Next team in this preview series is the one with (arguably) the best colours out of the expansion teams: the pink and blue. The Hangzhou Spark are the second of the three Chinese expansion teams, coming from a online entertainment company named ‘BiliBili’. Most people recognize this team based on its unique colours and how their logo and name originate from anime, but how did they make up their team?
Up until February 14th, I’m going to go over each team and what’s changed since the inaugural season. Each team will have it’s own article, going over which players and coaches left, and who has replaced them. After going over the changes and my opinions on them, I’m going to rate them much like I did in my weekly series last season. This rating will be a little more in depth, considering I have more time than a week to look over the teams, especially the new ones.
So, how will the Spark fare in their first season in the Overwatch League? Let’s look into their roster.
Damage players (DPS)
The DPS players for the Hangzhou Spark are Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim, Jun-Ki “Bazzi” Park, Cai “Krystal” Shilong and Jae-hwan “Adora” Kang.
Three out of those four players are Korean while Krystal is the only Chinese DPS player on this squad. Focusing on him, he played for T1w Esports Club in Chinese Contenders for the first two seasons. He helped them respectfully reach the semifinals both seasons, and recently had a great showing for his country in the Overwatch World Cup. His hero pool consists of Genji, McCree and Tracer, best to worst in that order. Not only is he good at what he does, his potential as an 18-year old is impressive.
Next in line is GodsB, one of the key Korean DPS players from X6-Gaming, the underdog team that won season one of Korean Contenders. The Spark seemed to like X6-Gaming’s roster, as they took four players from them. GodsB is known for his Widowmaker and McCree, playing a more hitscan role as opposed to Krystal.
Bazzi and Adora are a little more risky pickups than the previous two, as they came from a low ranked roster in Korean Contenders. That team was simply called Seven, and after their low finish, players either went into the Overwatch League or into the season three roster of X6-Gaming. On that roster was Bazzi, a young DPS player known for his Widowmaker and Tracer. Along with him was Adora, a Tracer and Hanzo player. Both these players seem like substitutes, due to their hero pools and how both Krystal and GodsB seem better on paper. Overall though, these pickups add to depth in a role that might pay off in the future.
The tank players for the Hangzhou Spark are Xu “Guxue” Qiulin, Da-un “NoSmite” Jeong and Seong-Wook “Ria” Park.
First off, what a signing Guxue is. I already wrote an article about how the Overwatch World Cup brings unknown players to the limelight, and Guxue was this years breakout player. His main tank play showed finesse and raw skill unlike most other main tanks in the World Cup. Only one team ended up faring better than China, but Guxue was clearly the standout player of the tournament. Everyone knew he would be signed into the Overwatch League, but which team would snag him? Turned out to be the Spark, and his leadership should help this team focus. His Reinhardt and Winston play were what he was known for, also playing Hammond when needed.
The two other tanks are NoSmite and Ria, both previously from X6-Gaming. NoSmite was the main tank player for X6, playing Reinhardt and Winston while Ria was the D.Va player. Both are Korean and extremely familiar with each other, but will Guxue overtake NoSmite’s spot? We’ll have to see.
The support players for the Hangzhou Spark are Ho-jin “iDK” Park, Hyeong-Geun “Revenge” An and Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon.
The interesting thing about this support line is the origins, as they all come from different teams. iDK comes from the dominant Lucky Future Zenith team in Chinese Contenders, while Revenge is from Seven and BeBe is from X6-Gaming. They are all Korean, so language isn’t a problem, just developing teamwork. iDK is known for his Lucio, while both Revenge and BeBe can play Zenyatta and Ana. Out of those two, it seems like BeBe might start due to his synergy with his other former X6-Gaming players.
Starting Team and Prediction
The Hangzhou Spark starting lineup should be Krystal and GodsB on DPS, Guxue and Ria on tank, and Bebe and iDK on support.
Along with taking a bunch of players from X6-Gaming, they also took their main coach, Muho “Mask” Lee, along with a coach from both Seven and LGD Gaming, where Guxue started in Chinese Contenders. Coaches that are familiar with their players are always a good sign, but not a guaranteed formula for winning teams. But how will this team fare in the Overwatch League?
Continuing with my rating system, I’m using the classic ‘out of 10’ like I used to in my weekly reviews. Here’s a link if you want to read it, but it’s a bit different now that I’m grading teams based on how their team was built without any game experience.
I’m giving this team a 7/10. Their acquisitions from mainly one underdog Korean Contenders squad (X6-Gaming) is smart. Also mixing other key players like Guxue and iDK make this roster feel like it might fare better than the Toronto Defiant. Why am I comparing the Spark to the Defiant? Both teams take from mainly one underdog Korean Contenders team (the Defiant’s being O2 Ardeont), mixing other Korean players inbetween. Toronto has more ex-Overwatch League players, the Spark have players who have shown their skills on the international level like Guxue and Krystal. I think that Overwatch League experience matters, but not as much as pure skill.
Agree with my opinion? Think I’m completely wrong? Leave a comment with your ideas.