Hosted by Chris (@lyteforce), he is joined by co-host Omni (and Sam a little bit later) to talk about the Vancouver Titans. They discuss the Titans two 3-1 wins over the Atlanta Reign & LA Gladiators, the possibility of a 2/2/2 lock and are also joined by special guests SLIME & SeoMinSoo of the Vancouver Titans.
The first obstacle on the road to the Stage 1 Championship was the Boston Uprising, who ended up being little more than a speedbump. Despite the best efforts of Fusions, the Titans needed only an hour to win a 3-0 victory that was never in doubt. Next up in the Semifinals are the Seoul Dynasty, upset winners over the NYXL.
Map 1 : Ilios
Starting on Ruins, Titans and Uprising played their normal lineups in a normal 3/3 mirror, and Vancouver got off to the better start, building to 78 % right off the bat. Boston nearly ran it all the way back, but that was only because the Titans were building up a bank of 6 ults. They won the fight without having to use most of them, which meant that on Boston’s final desperate counterattack, all the necessary tools were available. Colourhex threw out a grav, but Twilight had trans, Note launched a Dva bomb, but Slime had barrier, and Boston’s assault petered out against a green-and-blue wall.
On Lighthouse, the Uprising opted for a zany multi-DPS featuring Blase on Junkrat, clearly trying to channel the spirit of Chengdu. That prompted a Seominsoo swap to McCree, and then madness broke out. Boston could do damage but not stand on the point, while Vancouver could stand on the point but not deal with faraway damage output. It felt like members of the Titans were constantly dying, but there were always just enough around to hold the point, and late in the round the Uprising were forced to swap onto an ill-fated 3/3 mirror. Lacking ultimates, and constantly subjected to Slime’s boops off the cliff side, there was no way for Boston to get back into the map either metaphorically or literally, and they eventually fell.
Titans 1 : Uprising 0
Map 2: King’s Row
Taking the defense first, Vancouver burned more than half the time from the clock on Point A before the Uprising executed a nice grav bomb combo to unlock the cart. Boston pushed the cart nearly to Point B, but then the Titans hit another gear. Over the remaining 2:30 of this phase, and in fact the entirety of the Titan attack, not a single player on Vancouver died (except for one Bumper death at the very end of the final attack fight). Kellex, meanwhile, was the first pick nearly every time, denying crucial healing and speed boosts to the Uprising. None of Boston’s fights looked good, and the victory box for the Titans was eminently reachable.
On the attack, Vancouver made things look easy. Rotate around the statue, speed boost, kill Aimgod, and Boston had to give up the point. Use ult advantage, win the fight in the archway. Push around to the end, hit a grav, have Jjanu once again drop a self-destruct from the ledge onto the helpless Boston players, there’s the victory screen. You could have called GG right here.
Titans 2 : Uprising 0
Map 3: Temple of Anubis
With their playoff lives hanging in the balance, Boston was tagged to attack first. The Titans continued to dominate them, and should have managed the full hold had they not bungled the final fight. Believing they could take out Fusions early, they dropped onto him, but instead it was Bumper who went down, with Haksal following soon after. They still almost brought it back, but a clutch swap to Widowmaker from Colourhex was decisive and Boston was given a new lease on life, actually in quite a strong position.
The ult advantage was certainly on their side, and a lesser team than Vancouver would surely have given up the snowball onto Point B. The Titans scrapped and clawed to hold Boston to 85% in a fight that constantly seemed lost. The Uprising followed with another strong attack, but in a game of inches, the low-health Fusions had his shield break a fraction of a second before Aimgod built trans, and the healing aura came out barely too late to save the Reinhardt. For the final fight, Bumper tried the “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” strategy of hiding for a shatter, and was shocked to find it didn’t work. Despite his early death, Vancouver forced the Uprising to advance slowly and he returned in time for the point fight, in which Jjanu hit his third ledge bomb to seal Vancouver’s defense at the 85% target.
On the attack, the Titans were a little bit sloppy, and took a couple bad fights before capping Point A with about 1:00 left. The second point attack was much the same: for about 3 more minutes, the combos and the target focus wasn’t quite there. Finally, Jjanu dropped a self destruct near the corner, and Slime got the boop at the exact right time for it to kill 2 of the Uprising. Given that inch, the Titans took a mile, and without much more ado the series was over.
Titans 3 : Uprising 0
Player of the Match
The 3/3 meta can sometimes make selecting PotM difficult: in such a team-focused environment, the space for individual plays is lessened. This goes doubly so for the players on roles without much damage potential. Nonetheless, the truly exceptional players do sometimes shine through.
Slime put on a clinic of mechanical Lucio play and won the game for Vancouver.
