The Chengdu Hunters’ second week of Stage 4 have them facing off against two tough opponents: the Los Angeles Gladiators and the New York Excelsior. Their two victories in Week 1, against the Philadelphia Fusion and the Boston Uprising, were vital in their hunt for the playoffs. Here’s a look at the Chengdu Hunters Week 1 matches.
Despite those victories, the Hunters only jumped up to the eleventh seed. Their path to playoffs still hangs in the balance, as teams like the Houston Outlaws and the Los Angeles Valiant are nipping at their heels for a chance in the play-in tournaments. Unfortunately for the Hunters, their Stage 4 schedule only gets harder from here on out. In their near future, the Hunters have matches against the San Francisco Shock and the Hangzhou Spark. However, not all is lost for the Hunters.
With their overall season on the line, the Hunters need to get some significant upsets if they want to keep a slot in the play-in tournament. Fortunately for Chengdu, upsets have been their forte this season.
Don’t forget, this is a roster that took wins against some of the top teams in the League and caused huge upsets throughout the season. Their unpredictability and chaotic playstyle make the Hunters a hard team to prepare for. Let’s see how they fare in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Gladiators and the New York Excelsior.
The Gladiators are both Hot and Cold
The Los Angeles Gladiators, with DPS duo Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Gui-un “Decay” Jang, are looking like a team to beat this Stage 4. Last week, the Los Angeles Gladiators took a convincing win against the New York Excelsior, with a score of 3-1. The win surprised many as this was only New York’s third loss of the season. Surefour and Decay’s flexibility on a wide range of heroes came in handy against New York. After the Gladiators victory, the 2-2-2 meta looked like it perfectly suited the Gladiators playstyle.
However, later in the week, the Gladiators lost to the Houston Outlaws. Houston defied expectations and took the series 3-1. Despite their loss to the Outlaws, the Gladiators will still be a hard team to beat for the Hunters. The Hunters faced off against the Gladiators only once before, back in Stage 2, and lost the series 3-1.
While the Chengdu Hunters chances for a victory in Week 2 are considered thin, the series could still be close especially if the Hunters take a page from the Houston Outlaws playbook. Dante “Danteh” Cruz, a DPS player for the Houston Outlaws, played a trouble-making and elusive Sombra against the Gladiators. Danteh’s Sombra was indeed the difference-maker for the Houston Outlaws, he continuously harassed the backline and traded kills when they needed it most. Sombra’s ultimate ability, EMP, is one of the strongest in the game.
In previous stages, Wenjie “Elsa” Luo an off-tank for the Chengdu Hunters played the Sombra role. So far this stage, however, all three of Chengdu’s DPS players have at some point played Sombra. If the Hunters want to take a win against the Gladiators, they will need a dedicated Sombra player.
The New York Excelsior shaky start
New York Excelsior have no shortage of talented players, and the 2-2-2 role lock looked to be a meta that New York might excel in. With fan-favorite players like Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, potentially returning to his signature Tracer. Many were excited to see New York make a return to the Dive compositions, which reigned dominant throughout most of Season 1. Even so, they took a surprising loss against the Los Angeles Gladiators last week.
Some remembered New York’s inaugural season playoff run, where the Philadelphia Fusion eliminated them. Towards the end of Season 1, the meta in favor was a triple tank, solo support, and double sniper composition. That older composition is similar, in many ways, to what is shaping up to be the current meta.
Even still, New York have many players currently on their bench who could help them this stage. Players like Do Hyeon “Pine” Kim and Yeono “Fl0w3R” Hwang, known for their explosive playstyles, have yet to be fielded.
Despite a troubling start to Stage 4, New York are not going to be a comfortable victory for the Chengdu Hunters, who have yet to play the Excelsior this season. The Chengdu Hunters only chance in taking an upset win against New York in Week 2, is if they catch the Excelsior off guard and force them to play at the Hunters pace.
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