Hangzhou Spark (1-0) vs Los Angeles Valiant (0-0)
Spark 3-2 Valiant
After defeating their Chinese counterparts yesterday, the Spark had their finger guns set on the Los Angeles Valiant. With each of these team’s generally considered to be amongst the best in the league, this was bound to be a volatile matchup.
And volatile it was. Going to five maps, this one constantly went back and forth, with each team only gaining advantage off of their opponent’s mistakes. In the end, the Spark were able to capitalize off of more of these mistakes than the Valiant were, and take the series 3-2 in an absolute thriller.
Busan: Spark 2-1 Valiant
Starting off on Sanctuary, the match instantly opened up as a close one. Each team jostled back and forth trading percentages for a great deal of the match. Finally, the stalemate was broken by a 3-kill D.Va bomb from Seong-Wook “Ria” Park, leading the Spark to the first round victory.
Moving to the bustling metropolis of Downtown, the Spark’s momentum was halted by a series of winning team fights from the Valiant. Unable to gain any traction, the Spark dropped the second round to the Valiant, leaving MEKA Base as the final destination.
The Spark continued their surprising play of GOATS, opening up the map with a strong sequence of fights and an efficient cycling of ultimates. After this competitive back-and-forth, the stalemate was again broken by Ria and his, at this point, signature D.Va bombs.
Numbani: Spark 1-3 Valiant
The Spark started off Numbani on defense, running a unique dive-style composition centered around Sombra and Pharah. The Valiant took some time to find the crack in this armor, but once they did they used the momentum to roll through the streets of Numbani with time on the clock to spare.
On offense, the Spark struggled to get out of the gate early. They claimed the first point off the back of a strong Primal Rage from Xu “guxue” Qiulin which led them into the first part of the streets portion with a very limited time bank. In the end, the Valiant were simply too strong and were able to hold the Spark long before the end of the map.
The teams headed into the break tied up at 1-1 in what looked to be an incredibly closely-matched series.
Temple of Anubis: Spark 3-4 Valiant
Heading to Annubis, the Spark decided to enlist the help of Da-un “NoSmite” Jeong and Hyeong-Geun “Revenge” An, subbing in for guxue and Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon. The substitutes, however, needed a round to get warmed up, as the Valiant swiftly moved through both points on offense.
The Spark were able to do the same after making a calculated switch to a Reinhardt-led GOATS composition. This switch enabled them to a quick capture of both points in what looked to be a high scoring map, each team having 4+ minutes left in the time bank.
After the Valiant successfully completed their second attack in overtime, the pressure was on the Spark to respond with an attack of their own. However, the Valiant were able to fend them off on the second point despite the Spark’s massive time bank and claim the point, winning the map 4-3.
Dorado: Spark 3-2 Valiant
The Spark looked to chip away at the Valiant lead on the mean streets of Dorado. The Valiant got off to a hot start through the first point behind some massive earthshatter’s from Pan-seung “Fate” Koo. Yet, at the final point, the Spark planted their feet and made a stand. Ho-jin “iDK” Park and Ria paired yet another big Lucio boop and D.Va bomb combo to put the payload in park one final time before the finish line.
The Spark came out on offense with a triple tank, two DPS, and Mercy composition to get through the first portion of the map. After this, they made the switch to a more traditional GOATS composition, a common lineup on Dorado. This switch led the Spark to the final point, where Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim was able to build an insanely quick Graviton Surge and push the payload to its destination.
Nepal: Spark 2-1 Valiant
The final map of the series went to the mountains of Nepal. Starting on Sanctum, the Spark were reluctant to switch off of an Orisa composition after losing the point and were unable to reenter the fight after that, going down 0-1.
The second round, on Village, the Spark clapped back and dominated the map from start to finish. With the map tied at 1-1, the Spark looked to use that momentum to take Shrine. Opting to play GOATS rather than the Sombra/Pharah/Hammond combo that worked so well for them yesterday, the Spark shattered expectations and the competition, leading to the map win 2-1.
With this clutch performance, the Spark move to 2-0 on the season and take the match 3-2 over the Valiant. They return to action on Friday, Feb. 22 against the Houston Outlaws. With play like this, you won’t want to miss it.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Hangzhou Spark Twitter Account
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