and STILL undefeated run the Overwatch League are co-hosts Omni & Sam. Beginning with the 3-0 win over the Boston Uprising, to the 4-0 win over the Seoul Dynasty, and right through every map in the epic 4-3 win over the San Francisco Shock, the boys provide all the analysis you need on the Titans victorious Stage 1 performance! And as we transition into Stage 2, they discuss what we can expect to see more of from the Titans and the rest of the Overwatch League itself.

Stage 1 Final: Titans vs. Shock Postgame

In this corner, the undefeated phenomenon, the terrifying Titans of Vancouver. In that corner, the star-studded, Super-powered Shock of San Francisco. And in the clash between the two, the greatest match in the history of the Overwatch League.

The Vancouver Titans won the Stage 1 Championship, defeating the San Francisco Shock 4-3, in a match that set the bar for all future championships. In completing OWL’s first-ever undefeated stage, the Titans definitively established themselves as the best team in the league, but San Francisco’s incredible play announced their arrival as one of the top overall teams. As the Titans’ official twitter said, we will surely be seeing them again.

Before we jump into the maps, I want to say a quick word. While one could read these recaps instead of watching a match, the full experience remains the best. Sometimes the match summaries can indicate a game that’s not really worth watching. This is not that game. This is the most evenly-matched and high-quality matchup of the entire 3/3 meta, and it deserves your view. Think of this recap more as something you can come back to in the future to help relive the joy of our Stage 1 Championship, not a substitute for experiencing that joy.

Map 1: Nepal

Since the last time we played them, the Shock have solidified a roster, the same as the Titans, so there were no substitutions throughout the entire set. San Francisco plays Moth and Viol2t on support, Choihyobin and Super on off/main tank, Sinatraa on Zarya, and Rascal on Brig. The corresponding players for the Titans are Slime, Twilight, Jjanu, Bumper, Seominsoo, and Haksal. Each squad was extremely confident in its strength running 3/3, and throughout the series we saw very few deviations from a standard 3/3 mirror.

The game started out on Village, where the two teams smashed into each other on the point. In the Reinhardt and Zarya war, Vancouver eventually came out better, gaining the first capture of the series. They made the best possible use of it, taking the ult advantage and cycling to run all the way to 100% without any interruptions.

On Sanctum, it was the opposite story. Bumper had to play his less-preferred Winston, and found himself horribly squishy. San Francisco was clearly targeting him, and he was the first death in half of the fights, which robbed the Titans of capacity to fight on the point. This time it was San Francisco winning every fight and winning 100% to 0, setting up a third and deciding round.

Shrine turned on two key plays. San Francisco capped the point first, but in the fight that Vancouver took at around 30%, they seemed to gain an advantage when Super was killed first. The Shock delayed, first with a trans from Viol2t (which was intended to save his main tank), then with a grav from Sinatraa that kept everyone locked in. The Shock were trying to retreat when Seominsoo caught them all in a grav, prepared to beam them all to death… but Super had just returned with shatter, and dropped it on the forward-charging Titans. In an instant, the dynamic shifted, and the Shock rushed back onto point like sharks smelling blood in the water. Vancouver had never flipped the point, which meant San Francisco built to 89% before they were temporarily expelled.

The second turning point was when Bumper made a bizarre positioning error, rotating alone to the wrong side of the central obelisk, which left a path wide open for Super to hit a five-man shatter. The Titans were wiped and couldn’t summon magic for the final fight, dropping the first map of the series to the Shock.

Titans 0 : Shock 1

Map 2: Numbani

The Titans elected to go to Numbani, where they defended first. It was an inspired choice. San Francisco’s first attack gained some advantage when Super again connected on a big shatter, and while the Titans didn’t lose any members, they were forced to trade a tick on the point for the necessary space to heal up and reset cooldowns. That done, they reengaged with Rally, targeted down Sinatraa, and never looked back. The Shock never again threatened the point, largely due to the exemplary play of Haksal on Brigitte. He never died, and was constantly in the right spot to interrupt when the Shock tried to follow up on ultimates or gain position.

