Of the eight expansion teams coming to the Overwatch League in Season 2, the one that has garnered the most attention thus far is the Hangzhou Spark. Owned and operated by Bilibili, a popular Chinese video sharing website, the team’s decision to use unabashedly bright shades of pink and blue as their official colors has been met with massive acclaim from fans.
Following their branding announcement, the Spark revealed their 10-man roster in a series of daily social media posts. The full roster is as follows:
- Jae-Hwan “Adora” Kang (DPS)
- Jun-Ki “Bazzi” Park (DPS)
- Kyeong-Bo “GodsB” Kim (DPS)
- Shilong “Krystal” Cai (DPS)
- Sung-Uk “Ria” Park (Flex)
- Qiulin “Guxue” Xu (Tank)
- Da-Un “NoSmite” Jeong (Tank)
- Ho-Jin “IDK” Park (Support)
- Hyeong-Geun “Revenge” An (Support)
- Hui-Chang “BeBe” Yoon (Support)
Most of the roster is an amalgamation of two very different Contenders Korea teams — namely, X6-Gaming and Seven. GodsB, NoSmite, BeBe, and Ria all hail from X6-Gaming, a team that was crowned the champion of Contenders Korea Season 1. Meanwhile, Adora, Bazzi, and Revenge were acquired from Seven, which showed great promise in early 2018 but fell flat as time went on, dropping out of Contenders after Season 2.
Rounding out the roster are three veterans of Contenders China. IDK is a Korean player from two-time Contenders championship team Lucky Future Zenith, while Chinese players Guxue and Krystal come from LGD Gaming and T1w Esports Club, respectively.
Most of the X6-Gaming players have been around since the OGN APEX days of old, including their main tank, NoSmite. Many longtime Overwatch fans will likely remember him for his pre-buff Junkrat prowess.
Aside from being the world’s first and only Junkrat-Winston flex player, NoSmite has been seen as a formidable tank player for much of his career, although his more reserved playstyle means that he’s never been the standout player on the X6-Gaming roster. He will also benefit from the established synergy he has with the Spark’s sole off-tank, Ria, who joined X6-Gaming during Contenders Korea Season 1. Like NoSmite, Ria isn’t a flashy player, but plays a conservative and intelligent D.Va that will be a strong addition to the Spark’s tankline.
Despite NoSmite’s familiarity with the other X6-Gaming alumni on the roster, the sheer star power and commanding playstyle of his counterpart, Guxue, make it unclear who the Spark will choose as their starting main tank. Guxue has long been regarded as the best main tank in China and became a breakout star at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup, with many people pointing to him as the main reason Team China was able to make it to the finals. It’s possible that the Spark will choose to rotate the two main tanks based on map type and playstyle, emulating the approach that the New York Excelsior took with their main tanks in Season 1.
The team’s other Chinese player, Krystal, also gained international attention after the World Cup. One of China’s most flexible DPS players, Krystal has spent most of his career as the clear star player of a mid-tier team. At a recent fanmeeting, support player IDK stated that the team had only just started practicing together, but that Krystal would definitely have a place in the starting lineup.
Similarly, GodsB is a flex DPS player with an extremely wide hero pool, although hitscan is where he excels the most. He drew significant attention for his exceptional play during X6-Gaming’s Contenders championship run, with some Korean Overwatch experts such as Wolf “Wolf” Schröder remarking that he should have been selected for the national team.
Adora and Bazzi, both acquired from Seven, are somewhat less proven than Krystal and GodsB. Bazzi is a hitscan DPS player with an excellent Widowmaker and McCree, but it remains to be seen whether these hitscan heroes will be relevant in the meta again come February. Adora plays a variety of heroes such as Brigitte, Genji, and Pharah, but he specializes in Tracer, a hero that has been completely absent in most compositions lately. We don’t know how the Overwatch meta will look by the time Season 2 begins, but it’s unlikely that Adora and Bazzi will get as much playtime to start with given their relatively limited hero pools.
Much like Adora and Bazzi, flex support Revenge is talented but still unproven due to Seven’s lackluster results in Contenders Korea. At this point in time he is expected to take a backseat to BeBe, another APEX veteran and member of X6-Gaming’s championship squad. Both Revenge and BeBe are primarily known for their Zenyatta play, a hero that has been a staple of the Overwatch meta for well over a year.
IDK, the only main support on the roster, is the most decorated player of the squad. Having led Lucky Future Zenith to back-to-back titles in Contenders China, he was often lauded as the best main support outside of the OWL before his signing was announced. As a new team, the Spark must develop their synergy quickly to compete with returning OWL teams, and IDK’s experience as a shotcaller will no doubt be a great asset.
It’s difficult to judge the strength of any new team relative to the rest of the League because existing teams have the inherent advantage of having played together longer, but on paper, Hangzhou Spark looks to have one of the stronger expansion team rosters. Only time will tell as to whether they manage to integrate their Chinese players smoothly and how well the team gels together.
But hey, even if the team falls flat, they can take comfort in knowing that they have the best-selling merchandise.