Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant Debut in “Stellar” Fashion

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Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant Debut in “Stellar” Fashion

Since the Overwatch League announced that expansion teams were coming, many Canadians have flocked to see what teams would stand to represent their nation on the league’s stage. Hailing from the true north, Splyce has set their roots in Toronto where they look to forge a name for themselves in the OWL (Overwatch League). The team has franchised themselves as the “Toronto Defiant,” stemming from the rich history of the city. With their logo depicting a T inscribed in a D, Toronto looks to exemplify themselves and using the “strength, character, and resiliency” their home is known for.

When announced, many Canadians immediately took pride with their new teams. Toronto themselves feature a roster in its infancy, a team created with an assortment of different South Korean players who joined the franchise late last year. The leading frontline players known as the tanks for the team are Cho “Yakpung” Kyeong-mu and Lee “Envy” Kang-jae. Filling the damage positions of the team is Lee “ivy” Seung-hyun, Choi “Asher” Jun-sung, and Lee “Stellar” Do-hyung. Lastly, the supports of the team that allow their allies to succeed are Jae “Aid” Yoon-ko, Park “RoKy” Joo-sung, and Park “Neko” Se-hyun. To the average spectator, a team such as this garnered a mixed opinion on how they would perform over the course of the OWL.

Having stars such as Envy (formerly of the Los Angeles Valiant) to captain the team paired with Neko (previously of the Boston Uprising, also voted an Atlantic Division All-Star player), allowed the fans of Toronto to rest assured knowing their team was in good hands. However, tragedy struck when it was revealed that Neko would be suspended for the first three games of the season due to an account violation where Neko had sold an account he was formerly in possession of. To the dismay of many, temporarily losing a cornerstone of the team such as Neko before the start of the season was disheartening, to say the least. This especially came to the news that the Defiant would debut against the Houston Outlaws who placed 7th in the regular season. Despite a poor finish last year, the Outlaws proved themselves a problematic opponent to many and showed off their ferocity previously, starting the year off in second place.

Match 1: Nepal, Houston wins 2-1 over Toronto

The first map of the set took place in Nepal, starting the contest in Village. Toronto stormed out of their spawn running a three damage, one tank, two support composition to Houston’s one damage, three tank, two support composition. An unfavorable fight for the Defiant saw Yakpung fall early with Envy, Aid and RoKy quickly fell shortly after. Despite losing the fight, Stellar charged his Sombra EMP to pair with Ivy’s Dragonstrike to successfully retake the point. A split attack from Houston allowed Toronto to pick apart their opponents with little effort and only a single ultimate expended. As the fights raged on, Envy who usually is slotted as a tank player, took to the skies as Pharah with RoKy pocketing him as Mercy, proving themselves too much to handle for the Outlaws, winning point one 100% – 53%. Stellar performance from Stellar’s Sombra allowed Defiant to disable any attempt Houston made to recapture the point with critical hacks and constant EMP uptime.

Moving to map two, the Defiant took an early capture using a one damage, two tank, and three support composition but some poor positioning found a few members caught out in an extended fight with the Outlaws, losing the point. The Outlaws looked to brute force their way into map control using a two-two-two composition, featuring more aggressive hero selections such as Pharah, Mercy and Wrecking Ball. The immense pressure from the Houston side stumped Toronto as Jake rained justice, forcing Envy to switch from Sombra to McCree. A last second retake of the point from Toronto forced Houston to regroup for one last fight while the point ticked 99% – 99%. A huge EMP from Danteh caused the downfall of Toronto on Shrine as they lost in a heartbreaking fashion.

The final map saw the teams compete for the last time on Nepal, this time taking place on Sanctum. Despite a quick take from the Outlaws, Toronto regrouped and amassed a fair lead as Envy found two kills with the use of his Self-Destruct, finding a third after reentering his mech. Pushing their advantage to 66%, a very patient fight was taken from the Outlaws as they quickly overpowered the Defiant due to their lack of defensive ultimate abilities and a tide-turning Graviton Surge out of Danteh. From here on, Houston snuffed out Toronto took a decisive victory over the first match, leading the series 1-0.

