Vancouver Titans match recap
By Brittney MacDonald, Business Manager
Following their Stage 3 week three loss to the Los Angeles Valiant—an event that ended their record-breaking 19-match regular season win streak—the Titans had a lot to prove when they faced off against the Valiant’s sister team, the Los Angeles Gladiators. Widely regarded as the superior Los Angeles team, the Gladiators have consistently preformed since the OWL season two start. However, they have yet to make the final two in a stage playoff. The Titans, on the other hand, made big claims regarding a comeback from their loss—something that they were definitely able to deliver on with a surprising amount of gusto, and a little player by the name of Stitch.
Chunghee “Stitch” Lee is a DPS player that specializes in “hitscan” heroes. Hitscan refers to a character that uses ranged weapons that impact immediately upon firing—as opposed to a ranged projectile which has a travel time before impact. With the current GOATS meta, Stitch hasn’t seen a lot of time off of the bench. However, he proved he can roll with the times by artfully mastering the game-changing Sombra. Technically, Sombra is a hitscan DPS hero, but her utility in professional play lies more in her ability to “hack” the enemy team and render them powerless. This is obviously something that the Titans coaching staff decided that the team needed when they made Stitch part of the opening lineup against the Gladiators this past Sunday.
The match began on the control map, Ilios. The start looked a little dicey for the Titans, as tank player Hydration’s Orisa was able to keep the Gladiators relatively well-protected during some good map rotations which earned them the first capture percentage. However, the Titans contested with the Gladiators at 99 percent, and captured the point for themselves. They zoned out the Gladiators supports and focused in on Roar’s Winston to take him out of the equation, thus eliminating his provided shield. This snowballed into Haksal’s Brigitte and Bumper’s Winston chasing down the rest of the team and eliminating them, drawing the map time out and building the Titans’ capture percentage. In the end, both teams went head-to-head sitting at 99 percent—but the Titans came out on top. In round two—capture points are a best of three—the Titans captured the point early. However, the Gladiators took it from them after Roar managed to hit Stitch, Bumper, and Twilight in a Reinhardt Earth Shatter and incapacitate them. Twilight responded by returning and lobbing a perfect Biotic Grenade, resulting in the Titans picking up a team kill and recapturing the point. This was answered with the Gladiators getting a team kill of their own off of another amazing Earth Shatter by Roar. The round ended in another 99 versus 99 percent, with the Titans, again, coming out on top thanks to some well-placed sleep darts courtesy of Twilight’s Ana.
At this time the Titans made their only substitution—taking out JJANU for SeoMinSoo.
Game two was played on the Horizon Lunar Colony assault map. The Gladiators attempted to run a bunker composition—a style of play in which heroes are chosen with the intention of setting up a single defensive point—with Surefour on Bastion and Hydration on Orisa. Their plans were torn apart when the Titans decide to move away from the Sombra GOATS meta—two tank, three supports, with a utility Sombra—and instead run a four-DPS and two-support composition. SeoMinSoo’s Reaper was able to put pressure on the Gladiators’ frontline, doing major damage to their tanks, Hydration and Roar. This left their squishier backline vulnerable to the major damage put out by Bumper’s Junkrat, Haksal’s Pharah, and Stitch’s Sombra. The Titans overwhelmed the Gladiators to take the first point.
They kept this momentum into the second point, with SeoMinSoo continuing to repeatedly target Roar’s Winston, and Haksal using Pharah’s flight ability to maintain the high ground and throw out rockets. The Titans captured the second point with over five minutes in their time bank, thus ending their first attack round. In the Gladiator attack round, the Titans reverted back to the Sombra GOATS, while the Gladiators ran three DPS, two supports, and one tank. This allowed Hydration and Decay to play on their signature Pharah and Widowmaker respectively. Despite some stall tactics on the part of the Titans, they could not prevent a Gladiator point one capture. However, Stitch landed two major EMPs—the Sombra ultimate ability which prevents all enemies within the radius from using their hero abilities for a set period of time—in a row. This made the Gladiators easy prey for the Titans, thus allowing them to run down the clock. Eventually the Gladiators were successful, with Decay’s Zarya landing a key Graviton Surge to ensnare anyone that came too close, and the Gladiators also took point two with two minutes and thirty seconds to spare. This forced the teams into a tie breaker in which both get a second attack round using only the time leftover in their time bank.
In their second attack round, a well-placed sleep dart from Shaz’s Ana onto SeoMinSoo’s Zarya freed Hydration’s Pharah to clear the area and nabbed the Gladiators point one, despite their lesser time frame. However, another good EMP from Stitch stalled the Gladiators out, and a last minute SeoMinSoo switch from Zarya to hitscan DPS hero McCree allowed the Titans to clear the point and keep it clear till the clock ran out. In their second attack round, the Titans went more traditional and stuck with the Sombra GOATS. They snagged point one not because they managed to push the Gladiators off, but simply because during the course of the fight the Gladiators forgot to ensure that at least one of them was touching the point in order to contest it. The Titans capitalized on this mistake, allowing Stitch’s Sombra to use her superior speed to rush point two and EMP Roar’s Wrecking Ball. With no tank for the Gladiators, the rest of the Titans came in to clean up and take point two.
The Titans entered the third hybrid map, Numbani, 2-0. It should be said, that the Titans were undefeated on Numbani, and three out of the six players (Haksal, Bumper, and Stitch) that played through this map on Sunday, have not lost an official competitive game on it since December 2017. Nothing has changed. Between Bumper’s Earth Shatters and Stitch’s EMPs, the Gladiators just couldn’t keep up with them. The Titans rolled past the finish line to complete the map with over four minutes still on the clock. During the Gladiators attack round, Hydration and BigGoose attempted a Pharmacy (Pharah and Mercy) combo. However, Stitch was having none of it. He used Sombra’s “hack” ability to keep BigGoose’s flight-capable Mercy grounded, thus preventing her from healing Hydration’s Pharah should they be too far apart. Twilight used this opening to sleep dart Hydration with Ana, and Bumper’s Winston was able to zone out the rest of the team to keep them off of the capture point in order to delay the capture and run out the clock. The Gladiators eventually took the point and unlocked the cart they had to escort, but they failed to break past the Titans’ defensive line in time and complete the map.
At this point, the Titans secured the three-game win needed for them to win the match. However, they did play a game four, which the Titans also won. This fourth game win made up enough of the overall map differential (number of maps won during the stage) to make the Titans the Stage 3 Pacific Division Champions going into the Stage 3 playoffs starting July 11.