Death, taxes, and a San Francisco – Vancouver Final.
Even with massive changes to the professional scene entering Stage 4, the Shock and Titans were both able to keep up their respective levels of dominance over the rest of the Overwatch League, as neither team took its foot off the gas throughout the entire year. That is, of course, until today, when Vancouver came to a complete, sudden, and jarring stop.
Despite a year-long quest for glory, a constant debate of greatness, and both teams playing on a supernatural level since February, it was clear which team came prepared for Sunday’s Grand Final.
The Shock made extremely quick work of the Titans in a set that saw San Francisco win in decisive 4-0 fashion while clearing out their opponents in less than two hours . And right from the very beginning of today’s action, the Shock wasted no time establishing dominance.
The first map of the afternoon was Lijiang Tower, a control map where the Titans had been so successful throughout the postseason and the entirety of the regular season. And if Vancouver was going to take any map today, it had to be this one. For the Titans to have a successful series and eventually claim an OWL title, they had to be accruing momentum from the very beginning.
In short, they didn’t.
San Francisco took the game over from the very beginning and looked like the team to beat on Sunday. After a near-flawless performance on Lijiang, it became obvious that anything other than a 4-0 sweep was going to be unlikely.
On the next map, Eichenwalde, the Shock looked even stronger as a lightning-fast push left the team with 2:49 left in the time bank, while the round secured the Shock a comfortable lead in the series. Still, it’s worth noting that Vancouver came back and matched the Shock with a push of their own, one that secured 2:47 in the bank, but San Francisco simply outclassed them in overtime and took a 2-0 series lead into the half.
From there, the Shock came out looking like an even stronger team as a decisive victory on Temple of Anubis pushed Vancouver to the brink, while on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, the Shock was able to continue to use the Bastion of Min-ho “Architect” Park to their advantage, as the team simply outclassed the Titans at every possible turn.
And while it might not be a complete twist of fate that the Shock was able to secure the 2019 OWL title, it’s a little stunning that the team was able to win in such convincing fashion. For the past few months, San Francisco and Vancouver had looked to be on the same plane in so many instances. Whether they were trading titles in Stage 1 and 2, splitting the season series, or simply one-upping each other on the OWL stage, it was becoming clearer and clearer that these two teams were equally matched.
This time, they weren’t.
All afternoon, the Shock beat up on the Titans and proved they were the better team by far. And now, as we move into 2020, it’s hard not to see these two teams stay afloat and remain at the top of the competition – regardless of what moves the rest of the league may make in the offseason in order to catch up. And for Vancouver, that looming offseason can only hang over the shoulders of a team that was destined for something more. A team that had their hopes dashed by the Shock – and only the Shock.
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment, The Overwatch League