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Match 2: Numbani, Houston wins 5-4 over Toronto

After losing in such a close fashion, Toronto looked to regroup on Numbani, seeking to equalize the set. Starting on defense, Toronto fashioned themselves a “Goats” composition which is comprised of three tank heroes and three support heroes. On the attacking side, the Outlaws came out with a one damage, two tank, three support composition, looking to out brawl the Defiant with the use of Sombra. Toronto held out for a time, trying to run out the Outlaws’ clock until an extended fight went sour as the opposing Winston – Muma, found two major kills on the Defiant supports, costing the first point. The defense out of Toronto was excellent, forcing the Outlaws into overtime at the second point. This left Houston with enough time for one proper fight, and unfortunately for Toronto, they did just that. A huge Graviton Surge from Danteh once again clutched the win for his team, finding five members of the Defiant.

Toronto now on the attacking side stuck to their original composition and sought to brawl in opposition to Houston in a Goats versus Goats contest. For three full minutes, the Outlaws didn’t budge, even at one point chasing the Defiant back to their spawn. Finally breaking the defense was a trade out of Toronto, taking out both Houston supports at the cost of Ivy. Toronto effortlessly rolled the payload to the second point after repeatedly punishing the over aggression from Houston. While on the way to point three, in true Goats fashion, a prolonged fight broke out for over a minute and a half before Toronto was able to capture the point despite being a man down thanks to huge kills coming out of Aid on Zenyatta and Ivy’s Zarya.

With only a minute on the clock, the Defiant had one real chance to capture the point on their second attack and did so fluidly, taking out Muma early as the rest of the Outlaws crumbled without their main tank. In a last-ditch effort from Houston, they looked to desperately contest the point as soon as possible to halt Toronto’s progression. A poorly timed Graviton Surge from Ivy found its way into the enemy D. Va’s Defense Matrix, quickly signaling the counter attack for Houston as they stopped Toronto in their tracks. On Houston’s second attack, they had nearly two minutes to capture the first point and were at a standstill to Toronto’s defense until the final ten seconds where the Defiant supports were caught out, capturing the point. Unfortunately for Toronto, it seemed their nerves got the best of them as they failed to contest the point in time despite being positioned directly beside the payload. This ended the map 5-4, scoring Houston their second match win.

Toronto Defiant Overwatch League

Match 3: Volskaya Industries, Toronto wins 1-0 over Houston

Down two matches, things seemed dire for the Defiant as they were one match away from losing the set officially. The next map in the series was Volskaya Industries, a map where unsurprisingly, both teams rolled out a Goats composition. Toronto started the map on attack and brawled for two minutes before successfully capturing the first point on the back of phenomenal play from Stellar on Brigitte. It only took two minutes to take the point, but for the next six minutes in the Toronto timebank, the young team seemed stumped in how to aggress the second point and were punished because of it. Netting only a single point and 80% of the second point, Toronto needed to put everything on the line to stay in this game.

Houston, knowing full well that Toronto would defend the point with Goats, attempted to run a one damage, two tank, three support composition with a Reaper pick in an effort to destroy the opposing frontline. Unfortunately for the Outlaws, Toronto didn’t seem at all affected by the pick and completely disassembled their opponents mechanically and economically, constantly finding themselves in an ultimate advantage situation. Winning the map, Toronto put their first point on the board, updating the score to 1-2 in favor of Houston.

Match 4: Route 66, Toronto wins 2-1 over Houston

Still, in match point, Toronto was on their last legs with the aid of a momentum swing. On their attack, the Defiant stuck with what was working, and that was Goats. A difficult defense to break cost Toronto the entirety of their timebank to capture the first point. Houston made the switch to take a Goats composition of their own. Prolonged fights continued for the entirety of the map as the Defiant took the payload 99% of the way before a last-ditch effort stall from the Outlaws somehow managed to overpower their opponents despite constantly being down some members. A last-second Reaper switch to bust the tanks helped to stabilize the Outlaws as they managed to stuff the final capture.

