Overwatch League Playoff Recap: Titans Win Stage 1
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The final two teams were decided, and the stage one finals just finished in season two of the Overwatch League. After the previous matches ended up being not so close in the end, it was nice to see a great final game to end the stage. But before I get into the finals, let’s recap the final four. The final four consisted of two match-ups: Seoul Dynasty vs. Vancouver Titans, and Philadelphia Fusion vs. San Francisco Shock.

Not to spoil both of those matches, but both of them ended in quick, uninteresting fashion. After upsetting the New York Excelsior, the Dynasty seemed out of gas against another top team in the Titans. They lost in 4-0 fashion, showing moments of brilliance but also were outclassed on that three tank three support composition. Here’s the link to the match if you want to re-watch it.

On the other hand, the Fusion/Shock match was very similar. In fact, this second 4-0 was even more dominant than the Titans match, with the Fusion mustering to win a fight. This might be a bit too opinionated, but the Shock seemed to get better after the Toronto Defiant game, completely stomping over the Fusion. Here is the link to this match as well.

Would the Titans win the first stage as an expansion team? Or would the Shock surprise the world and win their first ever playoff appearance?

Vancouver Titans vs. San Francisco Shock

For those who didn’t know, the finals were formatted slightly differently than the regular season matches. Instead of being a five-match set with the first to three to win, this match is elongated. This is a first to four in a seven-match set, going to extra maps if necessary. The best part of this match was that it went to seven maps before the win occurred, easily the best game of Overwatch we’ve seen so far. Let’s go over two maps at a time, leading to the tiebreaker and the result.

Maps 1 & 2: Nepal and Numbani

The first map, the standard control map to start of a series, was Nepal. This map was as close as could get, ending in a 2-1 win for the Shock. Off the bat, for people who thought this would be a Titans sweep, this threw those predictions down a well. It was clear that two of the players leading the Shock to this win were Zarya player Jay “sinatraa” Won and main tank Matthew “super” DeLisi. They looked great throughout the playoffs and seemed to outplay the Titans in Nepal.

But the next map, Numbani, was the opposite. The Titans weren’t going down without a fight. They bounced back, full holding the Shock on the first point before capturing it themselves and winning that map. The amount of time spent holding the Shock’s attack was intense, with key players on the Titans such as Min-soo “SeoMinSoo” Seo and Hyojong “Haksal” Kim helping them. This tied the series 1-1.

Maps 3 & 4: Anubis and Dorado

Anubis was an amazing map to watch, from start to finish. From the Shock almost getting full held, before Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi clutching on D.Va, to the full capture on second for the Shock, and just barely holding the Titans on second point to win the map. Not only did Choihyobin play well in this match, but Min-ki “Viol2t” Park improved to help them win the map in the end. That put the Shock 2-1 in the series, two maps away from winning the finals.

But the Titans would not give up, and that showed on Dorado. This map was a complete stomp from the Titans, similar to the Numbani map. The Shock ended up being held just after the first point of the map, with the Titans pushing to it easily and winning the map. Even though Super seemed to have the number of the Titan’s main tank Sang-beom “Bumper” Park, Bumper bounced back on this map. This tied the series 2-2, both teams two maps away from winning.

Maps 5 & 6: Ilios and Kings Row

Ilios was another slugfest, with many changes of pace and intensity. Another control map that went to the brink, with the Shock again winning it in the end. It was truly back and forth, with the Titans and Shock both having moments of brilliance. One player that stood out on both control maps was Lucio player Grant “moth” Espe, landing those crucial boops to win those maps. But then, the Titans chose the map they won against the Shock on earlier in the season: King’s Row.

This map was very close, but Titans ended up clutching out a close map for the first time this series. Before this, the maps were either close Shock wins or dominant Titans wins. This map showed the clutch factor this original RunAway roster had, taking these teams to a tiebreaker map. One of the key players on King’s Row was Lee “Twilight” Joo Seok, playing well on Zenyatta.

Tiebreaker: Rialto

This map wasn’t as close as some of the previous maps, but also wasn’t a complete stomp for one of the teams. Both teams captured all three points, but the Titans did it much faster. Yes, the Titans showed a lot of skill holding the Shock to no points captured on the second go, but the Shock almost did the same and won the map. In the end, the defense of the Titans proved to be too great; winning the map and the series. Two players I loved watching were Bumper and Seominsoo, both key to their map and playoff victory.

And that was the end of the Stage 1 playoffs. The new expansion team that came from Korean Contenders team RunAway ended up surprising everyone to win the first playoffs. The Shock went from a team that never got into the playoffs to second place in stage one. New York got eliminated in the first round to the Seoul Dynasty while the Titans completely ate everybody but the Shock.

But now, on April 4, the second stage will continue this Overwatch League season. Not only that, but a new hero, new map, and new meta will introduce a bunch of needed life into the league. I personally can’t wait to see which team ends the Titans’ winning streak.

Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.