Hangzhou Spark (4-1) 3-2 Seoul Dynasty (3-2)
The Hangzhou Spark started Week 3 off strong with a solid victory over the Dallas Fuel. Going into Saturday’s games, they hoped to come out on the other side undefeated by bringing down the Seoul Dynasty. The two teams last faced off in Stage 2, where Hangzhou’s victory cost the Dynasty their spot in stage playoffs. Seoul hit the stage hungry for revenge, and the Spark would need to be fully prepared for that.
The resulting match was a tense five-map fight between two powerhouses. Seoul’s rotating roster continued to work in their favor, catching the Spark off-guard in the second half of the match. However, they rallied all the same, pulling out a 3-2 victory in an exciting series.
Ilios: Hangzhou 2-0 Seoul
The two teams started off with a tense fight on Lighthouse. Although Hangzhou claimed the point first, they didn’t hold it for very long before Seoul took control right back. The next team fight started out rough as well, with Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu taking out Ho-jin “iDK” Park before he could finish his Sound Barrier, but the Spark still managed to come out on top. They made plenty of progress, with help from iDK’s big environmental kills. As overtime began, the Dynasty pushed in and flipped the point back, forcing Hangzhou out as they built up control. Just as it seemed that they would finish things out, the Spark returned in full force, flipping the point back and taking the round.
The Dynasty started out strong on Ruins, taking Xu “guxue” Qiulin out of the fight early and claiming first control of the point. They held control about half of the way before the Spark could come back in and flip the point. From there, the two squads fought hard, going back and forth with control throughout the round. Seoul reached overtime first, only for Hangzhou to surge back in and reclaim the point. The Dynasty moved in for one more good overtime fight, but Hangzhou came out on top.
Horizon Lunar Colony: Hangzhou 3-2 Seoul
Hangzhou came out swinging on their first attack, claiming point A in the first fight. Wasting no time, they headed on to point B, where they fought hard with the Dynasty. Both teams threw practically every ultimate they had, resulting in an explosive fight, but Hangzhou still came out on top. When they finished the map, they had over six and a half minutes left on the clock.
On the defense, Hangzhou repelled Seoul’s first attack, sending them back to regroup. Once they returned, however, they pushed the Spark off the point, gaining the upper hand enough to finish it out. Undeterred, Hangzhou solidified for the point B defense. Every time it looked like Seoul would gain the upper hand, the Spark managed to stall it out. After finishing point A with nearly six minutes on the clock, the Dynasty finished the map with seconds to spare.
Seoul had just a minute to pull off their second attack, and moved quickly to make up for the time. They pushed in hard to scatter Hangzhou and made good progress on point A, gaining nearly two ticks of progress. Still, the Spark pushed back in to prevent them from capturing, and the round ended shortly after.
With plenty of time to spare, Hangzhou played carefully and avoided early picks from Seoul. Once they moved in, however, they made short work of the defense. After one team fight, they got the progress they needed and took the map, going up 2-0 at the half.
Numbani: Seoul 1-0 Hangzhou
Seoul swapped out their roster for the second half of the game, which appeared to throw Hangzhou off as they attempted their attack. Each time they pushed in, they were quickly repelled, with especially forward play from Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek leading Seoul’s charge. With time quickly running out, the Spark moved back in for one more push, only for Dong-eon “FITS” Kim to catch the entire team in a Graviton Surge. Unable to touch the point, the Spark could only watch as the round ended.
With little progress to make, the Dynasty rolled out on an interesting composition. Fissure played Wrecking Ball, while Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim moved to Pharah and Min-hyuk “Michelle” Choi scouted as Sombra. All three played particularly well, and it took little effort for them to dismantle Hangzhou’s defense. They quickly got the progress they needed to take a decisive win.
Havana: Seoul 3-2 Hangzhou
After making a few more roster adjustments, Seoul stormed out of the gate, making fast progress towards point A. Though the Spark regrouped to bring down the time bank a little, the Dynasty finished the first leg of the map with plenty of time. The payload slowed down through point B once Hangzhou locked down the defense, but the Dynasty still made it through and hurried on towards the end of the map. Shortly afterwards, the Spark pushed back in and regained control of the situation. The payload didn’t make much more progress, and ultimately stopped about halfway to the end.
The Spark moved much more slowly towards point A, struggling to gain progress with Fleta performing so well on Hanzo. Big plays from guxue and Seong-wook “Ria” Park finally got them through to point A, and they headed on quickly through to point B. Just as it seemed that they would reach the Dynasty’s limit on the map, Seoul surged back to fight them off, and remained firm on the payload. After one more overtime fight, Seoul stopped the payload meters before the end, sending the match to a fifth map.
Oasis: Hangzhou 2-0 Seoul
After a tough first fight on Gardens, Hangzhou gained first control of the point. They held there decisively, fighting back each of Seoul’s pushes. Despite facing the roster that held them back on Numbani, they took the first round without ever losing control.
Moving to City Center, the Dynasty moved in quickly to take first control of the point. They held steady for a while, stalling out each fight enough to gain fifty percent control. Once Hangzhou flipped the point in their favor, however, they quickly found their groove. They kept the fight on the high ground, dropping back onto the point as needed and focusing specific targets. After a few more hard fights, the Spark finished out the map, taking the series with a 3-2 win.
Wrapping Up the Stage
The Spark finish out their stage next week, as they aren’t participating in Week 5’s games in Atlanta. With that in mind, they need to pull decisive wins next week in order to lock in that stage playoffs spot. If they can bring down the Florida Mayhem and the revitalized Los Angeles Valiant, they’ll finish out the stage with an impressive 6-1 record, which will also put them that much closer to season playoffs.
The Hangzhou Spark play their next match on June 27, against the Los Angeles Valiant. Tune in to see if they can keep up the momentum against the Valiant’s much-improved roster.
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 the Hangzhou Spark.
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