The HGC Playoffs are upon us. The playoff winners in North America, Europe, and Korea will join Fnatic, L5, Tempo Storm, ConBox, Nomia, and Soul Torturers at DreamHack Summer in Sweden next month. The brackets are now set, with teams competing for a place at the Mid-Season Brawl.

The stepladder playoff format rewards strong performances in Phase 1 by leaving the tournament’s top seed just one best-of-five series away from the Mid-Season Brawl. Teams at the bottom of the stepladder, on the other hand, will have plenty of work to do as they battle increasingly tough opponents on their climb. Join us as we explore the brackets from the bottom to the top. 

North America


B-Step will face off against Team Freedom to kick off the HGC North America Playoffs at 2:00 p.m. PDT / 10:00 p.m. CET on Friday, May 19. When these two teams met in Week 3, B-Step walked away with a 3-1 victory. However, when they faced off again in Week 7 that score was reversed. B-Step is currently on a two-game losing streak after getting shutout by both Gale Force eSports and Tempo Storm in Weeks 9 and 10. According to B-Step captain John Paul ‘KingCaffeine’ Lopez, the loss against Tempo wasn’t a huge setback.

Team Freedom lost 3-0 to Gale Force to close out the first phase of HGC, but managed a win the week prior against No Tomorrow. While mixed results are to be expected from the fifth and sixth place teams, inconsistent performances will make a successful run through the stepladder playoff format challenging. The winner of this opening playoff match will go on to play Superstars, who finished the season above both Freedom and B-Step at 7-7. Superstars is currently 2-0 with Team Freedom, and 1-1 with B-Step.



Playing Ducks and Tricked esport collide in the first match of the HGC Europe Playoffs to determine who will move up the ladder to face Team expert. The Playing Ducks defeated Tricked both times the teams faced off in Phase 1, and are currently ranked above them — despite their recent loss against beGenius, who are currently headed to the Crucible.

Despite this, the Playing Ducks have proven twice now that they are the better team than Tricked in the head-to-head. Tricked must play with the same volition they had when they upset Team expert in Week 7 if they want to prove that the Playing Ducks don’t simply own them. 



GG goes up against MVP Miracle in the first round of the Korean stepladder bracket. MVP Miracle has failed to live up to its name this season, despite having a star-studded roster of players such as Ki Soo ‘CrazyMoving’ Han and Tae Hoon ‘Sniper’ Kwon (formerly of Team No Limit), and the duo of Dae Hyung ‘HongCono’ Lee and Ju Dalm ‘dami’ Park from the Tempest roster that took home the trophy at last year's Summer Championship.

On paper, this matchup is about as close as it gets. The score is 1-1 between these two teams in the head-to-head, and both series they have played against each other have gone to a fifth Battleground. With little to separate them over 10 games, they will collide once more in the playoffs, but this time the winner advances to take on Mighty in the next round.

Everything these teams have been working towards comes to a head this weekend in the playoffs. Check back in with us later this week as we dive deeper into the first-round matchups and measure the possible outcomes for the HGC Playoffs in every region.