Chengdu Hunters (5-5) vs Los Angeles Gladiators (8-4)
Final Score: Hunters 1-3 Gladiators
Despite a fairly strong record in Stage 2, the Chengdu Hunters entered Blizzard Arena as the underdogs. Their opponents, the Los Angeles Gladiators, had yet to lose a match in Stage 2. They were one of the strongest teams in the league. The Hunters, meanwhile, had just lost to the Shanghai Dragons only a week ago. The Gladiators looked to keep their streak alive, while the Hunters struggled to keep their dream of stage playoffs intact.
- Menghan “ameng” Ding
- Tzu-Heng “Baconjack” Lo
- Xianyao “Yveltal” Li
- Chunting “Kyo” Kong
- Zhihao “YangXiaoLong” Zhang
- Wenjie “Elsa” Luo
Busan: Hunters 0-2 Gladiators
The Hunters began their attack with Widowmaker and Soldier: 76, while the Gladiators ran a modified 3-3 with Sombra and Moira. The Gladiators played very aggressively, preventing the Hunters from setting up the way they wanted. Although Chengdu capped the point briefly, Los Angeles gave them very little room to breathe. In both rounds, Chengdu’s DPS players were completely ineffectual against the Gladiators’ aggressive playstyle. The Hunters lost Busan 0-2.
Hanamura: Hunters 2-1 Gladiators
Overall, the Hunters seemed much more organized on Map 2. They began their defense with a Pharah-based composition. Despite the Gladiators running a comp designed to counter Pharah, they couldn’t seem to reach the point without dying to JinMu’s Pharah or YangXiaoLong’s Widowmaker. This went on for more than 3 minutes. Finally the Gladiators secured Point A. JinMu stayed on Pharah for their Point B defense. The Hunters held for a while, but eventually the Gladiators reached the point. Suddenly, with less than one tick remaining on the point, the Hunters came back with a vengeance. Ameng jumped into the backline to distract Los Angeles’s Widowmaker while YangXiaoLong was free to land headshots with Widowmaker. Chengdu held their defense at Point B.
The Hunters’ initial attack strategy involved Symmetra teleporting the team to the point. When that didn’t quite go as planned, Chengdu swapped to a new composition featuring Genji. After a brutal team fight with casualties on both sides, the Hunters captured Point A. From here they moved to Point B with an EMP and Dragonblade at the ready. JinMu’s Genji was killed early. The fight was chaotic, with no clear winner. The fight lasted so long that JinMu was able to swap to Doomfist and return to the fight. Then Jinmu scored five kills in a row, winning the point and the map for the Hunters 2-1.
Substitution: JinMu subbed in for Baconjack
Eichenwalde: Hunters 1-2 Gladiators
JinMu’s Pharah was the center point of the Hunters’ strategy on Eichenwalde. Unfortunately for them, the Gladiators brought a Sombra. JinMu and Yveltal were constantly being dragged out of the sky by hacks and EMPs. Additionally, Chengdu’s DPS-heavy composition made progressing the payload very difficult. They only managed to capture Point A and get slightly past that. Then on the Gladiators’ attack, the Hunters continued to try the same strategy. Naturally, they continued to be countered until the Gladiators had won the map 2-1.
Junkertown: Hunters 0-1 Gladiators
Substitution: Baconjack subbing in for YangXiaoLong
The Chengdu Hunters seemed to fall apart on this final map. They began Junkertown with a pirate ship setup, but JinMu’s Bastion was picked off early. From there, the Gladiators never seemed to give an inch. The Hunters swapped to a Phar-Mercy comp, but they were never able to finish Point A. Then on their defense, they instantly crumbled. Los Angeles ran a Roadhog-Orisa composition, which quickly pulled JinMu and ameng out of position and into the Gladiator’s sights. Without much resistance, the Hunters lost the final map of the series 0-1.
Last week, fans saw what happens when the Hunters encounter a team that can deal with their strange tactics. This week’s match further emphasized the fact that the surprise factor is not enough to win the match. While the Hunters did manage to take Hanamura, they failed to stay competitive in the other three maps. The reason for this is the Hunters’ inability to adapt. Once they’ve been figured out, it can take several minutes before Chengdu finally switches strategies. If this trend continues, the Hunters won’t have much of a shot at the stage playoffs.
Follow Chris L. on Twitter @spaceaviator97!
Featured image courtesy of the Chengdu Hunters
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