That set up an easy attack phase, with a target at only 44%. Cognizant of the victory condition, the Titans built up a full stock of ultimates, threw them all into the same fight, and swept the Shock off the point.

Titans 1: Shock 1

Map 3: Temple of Anubis

Now it was San Francisco’s turn to choose a map, and they elected Anubis, a map on which Vancouver had previously struggled. Vancouver played a scary game on their defense, going low on health while their opponents built up nearly to 90%. A lost fight would have led to a huge snowball, but Sinatraa was picked first and the Titans managed to hold. From there they took a series of dominant fights which made a full hold look very possible. It could have been, were it not for Super and Choihyobin. A clutch shatter bomb combo got two kills, and Choihyobin added a third by killing Jjanu right before he could remech. That not only killed off half the Titans squad, but with the point already nearly capped, it let the Shock rush straight to Point B. Without enough time to set up, Vancouver were brushed aside, and suddenly a full hold had turned into a double cap with a respectable 3:16 remaining.

Seominsoo carried his team to victory on Point A, beaming enemies to death and giving the Titans more than 6 minutes to cap B. But Anubis B has been an Achilles heel for Vancouver all season, and against their toughest opponents the old bugaboos reappeared. Bumper found clever shatters, but the follow up was never there. If it wasn’t Bumper dying first, it was Seominsoo, on a map where both roles are particularly critical for a victory. Finishing off enemies was a constant challenge. The final capture came through with only 48 seconds remaining, putting the Titans behind.

They did their level best to put themselves back on top. Vancouver crushed the Point A fight, forced out ultimates from the Shock, and scrapped their way to 2 ticks on Point B despite Jjanu dying nearly immediately at the start of the final fight. His return on Hammond was key to giving Titans staying power, and while it didn’t result in another map completion, considering the starting timebank things were looking quite good for the Titans.

San Francisco gained A rather easily, giving them 2:40 to hit 70% on Point B. They found their chance with a minute left, taking out Jjanu, Bumper, Slime, and Seominsoo to set up a clearly won fight. Except, somehow, it wasn’t. From a lost position, the Titans magically traded well and didn’t relinquish any control at all, bringing things to a final overtime fight.

Sadly, Vancouver’s luck ran out. Having somehow won a lost fight, in this final brawl they managed to lose what should have been a won fight, once again dropping to a Choihyobin bomb–this time, because Slime used Sound Barrier too early. It was an unfortunate end to a map that the Titans had worked so hard to recover.

Titans 1 : Shock 2

Map 4: Dorado

Vancouver’s map pick was Dorado, where they would be first to defend. In a shift of strategy, their target of choice was no longer Sinatraa but Super, who repeatedly dropped as a result of the Titans’ aggression. The Titans nearly got a full hold, but Choihyobin managed a clutch eat onto Seominsoo’s grav and Bumper died shortly thereafter, buying the Shock a bit more time. But Dorado is a map with increasingly difficult points to complete, and with only 2:30 remaining the Shock wouldn’t get many opportunities. The Titans cleverly parked themselves on the cart early, and it didn’t matter that they lost fights because the clock was continually running. As so often happens, the Titans held strong in front of Point B, and the Shock struggled valiantly but were unable to win the single fight they got.

Vancouver’s attack encountered none of the same frustrations. Super once again was killed first and San Francisco demonstrated no capacity to fight with him down, giving the Titans Point A and about 5 minutes to complete the map. They tried something, which was either a failed rotation or a set play, in which Rascal functioned as bait and Super shattered when the Titans engaged on him. But Seominsoo killed Rascal immediately, and Slime used barrier to keep everyone alive, allowing Vancouver to sail into B without much difficulty at all.

Titans 2 : Shock 2

Map 5: Ilios

Ilios started on Lighthouse, and Moth found a boop on Twilight to open the point for his squad. The Shock built to 85% before surrendering the point, and the Titans overcomitted ultimates (particularly support ones) in the second fight. Seominsoo found a grav, but Bumper’s shatter went straight into Super’s shield. With the enemy still able to act, and no support ults to defend against one of Super’s patented in-grav shatters, the Titans couldn’t find the cleanup and were themselves taken out. San Francisco took the first round in convincing fashion.

