The Spark continue their season this week against some familiar opponents. With the Overwatch League splitting into regions, for the time being, Hangzhou will need to rely on their knowledge against their division why still creating some mix-ups in their play to keep their rivals on their toes. This week, the Spark face the Dragons (Saturday @ 6:00 A.M. EST) and the Charge (Sunday @ 4:00 A.M. EST). Here’s a look at how they’ll fare in these key rematches
Hangzhou Spark vs. Shanghai Dragons: Red Dead Redemption (Anime Arc of the Week)
Last time around, Shanghai absolutely worked Hangzhou into a 3-0 sweep. The Spark decided to start SASIN and Bazzi in this match instead of their go-to choices: Ria and GodsB, and the change didn’t pay off. The swap was made to introduce more flexibility on the off-tank role as well as to use Bazzi on some heroes GodsB doesn’t specialize in like Sombra. It makes sense in context but the trade-off didn’t seem worth the drop off in quick pick potential. The team decided double down on this set-up once again against the Charge in the same week, and lo-and-behold, they ended up just squeaking by Guangzhou in a nail-biter of a match.
With this week’s Hero Pool banning McCree and Widowmaker, the Spark may have to run this group again against the Dragons. GodsB‘s McCree, unfortunately, won’t have a chance for some Red Dead Redemption versus Shanghai after a dominant return against the Hunters last week. But on the other side of things, maybe Bazzi can have a little redemption himself against the Dragons in Red and lead the team to victory. This week also marks the return of D.Va to the Hero Pool after being banned last week. This could give fans a chance to see guxue back on Winston with Ria on D.Va. If that’s not the case, then SASIN needs to step up his game after a few on-and-off matches and with no GodsB McCree this week to back him up.
In their last match, Stand1 and Void got more value on their ultimates than guxue and SASIN. LIP was able to execute on EMP’s better than Bazzi. And Izayaki gave his team a better chance in team fights with his Coalescence’s over BeBe‘s. Overall the name of the game was ultimate economy, and Hangzhou will need to be more disciplined in that sense if they have to run the same lineup against Shanghai.
Prediction: Dragons win 3-1
Hangzhou Spark vs. Guangzhou Charge
The Spark versus Charge matchup has by far been one of the more exciting rivalries thus far this season. This week presents the Spark’s first rubber match as the season series is tied 1-1 with both games going the distance to a fifth map. What makes this match so compelling is that both teams have had a similar path so far this season and are both looking like dark horses in the league as championship contenders. Both teams have been 3-0’d by Shanghai and both teams have beat Chengdu 3-2, but the biggest anomaly is that the Charge has swept last year’s finalists: the Vancouver Titans.
While the Titans seemed to be off their game as Ryujehong looked uncomfortable on Brigitte, Nero and the rest of the Charge held off the Titans on clutch plays on Eichenwalde and steamrolled Vancouver on Volskaya. Viewers saw the Titans make mistakes that they usually never committed before this game took place. With this being said, the Charge have proven themselves as a capable team and going into this match against the Spark, they’ll have plenty going for them. Cr0ng looked like a natural Roadhog main paired with Rio‘s Orisa and Happy continued to show his prowess as a hitscan monster.
The Charge were able to shut down a diving Titans team: a comp that team historically made famous. Against the Spark in both Week 8 and 9, they played a mirror comp that kept things close. Depending on who Guangzhou sends out and which comp they decide to run, this match could be another map 5 run or a “runaway” like their match against the Titans.
On the other side, the Spark can run the same comp against the Charge as they always have, but the Charge, on the other hand, may have evolved since their last game and may run something different. This game will decide which team has the upper hand as the league’s #2 Chinese team. And should prove to see how well each team can adapt and counter beyond the Reinhardt, Zarya, Sombra, Reaper, Moira, and Lucio comp. If the Spark can do that, then they’ll win this match.
Prediction: Spark win 3-2
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