The Only Trophy Korea Hasn’t Won
South Korea has the fastest internet in the world. A beautiful culture of gaming has blossomed there, with the country leading the industry since before the word "esports" entered the western world’s lexicon. As the epicenter of competitive gaming, Korea is home to some of the best professional Heroes of the Storm teams in the world. The following three have qualified to compete at this year’s Mid-Season Brawl with the hope of returning home with the only trophy in the HGC circuit they’ve yet to capture.
Gen.G (Formerly KSV Black, MVP Black) are the favorites headed into the Mid-Season Brawl. They won the HGC Finals after a flawless group stage and maintained a perfect match score throughout the entire tournament, save for a single dropped Battleground to Fnatic in the grand finals. Gen.G made BlizzCon look like easy mode, and the story doesn’t stop there. They won the Gold Club World Championship shortly thereafter, becoming the second team to take home both titles (Ballistix did the same in 2016).
The question now is, can Gen.G become the first Korean team to win the Mid-Season Brawl? “We took a long vacation after BlizzCon and Gold League,” said longtime team captain Jung Hyuk "Sake" Lee. “We were unprepared and lost many games in the early part of the season. It was the harshest part during the league.” If you’ve been following the HGC you would know that Gen.G lost in the grand finals of the most recent Eastern Clash against Ballistix in a close seven-game series.
With all that behind them, Sake still points to the threats in the West when it comes to identifying the obstacles in his way: “I want to beat Team Dignitas at the Mid-Season Brawl. I want to beat them because their playstyle is like ours and they are literally the best team in Europe.”
After tying Gen.G in match score in Phase 1, Ballistix and Gen.G are essentially the same level of fierce in the eyes of the West. “I really would like to avoid Gen.G,” said Ballistix team captain Seung-Chul "sCsC" Kim. “They are in the same group as us unfortunately. If Ballistix and Gen.G could finish first and second in group stage, then it’s likely we will meet at the winner’s finals. For now, we will prepare for our matches against Tempo Storm and Fnatic.”
The last time Tempo Storm played Ballistix was at the group stage of last year’s Mid-Season Brawl. The last time Ballistix played Fnatic was in the group stage of GCWC. Ballistix won with a clean 2-0 on both occasions. Hot off their Eastern Clash win, it’s likely sCsC and the rest of the team are feeling pretty good about their chances in Group A.
Tempest, Korea’s second seed at the Mid-Season Brawl, is the only team from the region that has ever taken hardware home from a European tournament. Two years ago, at the Summer Championship, Tempest delivered a shocker by defeating MVP Black in the grand finals. That event took place at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, the very same venue as this year’s Mid-Season Brawl. The repeat is obtainable, at least according to Tempest’s team captain Jae Hoon "Lockdown" Jin: “To win the trophy, we must beat all the participating teams, so we will make just like 2016 Summer.”
Korea is on another level—at least they were the last time we saw these three teams square off against the rest of the world. Which of these teams do you expect to see in the semifinals? Who would you pick to go all the way? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook and be sure to check back right here at playheroes.com/esports when the Mid-Season Brawl begins on June 9!