Shy shares thoughts on emotional reverse sweeps: 'All our players are united as one'

Shy shares thoughts on emotional reverse sweeps: 'All our players are united as one'
Image via Toronto Defiant

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


30th Sep 2023 18:00

Against the odds, the Hangzhou Spark, have successfully paved their way into the Overwatch League Grand Finals' final four, besting the Atlanta Reign and Boston Uprising in the process. 

Throughout the season and as late as the week before the playoff start, North American Coaches and insiders were convinced that the APAC region was clearly the weaker one, bemoaning the regional split of the RoleStar award to giving two guaranteed slots to APAC players.

In a press conference after their second victory against a North American favourite, the Spark’s players weighed in on the debate.

Comeback kings

Twice now, the Hangzhou Spark has turned a believed-to-be-lost match into a victory, beating both the Atlanta Reign and the Boston Uprising in reverse sweeps.

The Spark had only arrived at the event location in Toronto last weekend, also needing to take time to acclimate to the 12-hour time zone difference. Moreover, practice was scarce as their practice partners themselves were travelling.

Zheng "Shy" Yangjie provided some insight into the team's recent matches. “I think it’s mostly because we rarely scrim against teams in our own bracket, so we know less about them. We need some time to learn their playstyle and strategies.” 

He further explained the challenges of adapting to a LAN environment: “Not all of our players have experience playing on LAN, so maybe they are a little bit nervous. I think our performance of the latter three maps is closer to the gameplay level of our scrims.

Synergy, emotions, and the road ahead

In preparation for season 6 and uncertain financials in the Overwatch League, talent consolidated around a handful of teams, creating various dream line-ups previously thought impossible.

For the Spark, the Chinese franchise got to create the Chinese super team, incorporating season 4 MVP Huang "Leave" Xin and Flex support Zhou "Mmonk" Xiang into the line-up after years of rivalry during his time on the Chengdu Hunters.

When discussing the potential of teaming up with Leave before the season, Spark’s franchise player Shy revealed, “I did think about this before I knew he was going to join the Spark. We admire each other a lot and we speak the same language of course. I think with him joining the team, I thought we would definitely perform better than our previous seasons.

During the on-stage post-match interviews for the Overwatch League broadcast, both DPS players showed raw emotion, celebrating their close victories.

When asked whether or not the reaction was spurred by a sense of relief after a season during which the Spark had been hard done by, Shy responded, “I don’t think it has a lot of impact on our emotions. All our players are united as one and we were facing a really strong opponent in Atlanta Reign. This is why we were so excited after the reverse sweep yesterday.

As for future matchups, Mmonk hopes for a face-off against the Houston Outlaws, while Shy is keen on meeting the Dallas Fuel. The Spark is awaiting the winner of the match of these teams on Sunday for the semi-finals.

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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