Hangzhou Spark (5-6) vs. San Francisco Shock (9-3)
Final Score: Shock 4-0 Spark
On paper, this series was that of a top three team in the league versus a team that was mid-tier at best, and that is how it played out. Although, it wasn’t as hard of a stomp as everyone had thought it would be. The Spark put up a very nice fight in the first half, but ended up faltering greatly in the second.
Lijiang Tower: Shock 2-1 Spark
The first round took place on Garden. The Hangzhou Spark looked very dominant for much of the round and held onto the point until 99%. However, the Shock finally wiped them out in overtime. San Francisco maintained control of the point themselves into a high percentage, but the Spark eventually pushed them back off with ease and won the round.
Round 2 was on Night Market. The Shock were the dominant team this time, not letting Hangzhou gain a single percent. The round went into overtime, but the Spark members accidentally stepped off of the point long enough to let the time run out. The Shock won the round, and tied up the map.
The tiebreaker round brought the teams to Control Center. It was more back-and-forth than the previous two rounds, but after a couple of flips, the San Francisco Shock held onto the point with an iron grip, and won it.
The map ended 2-1 in favor of the San Francisco Shock.
Paris: Shock 5-4 Spark
On Paris, the Hangzhou Spark started on attack, and substituted Jae-hwan “Adora” Kang in for Shilong “Krystal” Cai. After a short stalemate, a nice multi-man Graviton Surge from the Spark’s Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim assisted in wiping the Shock, and they took Point A. On Point B, the Shock fought off the Hangzhou squad on their first attempt. However, on the Spark’s second try, a nice round of ultimates gave them the upper hand they needed to close out the round. They captured Point B with 4:01 left in their time bank.
Hangzhou’s Point A defense on round two lasted for a few minutes, but the Shock eventually found the necessary picks to finish them off and capture it. San Francisco almost immediately took point B thereafter with 4:08 left.
Round 3 put the Spark back on attack. The Shock kept the the Spark from capturing Point A until overtime. Though, after a chaotic fight full of ultimates, Hangzhou came out on top, and moved to point B. Their Point B attack proved to be successful as well, and they finished out the map.
In round four, the Spark lost Point A very quickly, but were able to stabilize on Point B. However, their stable state only lasted for a short amount of time. San Francisco overwhelmed Hangzhou and captured the second point with 2:05 left.
The Shock captured the one required tick in the final round before the actual fight even started.
The map ended 5-4 in favor of the San Francisco Shock.
Eichenwalde: Shock 3-0 Spark
The Spark started on defense for Eichenwalde, and brought Krystal back in, replacing Adora. They won the first fight, but San Francisco returned with enough force to displace the team, and took Point A. The Shock cruised through Point B, completing it with relative ease. Point C, aside from a scrappy final fight, went similarly, and the San Francisco Shock finished the map with 1:56 left.
In Round 2, San Francisco looked immovable, and the Hanghzou Spark could not make any progress.
The map ended 3-0 in favor of the San Francisco Shock.
Rialto: Shock 3-1 Spark
On Rialto, the Spark started on defense. The Shock had little trouble pushing the payload near the end of Point A, but a long, trade-heavy fight ensued just before they got it through. Despite this, San Francisco still came out on top and captured the point. Points B and C were much more one-sided, and the Shock finished the map with almost no trouble. They ended with 3:03 left in their time bank.
The Spark’s push through Point A in round two was held off for a couple of minutes, but they eventually got through. Hanghzou looked good to simply glide through Point B, but a last second contention from the Shock completely turned the tables, and the Spark had to reset. In the end, the Hangzhou Spark could not finish Point B.
The map ended 3-1 in favor of the San Francisco Shock.
Right now, San Francisco is simply looking too strong for the majority of the teams to have a realistic shot at beating them, and the Spark were no exception this match. They put up a nice fight for a couple of the maps, but everything Hangzhou did this series, San Francisco did better.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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