High profile, low hopes: Vancouver Titans team preview

Big-name offseason additions may have taken the Titans backward instead of forward.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment
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For the majority of the 2019 Overwatch League season, the Vancouver Titans were unstoppable. The former RunAway squad rolled through teams in the triple support, triple tank meta, taking the first stage championship of the season.

Their eventual downfall came in the form of the San Francisco Shock, but the team still operated on a plane of coordination and cohesion that most of the league couldn’t touch. A defeat in the 2019 grand finals didn’t reduce that dominance. 

Despite all their success in 2019, the Vancouver Titans have made some questionable choices during the offseason. Two main tanks who defined their successful season have been thrown to the wolves of free agency. One unknown variable takes their place along with a veteran talent who might spend his days on the bench. While most Overwatch League teams took two steps forward, the Titans took a few backward. 

Tank 

One of the most high-profile offseason signings came from the Vancouver Titans when the team somehow tempted main tank Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung out of retirement from professional Overwatch. After Fissure paid his dues for leaking the existence of role lock as soon as he retired, he became the only Overwatch League player to have been a part of four separate teams. 

The sometimes-temperamental player also became the Titans’ sole hope at main tank. Hwang “TiZi” Jang-hyeon left to pursue free agency and Vancouver dropped Park “Bumper” Sang-beom along with his notoriously aggressive Reinhardt energy. While off-tank Choi “JJANU” Hyeon-woo remains a clutch part of the Titans squad, relying on only two players to carry a tank line is a bold move for any team.  

Support

Main support Kim “SLIME” Sung-jun was a force to be reckoned with in 2019, especially during the triple-triple meta. He routinely risked his life to keep teammates alive, thriving, and winning teamfights they shouldn’t have. The same could be said for 2019 MVP candidate and flex support Lee “Twilight” Joo-seok. With some of the most clutch plays of the season, he remains one of the most terrifying supports in the game. 

Behind this solid, cohesive duo is a surprising addition: veteran flex support Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-hong. After two years on the Seoul Dynasty, Ryjehong announced his free agency during the offseason and terrified fans who expected his retirement. Instead, he opted to join the Titans, where his immense talent and experience may be overshadowed by Twilight. It’s a strange choice, but Ryujehong’s star power will carry him anywhere.

DPS

The damage lineup for Vancouver remains terrifying and consistent, mostly because nothing has changed from last season. Rookie of the year Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong demolished teams on both damage heroes and Brigitte, excelling where most of his counterparts fell flat. With the introduction of Hero Pools, Haksal’s signature Genji play may return to the Overwatch League stage. 

Lee “Stitch” Chung-hee also returns to the Titans for a second year of destroying support players’ hopes and dreams in the backline. Flex DPS Seo “SeoMinSoo” Min-Soo likely has a similar idea. The trio has played together for such a long time and with such finesse that they’re likely the Titans’ key to success in 2020. 

2020 outlook

The Titans’ main concern in 2020 isn’t about who is on their roster, it’s about who isn’t on the roster. The current lineup is exceedingly talented and these players have proven themselves on the highest stage. With only eight players, however, the team is forced to rely on single players for three separate roles. One bout of travel-related sickness could demolish half the roster. This isn’t ideal, but it’s also almost irresponsible. 

Beyond that lies the elephant in the room: the potential Fissure problem. Having jumped from team to team with a history of dramatic flair, Fissure isn’t the stable main tank this team might require. With no backup in sight, the Titans will have to make do with his playstyle. Vancouver fans should put their faith in their damage dealers. Haksal, Stitch, and SeoMinSoo have carried many teamfights for the Titans when their allies fell. They’ll likely have to do the same in 2020. 

The Vancouver Titans will take on the Los Angeles Gladiators to kick off their season in Dallas on Feb. 8 at 4pm CT.