Tag: New York Excelsior

New York Excelsior: A Playoff Primer

The NYXL have benefited from their easy schedule this year and only 4 of 12 playoff teams came from the Eastern Division. On paper, their regular season was about as successful as the Shock and Titans, but how much of that success came from the backs of beating up sub-par teams? While the NYXL have a lot of talent on their roster, they haven’t been able to get the job done in the postseason this year.

According to this article on over.gg, the NYXL had the easiest schedule in the league and the third easiest when including playoff matches. While the Titans did have the 7th easiest raw strength of schedule, they fall to 3rd hardest with playoff matches. The Overwatch League even put out their own graphic on the subject.

NYXLWins over EastWins over WestLosses over EastLosses over West
Stage 14300
Stage 24120
Stage 36100
Stage 42104
Stage Playoffs0103
Season Playoffs2000

To get the specifics, I broke down each stage, each stage playoffs and what we’ve seen in the season playoffs so far. There isn’t a single stage where the New York Excelsior won more games against a Western Team than an Eastern Team. They also managed to lose twice the amount of games against Western Teams than Eastern Teams, while facing Eastern Teams twice as much. To put it into perspective, the only team from the East that beat the NYXL this year is the Atlanta Reign, and it happened twice in Stage 2. By comparison, in stage 4, the Excelsior lost to the Gladiators, the Charge, the Titans, and the Hunters. New York’s sad showing could be sandbagging, or they took some time to get used to the new 2-2-2 meta, but they didn’t even look very good in any of their matches.

When you add their playoff matches into the mix, they come out with an even record of 3W 3L. Their wins came over two teams from the Atlantic division and a 3-0 sweep of the Gladiators, a team who didn’t have a good grasp of the meta. The NYXL got embarrassed by the Western Teams they lost to, two crushing upsets and a close match against the Titans. You may have missed it, but if you check above, the teams that NYXL managed to beat in the season playoffs were #2 and #3 in easiest schedule. The Philadelphia Fusion also had the 4th easiest schedule among teams, and they are the 4th Eastern Team to make the playoffs. The Titans beat a team in a three-way tie for 4th and 7th hardest. Scrubasaurus’ article on over.gg backs that up too. He has the Spitfire as the 3rd easiest and the Reign at 6th easiest. Adjusted strength of schedule, including the playoffs, puts the Spitfire at 2nd easiest and the Reign at 8th easiest. An interesting outlier, Scrubasaurus has the Gladiators as the 3rd easiest.

Based on the opponent strength of schedule metric that the Overwatch League used, the 4 Atlantic teams to make the playoffs had the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th easiest schedules in the league. Now compare this to the schedule difficulty of the 8 Pacific teams who made the top 12: #3 (Dragons), #4T (Hunters), #4T (Charge), #4T (Dynasty), #7 (Gladiators), #8 (Spark), #9 (Shock), #10 (Titans). Is it just a coincidence that the 8 Western teams to make the top 12 had the 3rd, 4thx3, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th hardest schedules while the 4 East teams had the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th hardest?

Titans RecordTitans W%XL RecordXL W%
Lijiang Tower9-282%4-640%

Round one will start on Lijiang Tower guaranteed. The Titans dominated the Gladiators on Control and they hadn’t won on Lijiang Tower in four months. The NYXL record on Lijiang is abysmal as well, 1-4 over the last 3 months.

Titans RecordTitans W%XL RecordXL W%
King’s Row11-192%6-367%

NYXL hasn’t lost a control map yet this post-season, against both London and Atlanta, they’ve picked Busan and won. There isn’t a ton of info here, but with a perfect score on Eichenwalde this year, it’s tough to bet against that. Both teams have great records on Eichenwalde, so the real goal for the Titans is to last long enough for their opponents to use up their best maps. If this goes to 6, that’s where we will see the Titans’ advantage open up on King’s Row or Numbani. Much like what we saw when they played the Dynasty and the Gladiators, their strength comes with patience.

Titans RecordTitans W%XL RecordXL W%
Temple of Anubis10-377%5-456%
Horizon: Lunar Colony3-260%3-1-170%

If New York takes Eichenwalde then the Titans will pick Temple of Anubis. They dumpstered the Dynasty on Anubis and the NYXL aren’t particularly good there with only one win in the last 3 months. Unless there’s a tie, they will only play one Assault map, but having Hanamura in their back pocket will be a benefit if the game goes long.

