Vancouver Titans crowned OWL Stage 1 champions after close final
The Vancouver Titans are the Overwatch League Stage 1 champions, defeating San Francisco Shock 4-3. The expansion team finished Stage 1 undefeated.
“I am the happiest man alive,” Sang-beom “Bumper” Park said.
The epic seven-game series was surprisingly close. San Francisco Shock took the first map, Nepal, 2-1. Then the Vancouver Titans came back with a 1-0 win on Numbani.
The back-and-forth match became closer than ever on Temple of Anubis. Just one point away from taking the third map from the Titans, Shock aggressively pushed their way to the second control point only to be held off by Hyeon-Woo "JJANU" Choi on Wrecking Ball. After regrouping, San Francisco’s Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi let off a Self Destruct on D.va behind the unsuspecting Titans, effectively deciding the point and the map.
To hold onto their undefeated status, the Vancouver Titans matched the Shock’s aggression, pushing the payload forward on escort map Dorodo. San Francisco fought back on Ilios, taking the map 2-1 despite the Titan’s surprising Orisa and McCree picks. This was thanks to Jay "sinatraa" Won’s terrific efforts on Zarya.
At this point, San Francisco only needed one more map to win. Before King’s Row started, the team could be heard saying, “This is ours to take,” on comms. Unfortunately for the veteran team, Vancouver Titans took the map to tie the series at 3-3.
That left one final back-and-forth fight on Rialto, where the Titans ultimately pushed the payload to victory.
Going into the Finals, analysts continued to make it known that Vancouver Titans was the one to beat. Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson said the other analysts would be “fools” to bet against the Titans, who had easily beaten San Francisco Shock earlier in the season.
The Titans did not seem overly concerned about the upcoming finals. The team appeared cocky as ever, reminding the analyst desk of the time Bumper said that the team “didn’t face any challenges” against Seoul Dynasty in the playoffs. “If it was tough,” the tank main said, “we wouldn’t have won 4-0.”
Analysts wondered if it was this unwavering confidence that ended up being the Titan’s near downfall to the Shock. They have been known to underestimate their opponents and let their guard down. But in the end, the Titans seemed alert and aggressive when it mattered most, aware that the Shock were formidable opponents.
Now, the Vancouver Titans are looking ahead to Stage 2.
“Whichever stage, whichever map, we will definitely take the win,” Bumper said.
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