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Tag: Houston Outlaws (page 2 of 2)

Titans vs. Outlaws Postgame

For three of the four maps in this series, the result was exactly what you would have expected, with the Vancouver Titans mercilessly (and Mercy-less-ly) steamrolling the Houston Outlaws. The Titans’ greatness at running 3/3, paired with Houston’s general ineptness at that style, led to an utterly predictable result.

But one of those maps did not go as planned. Houston’s multi-DPS setup stymied the Titans, and whether that was up to Vancouver not taking the matchup seriously or a deeper flaw in their playstyle is the first thing the coaches should dig into. Every player on the Titans is capable of being a star in a divier meta, but in today’s match they certainly didn’t show it.

Map 1: Busan

Vancouver came into Busan with Stitch at the keyboard instead of Seominsoo, but the thunder was stolen by the Houston Outlaws, who with no prior indication put in Arhan for his first action in roughly forever. He was joined by Linkzr and Danteh to create a triple DPS look, which was certainly a refreshing use of the players at Houston’s disposal.

We started on Mecha Base, where Linkzr, on Widowmaker, used the high ground surrounding the point to land shot after shot. But Twilight kept his team alive, Muma was picked first, and the Titans took first control. Next, Bumper dove deep for Linkzr, got him, then popped Primal Rage seemingly for no reason. Maybe he was more perceptive than we suspected: Danteh’s Sombra uncloaked right as he used the ability, and despite being hacked he was able to get the kill there as well. Houston took the point back at 84%, which left the Titans needing only a single fight to retake, but they wasted time fighting with half the team present, allowing Houston to build to 99%. For the final fight, Linkzr played ring-around-the-point with Bumper, constantly rotating away from the pressure being applied and hitting one key headshot onto Twilight. Denied critical healing, the Titans melted in the face of the other two Houston DPS, and it was the Outlaws who came away with the first point win.

Sanctuary was similarly dangerous, due to its long sightlines. Houston went for a Torbjorn Orisa bunker but with a Soldier 76 and Sombra alongside, which is an unusual style to put it mildly. The fact that it worked is down to two things: the Titans playing like a soloqueue team, and Linkzr’s astonishing abilities on hitscan heroes. Just as his Widowmaker carried the Outlaws to victory on Mecha Base, so did his uncanny aim on Soldier deliver them the win on Sanctuary. He was helped in this by a stream of Titans feeding themselves one by one into his clutches. Throughout the entire map, including both stages, there was precious little of the precision target selection that usually characterizes the Titans’ play. Instead, they were picked apart, and Houston took a shocking win on the Control map.

Titans 0 : Outlaws 1

Map 2: Paris

After a forgettable showing on Sombra over the course of a lost map, Stitch was taken out and replaced by Seominsoo. Aftera  dominant showing on Widowmaker and Soldier over the course of a won map, Linkzr was taken out and replaced by Coolmatt. Performance, clearly, is not the driving factor in these decisions.

The Titans were on defense first, and instead of running a bunker composition as has been common on Paris, went for a Winston 3/3.Houston opted into the matchup, pitting their Zen against Vancouver’s Ana, and meeting with little success. A Reinhardt swap didn’t fix the primary issue, which was that Twilight hit a biotic grenade or a sleep dart in every fight, and oftentimes both. This wasn’t the only issue with Coolmatt’s play on Dva, but it might have been the most consequential.  Houston only touched the point once, in the final fight, and didn’t manage a single tick of progress.

The multi-DPS style on the first point had made Vancouver look mortal, but now they were in their comfort zone. With the well-earned confidence that this map was essentially already won, they went for a weird bunker-buster strategy to remove Houston’s Orisa/Bastion setup. Haksal came out on Symmetra, used teleporter from a hidden position to bypass the firing zone. A brief pause to reset cooldowns later, they stormed up the ramp, Bumper charged Arhan away, and the Titans had tied up the series.