Titans RecordTitans W%XL RecordXL W%
Watchpoint: Gibraltar6-186%4-267%

The NYXL aren’t very good on Dorado, which means it could be the game 7 deciding map. If the Titans do pick Temple of Anubis and dominate on it, like we’ve seen them do this year, then the Excelsior will likely pick Rialto or Watchpoint: Gibraltar. New York is far better on those two maps, but the Titans own the world record on both of them. Escort is the Excelsior’s best game mode, but not having either of Junkertown (5-0) or Havana (4-1) in the pool is a disaster for them.

The Titans do look favored again because of their beneficial map pool, but NYXL is a skilled team. This match will come down to the clutch factor. With two quicker games this post-season (a 4-1 and 4-2 win), the NYXL will have to win on not only their best maps, but their worst maps. Neither of the opponents they’ve faced so far have had a map pool so tilted in their opponents favor. This will be a close match, but it’s exactly the kind of preparation the Titans need if they expect to win in Philadelphia’s Grand Finals.

Episode 24 – Titans: Endgame

Joining Chris to talk about the Vancouver Titans are co-hosts Omni & Sam. The Vancouver Titans faced the San Francisco Shock in the Stage 2 Playoffs Final and provided Overwatch League fans another epic fight. Also discussed is the OWL All-Star Week, Trading Cards, and a topic that has both Chris & Omni getting bleeped.

Stage 2 Semifinal: Titans vs Excelsior Postgame

At long last, fans got to see the highly-anticipated matchup between the Vancouver Titans and the New York Excelsior. New York, the dominant force of OWL Season 1, have been slightly shakier this time around, but remain one of the strongest teams in the league. Vancouver has taken up their mantle as the kings of the scene, setting the two on a crash course.

It did not disappoint. This was one of the highest-level matches we’ve seen in this entire season, and possibly the first time the Titans have had to kick themselves into high gear. But once they did, New York simply couldn’t keep up, and Vancouver took the victory with a convincing 4-1 smackdown.

Map 1: Busan

We kicked off with Sanctuary, with both teams running the expected 3/3, which would be the composition of choice across the day. In a faceoff widely considered to be very even, the first fight emphatically confirmed that perception: both sides jostled for position for one and a half minutes before New York was finally able to snag the first kill and unlock the point. The Titans took an ult lead, but Seominsoo’s grav was nullified by trans and Bumper’s shatter couldn’t be followed up on thanks to a defensive grav out of Nenne. Vancouver finally flipped it in the final attack, but with 97% already on the board and New York with the ult lead, the Titans were playing from way behind. Bumper was pressured to death, and despite some attempted heroics it was the Excelsior to won the first point.

On City Center, Twilight found a random kill onto Libero so that the Titans could get the point first. That created an inversion of the setup in Sanctuary, as Mano eventually flattened the whole of Vancouver with a shatter, but this time it was the Excelsior who were staring down the barrel of 98% accrued. Bumper found Jjonak with a shatter, New York cracked, and the Titans took the second point to force a final round.

Mecha Base was again a knife-edged first fight, but Slime looped around and popped Meko out of mech, immediately leading to the kill onto Nenne and the point capture. Once more they built to 99%, before they made basically the only bad decision of the day. Bumper and Seominsoo saw Libero on his own and chased him into a side room to secure the kill, but Haksal and Twilight didn’t get the message and were left out to dry on point. That gave New York a slim chance to bring it back, and they did their best, even winning a fight despite Mano being killed first. It all came down to one final fight at 99-99, which got off to a bad start when Twilight had to trans just so as not to die. But Bumper, locked in a grav, found the clutch shatter, and his team followed up with ruthless efficiency. The Titans had won, but New York had announced themselves as worthy competitors.

Titans 1 : Excelsior 0

Map 2: Blizzard World

With their first map choice, New York elected to go to Blizzard World, a map where the Titans have shown occasional flashes of weakness. That choice was rewarded when Haksal was disconnected from his team and beamed down, which New York perfectly transitioned into a payload unlock and a graviton-to-shatter snowball. Point B should have been an opportunity to stabilize for the Titans, with both sides playing slow to build ults. But New York seized the initiative, locking up Bumper in a grav so that Mano could charge him to his death in the back. Without a Rein shield, the Titans were easy prey for Mano’s shatter, and their eternal sense that a lost fight can be won with more ultimates came back to bite them. They committed barrier, grav, and shatter to no avail, turning an advantageous situation into a disadvantageous one. But Slime came up clutch, booping Mano off the edge inside Point C to get Vancouver’s first relevant kill of the entire map. That let the Titans stabilize and work the clock down to about a minute remaining, before New York got their hero play. Bumper’s shatter knocked down Nenne, who was already low on health, and Bumper launched a firestrike in his direction to finish the job. But it was intercepted by Dva matrix, keeping the critical damage dealer alive. The Titans tried valiantly to stall to OT, but weren’t quite able to, which was a capstone to an all-around disappointing defense.