Honestly, I wish the main camera had gone on Slime’s POV more. Every time we saw him, he was racing around the map’s architecture, booping enemies off the map, booping enemies back into his team, or laying damage into the enemy from above. But we don’t see his POV for the perfect clutch sound barriers that he somehow always hits, barriers which make Vancouver almost impervious to grav bomb combos. And we don’t see his POV when he goes for the critical, game-winning boops like the one he hit at the end of Temple of Anubis. Every skill that can exist on Lucio, Slime has in spades, and they were all on display for this victory.
In a matchup between two top 3/3 teams, Vancouver asserted their dominance and easily came away with the victory. The Titans’ small but clear superiorities in all facets of the game became more and more apparent as the series went on, clearly demonstrating that they are a tier above any other team (except maybe NYXL).
Map 1: Ilios
Starting out on Ilios Well, both teams came out with the Orisa/McCree composition that is something of a meta on this point specifically. As the teams traded fight wins, first the Orisas and then the McCrees were swapped out for Winstons and Zaryas, respectively, finally landing back in a Winston 3/3 mirror. The entire map was characterized by a back-and-forth dynamic, with no team winning more than two fights in a row. In the final fight, Bumper died first, but somehow that was exactly where Vancouver wanted their opponents, and the fight slipped further and further from Paris’ grasp until it was the Titans who took the first point. On Ruins, Paris came out strong and pushed directly into the Titans, repeatedly backfooting them as they ran the control meter all the way to 97%. While Titans did get the capture, Paris calmly built ultimates and snowballed a fight to tie up the map. Lighthouse would decide, and once more Paris played with no fear and built to 99%. They should have won right there, but Jjanu clutched an eat and multiple key kills to give Titans a new lease on life. Unlike on Ruins, however, Paris tried half-committing to two or three separate fights, and lost each one, turning a favorable position into a lost one over the course of just two minutes.
Titans 1 : Eternal 0
Map 2: Numbani
Paris were unhappy with Soon’s play on Zarya, and replaced him with the heretofore rarely seen Shadowburn. However, going up against best-Zarya-in-the-league Seominsoo he was shown to be lacking, as frankly was the rest of Paris. Each of the three points was the same story. First, Vancouver would win a fight, either in dominant fashion or by somehow outskilling the Eternal in a 5v6 even after losing the first player. In the next fight, Paris would get a pick and feel forced to commit more ultimates to ensure victory, knowing how dangerous Vancouver could be even when down a player. That usage left them susceptible to another dominant Titans roll, which unfailingly came through once the Eternal’s ultimate bank had been depleted.
On the attack, Paris won the first fight to unlock Point A, but faced a stubborn Titans on Point B. 3 minutes were drained from the timebank before they finally broke through. I was nervous as the cart rolled nearly to the end, but Vancouver never flinched. Their last-second contest displayed not the tiniest bit of fear, and having rebuffed Eternal the first time, they never gave an inch of ground subsequently. Each fight Vancouver would displace the enemy a bit more, use support ultimates slightly later, block the shatter and hit one of their own. Paris flailed vainly against the brick wall, and for the first time in the match looked truly outclassed.
Titans 2 : Eternal 0
Map 3: Horizon Lunar Colony
When Paris looked poor in this match, it was because they were disconnected. Vancouver, on the other hand, seemingly suffered no ill effects from playing in broken-down fights. On Horizon Point B in particular, their eventual capture came via gaining a tick in three separate fights where the teams traded players and Vancouver had enough advantage to gain 33% at a time. It was weird to see, for example, Slime throwing in a sound barrier when Bumper had already died, and then to see Titans commit to a fight when Bumper returned but Haksal and Seominsoo were now dead. But I’m not going to argue with success.
On defense, the Titans adopted a “prolongation of life” philosophy. This philosophy consists of two creeds. First, “thou shalt not allow a teammate to die.” It is through this mechanism that we can explain why, when Twilight was caught in a solo grav, Slime immediately threw in sound barrier to keep him alive (which, it is important to note, worked). Second, “thou shalt maximize the lifetime of a baby Dva.” Finnsi, as Uber said, spent more time out of mech than in it, a state of affairs best illustrated by Bumper charging him to the very back of Point B without hitting a wall, forcing him to once more traverse the entire point before he was killed for a split spawn. The one thing Titans did not prolong was Paris’ life in the series. Not a single tick was given up on Point B, which meant Vancouver took the victory in an increasingly one-sided match.
Titans 3: Eternal 0
Map 4: Rialto
Once again, we saw Vancouver bring in Rapel for the 4th map, and it was encouraging to see his performance improve as compared to some previous appearances. He remains clearly behind Twilight on the depth chart, and I would say deservedly so, but he played well. The attack phase for Titans was mostly composed of good technical play using their CC ultimates. Bumper hit key shatters to complete Points A and C, and Seominsoo’s grav did the trick for Point B. Completing the map was a strong result from Vancouver, as Rialto is a very defensive-oriented map, and it seemed unlikely that Paris could finish with a better timebank than the 54 seconds Titans had managed.
