As it is in the real world, so is true with the Vancouver Titans, when it rains it pours. The Vancouver Titans 2021 signing season really took off today with their announcement of three new Titans in Jiri “Linkzr” Massalin, Anthony “Fire” King and Nathan “Frd” Goebel.
With the new additions, and the loss of Shockwave, the Titans roster currently stands at:
Fire’s journey to the Titans really began during his tenure on Team Envy. Here he made his name as a fairly strong Lucio player, who seemed very capable at all other Main Support heroes in the game. With him on their roster, they won season 2 of NA Overwatch Contenders, before leaving the end of the year Gauntlet in 7-8th place.
From there he joined the Reign for the 2020 season. While he didn’t see much playtime during his time in Atlanta, he was still able to showcase a commendable performance each time he was called upon. Here’s hoping his flame will shine bright with the Titans.
What Frd will bring to the team is yet to be seen. In 2019, Frd surprisingly turned out to be a somewhat major player for the Reign. Coming into the starting roster late into the season and assisting them to a perfect stage 4 run to end the regular season. In particular, his DVA and Roadhog were the heroes that earned him the nickname “Dominator”. This was in large part to his stellar gameplay, but also his immaculate fashion sense.
Yet in 2020 he found himself with very infrequent playtime due to the rise of new off-tank, and Atlanta Academy golden boy Xander “Hawk” Domecq. The team is in true need of quality players at each position for 2021. Fans must hope for a return of the Dominator in 2021.
This man should require no introduction. He has been a top tier DPS player in the Overwatch League since it’s inception. For a time he was known as the best counter sniper in the entire league, a title which he looks primed to reclaim following his 2020 Widowmaker 1v1 championship win. What he brings to the team is the explosive power that may have left with Niclas “Shockwave” Jensen. He has the skills on all the hitscan heroes to propel his team to great heights. In the past, he was known to be a rather hot/cold player, however. Yet, 2020 looked like his most consistent season yet.
Alongside Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff these two should prove to be a rather scary duo in a double hitscan meta. Additionally what he brings to the team is a massive following of loyal fans, fans looking to watch him succeed. Here he may be able to do just that. All the Titans fandom can do is hope these three new additions can revive the force of nature in Vancouver. That being said, the Vancouver Titans 2021 signing season may not yet be done.
Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the Overwatch League 2020 season, the time to look back on what occurred over the year has come. To say the year was business as usual would be a bald-faced lie. This year was straight-up bonkers. With the Vancouver Titans 2020 season being notably more bonkers than most. In hindsight, some of the craziness was hinted at by way of surprise player departures and signings. Or rumors that found their way into the Twitterverse. In short, it was certainly an emotional rollercoaster of a year for Titans fans. Yet through it all, all the highs and lows, nights of tears and days of cheers, it was a year not soon to be forgotten.
The 2020 season began with fans’ hearts full of cautious optimism. The offseason was both cruel and kind to Titans fans. The departure of the cheeky Prince of the Overwatch League, Sangbeom “Bumper” Park, alongside other fan-favorite players had fans spirits down a tad. Yet with the bad comes the good, like the legend and sexiest man in the league, Jehong “Ryujehong” Ryu, joining the team alongside the wildcard that was Chanhyung “Fissure” Baek. On the outside, it looked like the team was bound for another dominant season following their second-place finish in 2019.
The excitement was palpable when the lads took the stage for the first time in 2020 at the Dallas Homestand. The cheers were loud, the fans ready to watch the lovable Titans debut this somewhat new look. The team was smiling, all looking excited to play the game they are all so passionate about for their legions of supportive fans. The fans were rewarded.
Their first game against the Los Angeles Gladiators may have been close but the lads were still able to showcase their patented force of nature and take home the win. They promptly followed up with a swift win over the Gladiators city siblings, the Los Angeles Valiant. The energy at the homestand was downright electric, giving the Titans a perfect way to begin their 2020 season run.
