The Chengdu Hunters looked to be the team to beat in Stage 4 and their path to the playoffs was looking bright at the end of Week 2. Their closest rivals, the Los Angeles Valiant, were looking as if they might fall behind. But in Week 3, the tides turned. The Valiant kept their playoff chances alive after a win against the improved Florida Mayhem. Mayhem hoped to play spoiler for the Valiant and ruin their hopes of squeezing into the play-in tournament. Instead, the Valiant clutched out in the end and kept their longshot playoff chances in play.
Meanwhile, the Hunters took an unfortunate loss to the Hangzhou Spark. It was a game they were favored to win. Spark had yet to get a win in Stage 4 and appeared as not having adapted to the 2-2-2 meta. The loss puts them one step closer to being overtaken by the Valiant. Can the Chengdu Hunters keep their playoff chances alive as Stage 4 continues?
The Chengdu Hunters Review:
Hangzhou Spark (15-10), 3-1
For the Chengdu Hunters, this match appeared winnable because of how the Spark have struggled in the 2-2-2 meta. The Sparks lost earlier in the week to New York Excelsior, and it seemed they would continue to stumble. This match was a chance for the Hunters to boost their map differential and improve their standings. Unfortunately, the Hunters lost to their Chinese rival and put their playoff chances in a precarious situation.
The Spark spent the match focusing on the Hunters star DPS player, Hu “JinMu” Yi as well as fan-favorite Menghan “Ameng” Ding. The Spark may have suffered in Stage 4, attempting to play Reaper and Mei compositions, the “on-meta” DPS duo. But against the Hunters, who have never played in sync with the meta, the Spark could play a more favorable composition.
Player of the Match: Ria of the Hangzhou Spark
Hangzhou Spark off-tank player, Sungwook “Ria” Park, won the Player of the Match at the end of the game and rightfully so. He had terrific moments on D.va throughout the series, including a 3k D.Va self- destruct towards the end of Kings Row that prevented the Hunters from completing the match. But, he had the most significant impact on Roadhog during the series. Alongside his tank duo, Qiulin “guxue” Xu, who played Orisa. Together their “hold and hook” combo won them this series. The Hunters showed a considerable weakness to “hold and hook” combo and looked unable to counterplay the combo.
Chengdu Hunters Week 4
San Fransisco Shock (20-5), Aug 16th
The Chengdu Hunters only match in Week 4 is against the San Fransisco Shock. The Hunters did take an upset win against the San Francisco Shock back in Stage 3. The Hunters have taken close matches against them in the past- so an upset is possible. However, given how Shock has played in recent weeks, an upset is wishful thinking. The Shock is a Top 3 team, and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the Shock may be looking to dominate as revenge for their last loss. If the Hunters make it a close series, it could help their map differential and put them in high spirits before their final game against the Outlaws.
Player to Watch: Yveltal
Support player for the Chengdu Hunters, Xianyao “Yveltal” Li, has always been underrated. Most eyes are on Chengdu’s star DPS player, JinMu. But it is Yveltal on Mercy that makes JinMu’s clutch moments possible. On Mercy, Yveltal enables JinMu by “pocketing” him. Mercy can keep him alive, and damage boost every shot. Yveltal has quietly had a fantastic Stage 4, especially on the Mercy. He always gets unexpected resurrections off and occasionally pulls out a Mercy pistol to steal some kills. If the Chengdu Hunters want a win against the Number 3 team, Yveltal needs to perform.
Featured photo credit to Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
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