The Hangzhou Spark walk into Week 15 of the 2020 Overwatch League season facing some brand new opposition. This week, the Spark go up against the formidable New York Excelsior (Saturday @ 8 A.M. EST) and the new-look London Spitfire (Sunday @ 6 A.M. EST). Last week, Hangzhou was not able to shake off their woes against their regional rival: the Shanghai Dragons. But with some new teams to play against, this could be a good transition for the streaky squad.
Hangzhou Spark vs. New York Excelsior
After many weeks of the same teams, the Spark finally enters a week featuring two brand new teams. The first of the pair is the storied Excelsior who come into this game with a strong 8-3 record. This record is good enough for 4th place in the league: the spot Hangzhou finished in last year and the spot they wanted to improve upon. The NYXL went with a similar strategy as Hangzhou by sticking with the same core of players. The big difference, however, is that New York brought in an elite level tank in HOTBA and an up-and-coming, established Damage player in WhoRu just to name a few. This, in turn, has bolstered an already stacked lineup with the likes of SBB, Mano and 2018 MVP: JJonak. This has resulted in the previously mentioned 8-3 record and has solidified their spot as a top squad in the OWL.
Going up against the Spark, the NYXL have a better team on paper. Both teams have 11 games under their belt and with that, the Excelsior have found an eight-player rotation, while the Spark are still finding a rhythm with 10 of their 11 players finding playtime so far this season. HOTBA and Mano have led the charge in eliminations for the XL with 842 and 713 respectively. Compared to Hangzhou, Mano almost surpasses their top eliminator as Guxue currently has 743. On the plus side, Hangzhou’s healing core, iDK and BeBe, have out healed the XL’s Anamo and JJonak 927567 to 828192.
While that is the case, the NYXL surpass the Spark in almost every other facet. This includes the fact that New York has one more player with over 200000 damage and only a single player with more than 200 deaths. If it comes down to the numbers between where Hangzhou is at and where a top 4 franchise like where the NYXL are at, then the Spark will need to improve greatly.
Prediction: Excelsior win 3-1
Hangzhou Spark vs. London Spitfire
The fight against the XL will be a tough one for the Spark, but they might have a decent shot at success against the 7th place London Spitfire. The Spitfire boast a record of 4-3, shared alongside a team Hangzhou has played well against, the Seoul Dynasty. This year’s Spitfire brings a new host of talent after the rebuild of the inaugural season’s champions. This new roster is led by damage dealer Glister and Main Tank JMAC alongside others like RunAway 2.0 alum, projectile DPS Schwi. London has shown glimpses of prowess against some of the weaker teams in the league. Though they have fallen to stronger teams like the NYXL and the Spark’s perennial adversary: the Guangzhou Charge. This could present a good chance for Hangzhou to snag a crucial win amongst the middle of the pack, which includes the Spitfire.
Anime Arc of the Week: It’s over 500
The Spark’s top five damage dealers have over 500 eliminations while Glister is the only player on the Spitfire to have the same stat. On top of that, three of those five have over 200 final blows. This is taken into account with the Spark having played 11 matches and the Spitfire only having played 7. While that is the case, having a top 5 account for over 500 eliminations is on par with the 5th place Mayhem. This stat line is also just behind the top 4 teams (Fusion, Dragons, Shock, XL) with 6 players over 500 eliminations tallied.
This statistic is important as it shows where the Spark’s strength lies. The team may lack in the death count department and overall team fight win totals, but at the end of the day, the Spark do have something to hold on to. If they are to beat London this week, it will be through sheer determination with their elims and by preventing as many deaths per team fight.
Prediction: Spark win 3-2
Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
“From Our Haus to Yours”