Rumors buzzed around the Overwatch League community during the last week of April as multiple Vancouver Titans players began clearing their team affiliation from their social media accounts. Many cited internal speculation as the reason for these acts of ‘protest’, and some even predicted that the Titans would be releasing its roster.
On Thursday, April 30th, the situation became clearer as the Vancouver Titans officially announced the releases of coach Ji-Sub “PaJion” Hwang and Hyun-Woo “JJanu” Choi from their team. This seems to be just the beginning, however, as many league insiders predict more seismic shifts in the Titans’ future plans.
The Vancouver Titans won Stage 1 of the 2019 season and were the runner-ups of the same season’s Grand Finals. The starting six players, originally from Korean team Runaway, had never been separated since their time in Season 2 of the Korean 2018 Overwatch Contenders league. However, their long-time synergy is rumored to have been broken apart. According to Chinese commentator Roy, all current players have left the team, with DPS player Hyo-Jong “Haksal” Kim has already found a new team. It is also rumored that support player Je-Hong “Ryujehong” Ryu plans on retiring from Overwatch altogether.
Roy’s reports also state that the Vancouver Titans plan on picking up a North American Contenders roster to continue their 2020 Overwatch League season. While the former Titans’ roster are all currently based in South Korea, the organization announced back on Tuesday that the team would “be returning to compete in the Pacific Division of the Overwatch League.” The Vancouver Titans spent its previous 2 games competing in Asia against the Guangzhou Charge and the Chengdu Hunters— both losses— but now plans on competing in the North American region once again.
On Monday, May 4th, assistant coach Jae-Hong “andante” Hwang took to his personal Twitter account to announce his departure from the team. Andante, previously a coach for Korean Contenders team GC Busan Wave in 2018, joined the Titans for the 2019 season as both a coach and an analyst.
The house of cards came tumbling down on Wednesday, May 6th, as the Vancouver Titans finally released an official statement on Twitter after nearly a week of inactivity. The Titans’ esports director Tim Holloway explained that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the players planned on competing in the Asian division of the Overwatch League. However, “the time difference made it difficult for management and the home fanbase to connect with the team,” and the organization made the decision to move their operations back to North America.
With this latest development, the Vancouver Titans have mutually agreed to part ways with their remaining roster, as follows:
DPS player Hyo-jong “HakSal” Kim
DPS player Min-soo “Seominsoo” Seo
DPS player Chung-hee “Stitch” Lee
Support player Seong-jun “Slime” Kim
Support player Ju-seok “Twilight” Lee
Support player Je-hong “RyuJeHong” Yu
Coach Yangwon “Yang1” Kweon
The Titans also released tank player Chan-Hyeong “Fissure” Baek, but the announcement did not specify if the player actually desired to leave the team.
As of May 6th, 2020, no official signings have been introduced by the Vancouver Titans. However, ESPN reported on Wednesday morning that the organization plans on picking up the eligible players from North American Contenders team Second Wind.
SlashShout reached out to the Vancouver Titans for comments but did not receive a response.
The Vancouver Titans, owned by Canucks Sports and Entertainment and operated by Luminosity Gaming, continue their 2020 Overwatch League season next Saturday, May 9th, against the Washington Justice.
Stay tuned to SlashShout for more updates on the Vancouver Titans’ roster moves.