Remember The Titans: From Contenders to Stage 1 Champions

The Stage 1 finals between the Vancouver Titans and San Francisco Shock may be the greatest series we have seen so far in Overwatch League. A classic David vs Goliath match where the Titans are the undisputed best team in the league, while the Shock surprised many people advancing to the grand finals. In the series, the Shock is up 3-2, needing one more win to clinch the Stage 1 championship. The Titans are in a high-pressure situation; however, this isn’t unfamiliar territory for the squad.

Let’s go back during the Titans' time in South Korea.

 Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment 

The Vancouver Titans were once known as RunAway. They had a run in APEX, fighting for the championship in Seasons 2 and 4 against Lunatic-Hai and GC Busan, respectively. In the series against GC Busan, they were in the same high-pressure situation where they are now against the Shock. They took the series into a Game 7, only to leave disappointed.


Eventually, in their time in South Korea, RunAway fulfilled not one, but two championships in Contenders Korea. They were heralded as the best team in South Korea to not be in the Overwatch League. Regarding their championships in Contenders, Sung-jun "SLIME" Kim remarked, “Contenders was meaningful and as a team, it was emotionally fulfilling because we won our very first championship.”

Sang-beom "Bumper" Park added, “Being in APEX and Contenders Korea, the biggest asset is having a strong mentality against high-pressure situations. You won’t break down when you face that same situation again.”

Will they rise up to win the Stage 1 finals, or falter once again under the immense pressure?

The Titans are in a situation that is familiar to those who know the history of StarCraft II. In a major tournament, the lone foreigner needs one more game to advance to the next round or win the championship, only for the Korean player to come back and win the series.

The last map is in Rialto, a map that the Shock are undefeated so far in this season. The Titans have a chance to break that streak and clinch the championship. Player cams showed both teams looking tense throughout that map. They know that one team will come away as the champions, while the other team will walk off the stage with their head down and disappointed.

▲ Photo by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

In a test of mental will and strength, the Titans pulled together as a team, pushed the payload, and won their first stage championship in the Overwatch League. The confetti unloaded as soon as the arena lighted up the sign, “Vancouver Wins! Stage 1 Finals”.

“In Overwatch League, there is a bigger audience and bigger stage than Contenders. Also, the GOATS meta is something that we’re strong with. It feels good to win,” SLIME commented about playing in the big stage and what it means to win Stage 1.

In esports, a term is coined the “Royal Roader” -- where a team or player wins the first tournament they participated in. The Titans achieved this first milestone in the league but look to achieve more milestones in the near future. Hyojong "Haksal" Kim noted, “Being the first royal roader in the Overwatch League feels really good.”



Lee "Twilight" Joo Seok, who the rest of his team deemed MVP in their press conference, stated the following about how they will continue their momentum going into Stage 2, “Because we won Stage 1 with the GOATS meta, I am a little sad. At the same time, I’m pretty sure we can adapt to the new meta and go on from there.”

The Titans will be ready. Will the rest of the teams be ready? It’s time to remember the Titans.

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