What We Learned from the HGC Playoffs

Dylan Walker, Blizzard Entertainment | May 1, 2018

In the race for the Mid-Season Brawl trophy, only a handful of teams remain. Three teams have qualified from Europe, and three more from Korea, with two now locked in for North America and two more from China. The Intercontinental Clash and Horizon Clash will determine the final two teams in contention. For now, it’s time to review what we learned from the HGC Playoffs.

Method Are Not Afraid to Shut Down a Cinderella Story

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The Zealots dominated the conversation for the first two days of the HGC Playoffs in Europe with convincing 3-0 victories over both Tricked esport and Zealots. After finishing second at the most recent Western Clash, Zealots were poised yet again to make a miracle run. However, Method rose to meet the occasion, pushing back against Zealots in a five-game series for the books.

Knocked out of the Western Clash by HeroesHearth, Method took a tumble in Part 2 of Phase 1, dropping series to Team Dignitas, Team Liquid, Fnatic, and Leftovers. However, there was a noticeable momentum shift for the team in Week 9 when they defeated Diamond Skin, which led to another hard-fought win in Week 10 against Tricked—and prime seeding into the playoffs.

North America Is Neck and Neck

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There were no shutouts in the North American playoffs over the weekend, with Gale Force Esports taking the initial series against Simplicity 3-2, Team Freedom defeating Gale Force 3-1, Team Octalysis toppling Team Freedom 3-2, and HeroesHearth Esports besting Team Octalysis 3-2. While a clear hierarchy exists in the region, the real skill gap between these teams is evidently minimal.

With their win this weekend, HeroesHearth Esports are the first team from the Open Division to ever make it to a true showing of international talent, aka the Mid-Season Brawl. While it may be difficult to describe them as underdogs, it’s easy for longtime fans to recall the roots of this zero-to-hero roster.

Tempest Will Return to Jönköping

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The first seed at the Eastern Clash had fallen far during Part 2 of Phase 1, losing out to Ballistix, KSV Black, and Team BlossoM before starting their playoffs run as a third seed. It seems Tempest simply needed some pressure to regain their composure, as the team moved past both Team BlossoM (3-2) and Ballistix (3-1) to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl over the weekend. Two years ago, Tempest took home the Summer Championship trophy at DreamHack Summer—and now they return to the very same venue with plans to do the same.

You don’t want to miss our upcoming Mid-Season Brawl coverage! But before then we still have the Crucible this weekend, the Intercontinental Clash, the Horizon Clash, and Heroes of the Dorm. Keep it tuned right here to playheroes.com/esports for all this and more.