Vancouver Titans Are Rebuilding For Success Heading Into OWL 2023

Apr 27 2023, 10:51 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Kenneth Utama of Akshon Esports

The Vancouver Titans have had a rough few years in the Overwatch League. 

From the heights of 2019, when the team was in constant championship contentin, to the recent years of constant bottom placements, the Titans have been in a constant freefall. After another bottom-three placement in 2022, the Titans began another revamp, letting most of their roster go and hiring general manager Dennis “Barroi” Matz.

Barroi joined the Titans after being the general manager of the Boston Uprising for the 2022 season. Joining the organization with the hope of developing a winning culture and building the franchise up again, Barroi removed the entire roster, save for its incredible rookie DPS player, Luka “Aspire” Rolovic.

“The idea that I had from the start was to build this franchise back up from the last three years of being terrible,” Barroi said. “The initial way I went about this was to try to look for a lot of pieces that I can add onto Aspire, who’s already a really established player. Trying to add pieces to the puzzle not just from a game skill perspective but from a team culture perspective.”

Barroi’s first signing was the longtime Australian veteran tank player Leyton “Punk” Gilchriswhoch was followed by support players Kim “Faith” Hong-gyu and William “Crimzo” Hernandez. To finish up the roster, he brought on another rookie DPS player, Kamden “Sugarfree” Hijada. As one of the youngest players in the league, Sugarfree had been highly touted since his time in the Contenders circuit.

With a focus on player comfort this season, Barroi made that before all else, he put the players first. Two big examples of this so far have been Faith and Sugarfree.

For Barroi, Faith is an important piece of the puzzle for the Titans as the sole Korean player on the roster. There have been many past instances in the league where the sole Korean player has struggled as a result of feeling isolated from the rest of the roster as a result of the lack of teammates that share a similar culture. Fortunately, according to Barroi, Faith has been getting along well with his teammates and has had no issues with finding parts of Korea in Vancouver’s melting pot of cultures. 

Meanwhile, as an 18-year-old in the league, Barroi spent time with Sugarfree’s parents, who visited the Titans offices during the offseason, to ensure they were comfortable with the path that their child was going to take. 

“To make sure that he’s okay with the location we set up and that it has everything he needs. I mean, if I was a parent, I would want to know what my 18-year-old kid is being hired away to do, especially going to another country.”

With the main roster completed, Barroi acknowledged that the Titans will be underdogs and while making the playoffs is the goal for the team, above all he hopes that this season will be a turning point for the organization.

“This year, we’re trying to fix the image of the franchise to be something better. That is definitely one of my big goals, to not be down there where we’ve been the last few years. So thanks to all the fans that are still around and hopefully we can give you better results this year.” 

To keep up with the Vancouver Titans throughout the season follow them on Twitter and keep an eye on the Overwatch League Twitter for the start of the 2023 season!

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