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The Hangzhou Spark’s first homestand concluded with some of the team’s most entertaining games of the 2021 season. Even after their failure to make it far in the June Joust, the overall weekend playing in front of fans in their home stadium should be deemed a success. Finishing with a 2-1 record and a win over the Chengdu Hunters, the Spark seem to be improving across each event. The entire weekend brought a variety of exciting moments, including the first player walk up to the stage in over a year, a home crowd advantage and a surprise proposal.
The 3-day-long Hangzhou Spark Homestand has officially ended, but we'll never forget this summer and all the fans, players, cosplayers, talents, and all staffs that made this event possible. (1/3)#SparkIt | #HangzhouSpark | #OWL2021 pic.twitter.com/98ZenjrVPC
— Hangzhou Spark (@Hangzhou_Spark) June 6, 2021
Hangzhou Spark improve with fan support
Having live events back in the Overwatch League is a big deal. Before this weekend, fans were able to see Hangzhou market their Overwatch League team for this event. The Spark had an easy win against the Los Angeles Valiant to start their homestand. Fans roared as the Spark walked onstage towards the eventual victory.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) June 6, 2021
After a long period without homestands, the home advantage for the host team became apparent. After an easy 3-0 sweep of the Valiant, their true challenge was against the Chengdu Hunters. Hangzhou defeated them 3-1 and proved to be a challenger in the June Joust. Two key players for the team in terms of their improvement are Zheng “Shy” Yangjie and Xu “Guxue” Qiulin. Both of these all-star Chinese players were instrumental in the Spark’s recent form and improvements.
Unfortunately, this form couldn’t help them against another team looking to improve from early-season disappointment. The New York Excelsior were the team the Spark needed to defeat to make it to the knockouts. Much like the Spark themselves, this meta proved to be the best fit for their squad so far. The game ended in a close 3-1 loss for the Spark.
The crowd gave the event some much needed energy
Even with the early exit from the tournament, the overall weekend was a spectacle for Spark fans. Not only did their team win more games than they lost, but some fans put on spectacles of their own. One of these was Chinese caster Liu “Roy” Yuanyi proposing live on stream to his significant other who was cosplaying as Tracer in the Spark skin. She said yes, and they shared an intimate moment in front of the huge crowd. Later in the broadcast the Chinese stream of the event changed his name to “Roy, the caster who successfully proposed”.
CASTER ROY PROPOSED TO HIS GF DURING THE GAME BREAK AND NOW HIS NAME IS "ROY, WHO SUCCESSFULLY PROPOSED" pic.twitter.com/4PZS3nD8rE
— 森 sen (@sen_ebooks) June 5, 2021
Fan can expect the same energy level and excitement from homestands as before the online-era began, especially with the recent homestands planned for the near future.
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.