LA Valiant (0-1) vs Hangzhou Spark (2-0)
Final Score: Spark 3-2 Valiant
The LA Valiant had a series versus the Hangzhou Spark akin to a match of tug-of-war. Every map had the crowd unsure of just who would come out the winner. In the end, though, and after many overtime fights, the Spark proved to be superior.
Busan: Spark 2-1 Valiant
Round one started rough for the Valiant, but they were able to regain form and take the point. The following fights were well in their favor, until the Spark came back in full force with a barrage of ultimates, swinging the point back in their favor. A three-man D.Va bomb from Park “Ria” Sung-wook would swiftly turn the final fight of the round into the winning fight for the Spark.
Round two was much more one-sided, with the Valiant able to take 97% without a single percentage for the Spark. Hangzhou did put up a fight and gain some progress on the point, but the LA Valiant were swift to regain control and end the second round with a win and putting the map score at 1-1.
The tiebreaker round three did not start as well for the LA Valiant and the Hangzhou Spark took the early lead. They continued to maintain control up to 92%, however the Valiant swiftly wiped the team out and took the point. The hold lasted until 76%, but yet another massive bomb from Ria claimed four Valiant lives. This enabled the Hanghzou Spark to retake the point, win the round and thus map.
Numbani: Valiant 3-1 Spark
Next they moved to the hybrid control-payload map Numbani, with the LA Valiant starting on the attack. Their first attempt to take the point involved a very back and forth skirmish, but the Spark came out ahead. The Valiant were able to take the point and started moving the payload on their second attempt. They maintained their momentum and won their first teamfight post-capture, but were held just a few meters short of the first checkpoint.
A huge shatter from Pan-seung “Fate” Koo enabled his team to decimate on their second fight and the Valiant passed through with little opposition. Nearing the end of the map, the Valiant once again maintained their momentum and decisively won the fight. Not all Spark members died, but they were unable to touch the payload in time to stop it from reaching the end. The Valiant finished the first round 3-0 with 1:20 left on the clock.
On defense, the LA Valiant quickly shutdown the Spark’s first capture attempt before they could even touch the point. The second attempt also proved to be unsuccessful and they maintained their hold. The Hangzhou Spark were simply unable to break through the LA Valiant’s rock solid defense. Even as the first big round ultimates came out, the Valiant came out victorious after a back and forth fight. However, the second round of ultimates were unleashed from the Spark and they finally claimed the first point in overtime
Similar to the Valiant, the Spark kept their momentum as they moved into the payload portion of the map and continued to push. Though, the Valiant were, like the Spark, successful in stopping them just meters before reaching checkpoint one. Hangzhou tried to take the point in overtime, but were ultimately halted by the Valiant. The map ended 3-1 in favor of the LA Valiant.
Temple of Anubis: Valiant 4-3 Spark
On the third map, the LA Valiant decided to substitute DPS Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa in for DPS/Support Young-seo “Kariv” Park. They were first to attack, but were unable to take point A in as swift of a manner as they would have liked. Their second offensive proved to be successful, though. The Valiant were then quick to rush to point B. They won the entry fight, giving them the necessary advantage to finish out the round after some stall attempts by the Spark. The round ended with 4:20 left in their time bank.
The Valiant were immediately rolled over by the Spark at the beginning of round two and point A was taken. They tried their own point B snowball, but were shutdown after a series of ultimates were thrown out by both teams. Ria’s third notable D.Va bomb of the series took out two members of the Valiant and the Spark eventually took the full point. They ended with a slightly better time bank of 4:37.
Round three had another slow start for the LA Valiant, with multiple failed attempts to take point A. Nearing the end of their time, they finally broke through with their ultimates and took the point. In a similar fashion to round one, they snowballed onto point B. A two-man D.Va bomb from Indy “Space” Halpern gave the Valiant the upperhand, and they took the point in overtime.
Although not as fast of a point A take for the Spark on the Valiant’s second defense, they were still ultimately beaten on the Spark’s first attempt. However, they successfully stopped the snowball and were able to regain their composure. In the end, the Valiant fended off the Spark for the rest of their available time and won the map 4-3.
Dorado: Spark 3-2 Valiant
For Dorado, the LA Valiant chose to bring KariV back in, replacing KSF. They started on the attack and successfully won their first fight, putting the payload into motion. The Spark came back in full force and regained control, but only momentarily. The payload ended up being backcapped during an ultimate-heavy fight. The Valiant pushed the payload fairly smoothly through the second stretch, but were stopped by the Spark close to the second checkpoint. In an overtime fight, the Valiant finally pushed to the end of the point. After a fight full of D.Va bombs and shatters, the Spark pulled ahead in another overtime and held the Valiant half way through point C.
Round two started out at a slower pace, but the Spark found the picks they needed to get the payload through point A. Moving into point B, the Valiant were able to find their footing and contest the Spark. However, the hold did not last forever, and the Spark continued to move. They finished off point B with little contention. The Spark continued their snowball through the third point and finished off the map after a very one-sided fight. The final score was 3-2 in favor of the Hangzhou Spark.
Nepal: Spark 2-1 Valiant
The first round took place on Sanctum, and the Spark were fast to win the first fight and take the point. Though, the Valiant came back strong and snatched the point after a convincing retaliation. Fight after fight, the Valiant continued to keep the Spark away from the obejctive. In the end, the LA Valiant never lost the point and won the round.
Round two took place on Village, and the Spark were first to take the point before the fight even actually started. The Valiant tried to fight back in the second skirmish, but Ria’s four-man D.Va bomb wiped the team out. The Valiant were finally able to take the point after 89% had been clocked on the point for the Spark. A round of well-used ultimates from the Spark flipped the point for them near the end of the round. They ended up winning the round and putting the score at 1-1.
In round three on Shrine, the Valiant were the initial victors, taking the first point after a short fight. The Spark returned with a huge shatter from Jeong “Nosmite” Da-un and they flip the point. Once again, though, the Valiant claim the point after an aggressive initiation. The Spark were quick to take it away, and continued to defend the point. After two multi-man shatters from NoSmite, the Spark finished off the round. They won the map with a score of 2-1.
Both of the teams in this series had very impressive showings. The LA Valiant proved that they can still bring the heat even after so much of their roster had changed. The Hangzhou Spark confirmed the rumors and performed at the level that everyone expected them to. Although the Spark were ultimately victorious, both teams played at a very similar level and were in a constant state of back and forth. The Valiant should be proud of the fight they put up and the Spark should be proud of their excellent Overwatch League debut.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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