Paris got off to a very strong start, winning three fights in a row and pushing the cart nearly to Point B before the Titans finally got the stop. This was where the map should have ended, as Vancouver once again turned into an unbreakable wall and won fight after fight. The only way Paris could complete the point was an admittedly clever play by Kruise. When Paris lost yet another fight and Vancouver started chasing down kills, he snuck behind and backcapped just ahead of the onrushing Titans, who realized a fraction of a second too late what was going on. The time drained, however, put Paris in a tremendously difficult situation, and Vancouver imposed themselves in the chaotic breakdown of the final fight to snuff out Paris’ life force.
Titans 4: Eternal 0
Player of the Match
By the end of the match, I was left with the clear impression that the Titans were simply superior in every position to the Eternal, which makes it hard to point out one player who had the most impact. However, one of the things that was interesting was how often the Titans recognized a winnable fight despite being down a player, or pressed the advantage in a 4v4 situation and came out on top. Paris, meanwhile, made some puzzling errors of commitment–I’m thinking particularly of the win they tossed away on Ilios Lighthouse by never collecting ults.
Good shotcalling was decisive, which is why Slime is my player of the match.
Slime seems to understand the ebb and flow of the game on a higher level than most other players. Somehow he recognizes the fights that can be won, and goes all-in on them, like committing a sound barrier despite being down a main tank. Other times, he calls a retreat even when it might seem his team has an advantage. Two fights on Numbani B illustrate the point: in the first, Vancouver tilted the fight in their favor and surged forward to clean up kills (including Shadowburn on Zarya). The very next fight, Vancouver again came out ahead, but having lost Twilight they backed around a corner, knowing that Paris’ spawn advantage would get them in trouble if they got bogged down in a fight.
From the outside, Slime’s calls looked perfect, he managed to survive and make a difference in key fights, and his sound barriers almost completely nullified Paris’ attempts at a grav/bomb combo: they only hit it once the entire match. That’s the kind of impact that earns you Player of the Match glory.
With mere days away from the moment we have all been waiting for, when our Titans are facing familiar rivals on Saturday, I have decided to make one last pitch to those who’ve just arrived to the fray or are still on the fence and make a short introduction to our Vancouver Titans.
Even prior to the inaugural season of the Overwatch League not many teams could claim the same branding awareness and following as RunAway. A plucky, tightly budgeted but closely-knit group of talented players clad in pink sweaters and led by two well known streamers, the power couple – Runner and Flowervin. The journey towards the big leagues was not a smooth one for this team however… Coming close to, but not winning the championship was a recurring theme for RunAway and finally when OWL season 1 was coming near, no one was willing to sign the whole roster as a team like some of their rivals were.
With the failures of not making the Overwatch League, not winning Apex, not getting a proper sponsorship again and Runner having to leave for his Mandatory military service, It looked like the end for RunAway. But with Flowervin taking the reigns, and the crazy support of their fanbase (seriously, a fan donated a washing machine) the team… no, the family decided to have another go at it in Contenders.
Finally, after a crazy 8 map finals win over KongDoo Panthera, in what many consider to be the best series of Overwatch ever played… RunAway were finally crowned as number one. The tears from Flowervin and the players flowed as the redeeming pink confetti was falling on the stage. Finally, the financial sacrifice, the commitment to the team, the resilience to push through and finally get the long awaited championship, had all paid off.
As season 2 expansions rushed in to fill out their rosters to compete with the now-1 year “veterans” of OWL, not many were as coveted as the Tier 2 champions of the best region. The only question was whether they will be signed together as a team like they had always dreamed of. Rumblings from the Pacific North West soon came… that indeed they were.
Finally, in one of the final roster reveals for season 2, on December 1st, the rumors were finally confirmed: RunAway is in the Overwatch League! The whole team, now clad in the Cascadian blue, green and white and will be henceforth known as the VANCOUVER TITANS. The magnificent snowmen are finally here and are ready to compete on the big stage. Not unfamiliar with adversity and fueled by the desire to prove those who overlooked them wrong, we can expect the Titans to come out strong, fresh out of the gates. With existing synergy, a meta-proof roster and a chip on their shoulders you can expect the Vancouver Titans to be a team to be reckoned with, more so than any other expansion, one that could even rival the top dogs in OWL.
Can Haksal who’s been hailed as a Genji prodigy from the age of 15 live up to the promise? Can Stitch go toe to toe with OWL’s insane hitscans like Carpe, Pine and Surefour? Can BUMPER keep up his ridiculous streak of adapting and improving in any meta or role? Can SLIME, Twilight and RAPEL live up to the hype of being hailed as the best support line outside OWL? Can JJANU keep up with the ridiculous talents at the D.va role? Can Hooreg redeem his poor play in season 1 and remain consistent? Can SeoMinSoo prove that he is a top 5 flex player in the world and carry again in the clutch? Can the Vancouver Titans recreate the magic without the pink? Without Flowervin? Only time will tell.