Titans 1 : Outlaws 1

Map 3: Eichenwalde

Vancouver opened on the attack, and recognized that Arhan’s Pharah needed countering. Seominsoo went for a Soldier, but instead of waiting for him to take out the flying menace, they rotated through the castle walls into the high ground of the tavern. This let them take the fight from a superior position, so that Arhan was unable to use his barrage. It came out in the first fight of the streets phase, paired with an EMP, but Seominsoo’s tactical visor and the proximity of spawns meant that Vancouver won the fight despite losing more players. That set up a last-ditch defense at the castle doors, where the Outlaws were able to split the Titans and hold firm. Vancouver took their foot off the gas at this point, which was emphatically demonstrated by Bumper’s insistence on doing his best Winz impression (I sit on ze payload) instead of, you know, joining the fights. The fights weren’t unwinnable, far from it in fact, but Houston rallied at key moments on the back of Rawkus‘ biotic grenades, which were every bit as impactful here as Twilights‘ had been on Paris.

On their attack, Houston opted into a 3/3 mirror against Vancouver. Attacking A, they should have won in the first fight when they picked Seominsoo to start, but the Titans magically battled back. Though Houston took the point in the next fight, the lost time would prove critical. Twice more on the streets phase the Outlaws took early advantages, only to watch Vancouver turn it around and repel them. Bumper was the key to victory, charging and shattering his way across the map with impunity. With little time left, the last fight arrived quite quickly, and Bumper first hit a gigantic 5-man shatter to give his squad the advantage, then built another shatter within 20 seconds to lock down the remaining enemies.

Titans 2  : Outlaws 1

Map 4: Rialto

Houston was first to attack the map on which the Titans own the 2 fastest times in OWL history. That must have been a frightening prospect for the Outlaws, who once again felt it best to try a 3/3 mirror. One successful fight, in which they killed Seominsoo and then Bumper, would have delivered them Point A against any other squad. But the Titans kited back to spawn expertly, avoiding any further stagger kills, then returned across the bridge for a last-second contest. Coolmatt, trying to break their formation, launched a self-destruct into the backline. That wasn’t a bad idea, but it ended up being a bad play since it gave Seominsoo a chance to throw out his graviton without fear of it being eaten. The Titans collapsed on the locked-up opponents, sending them back to spawn and firmly staking their claim to the cart. Two more minutes of ineffectual attack later, Houston had been full held, setting up an easy win.

The Titans were able to deliver that win without much trouble. They methodically built ults, Seominsoo’s graviton took out Danteh and Coolmatt, and when the Outlaws tried for a last-second contest Bumper was able to drop everyone with a shatter. Jjanu’s bomb, perfectly timed as always, exploded directly above the stunned members of Houston, netting him a 4k and his team the victory in the map and the series.

FINAL SCORE

Titans 3 : Outlaws 1

Player of the Match

Sometimes I award Player of the Match to whoever was most instrumental in bringing the Titans to victory. At some point, I may have to award it to the player who did best in a losing effort, but since this is a Vancouver blog that hasn’t happened yet. And then there are times like today. The match quickly went from nerve-inducing after the loss on control to a lighthearted stomp, and I want to reward the player who most exemplified that feeling.

Bumper defined this match, for good and for bad.

The enduring of this match for analysis purposes should be the final fight of Mecha Base, as Bumper fruitlessly chases Linkzr around the entire perimeter of the control point. His inability to close the distance on the enemy Widow was partially why the Titans weren’t able to win this map.

But the enduring image of the match, to me, are the times when Bumper would be charged offscreen in one direction, only to return moments later countercharging Muma back into the waiting arms of the Titans. It happened on Eichenwalde and on Rialto, and was hilarious both times. Bumper’s play was goofy, going for low-percentage charges because they would be amazing if they worked, and against a Houston squad that didn’t even force Vancouver to try all that hard to win, that was the best playstyle to keep me interested in the unfolding match.

Why the Titans will Defeat the Outlaws: A Map Analysis

The Outlaws have a weird schedule this stage, their games are back-loaded so that they can play in Dallas for the Overwatch League’s Ultimate Weekend in Dallas. With no match in week 1 and only one match in week 2, they end up with two matches each for weeks 3, 4, and 5. If they come into the match without enough preparation, they could take a loss to the Titans who have had a much more balanced schedule.

On the other hand, while the Titans were in the playoffs, the Outlaws got to practice longer on the new patch. Even though the Outlaws did have more practice time, you have to wonder how good that extra practice actually was, all of the league’s better teams were in the playoffs so how will that practice play out on the main stage when the Titans refuse to play with new heroes and just shove more GOATS down their throats?

