Hangzhou Spark (2-1) 3-0 Washington Justice (0-2)
Despite a difficult loss to the Vancouver Titans, the Spark have started Stage 3 on the right foot. In their second Week 2 match, they looked to hold their own against the Washington Justice. The Justice continue to struggle, but they’ve also indicated that changes are on the horizon, and they’ve slowly but surely started seeing results. The Spark may have made leaps and bounds recently, but they would need to ensure they didn’t underestimate their opponents.
Fortunately, the Spark kept up the good work. Although Washington put up a fight on Paris, ending the map in a draw, Hangzhou looked more than up to the challenge. They fought well throughout and ended with a 3-0 victory.
Ilios: Hangzhou 2-0 Washington
The two teams started out with a brawl on Ruins, which kept the point from flipping in anybody’s favor for a while. Ultimately, the Spark came out on top for the first capture. Though a well-placed Graviton Surge from Corey “Corey” Nigra helped the Justice briefly gain control, Hangzhou quickly moved back in to reclaim it. Washington only grabbed the point back once the Spark had reached overtime, but they held it about halfway to completion while their opponents regrouped. Shortly afterward, however, Hangzhou pushed back in and wiped out the Justice, winning the first round.
The Spark got aggressive on Lighthouse, pushing the Justice away from the point early so that they could capture with ease. They proceeded to hold the point decisively, reaching overtime before Washington rallied. An early pick on Xu “guxue” Qiulin, combined with a big Earthshatter from Jun-hwa “Janus” Song, gave the Justice what they needed to wipe the Spark out and take the point. They moved forward to keep the fight off the point and gain control, but Hangzhou eventually rotated their way back in. With one more team wipe, they reclaimed the point and took the map.
Paris: Hangzhou 1-1 Washington
Washington started out with a strong defense on Paris, forcing Hangzhou to go and regroup. With solid control over the high ground, the Justice fended off their opponents for a while, and only thirty seconds remained by the time the Spark even touched the point. While they claimed point A, Washington regrouped for an even stronger defense on point B. Playing patiently and punishing any mistakes in positioning, the Justice ultimately prevented Hangzhou from making any progress on point B.
Switching onto defense gave guxue an opportunity to break out his renowned Winston gameplay. With him at the helm, Hangzhou successfully kept Washington from claiming point A, although they did play aggressively enough to gain two ticks of progress. Just as time nearly ran out, Washington’s Hyang-ki “SanSam” Kim pulled off a three-kill Self Destruct, giving his team plenty of room to capture the point. From there, Hangzhou would need to fight hard to prevent the Justice from making the tick of progress they needed. Fortunately for them, they regrouped in full, fighting Washington off every time. After one more solid fight near the end of the round, the Justice also failed to make any progress on point B, ending the map in a draw.
Hollywood: Hangzhou 3-0 Washington
Hangzhou opted to play aggressively from the beginning, storming the point and claiming it in the first fight. From there, they outright steamrolled the Justice, moving through to point B with just a little resistance at the end. Washington regrouped for one more fight meters from the end of the map, but the Spark kept up the momentum. Not only did they complete the map, but they broke the record for the fastest completion of Hollywood in the league.
The Spark continued to work hard on the defense. Although Washington took the fight to the point and made a tick of progress, Hangzhou otherwise dismantled each attack, sending them back to spawn again and again. In the end, they held the Justice at point A, taking the map and the series.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar: Hangzhou 3-0 Washington
Washington put up a good fight on their first defense, but Hangzhou moved the payload steadily forward all the same. They completed both points A and B with little resistance, rolling through the defense with ease. Once they reached point B, however, the Justice stopped the push, holding the payload with help from another of SanSam’s Self Destructs. The Spark struggled to regroup, and Washington brought down the clock significantly before they could get back on track. Once they regained control, however, it was a simple task to reach the end of the map.
On their own attack, the Justice opted to surprise the Spark with their composition, getting some early picks before swapping back to a more standard hero pool. They moved forward uncontested for a while Hangzhou regrouped. As the payload reached point A, the two teams fought hard, but Hangzhou came out on top and stopped them from reaching the checkpoint. From there, their defense strengthened, and they successfully pushed the Justice back. After one more good overtime fight, the Spark held them off, finishing out the series with a 3-0 victory.
A Solid Week
Hangzhou’s victory closes out their week with a 1-1 record. Between a decisive victory over the Justice and a good fight against the Titans, they’re likely feeling fairly confident moving forward. They face some solid opponents next week in the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty, but if they continue to perform at this level, they’ll provide some interesting games.
The Hangzhou Spark play their next match on June 20, against the Dallas Fuel. Tune in to check out if they can keep this winning streak going.
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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