There is one day left in the regular season of Overwatch League Season 2, and the Hangzhou Spark is sitting pretty. The team currently boasts top 3 status in the Pacific Division, sitting at 4th place in the standings at 17-10 with a single game left to play.
A standout performer for Spark all season long has been Tank Xu "guxue" Qiulin. Despite being the only active Chinese player on an otherwise full-Korean roster, guxue has been a standout performer for his team and is currently a nominee for the 2019 Overwatch League Most Valuable Player.
Guxue joined Nick Geracie before the Los Angeles homestand at the end of Stage 4 to discuss Spark's adjustment to the 2-2-2 composition lock, as well as look ahead towards playoffs and beyond the 2019 season.
How has Hangzhou Spark adjusted to the 2-2-2 composition lock that went into effect for Stage 4?
Before this stage, we utilized other players on the Spark more frequently, and they have different playstyles than what is currently proritized in the meta. To become adjusted to the 2-2-2 meta, we had to practice a lot and spend a lot of effort. We're getting better and better at it each game heading towards playoffs.
Do you think it would have been better timing to implement the 2-2-2 lock after the regular season?
The way have things have been done so far was the best case scenario. Making the change just before playoffs would allow teams no time to adjust. In addition, because of the similarity to last year's competitive meta now that we have locked into 2-2-2, teams in the playoffs who were also teams in the first season of Overwatch League would have an unfair advantage. The OWL Season 2 expansion teams have only played 3-3 on stage this season for the most part.
At least, with the change being implemented in Stage 4, we've had time to get used to it.
Has the 2-2-2 lock changed the way you play your position and role within your team?
I've had to change the way I play a lot for this stage. I've been playing a lot of Orisa and learning different plays, compositions, and the necessary communication that comes with those new things.
Hangzhou Spark plays in the Los Angeles homestand for its final game of the regular season. How do you think this game will differ from playing games in Dallas during the first homestand of the season?
I don't really know what to expect since from playing, since we haven't been to the Novo in Los Angeles yet. However, I look forward to it.
In 2020, the Overwatch League will be moving to a Home/Away format. Has playing in Dallas and soon, the upcoming game in LA, made you excited for playing games at home next year? In addition, are there any things you've learned that you think will help you next season regarding the change in schedule?
Our fan attendance will be huge when we play in Hangzhou. Playing in front of a lot of fans causes me to play more aggressively, which I think leads to better performances in the long run. I think I'll continue to feel better about my play and continue to improve as we play in front of larger crowds of fans, especially at home.
You are the only Chinese player currently active on the Hangzhou Spark roster. Is there national pride for you in playing for a Chinese franchise?
I love this team, and I hope that more Chinese players that join the Spark, as well as the Overwatch League as a whole, in the future.
Is there anything that you want to say to fans of the Spark before playoffs?
Thank you all for all of your support. I'm grateful to be nominated as an MVP finalist, so thank you to all who voted for me.