On Ruins, Sinatraa got off to an amazing start. Quickly building 100 charge, he blasted through Bumper’s shield and Jjanu’s mech to give his team first cap, and Vancouver couldn’t find the advantage until the very last fight. Finally, at 99%, the Titans flipped the point off the back of Bumper’s big shatter. Running it all the way back was a big ask, but the boys in blue were up to the task. Once again, killing Super was the key, as every time he died the Shock looked incapable of continuing to fight.

That brought us to Well, which featured the biggest divergence from 3/3 in the whole match. The Orisa/McCree composition has been a staple of Vancouver’s strategy here, and Seominsoo’s McRightClick style of flashbang, roll, delete was highly effective. San Francisco were lucky to gain some control in a fight they were losing, slowing the Titans’ capture progress by about 25 seconds. That was enough to force an additional fight, where the Shock dislodged the hard bunker and gained control. Swapping to Winston 3/3, the Titans only needed one fight to take the win. However, they did the worst possible thing: take a long, drawn-out fight that they still lost. The timing weirdness induced by San Francisco’s lucky take earlier meant the Titans only returned from the spawn doors at 90% capture, and they were forced to use trans just to touch the point. That’s a terrible way to start out, and the Shock punished them, securing the victory and putting the Titans on the brink of their first loss.

Titans 2 : Shock 3

Map 6: King’s Row

With no margin for error remaining, the Titans went to King’s Row. Fans were feeling increasingly nervous, so a performance like the defense on Dorado or Numbani would have been appreciated. Instead, San Francisco ran over the Titans and tried to spawn camp the Titans just as they had during the regular season. Vancouver was wise to their tricks and stayed grouped in the back, but they were less wise to the more basic question of how to beat Shock in a heads-up fight. Even when they did win, it was through large investments of ultimates, and San Francisco leveraged their advantage (and an extremely unlucky miss on a charge from Bumper) to unlock Point B. The Shock ran all the way to the Titans’ spawn and the payload nearly floated to the end of the map behind them, but just in time Vancouver broke the chokehold and pushed them back. In the final fight, San Francisco was looking for a grav bomb combo, but Haksal came up clutch and stunned Choihyobin in the middle of a pack of Titans. Low on mech health and forced to boost away, he dropped a self-destruct in a useless position and got no kills, neutering the best plan San Francisco had for completing the map. The Titans would have to nearly complete the map, but a good attack run would give them the map victory.

That attack run once again featured a key play from Haksal. Slime used his barrier, and when Moth went to respond with his own, the Brigitte stunned him out of it and gave his team the point. Haksal in general played like a man possessed on this map. The observers stayed focused on Seominsoo, who was constantly running forward on the heels of his teammate as he charged from Point A nearly to the end of the map without so much as a pause. A desperation shatter bomb combo from San Francisco bought time with the Titans only 0.74 meters from victory, but they would not be denied forever. Slime made the play when he knocked Viol2t off the map during trans, and the other members of San Francisco crumbled without the huge healing output of a Zenyatta ultimate.

Titans 3 : Shock 3

Map 7: Rialto

After so many maps, it all came down to this one. Bumper opened on Winston, which was surprising, and Vancouver struggled without a strong barrier to hide behind. Even after swapping, the Titans struggled to stabilize, only partially doing so on Point C. That final phase was an improvement over A and B, but the Shock were merely slowed in their progress, finishing the map with time left on the clock and causing widespread despair among the Titans faithful. Had they really come this far only to fall at the final hurdle?

One of the marks of a great team is that they rise to the occasion. The Titans didn’t just win their attack: they won in such a way that no one would think of questioning their dominance. Vancouver completed the single best round of a map in Overwatch League history. A perfect attack run, in which not a single Titans player died, didn’t just beat the Rialto completion record: it  wiped it from existence. Vancouver rolled into the finish line with 4:26 on the clock,  nearly a full minute ahead of the record they had just set against Seoul. The crowd went wild, and even the players leapt to their feet in exuberance.

Vancouver had ascended to another level, and San Francisco were unable to follow them to those glorious new heights. The second attack phases were a formality, with the Shock stopped at the very first corner and the Titans coasting to a well-deserved victory.