The homestands that were planned for the 2020 season had to be canceled due to the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the world like a freight train. The horrible disease lay waste to the league’s plans for a homestand-filled season. Humanity wise, this was for the best as there was no need to put fans, players and staff in unnecessary danger. Yet, it also led to the Titans being sidelined for a lengthy period of time, during which the players returned home to South Korea where they were destined to play in the newly formed APAC region.
During these weeks, trouble was brewing beneath the surface. It was at this time where the bad relationship between the team’s upper management and the players began to rise to the surface. The Titans’ players played their first games since week one in week ten. This resulted in the team’s first time losing two games back-to-back, signaling that all was not well in Titans’ land. Early April saw the start of the fall.
Players began removing team branding from their socials. Comments about displeasure with the current situation begin coming out from a variety of those with the team. The Avalanche truly began its onslaught in the week of April 21 when the team parted ways with Hyeonwoo “Jjanu” Choi and Head Coach Jisub “Pajion” Hwang. With Jjanu going so far as to tweet out “I’m Free”. If that doesn’t tell you how bad the relationship between the players and Org had gotten, then nothing will. It all came crashing down on May 6, 2020 when the remaining members of the team parted ways with the Org.
Fans were stunned. As the community was witnessing one of the greatest organizational collapses in Esports history a question now loomed. Who could possibly fill the shoes of the legends who now left the team?
Hope for the Future
Fans did not have to wait long for the answer to that question. On May 8, 2020 the team announced who would be taking up the mantle of Titans, bringing into the league the core of NA Contenders team Second Wind alongside some promising prospects. Fans were curious to see how the new team would fare. In short, the new team had a rocky start. It takes time to establish synergy. Something that is woefully forgotten by many. The amount of hate these young lads received from many fans was depressing. It was definitely not how they would have liked to have finally made the League, but it was still a dream come true to be playing at the highest level of competition.
Four games passed and the lads were struggling. There were flashes of excellence, but they just could not seem to put it together. They searched for hope to aid their dampened spirits. That hope came in the form of Niclas “Shockwave” Jensen, a danish player who had recently played for the now-disbanded Academy team of the Toronto Defiant, Montreal Rebellion. He was the shot of adrenaline the team so desperately needed. His first game saw them fall in a remarkably close bout with the Defiant. Yet at last, after six consecutive losses, the new Titans finally tasted victory.They took a very clean sweep over an also struggling Dallas Fuel.
The joy on the faces of these lads after the screen read “Vancouver Titans Win” was the stuff that makes esports so special. It was uplifting in all the right ways. It gave Titans fans a reason to hope again, a reason to think the future of the team may not be so scary.
As the season progressed, the team was able to gather a total of five wins. Not a lot to be fair, but in these wins, they showcased immense promise. There is hope for the future as these players will only grow and develop over time. The off-season, however, is a scary place, populated by uncertainty. Will the team go through another massive rebuild? With the team announcing the resigning of three players and the departure of three others the team will definitely not be the same. What new faces will don Titans jerseys in Season 4? It is impossible to answer these questions. Yet despite how scary it all seems, there is always hope for a better future for the team. A force of nature can still come to Vancouver.
The Vancouver Titans have announced several roster changes heading into the 2021 Overwatch League Season, re-signing three players as well as letting another three walk into free agency.
In a move that is not overly surprising the team has chosen to hold onto Main Tank Abtin “Shredlock” Shirvani, DPS extraordinaire Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff and Support Randal “Roolf” Stark. These players joined the team in the roster shakeup which occurred back in the midseason. With these contracts being extended the team is one step closer to achieving Canadian super-team status.
Roolf has been a longtime fixture of the T2 scene, as well as playing for Team Canada at the Overwatch World Cup in years past. Shredlock however, is not as well established in the scene. He still did get noticed though for his play during his time on Second Wind in contenders North America. He was also poised to possibly take the starting Main Tank spot on Team Canada should Félix “xQc” Lengyel choose to not participate.
Dalton on the Titans was one of the more impactful players. Showcasing an impressive display of skill across multiple heroes and stepping up to fill the flex DPS role when called upon. His return should be met with warm regards by the fandom.