It was, for that reason, absolutely shocking when the Titans came out of spawn on a quad-DPS troll comp and stuck with it. I think it was half a legitimate strategy, half an attempt at psychological warfare. “You might be feeling good after that attack,” the Titans said, “but we are so unworried that we can beat you with the composition we famously play when we aren’t taking things seriously.”

In this instance, though, the Titans might well have taken things a bit more seriously. The quad DPS did indeed work–due primarily to Haksal’s barrage over a set of EMP’d Excelsiors(?)–but it took a while to do it. Then the Titans had to swap back to a standard 3/3, against opponents who had just been forced to be economical with their ults because of EMP. Even Jjanu eating a grav didn’t help, as New York stuffed every attempt by the Titans to advance the payload. The cart came to rest just in front of Point B, and we had a tied series on our hands.

Titans 1 : Excelsior 1

Map 3: Hanamura

For the first time in these playoffs, the Titans had to respond to a lost map. I was hoping the Titans had used halftime to clean up some of their play, so I was dismayed when they immediately got separated, then got even more separated with Bumper dying completely solo on the point. Jjanu and Twilight, though, traded out for Meko, and Vancouver had spawn advantage for the 5v5. After grinding out that win, Vancouver got up to 93.5%… but they’d made a crucial mistake. Bumper killed Jjonak at 99% to trans, and New York’s flex support doesn’t like being prevented from using trans in his own dumb way. He returned to point with a trans, then headshotted literally everyone to force the Titans back to spawn. It would take another 3 minutes for Vancouver to find that last little bit, resulting in a 1:55 timebank.

New York’s attack was a page out of Vancouver’s book, as they ran a triple DPS once again spearheaded by a Pharah. Libero, inexplicably, was able to hit Bumper with a rocket, in the face, three times in a row. If only Reinhardt had some sort of shielding ability. In any case, the Excelsior had also run a Sombra, so they tried for the EMP snowball cap onto B. Vancouver reacted correctly by bashing down the rest of the team, leading Meko to shrug, toss out EMP, and swap back to Dva when it failed. That put the Titans ahead in ults, and they proceeded to put on a master class in cycling. For nearly 5 minutes, they won every fight with the use of only a single ult, until New York broke through on the final fight. With mere seconds remaining, the only thing that mattered was stalling to OT. Haksal’s Doomfist was killed immediately, Bumper’s Hammond was caught in grav, but the third time was the charm–Seominsoo swapped to Mei and got into ice block form on the point, buying the crucial seconds needed to deny New York a second attack run.

With 2 minutes and needing only a single tick, the Titans once again went for the quad DPS setup. The hero, of course, was… Bumper? Yes, seriously, Bumper (playing Hanzo) found the first kill onto Nenne with his storm arrows. That smashed the go button, and the EMP/barrage/dragon combo was far too strong.

Titans 2 : Excelsior 1

Map 4: Rialto

By far the most puzzling choice of the series was this: New York could have chosen Gibraltar or Junkertown for their escort map, but instead took us to Rialto. Had they not seen the Titans struggle on those other two maps. More importantly, had they not seen Vancouver’s ability to speedrun this map?

Anyways, the Excelsior found a good amount of success early in the map. Jjonak picked Twilight first, and after the Titans scrapped out a fight at the end of A, New York came right back to take it in the next engagement. Things continued this way, with back-and-forth fight wins, for the entire map. Apparently, the timing on that works out such that the attacking team wins the penultimate fight, but the defenders can stop them from getting the full completion. After some heroics in the last fight, that’s exactly what the Titans managed, giving them a chance to go up 3-1 in the series.

On the attack, the Titans very much did not get a speedrun. Point A was a tremendous struggle, in which Vancouver only prevailed with 30 seconds remaining. B went better, as a battle of trump cards came up Titans when Bumper shattered, Mano counter-shattered, and Jjanu’s counter-bomb got 3 kills and the cap. And C was best of all, with Bumper hitting a monster shatter right in front of the victory box that left the Excelsior no time to regroup. Already, it was match point.

Titans 3 : Excelsior 1

Map 5: Lijiang Tower

Back onto control, the potentially-deciding map kicked off on Garden, where the Titans opted for a Winston instead of a Reinhardt. Despite building a fast primal and knocking Jjonak off the edge, the Excelsior got their own kills and won the point first. Vancouver retook off a grav, then decided to live on the other side of the central wall for what felt like 10 minutes while control built. Eventually, New York found what seemed like an insurmountable advantage–except Slime didn’t agree. He dashed around the point and not only stalled forever, but even killed Jjonak. The rest of the Titans returned to point, cleared it of enemies, and won the round to put themselves on match point.