OutlawsTitans
Control Win %56%79%
Busan2-13-0

Hey look, it’s Busan again! Since this will be up before the Titans play the Dynasty, we are operating on old information. The Outlaws aren’t nearly as good as the Titans are but statistically, this could be one of the closest maps.

OutlawsTitans
Assault Win %36%82%
Paris

Wait a minute, this is a new map! We don’t know what’s going to happen here… but the Titans are way better on Assault than the Outlaws are. For one team to be twice the win-rate of the other on a map type is insane. Overwatch is a game of inches and the Titans have an advantage of a country mile.

Outlaws LifetimeTitansRunAway
Hybrid Win %63%92%88%
Eichenwalde5-12-1-1

The Titans, as RunAway, have some history on Eichenwalde. They lost in the Apex Season 4 finals on Eichenwalde, they got stuck on the bridge and got reverse swept to lose. Throughout the OWL inaugural season, the Outlaws have an excellent 5-1 record here and RunAway can match that with an alright record of their own, 2-1-1. This could be a great map and the Outlaws could give the Titans a run for their money here.

OutlawsTitans
Escort Win %29%73%
Rialto0-23-1

Hey… remember when we were talking about how the Titans are twice as good as the Outlaws on a map type? Well… it’s back. A 0-2 record on Rialto by the Outlaws is unacceptable. In stage 1, the Titans threw and lost to the only 0-7 team here, but they also broke the record here against the second best team in the league, so who knows what happens.

By the numbers, this match looks far closer than I thought it would. If it plays out as a GOATS mirror match, the Titans will come out on top, however not knowing what the Outlaws will do is a concern. GOATS isn’t one of their strong suits, so who knows what they could do and with high skill players like JAKE, Muma, Danteh, and Rawkus on the roster, they could pull out something unexpected on the Titans, let’s just hope they can adjust quickly enough to keep the wins coming.

Stage 2 Week 2 Preview: Dynasty and Outlaws

After stomping the Hangzhou Spark, the Titans turn their sights to the next targets of their ire: the league standings. Despite being emphatically the best team in the Overwatch League, weird vagaries of scheduling have largely kept them from holding the #1 seed because they constantly had fewer matches played than opponents. This pattern shows no signs of breaking during this stage.

The biggest culprit is the unbalanced nature of the matchups. We have an idea, now, of who the strongest and weakest teams are, and this week pretty much worked out to pit all the former teams solely against the latter teams. The New York Excelsior, currently squatting on the #1 seed that is rightfully Vancouver’s, have a double feature against the Washington Justice and the Florida Mayhem, each of whom are an abysmal 1-8. The San Francisco Shock will take on the Guangzhou Charge, who have taken a major step back and are 0-2 this stage. And the Gladiators, who are looking relatively strong, get the other match against Guangzhou as well as a free win against the LA Valiant.

Compared to these, the Titans schedule looks quite difficult. In reality, though, it follows the same pattern. A matchup against Seoul Dynasty sounds dangerous, but after shellacking them 4-0 in the Stage 1 Semifinals, and considering Seoul’s performance thus far this stage, it shouldn’t be much of a difficulty. Then come the perennially-mediocre Houston Outlaws, where the most interesting storyline is what happens when the best flex support in OWL faces off against the worst.

Seoul Dynasty are the heirs to Lunatic Hai, and considering how the Titans clearly felt about X6 Gaming last week there might be some leftover grudge. But it’s been quite some time since the Dynasty truly felt like the Lunatic Hai squad–with Miro gone and Zunba and Tobi hardstuck to the bench, Ryujehong is the sole representative from those bygone days (Munchkin, part of LH’s revolving door of Tracers in APEX S4, isn’t intimately associated with the legacy in the same way). However, the character of the team remains the same: a top-tier support line enables an All-Star main tank, and everyone else plays around that.

That’s fairly evident from what seems to be their new main roster. Ryujehong remains brilliant on flex support, and his partner Jecse rose to Lucio stardom on the powerhouse team of Element Mystic. Munchkin is a journeyman, who between Lunatic Hai and Seoul was playing for the less-vaunted Laser Kittenz. Michelle played for Ardeont and Lucky Future Zenith, two teams which existed to demonstrate that random Korean players could stomp the Pacific and Chinese regions. And Fits was plucked straight from an Open Division team that failed to make it out of Contenders Trials. Is it any surprise that these players would devote all their resources to Fissure, the most handsome, the best main tank? Think about it: who is better than Fissure? No one.

