Heroes of the Storm

Pro players divided on 2019 HGC map pool



▲ The newest map, Alterac Pass, has yet to see competitive play.


With BlizzCon safely in the rearview mirror, sights are set on the 2019 Heroes Global Championship (HGC) circuit. This is assuming Blizzard is interested in returning it, as nothing has been announced yet publicly.


To fill the lull in the action, pro players and the Heroes of the Storm community spend the offseason partaking in a fun hobby: theorycrafting, or predicting what may transpire in the upcoming months.


A topic presented to a few players for the sake of this story was: “What battlegrounds will we play on in 2019?”


During the 2018 HGC year, nine battlegrounds were chosen and played across all offline and online tournaments.


They were: Dragon Shire, Sky Temple, Tomb of the Spider Queen, Cursed Hollow, Towers of Doom, Infernal Shrines, Battlefield of Eternity, Volskaya Foundry and Braxis Holdout.


Depending on the player, team and region, some maps are enjoyed much more than others but all saw play throughout 2018 to some capacity.


The decision of which maps are chosen and numerous other HGC topics are discussed at the player summit. Held last year at the Blizzard headquarters, players from around the world come together to speak with one another and discuss a myriad of subjects with higher-ups.


▲ Will one of the three maps above be added to the competitive map pool?


As for the pool of battlegrounds players will choose from in 2019, not only is the list above included but also, Alterac Pass, the recently re-worked Garden of Terror, Hanamura Temple, Blackheart’s Bay and Warhead Junction can be selected.


Assuming only nine battlegrounds will be selected in the upcoming year, below are a few thoughts from professional players about what they would like to see: (The following comments have been edited for clarity and grammar).


Nils "Nurok" Gebhardt (Team Liquid): “(The 2019 HGC map pool) should stay similar as it is now. (The only thing which can be argued) is bringing in Alterac over Braxxis, in my opinion. All other maps which are not in the pool (I can’t judge the new Garden and Hanamura too much) promote noob gameplay (Blackheart’s Bay and Warhead Junction).”


Vilhelm “POILK” Flennmark (Dignitas): “Braxis should be out. (I’d rather not have any of the other maps in), to be honest. Alterac needs tuning. That one could be fine.”


Francisco "Goku" Avalos (Team Octalysis): “They should probably remove Braxis and Cursed and add Garden/Alterac Pass.”


When asked to elaborate more specifically on his issue with Cursed Hollow: “Hmm, the objective isn't really impactful because you’re losing soak in the other lanes once you capture the objective. (That’s going be more important coming with the new changes in Heroes of the Storm). The map can be very snowball-y.”


When asked if he’d rather play maps that have never seen pro play (re-worked Garden/Alterac Pass) over proven maps: “Yeah, pretty much. Braxis got ruined from the changes so that’s going to be an easy boot. The other map is pretty much going to be up in the air.”


Jerome "KilluZiioN" Tanguay (Team Freedom): “We've been hearing that a lot of teams want Cursed out. It’s kind of blowing my mind, to be honest. I like the map a lot so I don't really get it.
We’re most likely going to see Braxis out for Alterac. Feels like Alterac is going to be the new Warhead so that could be interesting. Maybe we will see Garden for the Cursed Hollow spot, not sure. I just hope that, no matter what, teams take their time to actually scrim on these maps first before making any decision.”


Khalif "Khroen" Hashim (HeroesHearth Esports): “I hope there's a bit of change in the map pool, even if it's one map switched, if for nothing else then (for) the sake of keeping things fresh and there are new things to have to learn and adapt to.”


▲ Mopsio (far left) views the upcoming gameplay changes as an opportunity to play new maps.


Maksym “Mopsio” Szczypa (Leftovers): “I would love to see the new Garden in the HGC map pool. A lot of camps equals a lot of XP. In the 2019 gameplay changes, XP structure is removed so we need as many (big maps as possible to show how soaking XP will be effective in pro play, not brawling.) I would also love to see Warhead Junction and BlackHeart’s back, instead of boring maps like Tomb or Dragon Shire.”


“I think BlackHeart’s and Warhead were not fun in the past because split-pushing gave a lot of value on those maps. But with upcoming 2019 changes, I believe that everybody will just soak lanes and occasionally brawl because that's what those changes are intended for. (I think Alterac is a boring map because it’s too big and mud is slowing the rotations.) This is the kind of map on which globals are OP.”


“I am actually pretty convinced that small battlegrounds like Tomb and Dragon might be way worse with those XP changes.


When asked to comment on the wave of Cursed Hollow negativity comments: “Cursed is super unbalanced. I might be wrong about Dragon honestly, but Tomb and Cursed will be a complete disaster. I also (controversial opinion) like the new Braxis since snowball effect is removed from that map and you need to play decent macro and it has a lot of brawling too. (Even last year, me and (Adrian “adrd” Wojcik from Team Method) voted for Garden to be played in HGC) and we didn't want Cursed because it's an RNG fiesta, and we believe that the better team should win, not better RNG (especially because the second tribute is a 50-50).”


The only thing that is known for sure if that even those who play the game at the highest level don’t view where they should be playing in 2019 equally.


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