In one of the biggest surprises in Overwatch League history, the Vancouver Titan released their entire roster this week. The Overwatch League finalists and the 2017-2018 Runaway roster has been broken up, possibly forever.
What caused one of Overwatch’s greatest ever teams to fall apart, and what does the Vancouver team do now?
What went wrong?
This news has exposed major organizational problems at the Vancouver Titans. The combination of two issues led us to this unfortunate result.
The Vancouver Titans were never able to integrate their Korean roster with their western management. Western organizations with full Korean teams are not uncommon in Overwatch League. The Florida, London, and New York teams all have Korean rosters.
Unlike those teams, Vancouver struggled to enable non-Korean fans to connect with their Korean players. The team did not have a Korean translator until halfway through the 2019 season, and neither players nor management received lessons to learn some of the other’s language.
The coronavirus pandemic led to greater stress on the organization and its players. Moving the players to South Korea for their safety caused communication difficulties between the management and the players.
It appears that the final straw was the decision to move the team back to the Pacific Division and play their games on the North American schedule. Asking the players to play professional Overwatch at 6 am Korean time was too much. Three days after this announcement, they released their first player. Six days after that they confirmed the release of the entire roster.
Who are the new Vancouver Titans?
In an impressive turnaround for the team, the Titans revealed their new roster just two days later. All the new players are from NA Contenders, and three of them (Randal “Roolf” Stark, Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff and Abtin “Shredlock” Shirvani) are from the same team, Second Wind. Also, three Second Wind coaches have made the move to the Titans.
The Second Wind players and coaches already have the synergy that comes from playing together, which should help to bridge the gap as this newly formed roster tries to come together as a team. Picking up players who have experience working together worked out well for the first Titans’ roster after all. Hopefully managing an English-speaking roster will help the Titans to avoid making the same mistakes.
The new Vancouver Titans first test is soon. They are playing twice this weekend, against the Washington Justice and the Florida Mayhem. These games will start to show where this new Vancouver team ranks in the League. Second Wind has consistently ranked 3rd /4th in NA Contenders competitions. The Overwatch League will be a whole new challenge for the new players.
This could be the beginning of the end of one of the greatest teams in Overwatch League history or an opportunity for the Titans to adapt and overcome their current situation. Only time will tell.