The Hangzhou Spark hit the road for Week 4 and found some solid results in their Texas games. Inching closer to locking in a spot in stage playoffs, they’ll need to bring their best for the week ahead. It’s time to take a look forward to see what needs to happen this weekend.
Chengdu Hunters (3-3)
The Hunters brought their signature style to this match, breaking out their interesting hero pool and flashy gameplay. The two teams brawled hard throughout, leading to some close scores on Junkertown and Temple of Anubis especially. However, the Spark looked solid, pulling off some masterful stalls and letting some of their top playmakers shine. Hangzhou came out on top with a 3-1 victory, and notably won Temple of Anubis for the first time this season.
Paris Eternal (2-4)
The Spark kept up the momentum against the Paris Eternal, who hoped to come out of the weekend with a win after falling to the London Spitfire. The resulting matchup was a scrappy five map series, with both teams pulling out impressive last-minute wins. Hangzhou regrouped for a more organized tiebreaker map, however, and won the series 3-2, finishing out the weekend undefeated.
Player of the Week: Seong-wook “Ria” Park
Ria continues to perform as one of the most consistent members of the Spark roster. He frequently makes space and enables his teammates, giving them plenty of room to pull off big plays, and he had plenty of opportunities to show off that skill this weekend. He also had the chance to pull off some flashy performances of his own. Flexing onto DPS in both matches, his Tracer proved especially impressive, and he led the way in several team fights. Ria’s ability to balance standing out on his own and setting his team up for success earns him credit as the Spark’s player of the week.
Opponent 1: Seoul Dynasty (3-2)
After struggling with a difficult schedule this stage, Seoul found some much-needed wins in Texas. They currently sit right above the playoffs cutoff line, meaning their chances will come down to map wins at this point. In Week 5, they’ll also play the undefeated Vancouver Titans, so chances are that they’re eyeing the Spark to give them the win they need to secure their playoffs spot. On the flip side, the Spark are currently the only playoffs contender with a negative map differential, meaning that they’ll not only need to defeat the Dynasty, but they’ll need to do it decisively.
Hangzhou’s victory here depends largely on their preparation for either of Seoul’s lineups. During Stage 1, the Dynasty organized their roster into two groups, who appear to play based on whether or not the team needs an aggressive or defensive playstyle. The Spark tend to play patiently and passively, and Seoul will no doubt take this into consideration when picking their starters for the day. Hangzhou will need to be ready to potentially face both lineups over the course of the game, and they’ll need to respond accordingly if they want this much-needed victory.
Prediction: Seoul wins 3-2
Player to Watch: Hui-chang “Bebe” Yoon
Though BeBe has spent most of his Overwatch League career as the Spark’s solid Zenyatta player, 00he’s also had a few chances to shine when he flexes off the role. Notably, he switched onto Roadhog for an attack on Junkertown, carving a path through the Hunters to help keep the payload moving. Besides those exciting moments, it’s also worth watching BeBe this week to see how he fares against seasoned Zenyatta veteran Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu. With his experience and mind for the game, ryujehong continues to serve as an integral part of the Dynasty lineup. Seeing how BeBe compares in terms of performance makes this head-to-head matchup the one to watch this week.
The Hangzhou Spark close out the stage on May 5, when they face off against the Seoul Dynasty. With playoffs on the line, it’s sure to be a match to watch.
Follow Darby on Twitter @soundchecck! She is happy to talk about anything she’s written! You can also get in touch with her on Discord (soundchecck#7242).
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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