Beginning this weekend, the META Madness tournament hosted by long-time Heroes of the Storm caster Thomas “Khaldor” Kilian will kick off with six teams fighting it out for a €1,000 prize pool. The event is being sponsored by RUNTIME, a nutrition company based out of Europe.
Taking place over a two-day span, the bracket-style tournament will feature best-of-five matches until a winner is crowned. What separates this event from the other Heroes’ tournaments that have popped up since Blizzard stated they would no longer support the competitive Heroes of the Storm scene is the “Madness” aspect.
According to the rules, heroes that are banned during the Draft phase are not eligible to be selected for the entire series. With numerous top-tier threats off the board, players will need to adapt over time and test their abilities to perform with unique and off-meta heroes.
Wackiness meets integrity
This tournament, which has existed in the past, sparks fond memories for Khaldor. Most specifically, the joy it brought players and viewers:
“We had insane team comps that were being played. The players were absolutely all-in on the lineup and it just shook-up the entire way you would play. The one thing I always disliked about having ‘clown fiesta’ matches, for example, is that there is nothing on the line and people don't really try. So, you’d have crazy heroes but the people don't really try hard with it and it loses a bit of the competitive spirit. If you have something like a META Madness you will see heroes out of necessity that
With a shrinking hero pool taking place as the tournament progresses, players will need to dig deep into their toolbox of tricks, adding to the fun.
“I think the players are going to have a lot of fun figuring out 'what can we actually play' because if you think about moving into map number five there are potentially 30 or 35 heroes that are already banned. The draft alone should be great to watch from a players perspective.”
As the bans progress throughout the event, certain heroes that have been limited by the meta around them in the past may return to form. While Khaldor can’t predict who may shine under these unique circumstances, he does have some ideas.
“What I could see is a couple of heroes that suffer from mobile assassins that they are going to shine in the tournament. So, I'm not looking at one hero in particular but a type of hero. One of the arguments in the past were, for example, a hero like Kael’thas could not really do much was because he gets immediately attacked by Genji or Maiev. There are so many counters available to him. But those are heroes that people usually don't like so those are heroes that I would expect to be banned early by the community.”
The viewing experience
Khaldor plans to stream the event on his Twitch channel and is encouraging players within the event to do the same as well, an uncommon practice. Typically, tournaments and events are centralized on one stream but Khaldor does not want viewers limited in that regard and it’s accessible.
From his experience casting other smaller tournaments such as Hero Lounge’s Division S, people still want their fix of competitive Heroes, regardless of the size of the event.
“The need for this is still there. I think the problem is that when the (Heroes Global Championship) was dropped in the way it was done it left a vacuum. One of the downsides of HGC was that it took up all the space in the competitive scene because, even when there was no actual competition and there was a break, there was no space for another tournament. Pros were a little bit burned out from the schedule so they needed vacations or they were tryouts to determine what the new rosters would look like so there was no space to run a META Madness or another tournament, for example."
"I think it was pretty irresponsible to decide to drop HGC in the way they did because for two years they dominated the entire space and did not allow anything to grow in the space which isn’t an issue if you have a sustainable model. But if you out of nowhere decide to drop it without any hint or a slow transition then you are just killing the scene from one day to another and that is what happened.”
While the past cannot be changed, Khaldor is doing what he can to keep the competitive spirit alive in the Heroes of the Storm scene with META Madness being the next step in that.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.