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Compositions took an exciting turn of events when Toronto locked down their defense with a two-two-two comp that featured Bastion and Orisa picks at the helm. On the side of Houston, an anti-Goats composition rolled out with a Pharah Mercy combination with Hanzo to round out the team’s damage. An unfortunate pick found Aid mispositioned, and the Defiant Bastion was felled by Rawkus’ Zenyatta burst. Toronto cut their losses and switched back to the familiar Goats composition and surprisingly out classed the anti-Goats from Houston to the point where they just swapped to Goats in an effort to brute force their way through. In the final bout of the match, Aid and his proven Zenyatta were too much for the Outlaws as they were decimated start to finish with perfect Discord Orbs from the young Korean on priority targets. A full momentum swing seemed to be in progress as Toronto equalized the score 2-2.

Match 5: Busan, Toronto wins 2-1 over Houston

In an unbelievable manner, the Defiant payed homage to their name and exerted themselves to take the set from behind to the final match. The rotating tiebreaker map was Toronto and Houston duking it out one last time on Busan. Map one was took place on Downtown and the entirety of the first capture point was a Houston Outlaw story, never losing the point once. With things looking bleak for Toronto, they needed to make a statement on Sanctuary to swing the game back in their favor. LiNkzr was the hero of point one for Houston and looked to continue his success on the Widowmaker pick. As the point ticked down to 99% for the Outlaws, all seemed lost for Toronto. That was until a perfect dive from Envy and Yakpung successfully took out Rawkus, the main healer for Houston and a sluggish fight from both sides ensued, leaving Toronto the victor. Recapturing the point meant that the Defiant would have to hold out the entirety of the capture or they would lose the set they fought so hard for. Desperation out of the Outlaws saw many mistakes committed and in turn punished as very poor ultimates were used on their attack. Toronto in full swing, pressed their advantage and took the fight to the Houston spawn to choke out any effort of retaking the point.

Taking the game to the final map of the set, Mecha Base, the marathon of a set was finally at its end. This would be the epic finale to the war between the Toronto Defiant and the Houston Outlaws. Both teams stuck with aggressive compositions that they had previously used on the second point. A shaky start from Toronto found themselves quickly sinking as everything they threw at Houston backfired until they took nearly 70% of the point. An extended fight saw Stellar emerge as the hero Toronto needed as his Brigitte play near single-handedly captured the point for his team. From there, Houston managed to take the point into overtime and saw an intense back and forth between both teams as players on both sides were dropping like flies. In a fantastic clutch play from Ivy on Tracer, he managed to find a double kill and stalled out the point with Stellar until the respawning Defiant could return to the point. Another critical EMP from Envy swayed the final fight as Toronto took the win. In their opening match, the Defiant showed a fantastic performance, being able to persevere despite many mistakes throughout the match with a roster full of rookies. Thus, ended the match with Toronto as the victors, 3-2, debuting with a well fought victory.

Toronto Defiant Overwatch League

Although not the finest of debuts, the Toronto Defiant remained true to their name, never giving up despite being down 2-0. They successfully banded together to overcome their nerves and the instability they had shown early, proving themselves to be a powerhouse against the Outlaws. Keep in mind, this team has only been together for a few months and lacked a key player in Neko during this match. Despite this, they were able to take a 2-0 deficit and reverse swept their opponents in a “Stellar” fashion. Only time will tell how far the Defiant will go in the OWL, but without a doubt, they will be a force to be reckoned with as they become continuously more confident in each other’s abilities and develop a firmer grasp on the shifting meta. GGWP Toronto!

You can find a VOD of Toronto Defiant’s debut match here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/381246339


Images via: Overwatch League

Yuri Custodio
Yuri is a student at St. Clair College in Windsor ON, studying Esports Administration and Entrepreneurship. Yuri is passionate about all aspects of esports and specializes in League of Legends and Overwatch. He has competed in the Collegiate Overwatch League for his school team - Saints Gaming.