The Hangzhou Spark is moving on from head coach Hwang “Pajion” Ji-sub and assistant coach Kim “nOrU” Jae-dong amid an 0-2 start to the 2021 Overwatch League season, the team announced today.
Hwang “Andante” Jae-hong will step into the role of interim head coach and Kim “Mentalist” Chung-in will join the team as an assistant coach.
This move comes in the wake of a winless debut in the May Melee Qualifiers this past weekend. The Spark lost to both Philadelphia Fusion and New York Excelsior in 3-1 contests. This is the team’s first 0-2 start in the Overwatch League.
Pajion joined the Spark following the Vancouver Titans’ collapse in season three, leading to players and staff leaving the team and finding new homes. Both Pajion and Andante were on the Titans’ coaching staff during the team’s remarkable second season. The pair helped lead the team to a 25-3 record and a Grand Finals appearance.
Andante now takes the head coaching position, looking to right the ship next week after a shaky start. He’s joined by Mentalist, who comes to the team from the Spark’s academy squad, Bilibili Gaming. Mentalist led Bilibili Gaming to a Contenders 2021 CN season one regular season first-place finish. Mentalist also was a coach with the Atlanta Reign in the 2020 season
The Spark underwent extensive changes in the offseason, adding six new players for a full 12-person roster—one of only two in the Overwatch League. Of the new additions, rookie flex support Lee “MCD” Jeong-ho is a standout player on the roster, bringing consistency to the position next to veteran main support Park “IDK” Ho-jin.
This week, the Spark take on the Shanghai Dragons on Friday, April 30 and the Guangzhou Charge on Saturday, May 1.