In Control Center, we once again saw an impossibly-long first fight, with both teams investing ultimates to maintain positioning. New York emerged victorious first in capping, then in securing the point, and then in maintaining position. Vancouver only ever managed to sneak captures in losing fights, which was disappointing but simply meant that Night Market would have to be played to decide.

Once more, Vancouver came out worse in the poke war, and the Excelsior secured the first take. They held until a grav war, where Bumper fell but Haksal and Jjanu scoffed at the idea you would need a main tank. The deadly duo removed Nenne and Mano, leaving the enemy supports as easy pickings. In the final fight, Bumper used shatter to no avail, then managed to swing so much that he built another shatter, which this time hit nearly the entire enemy team. Though he was shot down before being able to capitalize, his teammates were there to finish what he had started. With everyone dead, New York was forced to madly rush for point, but they were barely unable to get the touch in time.


Titans 4 : Excelsior 1

Player of the Match

This award has, in its history, been given only to players on the Titans. But a combination of two things is leading me to change that today. First, Vancouver’s victory was the definition of a team effort–everyone had their own hero moments, but there isn’t a player who stood out head-and-shoulders above the rest of his teammates today (though if I had to pick one, Slime was probably the best). Second, the only reason this match will be remembered as close, despite a 4-1 scoreline, is the key player for the NYXL.

Mano defined this match, and deserves recognition for it.

There were two key play types from New York that I want to talk about. The first is the counter shatter. Most commonly seen when they were locked into grav, Mano also sometimes used this when the rest of his team had been shattered by Bumper. A great example was on Lijiang Control Center, when Bumper landed a shatter and all of Vancouver charged forward to capitalize. Mano knocked them all to the ground, which saved his teammates from certain death.

The second play is the grav charge. We saw this set play over and over again, and it seemed the Titans never fully developed an answer. Nenne would use grav on Bumper, Mano would walk behind the helpless players, and charge Bumper away from his team, which invariably led to a kill onto the Vancouver main tank. With his shield out of the way, Mano was free to shatter whomever he wanted, which made this far and away the best play New York executed all afternoon.

Why the Titans… Might Beat NYXL.

The Titans’ stage was full of weak opponents but they finally get to try their hand at a good team again.. After 11 grueling weeks, we’ve finally reached the Stage 1 playoff finals where the Vancouver Titans will take on the New York Excelsior. Wait… this is Stage 2? How long was I sleeping for???

Control Win 72%81%

I can already tell this is going to be the closest match we’ve seen in a long time and after watching the Titans roll mid table teams all stage, it’s kind of nerve wracking. None of these maps heavily favour either team. We saw the TItans opt to start on Oasis against the Fuel so there’s a good chance we could go back there. While I think they have played slightly better on Lijiang Tower this stage, clearly they are comfortable on Oasis.

Hybrid Win %63%95%
Blizzard World0-22-0

We messed up the Dallas preview, in the playoffs the match order reverts to Hybrid before Assault unlike the regular season to promote less draws. Statistically the Titans should be more favoured here than on any other map type, but this one could depend on who wins Control. While both teams have had success on King’s Row, the Excelsior have looked better than the Titans have on Eichenwalde. Oh, also the Titans have access to Blizzard World, which NYXL doesn’t seem able to buy a win on. Blizzard World is a stage that has many avenues of attack and it really favours aggressive styles of play like we see from the Titans. Regardless of who wins Control, the Titans can take this even without their choice of map, so they’ll need to bring their A game from the start as they are the favourites in these middle maps.

Assault Win %75%95%

The Titans are the slight favourites here, edging out New York, but very closely in actual map record, they’ve simply played more matches. Prior to today, NYXL should have been expected to pick Temple of Anubis, but after the trouncing that the Bumper Boys gave the Fuel, the Excelsior may have changed their minds. This one is too close to call, but I’d expect the Titans to have the advantage because aggressive play style works well on dual control point maps.

Escort Win %87%76%

Here’s another close one. This match is so close on paper, it’s going to be so exciting to watch. The Titans have been a consistently better team who play like they haven’t had to use their full power yet and NYXL has been playing like they are finally back to full strength. If the Titans do have another gear, they should take this match and clear a path to the Stage 2 finals. Regardless of outcome, it’s going to be insane to watch this many skilled players in the same match.

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