Memes aside, that really was Seoul’s strategy for the first match of Stage 2. Though it didn’t deliver the win against the LA Gladiators, there were moments (particularly on Watchpoint Gibraltar) when it looked very effective. Of course, they did lose the match, so take that with a grain of salt.

Against the Titans, Fissure’s Winston is probably superior to Bumper’s, but Bumper has him beat on Reinhardt. Twilight and Slime are on even footing with Ryujehong and Jecse, and if Stitch is playing Zarya against Fits those are also pretty similar. It’s in the Dva and Brigitte play that the Titans have a huge advantage–Haksal does things on the hero that no one else does, and Jjanu is a record-setting graviton eater. Seoul lost a map against the Gladiators when Fits whiffed on a grav, a direct result of fear that Void would eat it. They lost another when Void did get the eat. It’s not known what Jjanu feasts on more, fear or projectile ults, but in either case the Dynasty won’t like the answer.

If Seominsoo were playing, the Zarya margin would set up another easy 4-0 win.

With Stitch instead, it’s still a 4-0.

If Seoul opt into a 3/3 matchup, Jjanu and Haksal can carry the team to victory. If it’s DPS instead, the duo of Stitch/Haksal will style all over Fits and Munchkin.

The Outlaws matchup is far less interesting. We haven’t yet seen them in Stage 2, so it’s anyone’s guess what comps they will run, but there is one thing we know for sure: Rawkus will be playing, and the Titans can take advantage of that like no one’s business. Twilight is, as I said previously, the best flex support in OWL. Rawkus is, I think without question, the worst.

The gameplan for every team that played Houston was the same: find Rawkus, kill Rawkus, win the ensuing 5v6. Considering their 3-4 record thus far, that’s worked out quite well for their opponents. Along with the Titans, the Outlaws are probably the team with the most experience fighting shorthanded. Unfortunately for them, and unlike Vancouver, that experience hasn’t translated to an ability to win those fights.

So the matchup here is much simpler. Muma and Coolmatt are a pretty solid tank pairing, but they’re not at Bumper and Jjanu’s level. There’s a three-headed-monster that matches up against Stitch, where Spree beats him on Zarya, Danteh is a reasonable match on Tracer, and Linkzr can hold his own on hitscans like Widow or McCree, but Stitch being one person gives the Titans more adaptability. And the advantage grows from here. Slime outclasses Boink, and Haksal ranges from being better than Jake on Brigitte to making him look like an amateur on other projectile heroes. And finally, Twilight against Rawkus is just.. not fair.

Houston has historically demonstrated a bizarre ability to beat teams that are better than them, but I can’t see how that will work here. The Titans just have them beat at every position, and even if they don’t devote many resources to preparing for Houston, the simple truth is Vancouver is a lot better.

A second 4-0 is the order of the day.

Episode 19 – Bad Boys

Joining Chris to talk about the Vancouver Titans is co-host Omni. They discuss the Titans 4-0 victory over the Hangzhou Spark, preview the upcoming matches against the Seoul Dynasty & Houston Outlaws, and discuss how “bad” the Bad Boys of Vancouver are.

Overwatch Gilded Gala

Last week we learned of the Overwatch California Cup, and I wondered how many more of these “regional derby matches” we might see.  Well so long as you don’t mind the lack of “regional” specificity, we didn’t have to wait long to see another sprout up.

While the premise of the Gilded Gala will be similar to the California Cup, with the Spitfire and Outlaws playing in a home and home series, the actual style of play will be different.  Featuring only three to four players from each of the squads, they will play “unique and fun game modes,” such as 1v1s, mystery heroes (my jam!), pros versus fans and more.  The two events also look to feature local social media personalities to act as a broader draw.

We’re really excited to have put something special together for the fans, and it’s been great teaming up with the Outlaws to do it.  The amount of support we’ve gotten from our hometown fans continues to be phenomenal and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have the team in London. The Overwatch Gilded Gala is going to be an event to remember for both the cities of London and Houston.

Jack Etienne, London Spitfire CEO & Owner

Think you’re game to attend either of the dates?  Make sure you’re in London on October 20, 2018 for the first leg, and available sometime in January 2019 for the second leg in Houston (a specific date is not yet available).

So… which two sides will we see match up next?

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