Thoughts on week 14 of Overwatch League 2020

Hello again my friends! This week was a very interesting week for Overwatch esports, especially on the news front so let’s get started!

News and Blues

We have multiple retirements to talk about and also we have a team that fell apart in a way that we’ve never seen before in OWL’s history. Let’s talk about the explosion first.

The Fall of the Titans

So let’s set the stage here.

Vancouver Titans, a new expansion team in 2019 sign the entirety of the storied and popular Runaway squad from Korean Contenders. This team has been likened to a family and their team synergy was off to the charts. During the regular 2019 season, few teams could really match them as rivals. The only one that stood a chance were the San Francisco Shock.

To nobody’s surprise the 2019 grand finals came down to a battle between these two west coast giants. While the Titans lost that series, nobody will disagree with the fact that this particular expansion team had a fantastic year. As a new Runaway fan, it really felt like the boys had made it. The grand finals loss felt almost academic, they were simply bested by a better team and it was nothing to be ashamed of.

Things started to fall apart in the off season. The team released Bumper, their main tank. Hooreg and Rapel moved to the Houston Outlaws. TiZi who they had signed late in the 2019 season moved to the Chinese Contenders team Lucky Future. The team then signed Fissure as their main tank replacement and Ryujehong (formerly on the Seoul Dynasty) as a support. At this point I questioned these moves as being potentially problematic but little did I know this was just the start of the fall.

Fast forward to the 2020 season, the Titans seem to be struggling and it started becoming apparent in their games. A team that last year seemed like a hivemind seemed disjointed and uncoordinated. Rumours started circulating that there were significant conflicts between the players and the management of the team. The first player to make their exit was JJANU, their only off-tank player. Last week I wondered how this team would function without an actual off-tank player. They also lost a coach (paJion) that week.

The answer was that every player would leave the team. So for those not keeping track that’s:

  • Haksal
  • Twilight
  • SLIME
  • Ryujehong
  • Stich
  • SeoMinSoo
  • Fissure

Coaches Yang1 and Andante also left the team at this point.

Before I talk more about this I would like to link to two things:

I highly recommend reading Bonnie’s piece to really understand the tragedy of the situation as a Runaway fan. Reading it made me both sad and angry.

I am sad that this is the way this storied squad would be broken up. I continue to be angry that the piss-poor management at the Titans would result in this historical release of an entire team in the middle of a season. Don’t be fooled by the Titans’ press release folks, the villain in this story is definitely the management. It goes without saying that any trust I had in the management of this team is gone. I just worry about the next set of players they sign.

Speaking of which, the Titans picked up another Contender’s roster. This time from the NA Contenders team Second Wind along with one player from EU Contenders and a free agent.

So let’s say hello to the new Titans:

  • Dalton [DPS] (Second Wind)
  • ShRedLock [Tank] (Second Wind)
  • Roolf [Support] (Second Wind)
  • KSAA [Off-tank] (Raspberry Racers)
  • Tsuna [DPS] (Disaster)
  • CarCar [Support] (free agent)
  • Flubby as head coach
  • Pew as assistant coach
  • Wheats as assistant coach
  • Justin Hughes as assistant manager

All of these players and staff are joining the Overwatch League for the first time and had to play their first match in under 24 hours. I’ll be talking about their in-game performance later. Let’s just say, I wish this new Titans squad the best of luck and I hope they keep improving.

Retirements

The first retirement is Greyy from the Paris Eternal:

The second set of retirements is Corey and Stratus from the Washington Justice:

I will miss the dynamic Corey/Stratus duo. No Corey is in the house jokes. 🙁

The Meta

This week’s hero bans:

  • Ashe
  • Reaper
  • Reinhardt
  • Brigitte

With Reinhardt and Brigitte gone, we saw a Tracer based dive compositions with Winston in the mix. Teams that didn’t want to play dive played double shield (Orisa/Sigma) with Mei/McCree. It’s always fun to see Tracer gameplay. Junkertown is back in the map pool and we even got to see classic Widow duels on that map.

The Games

This week there was only 3-2 game but its a very good one and we also have the Vancouver Titans matches to talk about.

Shanghai Dragons vs Seoul Dynasty

Seoul Dynasty looked like they were completely lost in the last few matches they played so I was expecting Shanghai to 3-0 them this week. Instead we got a very back and forth exciting series that came all the way to a map 5 which Seoul were able to win. More of this kind of Seoul Dynasty please and thank you.

The Vancouver Titans games

Both of these games are worth watching to see how a brand new squad who has never playing in the OWL performs. For their first foray, they were..fine. It was what we expected, while they lost both series, the series did look competitive at points. The Titans were even able to take a map off the Washington Justice. Nice of the Justice to win Stratus’ last series.

Miscellaneous tidbits

The Toronto Defiant take another loss, this time from the San Francisco Shock. It was a very competitive game however and I’m glad to see the Defiant holding their own.

That boop from Moth on King’s Row is going to haunt every Defiant fan’s dreams from now on. As a Defiant fan you hate to see it but as a Lucio fan you really do love to see it.

For those that missed it:

Concluding thoughts and next week’s hero bans

All around it was a pretty good week from a meta perspective, we got some fantastic games and and some interesting ones. From a news perspective it was a lot of doom and gloom. So all things in balance it seems.

Next week’s hero bans are:

  • Moira
  • Orisa
  • Tracer
  • Mei

Not a fan of Tracer being banned but Mei and Orisa being banned next week should force teams into something more interesting. Moira being banned means that deathball compositions are well…dead and we might see a return to bunker based compositions. Nano Genji anyone? No?

And to leave y’all with something fun:

See y’all next week!