Vancouver kicks off the Overwatch League playoffs with a win against Seoul.
After an extremely tense game versus the Seoul Dynasty in the first match of the Overwatch League (OWL) playoffs, the Vancouver Titans claimed a 4-2 victory.
Before the game, the OWL presented their Rookie of the Year Award to the Titans’ star DPS player, Haksal. His skills as Brigitte in stages 1 to 3 were nearly unmatched, and when the league went to 2-2-2 role-lock he was finally able to shine on his signature heroes, Genji and Doomfist.
While I was close in my 4-1 Vancouver prediction, the maps were dangerously tight and it seemed as if the 8th seed Dynasty could actually upset the favoured Titans. Seoul’s DPS player Fits, on Doomfist, was a force to be reckoned with, but the combination of Titans’ skilled DPS lineup, Haksal and Seominsoo, were more consistent in eliminating Seoul’s players.
Ultimately, the Titans claimed the first game of the playoffs, and will proceed to the semi-finals against the LA Gladiators.
One eyebrow-raising substitution was the mysterious absence of the Titans’ aggressive main tank Bumper and the debut of newcomer TiZi, a prolific main tank signed to the team in August. This is the first game Bumper has not played with the team this season; seeing TiZi debut on the starting roster for a playoff game was a shock.
“We have a team full of talented players, 10 talented players to be exact, and we thought this is the lineup that would do the best in the postseason so that’s what we’re choosing to roll out with,” said Titans coach Harsha Bandi in a pre-game interview with Korean Insider Danny Lim.
(Author speculation: Perhaps TiZi likely proved to be a better Orisa in team practices, a must-pick hero in the current meta, while Bumper is better suited to Reinhardt and Winston metas.)
Map 1: Lijiang Tower
In the first map of the series, the Vancouver Titans opened strong on Lijiang Tower’s Night Market, with a 100% to 38% hold over Dynasty.
Haksal was unable to find key picks as Pharrah, and late swaps onto Orisa and Sigma from TiZi and JJANU meant the Titans were behind on ultimate economy. A lone Seominsoo attacked the point but was unable to flip the objective to the Titans’ favour.
However, in the third round of this map, the Titans were able to finish off the Dynasty with a sneaky Death Blossom by Seominsoo, followed by a quick cleanup of any stragglers.
Titans 1, Dynasty 0
Map 2: Numbani
In the second map, the Titans’ composition fell apart.
In the playoffs, the loser of the previous map gets to pick the next map. It was a surprise when Seoul chose Numbani – one of two maps the Titans were undefeated on.
Perhaps this was Seoul flexing to show they aren’t afraid of the statistics. And flex they did, dominating the Titans on the map, including an impressive use of Sigma’s ultimate Gravitic Flux, to launch Vancouver off the payload, rendering them unable to contest the point as Seoul walks it in.
Titans 1, Dynasty 1
Map 3: Horizon Lunar Colony
A disappointing performance by Vancouver led to the team being full-held by Dynasty on their attack, only accumulating 81.8% of point A. On Dynasty’s attack round, they were able to sweep the point in two minutes, and take the lead in map wins.
Titans 1, Dynasty 2
Map 4: Gibraltar
On Gibraltar, the Titans steamrolled to the finish line with 2 minutes 38 seconds left on the clock thanks to Seominsoo’s sneaky Death Blossom flank in Dynasty’s backline that eliminated most of the Seoul defence.
All Seoul could do was trickle in one after the other to whittle down the clock and hope for a few lucky picks. On the Titans’ defence round, Seoul were able to find key kills to advance the cart to point A, but were unable to push their way past the Titans’ defence much further.
Titans 2, Dynasty 2
Map 5: Busan
On Busan’s opening map, Dynasty and Seoul were neck and neck, both with a 99% contesting in overtime, but Seoul managed to clear out the Titans’ tank line and claim the first round.
In the second and third round, MEKA Base and Sanctuary, the Titans put their game faces back on, including a quick save by Haksal, nearly launching himself off the edge. From there, the Titans dominated, taking back the lead in wins, and drawing near to the win in this first-to-four match.
Titans 3, Dynasty 2
Map 6: Eichenwalde
Dynasty open up with the attack on this hybrid map, but a full four minutes into the attack, Dynasty were falling left and right without a single tick on the payload to their name. The Titans made it clear they did not want to take this into a seventh map, and pull off a perfect hold.
Swapping to the Titans’ attack phase, it took just a minute and 15 seconds for the Titans to storm the objective and take the win.
View the final moments before the Titans take the win:
Final: Titans 4, Dynasty 2
What a day for the Vancouver Titans: a big victory over Seoul, TiZi’s mainstage debut, and Haksal earned Rookie of the Year. Only a few more games separate the Titans from the Grand Finals at the end of September.
Jonathan is a video game enthusiast and fan of the Overwatch League esports scene. By day, he’s a graphic designer and communications specialist in Burnaby, but at night he plays main tank as Orisa in Overwatch.
- Jonathan predicted a 4-1 Titans win, which is pretty close, all things considered.
- eSports are a huge industry, if not always well understood. In that respect (and probably only that respect) it’s kind of like tree planting.
- Jody Vance and George Affleck on how to swat away Twitter trolls as effectively as the Titans dismissed the Dynasty.