Going into the Mid-Season Brawl, not many people had high hopes for a strong NA showing. With the likes of L5 and MVP Black in attendance, the popular consensus amongst the community was that EU's Fnatic or Dignitas would have the best shot at denying a KR takeover. Leading up to the event, everyone seemed to think that NA's best hopes would be a 4th or 5th place finish, with Roll20 being the most capable of delivering a solid performance.
So when Roll20 played their first game against MVP Black, the Eastern Clash champions, no one expected them to win. But they did, without losing a single fort and without dying once. All while netting 22 kills in one of the most memorable stomps in competitive Heroes of the Storm history.
If you were paying attention, maybe you could have predicted this outcome. Two days before the match, Blizzard's captain scouting report revealed a blind spot in MVP Black's tournament prep. When asked about the threat Roll20 posed, Team Captain Sake responded simply: "They are a newcomer to the world. I do not have idea on them." What sounded like confidence two days ago, now sounds like naivety. How could one of the best teams in the world be so unprepared for Roll20's signature Diablo and Medivh comfort picks?
After the brutal beatdown, a very clear idea has formed in the minds of MVP Black. It doesn't matter what region you are from, or how much more experienced you are, a 22-kills-to-zero result in which your team didn't destroy a single fort is unacceptable. It shows a drastic level of unpreparedness and, in the case of MVP Black, a weakness to Diablo and Medivh. MVP Black seemed to wake up during game two, defeating Roll20 through a combination of banning Diablo and overwhelming the NA teams coordination with a Zeratul, Genji and Tyrael dive combination.
However, the group stages best-of-two point structure means that first unexpected loss is a heavy blow to MVP Black. they are now two points behind Fnatic which, according to Sake, was the one western team they were actually worried about:
“They are the real threat like L5. Ban/Pick and in-game strategy, team fight; all of these essential elements are their strength.”
Roll20 has made a loud statement with this upset. With four days left in the group stages, the other team captains are surely reevaluating their match-up knowledge and preparedness against Roll20, who was previously thought to be a mid-tier competitor. Some upsets are flukes that are more luck than skill, but anyone who watched the precise lethality of Roll20's maneuvers against MVP Black knows better.
Galeforce esports Fan, who was providing guest analysis on the desk, said it best after the match:
"Watching that game almost brought a tear to my eye, it's been so long since I've generally felt proud of North American, 22-0 NA vs KR-- let's go!"
Stay tuned for more updates on the group-stage of the Mid-Season Brawl. Standings and schedule can be found here.
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