FINAL SCORE

Titans 4 : Shock 3

Player of the Match

I’m strongly tempted to award this to the entire team for their attack phase on Rialto. Every player performed his role at the highest possible level, and there’s not a team in the world that could stand up to that level of performance. And yet, there’s one player I want to highlight, who was the first to hit that transcendent level and who carried his team to victory.

When the chips were down, Haksal refused to lose and made all the plays to bring his team home.

Those who didn’t follow Runaway may not know that Haksal has been the core of this team since its very inception way back in the first season of Korea’s APEX tournament. Other players have come and gone, but Haksal has been the one throughline for the whole history of the squad. More than that: his magnificent Genji made him the star player in every meta up until 3/3. It’s fitting, then, that at long last he found a way to showcase his star qualities on Brigitte. This is a hero often considered to have a flat ceiling at the pro level, one who must be played competently but who cannot win a game on her own. In this match, Haksal found a way to break that ceiling. More than any other player, this victory belongs to him, and belongs in the pantheon next to his heroic nanoblades, barrages, and rip tires.

Stage 1 Semifinals: Titans vs. Seoul Postgame

After easily beating the Boston Uprising 3-0, the Vancouver Titans were in line to play the lowest advancing seed in the semifinals. Surprisingly, that team ended up being the Seoul Dynasty, who shockingly upset the New York Excelsior. The match was first OWL meeting between Vancouver, heirs to the legacy of Runaway, and the Dynasty, heirs to the mighty Lunatic Hai. But this time, the roles were reversed, and it was the Titans who cruised to a win and punched their ticket to the finals.

Map 1: Busan

Busan started on Mecha Base, and as they had against New York, Seoul came out with a control point special roster. It’s one which fittingly contains the three iconic Lunatic Hai members (Zunba, Tobi, and Ryujehong) along with new additions Fleta, Fits, and Marve1, and is designed to run 3/3. The Titans ran their normal six and looked clearly better. They could well have taken the map 100-0, highlighted by a Haksal stun onto Marve1 to prevent an earthshatter, but in the final fight the Titans messed up the followup to a grav. Ever-so-briefly stymied, but utterly unworried, Vancouver returned for the next fight and crushed it, taking the 1-0 lead in the series.

On Sanctuary, it was the same story. The Titans won every single fight handily, and Seoul’s only capture progress came when a desperation grav trapped the whole team off the point. With most of the Dynasty already in the spawn room, it did nothing but delay the inevitable by a few seconds, and Vancouver simply stepped back onto the point while cleaning up the final remaining enemies. Just like that, the Titans had taken the lead in the series.

Titans 1: Dynasty 0

Map 2: Hollywood

Seoul made wholesale replacements, bringing in Fissure, Michelle, Munchkin, and Jecse to run the Sombra-variant 3/3 that had found so much success against New York. Taking the attack first, Seoul was unwilling to commit until Michelle found a relevant hack. The Titans, fully aware of the playstyle, countered well by rotating and keeping Jjanu and Haksal on sentry duty. The Dynasty finally won the “first” fight, but it took a full 2 minutes to get there. Titans continued drain time on streets, setting up a strong defense in the last meters. A few failed attacks and an attempted backcap later, Seoul won an overtime fight by the skin of their teeth and got the cap. On Point C, the Titans squandered an ultimate advantage in the final fight and gave the Dynasty an opening which they used to complete the whole map, albeit in overtime.

The Titans knew they needed a full completion, and went about it in methodical fashion. The first fight incurred heavy losses on both sides, but Haksal, Seominsoo, and Twilight were able to stay alive and tip the balance in their favor. From that small tip, things snowballed. Seemingly with every fight, Vancouver took a greater and greater advantage, as they ran all the way to the final parking space before “losing a teamfight.” In reality, what happened was Seominsoo died, and the Titans calmly disengaged, regrouped, and easily won the next fight, giving them a 3 minute time bank. Since Seoul’s completion was in overtime, the Titans were the sole attackers and needed only a single tick to secure the map victory, which they gained without much difficulty.

