After a quiet start to their offseason, the Hangzhou Spark have announced that most of their 2019 lineup will return for season three. As reported by OW Beacon, the team first made the announcement on their Weibo page before providing an English translation on their Twitter account.
We are pleased to announce that 7 of our players will be staying in Spark for #OWL2020. They are @bebezzangv, @Ria_970922, @Hojin_idk, @Guxue5, @GodsB_OW, @ow_adora and @sasin_ow. All of Spark and our Hangzhou fans around the world are ready to see you again next season! #bang pic.twitter.com/zJPcwiST6N
— Hangzhou Spark (@Hangzhou_Spark) October 29, 2019
The announcement confirmed the return of seven members of the team’s eleven-man roster. Unsurprisingly, this includes their standard starting lineup – tank players Xu “guxue” Qiulin and Sung-wook “Ria” Park; support players Ho-jin “iDK” Park and Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon; and DPS players Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim and Jae-hwan “Adora” Kang. Additionally, flex player Sang-heyon “SASIN” Song also re-signed with the team. Though SASIN plays both DPS and off-tank, the implementation of role lock in Stage 4 meant that he most often substituted out for Ria on the off-tank role.
The decision to retain most of the season two roster follows the Spark’s strong debut season. Despite some issues adjusting to meta changes, the team proved formidable once they got their bearings. They surged to a fourth-place finish in both the regular season and in season playoffs, ultimately falling to the San Francisco Shock in the latter. Hangzhou appears to recognize that they have a solid core to build on for the 2020 season, and this announcement marks their commitment to doing just that.
The Spark’s announcement omitted four players. Two of those four – DPS player Jun-ki “Bazzi” park and support player Hyeong-geun “Revenge” An – have already put out notifications on Twitter that they’re seeking trials with other teams. The third, main tank Da-un “NoSmite” Jeong, started for the team during Stage 1 until they fully integrated guxue into the roster. Both NoSmite and Bazzi played on two-way contracts with the Spark’s academy team, Bilibili Gaming. It remains uncertain if they will move to the Contenders team full-time if they don’t receive other offers.
DPS player Cai “Krystal” Shilong also did not appear in the announcement. Late in the season, Krystal and his team were embroiled in a public dispute over Krystal’s return to China and alleged lack of contact with the Spark organization. As of August, he was suspended “indefinitely” from the team, leaving few expectations that he would return to the active roster in 2020. However, the Overwatch League’s official report on contract statuses listed Krystal as still under contract. Krystal himself has not been active on social media in quite some time, and only time will determine his future as a player.
On both Weibo and Twitter, the Spark assured fans that further announcements would come during the offseason as they build their roster. Notably, the Overwatch League’s report listed flex player Chen “ZiJin” Qinhao as a member of the Hangzhou roster. The Spark have not officially announced ZiJin themselves, but it seems likely that he has already locked in a place in the Overwatch League.
The Game Haus will continue to monitor Hangzhou’s offseason decisions. Be sure to keep an eye out for more news as it happens.
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Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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