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Hangzhou Spark Week 12 Preview

Spark Week 12 Preview

The Spark finally get a chance to branch out and face a new challenge in the Seoul Dynasty after weeks of facing fellow Chinese opponents. Week 12 gives Hangzhou the chance to bounce back against Seoul (Saturday @ 4:00 A.M. EST) and Chengdu (Sunday @ 4:00 A.M. EST) after a lacklustre week last week. The matchup against the Hunters should prove as a good litmus test for where the team truly stacks amongst the rest of the Chinese teams. Against the Dynasty, however, is where things get a bit hairy.

Hangzhou Spark vs. Seoul Dynasty

Hangzhou Week 12

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

This is the Spark’s very first chance to face some competition outside of the Chinese region, as previously stated. Both teams are primarily Korean-centered and it will be interesting to see the contrasting styles of the typically unorthodox play of Chinese Overwatch with the Spark and the homegrown and groom talent and style that game Seoul its namesake.

However, this time around the Dynasty has a new look.

Gone are the days of Ryujehong, Fleta and the rest of the old Lunatic-Hai core: tobi is the last one standing. Half of the team is now comprised of part of the inaugural champion London Spitfire roster with Profit, Gesture and Bdosin filling in roles. The rest of the spots are slotted with Season 2 veterans Marve1 and FITS. The first iteration of the Dynasty never lived up to it’s APEX legacy, but this roster in particular has both the brilliance of the Spitfire’s original run, the new, bright talent of last year’s Dynasty and tobi of all players to support it all in the back end.

Many of the issues that hurt Seoul in its two-year history have been wiped clean with the roster change-up. The changes have worked so far as the team is poised to be a top contender after going 2-0 in its first week against both L.A. rosters and boasting a 6-0 map ratio at that. This matchup will be scary for the Spark.

But have no fear, Hangzhou definitely has a chance in this game. For starters, the Spark have played every week since they started their season in Week 9. They have been tested the last three weeks with some tough competition on the Chinese end of things even if the team has not been as consistent as they had hoped for. The Dynasty, on the other hand, has not played since week 8. This alone could be their downfall if the team has decided to slack off a bit since their dominant wins in Week 8. With this being said, this week’s Hero Pool has banned Echo, Tracer, Orisa and Moira. This gives way for the return of GodsB‘s McCree, which could be the turning point for the Spark this week.

Seoul looked strong in their first week of the 2020 season. There is no denying that things could continue to go their way this season if they continue to play the way they did in those first two matches. The Spark will need to play in an absolute god-tier level if they want to match their play as they haven’t against other top-dogs like the Dragons. Based on last week, this will be an uphill battle for the team.

Prediction: Dynasty win 3-1

Hangzhou Spark vs. Chengdu Hunters

Hangzhou Week 12
Photo: Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment

After what will prove to be a tough game against the Dynasty, the Spark will have a chance to maintain their standing against Chinese opponents as they face the Hunters for the third time this season. Since their 0-3 loss to the Spark in Week 10, the Hunters have gone on to beat the struggling Titans 3-1, the Charge 3-0, and then suffered a tough 0-3 loss against the Dragons.

Shanghai has solidified its spot as the top team in China with their win against the Hunters. Chengdu defeating Guangzhou in such a commanding fashion, however, is the most pressing matter for the Spark. Hangzhou was not able to close the gap between them and Shanghai after losing to the Dragons 3-0 for the second time and then going on to lose to Charge 3-1. It is almost as if the four teams create some sort of strength/weakness square.

Hangzhou Week 12
Gif via The Pokemon Company

(Anime Arc of the Week: McCree! I Choose You!)

Shanghai has been able to dominate the current meta with only a single loss to Chengdu. Chengdu on the other hand has also been the poster child for anti-meta. They have been able to win against teams like Guangzhou and the aforementioned Dragons but can’t get by Hangzhou. Guangzhou seems to have been able to adapt to the meta while also creating their own twists within it. This hybrid style has allowed them to barley defeat Hangzhou and split the season series against the Hunters. The Spark have looked like a top contender in certain metas like in Week 10. However, they fell apart instantaneously playing in a meta like what Week 11 brought to the table.

If there is anything to be learned by this, it’s that currently, Hangzhou has the upper hand on Chengdu. GodsB carried his team the last time McCree was available to a 3-0 victory over the Hunters. The Hunters have had a successful run against the Titans and have a 3-0 win against the Spark’s current nemesis: the Charge, as previously mentioned. That said, Hangzhou has historically played on a different level against the Hunters this season. Expect them to bring their A-game again this week.

Prediction: Spark win 3-1


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