Vancouver Titans Win Overwatch League Stage 1 Championship

Wyatt Fossett,

March 24, 2019 9:30 PM

The two most prolifically aggressive GOATS teams found their way to OWL Stage 1 Finals, and a brutal heavyweight marathon ensued.

After five weeks of Stage 1 Overwatch League play, and some absolutely stunning playoff matches, we’ve seen the league’s twenty teams boiled down to just two. Through a war that lasted almost three hours, the Vancouver Titans claimed their first Overwatch League title in team history. 

Both the returning San Francisco Shock, and the first-year expansion team Vancouver Titans made it all the way to the Stage 1 Playoff Finals riding a 100-foot wave of strong play. Neither team, through two rounds, had dropped a single map. The Titans entered Sunday’s final with the most respect, having gone completely undefeated throughout the regular stage season as well. 

All of that was thrown out the window as the head-to-head kicked off, because both teams through the first two maps, had dropped one. This quickly shaped up to be a historic bout. 

Super Duper Fly

Right out of the gates, the high-flying youngsters from the San Francisco Shock made a large statement that they weren’t going to let the undefeated Vancouver Titans have an easy shot at the Stage 1 Championship. 

On the back of some stellar swinging from the Shock’s main-tank Reinhardt in Super,  the orange crush took map 1 from the seemingly infallible Titans, as Nepal continues to be a pain-point for the yetis from the north. 

(photo courtesy Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)

Of the three points on Nepal, the Shock was strong in their capture and defense. In their two takes, they barely submitted any capture time to the Titans at all. Much of this success can be chalked up to their play laser-focused on Titan’s main-tank Bumper, who is notorious for over-extending. 

Titanic Stand Returns

Fans of the Vancouver Titans have used the hashtag #ForceOfNature all season in an expression of the strength that the team shows, especially when leaning on their defensive stands. Other than our previously mentioned stray from this defensive formula by the Titans, it has been a very difficult task to take points from or on Vancouver all season long so far. 

(photo courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Entertainment)

Luckily for those Titans fans, the strong holding returned, and the Vancouver team (who picked Numbani, as the hybrid map) managed to keep the Shock from unlocking the payload at all in map 2. They would follow it up with an epic push and capture to take the second map.

Heading into map three, however, the Titans had to face the Shock on Temple of Anubis. Which, has been a pretty weak map for the squad all season long. 

Shock and Awe

Many Overwatch League fans and analysts said that this matchup for the Stage 1 Championship would be a close one, and boy were they right.

Temple of Anubis came down to the wire. Overtime countdown in extra-innings, to be exact. There seemed to be a victory in the hands of the Titans, but the sands of Anubis are hard to hold. Thanks to two absolutely clutch D.Va ultimates by Shock’s off-tank Choihyobin, the map was stolen in favor of San Francisco. This victory put the Shock up 2-1 in the series. 

(photo courtesy Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)

Haksal a Menace

The fourth map would be an escort map-type, and the Titans would choose Durado. As both the Shock and the Titans haven’t played in many close series this season, we hadn’t seen a ton of meaningful escort matches up until this point. 

Thanks to a brilliant stun from Vancouver’s Haksal as Brigitte on the Shock’s desperation Wreckingball, the Titan’s were able to hold their opponents to less than two checkpoints. 

(photo courtesy Stewart Vollan, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Stewart Vollan, Blizzard Entertainment)

Once things flipped, and the Titans had the offense, the map was won on the back of a dominant performance from Bumper and Twilight. Tying things up at 2 maps apiece, the two combatants headed to Ilios, where Vancouver has yet to lose. 

Dizzy on Ilios

They might have been completely unstoppable on Ilios before today, but the Vancouver Titans, unfortunately, couldn’t pull out the victory through three-points, dropping the map to the Shock in dramatic fashion. 

After losing the first point easily, the Titans stormed back in the ruins point and entered the third with all the momentum. It was, however, an ugly turn of events that allowed the San Francisco young-guns to storm back against Seominsoo and his McCree combo. The Shock ran the count all the way to 100 after having let the Titans capture nearly 100 themselves early on. 

(photo courtesy Swewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Swewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)

The deviation from regular Reinhardt goats against the Shock’s normal composition could have been the downfall. But the credit should really go to the San Francisco squad stealing the show, rather than the blame landing on the Titans. 

All Hail the King

King’s Row would be the Titan’s choice for map number 6. A difficult to finish hybrid map, King’s Row has been a strong location for Vancouver, and they proved it once again. 

Holding off the surging and heavy-swinging Shock, the Titans managed to keep the bay area team from hitting the final point. Following up their desperate last stand, the ex-RunAways squad from Vancouver pushed their payload to their goal after a stuttering start to their offense. 

(photo courtesty Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesty Stewart Volland, Blizzard Entertainment)

The teams finish King’s Row tied 3 maps to 3, and the Shock chose Rialto for the final and deciding map in the Stage 1 Championship head-to-head. 

Let’s Get Rial-to

Neither team kicked off the last map of the series in any weird hero builds, but the Titans looked weak in the first turn off the bridge in Rialto thanks to Bumper’s Winston play. The Vancouver Reinhardt star hasn’t looked his legendary self while playing on that high-flying Winston tank. The Shock moved beyond the first point on Rialto with ease, before completing the map in its entirety through some tough team fights. 

On offense, the Titans rolled through the Shock, locking in point A with hardly any time off the clock. Then they completed the rest of Rialto in what the announcers discovered was the fastest finish on the map in Overwatch League history, by over a minute. 

The final map went from a completely inspiring push from the Shock to a record-breaking result for the Titans in what felt like the blink of an eye. 

In extra-innings, the Shock burnt it all in the first turn in order to earn some distance and made it almost all the way to the first point. Flipping sides, the Titans had little distance to cover, and over four minutes to do so. Through a handful of some of the most entertaining team fights in Overwatch League history, the Titans pushed their cart to the goal and snatched up the victory on the Blizzard mainstage.

Rule of the North

The Titans entered the Stage 1 Playoffs with an undefeated record in stage play and continued that trend all the way through the first two rounds of the playoffs. They landed in their finals matchup against the surging San Francisco Shock, who had also made it through the playoff bracket tournament without losing a single map. 

The two unharmed teams who remained standing amongst the hopes and dreams of each and every other team in the league would partake in the most aggressive and hard-fought head-to-heads we’ve ever seen. 

In a three-hour marathon of Overwatch action, the Titans and Shock went into multiple extra-innings. The teams traded map wins and wound up tied at 3-3 heading into the final escort map. Even Rialto, which the teams played last, went into further bouts. But thanks to a record-setting completion of Rialto by Vancouver, they had four times the amount of time in the overtime play to beat the Shock, and they did just that. 

Winning the Stage 1 Playoffs, the expansion Vancouver Titans go 10-0 in their head-to-head matchups and have shaken up the power-ranking throughout the league. The Titans take home a $200,000 bonus, and the title of Overwatch League 2019 Stage 1 Champions. 

(photo courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Entertainment)
(photo courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Entertainment)

The finals could have gone either way, but it was the force of nature from the Great White North that claimed supremacy. 

Overwatch Stage 2 begins on the first weekend of April, and until then, a huge congrats is deserved by the Vancouver Titans, and mega praise has been earned by the young San Francisco Shock squad.



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