Coming off of two consecutive wins in Week 1, the Chengdu Hunters were looking like one of the league’s top teams going into Week 2. However, after a brutal defeat at the hands of the Shanghai Dragons, fans can’t help but wonder if the Hunters are truly as unstoppable as they thought.
Zhihao “YangXiaoLong” Zhang finally walked onto the stage with his fellow Hunters after being stranded in China for all of Stage 1. His performance this week was dominant, despite the loss. He was more than capable of keeping up with the rest of the team. He will likely be integrated into the roster more in the future.
Last Week’s Matches
Shanghai Dragons (4-6)
Chengdu’s match against the Shanghai Dragons was their chance to even the score after losing to the Dragons in Stage 1. With a new meta favoring Chengdu’s play style, they seemed to have an advantage heading into this match. However, the Dragons were prepared for this match, and pulled out strategies that looked like they were torn from the pages of the Hunters’ own book. Without their surprise factor to rely on, the Hunters fell apart at the hands of the Dragons.
The first map was a decisive victory for the Dragons. The Hunters looked quite sloppy in this map, wasting several key ultimates and failing to attack as a cohesive unit. The second map went much better, as the Hunters were able to expertly dismantle the Dragons’ defense strategy. Then King’s Row happened. On this map, the Dragons pulled out strategies that the Hunters were completely unprepared for. Shanghai were not only countering Chengdu’s strategies; they were dishing out their own surprise tactics. Chengdu collapsed under the pressure from Shanghai on Maps 3 and 4.
Player of the Game: YangXiaoLong
Despite having almost no time to prepare for the match, YangXiaoLong adapted to playing with his team remarkably fast. In the two maps he played, he proved that his arrival to the team was worth the wait. He helped the Hunters secure their first and only map win of the match on Paris. His amazing flexibility combined with his spectacular mechanical skill will fit right in with the rest of the Chengdu Hunters going forward.
Preview for This Week
Los Angeles Gladiators (7-4)
Currently sitting at fourth place in the league, the Los Angeles Gladiators are one of the toughest opponents in the entire league. This team has only dropped 4 out of 17 maps in this stage. Their coordination and skill are formidable. If the Chengdu Hunters hope to stand a chance against them, they’ll need more than their typical shock-factor tactics. They will need expert coordination, target focusing, and ultimate economy. Their communication will need to be practically flawless. The Gladiators will be ready to capitalize on a single mistake, which means Chengdu’s only option is to not make any or as little as possible. While victory against the Gladiators isn’t impossible, it certainly is improbable.
Prediction: Gladiators win 3-1
Player to Watch: Menghan “ameng” Ding
The Hunters’ main tank — ameng — is the lynch pin in most of the team’s strategies. They rely on ameng’s disruptive capabilities to create openings they can capitalize on. Lately, ameng has seemed to be a bit disconnected from the rest of his team, often picking fights that he can’t win while the rest of his team are nowhere near him. If ameng can resolve these issues and consistently perform tight, coordinated attacks alongside his teammates, they should perform much better than they did in their last match.
Follow Chris L. on Twitter @spaceaviator97!
Featured image courtesy of the Chengdu Hunters
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