The team has released three players: Carson “CarCar” First, Samir “Tsuna” Ikram and Alhumaidi “KSAA” Alruwaili.
While CarCar and Tsuna didn’t really get a chance to shine with the Vancouver Titans. During a French interview, Tsuma revealed that he is currently trialing for five other teams. Meanwhile, CarCar tweeted that he is looking for a team for the upcoming Overwatch League season.
Finally, there’s KSAA, who carried his team with his skills on Sigma. However, due to a shaky internet connection and frequent lags in-game, the player couldn’t perform at his highest level. The COVID-19 crisis hit the Overwatch League in many ways. Players having to play from home with unstable internet was one of its consequences.
The roster as of now is as follows:
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced plenty of challenges for the Titans, as the team mutually parted ways with the team members and coaching staff fro multiple reasons. With no sufficient space to properly maintain the social distancing guidelines outlined by health authorities, the players and coaches were flown home to be with their families in South Korea, and the remote structure was just not feasible for the players and management.
Within days the Titans were able to bring together a new roster of players and coaches from different countries:
Tim Holloway, director of Esports for Aquilini Entertainment, says he’s excited for the new group to not only represent the franchise but also to engage and grow with the community. “As a group they are excited to play for and engage with Titans fans in Vancouver and across the Pacific Northwest,” said Holloway.
Canucks Sports & Entertainment, owner of Seattle Surge and Vancouver Titans, has announced Adamas Esports Training + Performance as the franchises’ official performance partner.
Included in the multi-year agreement is a partnership with Fortius Sport & Health, the facility that acts as home to Adamas Esports Training + Performance’s services.
The partnership will see Adamas Esports Training + Performance provide both teams with ongoing baseline testing and monitoring to measure player health and performance. The deal also includes continuing one-on-one education with players, coaches, and staff on how to minimize the stresses that can arise with demanding travel schedules.
Tim Holloway, Esports Director for Aquilini Entertainment, had this to say on the partnership: “We’re excited to partner with Adamas Esports Training + Performance at Fortius Sport & Health to provide our Titans players and coaches with an all-encompassing environment to train and live during the busy esports season. Our goal in this partnership is to help the Titans and Surge reach not just their performance and championship aspirations but also their fitness and health goals. Through the expertise of staff and practitioners at Adamas and Fortius, our teams will be able to garner tips on how to best handle the various stresses that can arise in competing at the highest level in esports.”
The Fortius Sport & Health facility is kitted out with a fitness & performance centre, FIFA-standard turf pitch, NBA-lined gymnasium, human performance lab, sports medicine clinic, 50-room lodge, and a chef-inspired bistro.
Caleb Cousens, CEO of Adamas Esports Training + Performance, added: “Our team at Adamas is focused on defining the global standard for measuring and improving esports performance and a multi-year partnership with the Vancouver Titans and Seattle Surge is the perfect proving ground. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with a forward-thinking organization like Canucks Sports & Entertainment in an effort to help their athletes perform when it matters.”
We are thrilled to announce the renewed partnership with Circle K, continuing on from our inaugural 2019 season in The Overwatch League. While there will be continued partnership activations such as the limited edition Titans Froster collector cups that feature the team’s new roster, there will also be brand new activations incorporated into the partnership.
Dave Greason, Director of Marketing & Merchandising at Circle K Western Canada had this to say regarding the partnership renewal: “We’re excited to be able to continue our partnership with the Titans. We have all been through so much these past few months and we can’t wait to add back some FUN into our new normal. We are lucky to be part of this immensely passionate gaming community. Gaming used to be niche, but now it is mainstream. We’re looking forward to engaging with this community in new ways.”
The new activations will feature Circle K displayed on the team jerseys, consistent with the apparel worn at the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals, as well as several in-market activations such as a digital fan scavenger hunt provided by brand partner Jack Links.
Tim Holloway, Esports Director for our team had this to add: “We are thrilled to have Circle K as an integral part of the Titans family; they have been supporting us and our fans since day one and we look forward to doing bigger and better things through our partnership.”
Stay tuned for all the exciting activations to come!