After a seven week hiatus that featured the conclusion of both Western and Eastern clashes, it’s finally time to get back into the swing of weekly HGC matches. Five weeks of competition remain and, once it ends, the HGC Playoffs and subsequent HGC Crucible will begin. It is there that the final 12 teams will be decided and compete for the title of Mid-Season Brawl champion.
The Mid-Season Brawl will be the largest Heroes of the Storm tournament of the year so far and will feature the top performing teams of all major regions.This Friday marks the resumption of the journey towards this prestigious event.
The numbers don’t tell the full story in NA as Team 8, despite being placed behind Tempo Storm, defeated them during the Western Clash in an extremely close set. All things considered, it’s safe to say that Tempo Storm and Team 8 are virtually identical in power level. The only team that can challenge them consistently is Gale Force eSports, who is likely the team to benefit the most from a 7 week hiatus. Gale Force is a veteran Heroes team that has undoubtedly taken this break as an opportunity to double down and practice nonstop.
The biggest surprise is, of course, Team Naventic’s abysmal placing. They were once considered a top NA team, but now struggle to find wins against even the most inexperienced HGC opponents. It’s still unclear whether Team Naventic can wake up and avoid the Crucible.
Over in EU, the standings are less clear cut. Team Liquid (previously known as Misfits) may have a perfect record during weekly play, but they lost when it mattered the most during the Western Clash. Instead, it was Dignitas that overcame their long-time EU rivals, cementing themselves as EU’s most powerful team.
As is often the case in EU Heroes, it is a toss-up between the top three teams, Team Liquid, Fnatic, and Team Dignitas. Outside of the usual suspects, Team Expert shows the most promise in qualifying for the mid-season brawl and despite what the score-board shows, shouldn’t be grouped along with the likes of Tricked esports, Playing Ducks, or Synergy.
And to the few beGenius fans out there: I guess anything is possible.
Korea is a cut throat region with two major players: L5 and MVP Black. This is the Heroes rivalry to end all rivalries, as both teams are seasoned champions that know what it feels like to be at the top of the pile. Tempest might show momentary signs of greatness but their play has yet to ascend to the levels of Korea’s elite.
Team BlossoM, Raven, and MVP Miracle are the unluckiest teams in all of the HGC, as the chance of them making an upset against the top teams of their region is extremely low. Korea is the most stable region and the least prone to upsets, much to the detriment of these struggling HGC teams. Once a team reaches the bottom in Korea, it’s very unlikely they can climb out.
What about China?
In case you missed it, the first week of the China Gold League (that represents the region’s HGC) concluded this Tuesday. eStar dominated as fans familiar with the region might expect, but it really is too early to conclude the story of the region.
ZeroPanda’s unfortunate disbandment has left a hole in the region and their departure from the HGC marks a lot of lost talent. However, CE, an experienced team, who has competed in the Gold Series before through winning open qualifiers, is poised to take ZeroPanda’s spot as eStar’s primary rival.
You can watch the Chinese matches via Twitch.tv past broadcasts here. The first matches on Friday start at 1:00 AM PST featuring KR matches, then 8:00 AM PST featuring EU matches, finally ending with NA matches at 1:00 PM PST.