On the team’s 3rd anniversary as a franchise, the Hangzhou Spark announced the entirety of their coaching staff going into the Overwatch 2 era of the Overwatch League. The news broke late Monday evening following a series of tweets from the organization’s social media accounts. This comes off the announcement that both Team Manager Saisai “DoubleSai” Huang and Chen “OnlyWish” Lizhen were leaving the team earlier in the week.
Today’s the 3rd anniversary of the Hangzhou Spark. We would like to thank all of our fans and staff for your support and dedication.
We can’t celebrate our 3rd birthday without a fresh look, right?
Now friends, please give warm welcomes to: pic.twitter.com/rTb3wUOgvy
— Hangzhou Spark (@Hangzhou_Spark) November 15, 2021
From a new “supervisor” role to the roster’s first established head coach in months, the Spark have now begun assembling their team of the future.
And this includes a couple of surprises that no one expected.
The Spark kicked off their announcement by revealing the team’s new Supervisor: Liu “Aniu” Guanwei. Aniu is a relatively unknown individual in the OWL scene but stated that he will do his best to “bring [the fans] a team with [enthusiasm] and growth.
Secondly, from Hangzhou’s farm team in Contenders, Bilibili Gaming, Jiang “gandolf” Hao was introduced as DoubleSai’s replacement as Team Manager. gandolf is also another anomaly in the OWL space but has been a manager for BLG since November 2020.
“The experience at BLG has shown me more possibilities of the industry, and I’m desperate to put my thoughts into practice.”, The Chinese coach stated in his announcement.
The new leader of the Hangzhou Spark is none other than former Spitfire and Dynasty coach Chang-geun “Changgoon” Park. Changgoon was originally a manager-turned-coach from the storied GC Busan organization in the Korean competitive scene. When the Overwatch League started, Changgoon then became one of the individuals who helped London to their Grand Finals win in the first season of the OWL. From there, the Korean coach was brought on as an assistant coach by the Seoul Dynasty in 2018 and was with the team through the 2021 season.
Interestingly enough, in his announcement tweet Changgoon stated “…Coaching a mixed team is new for me, and I think our team roster has sufficient competitiveness, but still room for growth…”
This statement gives fans and critics alike the first glimpse into the Spark’s 2022 roster. And it also sets valuable expectations going into the new era of pro Overwatch.
Changgoon’s first venture as a head coach brings on both championship-calibre coaching past as well as experience with some of the most legendary organizations in the esport’s history – but more on that later.
Flanking Changgoon’s side is the only returning coach from last season: Huang “Xiaogui” Tsung-Yu. The Taiwanese coach was the roster’s supervisor last season but has now been promoted to assistant coach. Xiaogui will be the only member of the coaching staff that has worked with the core of the current roster. That seems quite valuable amongst a sea of new talent and ideas in the organization.
The past year has been a very memorable experience for me. At the moment, I hope that I can maximize things that I’ve learnt to bring help to the team…”, Xiaogui explained in the announcement.
Last but not least, the Main Tank legend himself, Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong, returns to the competitive scene – not as a player but as a newly-appointed assistant coach. Miro was regarded as one of the pioneers of competitive Overwatch. To many, the Korean Tank player was the best player during the early years of pro-OW. Miro was a part of the era-defining Lunatic-Hai team that would take home the title in both Season 2 and 3 of APEX. Miro would also join the Lunatic-Hai ladened Seoul Dynasty following the start of the OWL. He, unfortunately, would later step down but continue to work with the Gen.G organization as a streamer.
Unironically, the Korean legend took up the role of a coach in Korean Contenders on January 26, 2021. Miro joined Team Diamond and lead the team to a couple of podium finishes in Contenders Trials.
This led to Miro joining the Spark as an assistant coach – and one that almost fits in too perfectly with the team’s current strengths.
Miro now has the chance to help lead a dive-heavy roster including a fellow Winston star Xu “guxue” Qiulin.
guxue made a similar impact at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup as Miro did in 2016, which both ‘sparked’ their careers in the professional scene. The Chinese main tank has also iterated on Miro’s signature aggressive Winston style and has made it his own. This partnership may help guxue find that next level to turn Hangzhou’s mediocre showings into a mirror image of vintage Lunatic-Hai play.
“…OW2 will make changes on tanks, and it will bring new challenges to us. I hope to help our team become one of the fastest learners!” Miro explains.
As Overwatch 2 will make Tanks individuals going forward, there seems to be no better person to elevate guxue and the rest of the Spark’s tanks play than one of the best individual Tank players of all time.
For the first time in almost an entire year, Hangzhou now has a full lineup of coaches. The team has had some fumbles when it comes to their front office, but these handful of announcements are hopefully a sign of things to come in the new era of the Overwatch League.
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Featured Image Courtesy of The Overwatch League.
Spark 2022 Coaching Staff Announcement
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