Two of the best teams in the Overwatch League are set to clash in Philadelphia to decide the 2019 champion. The Vancouver Titans, the number one seed, will be facing off against the number two seed, the San Francisco Shock, on Sept. 29. This final is shaping up to be the most anticipated match of the year — a far cry from last year’s surprise Philadelphia vs. London match. These teams have had a back-and-forth history all year that will finally culminate in a bout for the Overwatch League trophy.
Shock’s tidal wave
After the San Francisco Shock’s flat season one performance, they have, without a doubt, become the most improved roster coming into the 2019 season. The Shock finished with a “golden” Stage 2 under their belts that ended with them taking the stage championship.
The Shock’s Keys to Success
- Use your arsenal
The Shock will need to adapt early and force the Titans to counter if they want to sway Vancouver’s gameplan. If the Chengdu Hunters and Los Angeles Valiant could shake the Titans with this strategy, so can the Shock.
2. Trust in sinatraa
Jay “sinatraa” Won is the sword of the Shock. If the Shock stands a chance to battle the Vancouver Titans, sinatraa needs to be firing on all cylinders.
3. Remember the pain
The Shock seems to excel once they’ve been bruised. Whether it’s a stage championship or a losers’ bracket run, they are most fueled in their darkest hour. If the Shock can call upon season two’s painful memories, that could light a fire under them to take it all.
The only maps the Shock dropped happened during the stage playoffs, with the Shanghai Dragons in the quarterfinals and the Vancouver Titans in the finals putting up quite a fight. The Shock wrapped up their golden stage, took second place in Stage 3, and were undefeated yet again in Stage 4. They seemed to be serious contenders heading into the playoffs … or so we thought.
The Atlanta Reign knocked the Shock into the losers bracket after a quarterfinals upset. The Atlanta Reign were not considered a strong team, but they were able to surprise the Shock. This seems to have just made the Shock angrier; they went on an unprecedented tear through the losers’ bracket, going 16-0 on maps. It’s this determined streak that has earned the Shock their spot in the finals.
Every member of the Shock, even their substitutes, look phenomenal as the team heads into the grand finals. The Shock has dabbled with rotating in their benched players to great success during their losers’ bracket runs. The element of surprise and flexibility will be a bonus … but that alone won’t be enough to dismantle a team like the Vancouver Titans.
Reign of the Titans
The Vancouver Titans entered the 2019 Overwatch League season with something to prove. As the Korean Contenders team RunAway, they were incredibly dominant throughout the summer of 2018 after a long streak of scoring only silver medals.
The Vancouver Titans’ keys to success
- Tempo control
Vancouver’s fights start with Hyojong “Haksal” Kim flanking and engaging. He will need to engage early and exit safely. If the Titans pace a fight wrong against the Shock, it’s game over.
2. Bottle the Reaper
Throughout their series with New York, Shock constantly would have Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon playing quite a few off angles which allowed their tanks to pressure New York once they rounded corners. If Titans can bottle Striker and move him out of position before engaging, they are in for a much easier time recontesting objectives.
3. Teamwork is pivotal
And as cliche as it might sound, the Titans have an x-factor: their teamwork. Their teamwork consistently can overcome immeasurable odds. Throughout the season this team has won fights they have no business winning and they manage this with the world’s best teamwork.
That streak was finally broken after two long years at Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 2: Korea, as the would-be Titans won in stunning fashion against KongDoo Panthera, 4-3. This match began their run of dominance as the team traveled to China to compete in the NetEase Esports X Tournament the following month. Needless to say, RunAway trampled the competition with little to no push-back.
The team was then signed to the Overwatch League as the core of the Vancouver Titans franchise, and as history has taught us, this team was more than equipped to handle the pressure and status of the Overwatch League. The Titans hit the league like a tsunami, going undefeated in matches and boasting a map record of 24-6 in the first stage alone. After the Titans’ Stage 1 championship win over the Shock, they continued with impressive finishes in nearly all of the following stage playoffs.
Vancouver finished the season with a shocking 25-3 match record. There is one of many reasons why this era of Overwatch could be considered the “Titans’ era.” With their dominance spanning nearly a year and across a handful of different patches, an Overwatch League championship is all that escapes them. They concurred their domestic region and have been tearing down the status quo since they’ve arrived in the league and they’ve done so with seemingly limitless stamina.
The Titans have a magical aura about them that always keeps them in the fight no matter what obstacle stands in front of them. Along with that hyper-resilient attitude sits three keys that the Vancouver Titans will call upon on Sept. 29 if they aim to topple an incredibly strong San Francisco Shock.
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