HeroesHearth Esports isn’t the underdog anymore. Having not dropped a single match to kick off phase two, the warm-personality squad has ascended from Open Division to repping the top overall seed in North America coming into Western Clash this weekend.
Previously a feeling reserved for Tempo Storm in 2018, the pressure is on HHE to perform in this tournament and prove their Heroes Global Championship League Play record wasn’t a fluke, even if they’ve qualified for numerous LANs this year.
Ranged Assassin player, Khalif “Khroen” Hashim understands the expectations that come with being a top-seeded team.
“I think, inherently, there’s a little bit more pressure there as we're coming from, ‘We almost caught up to Tempo Storm last phase in terms of NA seeding but not quite.’ But now that we're solidified as the number one, it’s sort of one of those things where eyes are now on us and see if we can prove ourselves at the top of NA and even a threat at those international events.”
In their first two international events, Western Clash and Mid-Season Brawl, HHE proved they have the ability to take maps off anyone in the world. The experience of being able to go toe-to-toe with the best lends itself well to this tournament where their opponents have been common nemesis all year, NA and EU.
“Coming into this tournament we've had a lot of time now to practice and prepare. The last two internationals sort of gave us the experience and calmness to where we know we can be a real international threat. The last couple ones we took more as learning experiences, getting the most we can out of it. But coming in as the first seed in North America going into the Western Clash, we know that we can definitely make an impact, maybe even win the whole thing.”
To help their odds, HHE arrived early in California to take part in a boot camp with other competitors in the tournament to strategize, adjust to the LAN environment and just be around teammates.
“I think it’s a bit more structured at the boot camp and that’s really where a lot of the help comes in. Everyone’s constantly around each other and it’s sort of motivating to be directly around other people who are very hard working, especially on the same team as you. When we're not scrimming we're playing Hero League, we're talking about potential strategies or other teams and what they do so it’s just a bunch of regimented focus on where we need to be at.”
While this event is a warm-up for some teams to prepare for the $1 million BlizzCon World Championship in the Fall, HHE is setting their sights high, looking to make a statement to the rest of the world.
“I think realistically we're looking to make top three and that’s sort of our goal that we're looking towards right now, probably anything under that and we'd be a little disappointed. It’s kind of interesting because this is the first tournament where we have the expectation that we can do very well. We even think that on a good day and if we have a good tournament, we could win the whole thing but we could do very poorly potentially, you never really know until you get there. Obviously, we're taking the steps and prepping with this boot camp to prevent it from going that way.”
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.