First Round Matchups: Western Clash
Every team at the Western Clash could beat any other team in attendance. The skill gap has narrowed between longtime rivals just in time for an epic battle between them. Will Europe emerge victorious yet again? Will North America take home the hardware on home soil? Here’s what you need to know about the Day 1 matchups at Blizzard Arena:
Team Dignitas, the runners up at the Mid-Season Brawl and #1 seed from HGC Europe, will kick off the event against North America’s Team Octalysis. The core of Team Octalysis (Chandler "Buds" Gavran, Justin "Justing" Gapp, and Francisco "Goku" Avalos) competed together at the last Western Clash and walked away with some respectable results, defeating Method 2-0 and taking Battlegrounds off Zealots and—you guessed it—Team Dignitas.
While Team Dignitas are favored to win here, it would be unwise to underestimate Team Octalysis, especially in the offline environment. They’ve taken down heavy hitters in the past and are hungry for more after missing out on qualification to the Mid-Season Brawl by a single game in the Phase 2 Playoffs.
All eyes are on Tempo Storm to perform with their new fifth, Vi "ViN" Nguyen, who will be making his LAN debut in Burbank. Method underwhelmed in the bracket stage of the Mid-Season Brawl, but have looked strong outside of losses to Team Liquid and Team Dignitas in the first five weeks of Phase 2.
This is the same Method roster that made the semifinals of the HGC Finals in 2017, but Tempo Storm has looked promising since they exited the Mid-Season Brawl in fourth place. You don’t want to miss this series, as it’s likely to be a close one.
HeroesHearth Esports are the success story of HGC North America, conquering the Open Division and rising to the top of the standings with inspired play. As the only undefeated team in North America, HeroesHearth have only dropped three Battlegrounds in the first five weeks.
They are up against the Leftovers, the #4 seed from Europe—who themselves climbed through the Open Division to earn their place in the bracket. Keep an eye on the Support play from Mark "Linked" Sepec, who competed at several LAN events in Europe in 2016 with various teams before he started competing with the Leftovers in the Open Division over a year ago.
Team Liquid have returned to form in Phase 2 with their retooled roster featuring Liam "Arcaner" Simpson. The reinvigorated Team Liquid will take on Team Freedom in the first round of what promises to be an explosive match. Team Freedom had a rough showing at the Western Clash earlier in the year and will be looking for redemption as the home team this time around.