Hangzhou Spark (3-1) 3-0 Dallas Fuel (1-4)
The Hangzhou Spark have been on a roll lately, whether they’re fighting hard against the best teams in the league or making short work of their more even opponents. After defeating the Washington Justice last week, they looked to start a new win streak by taking down the Dallas Fuel. Sure enough, the Spark continue to show their improvements, and ended the night with a 3-0 victory.
Nepal: Hangzhou 2-0 Dallas
The first map of the night marked the debut of the Fuel’s Ashley “Trill” Powell, who led the way on Reinhardt. Still, the Spark took first control of the point on Village and settled in. When Dallas tried to push back, Xu “guxue” Qiulin pulled off a massive Earthshatter, allowing Hangzhou to maintain control. As their percentage ticked closer to the end, the Fuel moved back in and got some crucial picks, only for Ho-jin “iDK” Park and Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon to fight back and stall until their teammates returned. Hangzhou was able to hold on, and they took the first round.
The Spark started off aggressive on Sanctum, taking some early picks before heading to the point. They held strong once again, with an especially strong performance from Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim on Zarya. Just as the round almost ended, Dallas pushed in and scattered the Spark, giving them the momentum to take the point. Hangzhou quickly regrouped and returned to the point, where the two teams fought hard. In the end, the Spark reclaimed the point and finished it out to win the map.
Horizon Lunar Colony: Hangzhou 4-4 Dallas
On their first attack, the Spark took the fight to the high ground, easily getting the picks they needed to claim the first point. From there, they made short work of heading to point B, forcing the Fuel to scrap hard to prevent a snowball. Although Dallas put up a good fight, Hangzhou eventually came out on top, finishing the map with nearly six minutes on the clock.
On their own attack, the Fuel stormed the point, hoping to match their opponents’ time. Though Hangzhou managed to hold them back at first, Dallas finished out point A with about six minutes on the clock. Regrouping for the defense, the Spark held off the Fuel for a bit. However, big plays from Trill made plenty of room, and Dallas completed the map as well.
With less time on the clock, Dallas hurried in on their second attack. The two teams fought hard, and the Fuel nearly completed the point before Hangzhou brought it back. Dallas regrouped and pushed back in, this time taking point A and heading on. The Spark brought down the clock, triggering overtime as Dallas pushed back in. Just in time, Dylan “aKm” Bignet pulled off a massive EMP, giving the Fuel the edge to finish the map again.
Hangzhou started out patient on their second attack, once again rotating to the high ground. After overwhelming Dallas to claim point A, they successfully pulled off the snowball on point B. They completed the map with time to spare, meaning they needed one more tick to win.
Hoping to throw off the Spark, Dallas ran a bunker composition, with Trill on Orisa and Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo on Bastion. Hangzhou quickly swapped to a DPS-heavy composition to counter it, but they struggled to find an opening. Though they eventually scattered the defense and reached the point, Dallas regrouped just in time. As overtime began, the Fuel overwhelmed the Spark, ending the map in a draw.
Numbani: Hangzhou 3-1 Dallas
Heading in through the high ground, Hangzhou quickly overwhelmed the Fuel’s defense, claiming point A and starting forward. They moved through to point B nearly uncontested, pushing back Dallas all the way as they went. They nearly reached the end of the map as well before Dallas took out guxue at a crucial moment, forcing the rest of the Spark back. After regrouping, Hangzhou rotated around and captured the Fuel in a Graviton Surge, leaving them helpless while they moved the payload towards the finish line. Still, Dallas made it back in time, forcing one more fight before the Spark finished the map.
On their own attack, the Fuel rolled out on a DPS composition, hoping to surprise the Spark. Hangzhou picked it apart, however, and Dallas soon switched back to the more standard 3-3 composition. The swap gave them the momentum to take point A, and they started forward while the Spark regrouped. From there, however, Hangzhou locked in their defense. They pushed back Dallas again and again, bringing down the time considerably before they could start moving forward. Slowly but surely, the Fuel fought back and made good progress towards point B. After one more tough fight, GodsB pulled off some huge picks, enabling the Spark to end the push just before the point.
Havana: Hangzhou 3-1 Dallas
Hangzhou maintained a steady pace through the first leg of Havana. Though Dallas stalled on the defense just before point A, they still cleared it with ease and moved on. From there, the Fuel held their ground, forcing the Spark into long team fight after long team fight. Though Hangzhou moved forward fairly consistently, Dallas fought back at every turn. By the time the Spark finished the map, they had under a minute left on the clock.
Dallas started out of the gate strong on their attack, wiping out Hangzhou’s defense and surging forward. Once they cleared point A, the Spark fought back in full. As the payload entered the warehouse portion of the map, the two teams brawled. Still, the Fuel didn’t make much more progress. After one more overtime fight, Hangzhou came out on top, finishing out the series with a 3-0 win.
The Road to the Top
With their victory today, it’s worth noting that the Spark have not lost a match to any team besides the San Francisco Shock or the Vancouver Titans since Stage 1. As they continue to polish their strategies and take down every team in their way, they could very well contend among the top teams in the league. They might not be at the same level as the Shock or the Titans just yet, but it seems that they’ll only go up from here.
The Hangzhou Spark play their next match on June 22, against the Seoul Dynasty. Tune in to see if they can hold off the Dynasty from getting revenge for Stage 2.
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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