This map was a microcosm of the entire match to come. Seoul would struggle on attack, finally breaking through the nearly-implacable Titans defense with nearly no time remaining. Vancouver would switch sides and sail through maps as if their opponents didn’t even exist.

Titans 2 : Dynasty 0

Map 3: Temple of Anubis

Anubis A has become one of the points where multi-DPS compositions reign, and the Dynasty took advantage of the opportunity. Bumper, on Winston, was swatted down first, and the Titans did well to delay the capture for about 2 minutes before succumbing. Seoul had built ults and tried their best to get a cap with their DPS lineup, but weren’t able to snowball and had to swap back to 3/3. That meant the Dynasty would need at least two fights to gain any ultimates, which they did, but by the end of that second fight the Titans had committed many ults with nothing to show for it and Seoul started gaining percentage. Absolutely brilliant stall work by the Titans kept things alive for an incredible amount of time, and that alone seemed like a victory, but then Haksal’s reemergence on the Doomfist actually got kills and brought them back from the literal brink of 99.5% captured. Yes, Seoul won the next fight and finished the map, but with only 48 seconds remaining instead of the 2+ minutes they otherwise might have had.

On the attack, the Titans stuck with 3/3 and ran over the Dynasty like a bulldozer. They postured to get a good position on A, smashed Seoul back to their spawn, then came forward onto B and did nearly the same thing. A long series of back-and-forth ultimates kept both teams alive for a while, preventing the Titans from setting a speedrun record, but once those were all used up Vancouver used superior individual skill to emerge victorious “in the neutral” and get the cap with more than 5 minutes remaining.

For second defense, Seoul again tried the DPS composition, and players were traded back and forth until the fight came down to an appropriate metaphor. Fleta, Seoul’s star player, was on Pharah and needed only to kill Seominsoo on Zarya. Instead, Seominsoo beamed down the flying rocketeer, and the Dynasty were toast. With 5:43 to play with, Vancouver decided to  win with style, running a quad DPS. How, you ask? Haksal and Slime of course were Pharah and Mercy, Seominsoo played Sombra, Twilight flexed to Widow, and… Bumper tried his hand at dealing damage. We finally learned that his flex-god status has its limits, so don’t expect to see him run Hanzo or Tracer again anytime soon, but it was great fun to see Haksal excel on the Pharah he plays so well.

Titans 3 : Dynasty 0

Map 4: Rialto

At this point, it was pretty clear which way the series was going. The Dynasty attacked first and once again struggled mightily to gain progress. Point A required more than 3 minutes to complete; Point B was another 2 minutes; and Point C ate the last 2:30 in Seoul’s timebank. They made it to the end, but as we’d seen on Hollywood, that was no proof against the Titans.

Vancouver’s attack phase was lightning speed. Even better than Hollywood, the Titans won every single fight and set an OWL record for speedrunning the map. The Dynasty had one minute to make something happen, and utterly failed, meaning Vancouver had 4:32 to push the cart around the very first corner of Rialto. Seoul tried a Bastion hardpoint, but Slime booped the Orisa into the canal and the enterprise fell apart, delivering an easy victory in the map and the match.

FINAL SCORE

Titans 4 : Dynasty 0

Player of the Match

The Titans won this match quite handily, but there were a few tricky fights whose outcomes balanced on an edge. The player of the match for this game goes to the player who somehow was always alive in those key moments, and turned the tide every time in favor of his team.

Haksal made star plays on Brigitte, as well as Doomfist and Pharah, that set up the team for victory.

Brigitte isn’t the flashiest role, but it does seem to me that Haksal finds ways to be in the right spot for stuns onto ulting enemies. In this game, the most notable was when he stunned Marve1 on Mecha Base, saving his team from a well-angled ult that otherwise probably would have resulted in a wipe. Less flashy, but also critical, is how he stays alive as fights devolve, providing a mix of AOE healing and damage that’s very hard to defeat at the end of a fight. And when given a chance to shine on Doomfist or Pharah, as he was on Temple of Anubis, Haksal reminds us how good he is on characters not named Brigitte. Think of these as appetizers for the time when the meta shifts and we get to see the return of his famed Genji or more of his masterful Pharah.

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