For those who don’t know what went down on that fateful day of May 6, 2020, the once mighty Vancouver Titans organization released the entirety of their roster and staff, including dominant players such as Hyojong “Haksal” Kim, Jooseok “Twilight” Lee, and Chung-hee “Stitch” Lee. Only two days later, they announced an entirely new roster made up of all Tier 2 level professionals, completing what I would call the most interesting, confusing, and kind of sad series of roster moves in the history of the Overwatch League.
Last season, when the GOATS meta was king, the Titans were the big bad scary team who would just absolutely steamroll anyone in their path. Sang-beom “Bumper” Park‘s aggressive Reinhardt was both a breath of fresh air, and almost offensive in how much it was able to accomplish. “He can’t keep getting away with it!” I’d say every time he’d find a five man Earthshatter and decimate the hopes of whatever poor team didn’t see him behind that corner.
However, all good things must come to an end, and with the Vancouver Titans’ defeat in the finals to the San Francisco Shock, everything started going downhill. While there are definitely some behind-the-scenes moves and mumblings as to what really happened that led to the replacement of an entire team, that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. I want to talk about the ex-Titans and how they’re all doing now that the dust has settled, and the new Vancouver Titans have seemed to have found their footing.
Let’s dive into each individual old roster player’s affairs, and see how they’ve done for themselves.
Hyojong “Haksal“ Kim
I am not ashamed to admit it, I absolutely love Haksal. Mainly because he’s a legitimately amazing Genji player and I always have a soft spot for high level Genji play. He may soon be usurped by Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim on the Eternal, but that’s a completely different conversation.
Haksal was picked up by the New York Excelsior and quickly found his niche, Dragon-blading with Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang’s Nano Boosts: truly a match made in heaven. This does leave me a little worried for Seung-jun “WhoRU” Lee, the NYXL’s previous Genji main, who hasn’t impressed on the same level since Haksal showed up. Nevertheless, Haksal is an incredible pick up for an already scary team in the APAC region.
Chung-hee “Stitch” Lee and Hyeon-Woo “JJANU” Choi
This dynamic duo were both picked up by the Washington Justice and have generally done well with what they were given. Unfortunately, they were given the Washington Justice. No offense to Justice fans, but in only two day on May 8 and 9, they lost both of their best DPS players in Corey “Corey” Nigra, and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel.
You could argue that it takes some time for new players to really mesh with a brand new team, and in this case I’d actually agree. It definitely took some time, but the Justice are starting to show flashes of the high level play they were capable of only months ago. I only want the best for Washington, and upsetting the Los Angeles Gladiators in the first round of the Summer Showdown is the best first step towards competitiveness anyone could ask for.
Sung-jun “SLIME” Kim
SLIME was picked up by the Seoul Dynasty on May 14, becoming the team’s second support addition of the year, the first being Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi from the London Spitfire. As a Lucio main myself, I often find myself specifically looking at the professional support players whenever someone picks my favorite frog boy.
Let me just say, SLIME is quite good. This leaves the Dynasty with three support players (I’m not focusing too much on Young-wan “Creative” Kim, who hasn’t played nearly as much as the others) in Jin-mo “tobi” Yang, Bdosin and SLIME. While some may say the support line is getting a little crowded, I actually think they’re in a very good position. Each player has their own specialty, whether it’s SLIME on Lucio, Bdosin on Ana and Brigitte, or tobi on Baptiste. The team is in a good spot to shift their roster around for whatever the match needs.
Jooseok “Twilight” Lee
Even though Twilight is often considered one of the world’s greatest Baptiste players (along with many other support heroes), I still feel as though he’s underrated. Now that Baptiste is becoming increasingly important in the current meta, Twilight’s usefulness to the San Francisco Shock will only be more pronounced. As you can see from the roster above, he’s already found himself a mainstay on the team. And yes, I specifically used this roster with Matthew “super” DeLisi on DPS because it’s hilarious.
There’s not much else to be said here, other than how it’s almost unfair how much talent the Shock have on their team, even when they lose the league MVP DPS Jay “sinatraa” Won to Valorant, and their incredible flex DPS Minho “Architect” Park to the Hangzhou Spark. For anyone who had the Shock at the top of your bracket taking the entire Summer Showdown, I don’t blame you. They’re stacked.
Min-soo “SeoMinSoo” Seo, Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek, and Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu (AKA Everyone Else)
I feel bad for these guys. Almost two months after the Vancouver Titans fire sale, these three still don’t have any league contracts. Allegedly SeoMinSoo was offered a spot on an undisclosed roster almost immediately, yet he declined because it wasn’t a team he could see himself on. Unfortunately he has yet to find anything since.
Fissure is an interesting case because while the rest of the team “mutually parted ways,” Fissure was “released” from his contract. The wording here makes a difference because of the drama that surrounds it. According to Fissure himself from one of his Twitch streams, he was forcibly released from his contract without getting paid, which is in direct violation of Overwatch League contract rules. I’m not going to go into great detail as to what exactly happened, because it is still unclear. Nevertheless, Fissure has not been picked up, and rumours of his retirement from the tier one scene are not uncommon.
On the bright side, he still enjoys streaming, and recently cosplayed as Elsa from Frozen after losing a bet to his chat. All’s well that ends well? Or maybe Elsa’s well that ends well? Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.
Ryujehong’s departure from the organization was also a bit of a shock, due to the fact that it also cast a shadow on how the Vancouver Titans were run. RJH could not completely hide his distaste with how the team ended. The specifics of what exactly happened might never be publicized, but one word from a now deleted tweet ryujehong used to describe the Vancouver Titans org says more than enough: Trashcouver. When someone like ryujehong starts airing his concerns like this, you can imagine that the behind-the-scenes happenings were not pretty.
At the very least, he was happy once he left the organization, as evidenced by this tweet saying “Dont worry ^_^ I am FREE. So Happy.” Godspeed ryujehong, and good luck.
It’s always unfortunate to see something that was so dominant and cohesive fall apart seemingly so easily, but all things must pass eventually. From the ashes a new team in Vancouver will arise, and with new players as well. I sincerely hope that Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff, Samir “Tsuna” Ikram, Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen, Alhumaidi “KSAA” Alruwaili, Abtin “ShRedLock” Shirvani, Carson “CarCar” First, and Randal “Roolf” Stark all have long and successful careers in the Overwatch League, and hopefully win some hardware in the process.