The HGC Finals are closing in, and with only one week left for League Play in Phase 2, the race for playoff seeding is about to wrap up. Several teams punched their tickets to Anaheim this weekend, which gives us a better picture of the final HGC event in 2018. At the same time, teams are going to need to quickly adapt to a new Support meta as the Tyrande rework shook things up in the land of healers.  

Tyrande Soars Back into the Meta

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Week 9 of the HGC was played on the Mephisto patch, and while the Lord of Hatred wasn’t available this past weekend, Tyrande’s rework was. In the previous eight weeks of Phase 2, Tyrande appeared three times total, all in Europe. In Week 9 alone, she was played in 36 games and banned in 21 others, bringing her participation this week to a staggering 92% of the games played. Compositions involving Tyrande held a 47% win rate over the weekend, and the hero is clearly in a much stronger place after the changes.

“I think a big strength of Tyrande that we also see in the most recent supports Deckard and Whitemane is that at every talent tier you get something really good,” according to HeroesHearth Esports Support player Chase “BBJ” Dixon. “Lots of heroes, especially healers, kind of have gaps in their power spikes. Tyrande feels like she gets a new tool to help her either heal better or do more damage and sometimes both.”

For the majority of Week 9, Tyrande was used in solo Support compositions, they accounted for 30 of her 36 games. Overall, it feels like double Support compositions may be returning to the meta as the end of the year approaches, but BBJ believes Tyrande has an enormous impact on the draft regardless.

“When you first pick Tyrande you are threading a lot of different compositions,” BBJ explained.  “You can build Tyrande first pick into a double Support hyper carry comp if the other team doesn’t have a way to pressure you too hard on the map. A Garrosh blow up a front liner comp if the other team doesn’t pick cleanse, or a type of dive comp with Tyrande’s insane range on her stun at Level 4.”

Qualifying for HGC Finals

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Prior to Week 9, only two teams had confirmed their spots for the HGC Finals at BlizzCon: Luna Meow and Team Dignitas. This weekend brought four more qualifications, bringing us to half of the 12 teams that will clash for the 2018 title.

On Saturday, Australia and New Zealand’s top team Mindfreak took down Latin America’s Thunder Predator 4-1 to win the Intercontinental Clash in Sydney, Australia. After missing out on the HGC Finals in 2017, Mindfreak will be looking to make a splash in Anaheim this year.

HeroesHearth Esports qualified after their win in Game 2 against Team Freedom on Saturday, taking the first place seed in North America. This completes their year and a half journey beginning as an Open Division team to qualifying for BlizzCon.

Finally, by winning two series each in Week 9, Gen.G secured the first place position in HGC Korea and Tempest solidified their spot in second to qualify for the HGC Finals. Congratulations to all four of these HGC Finals bound teams!

Other Notable Highlights from Week 9

  • HGC China’s two spots for the HGC Finals will be decided this week, as their Playoffs are currently underway. The second day of their stepladder format playoff will begin at 2:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. CEST on Tuesday September 18 on the Heroes of the Storm Twitch page. You won’t want to miss the exciting end to HGC China!
  • Team Dignitas is no longer undefeated in Phase 2 as Leftovers slayed the EU giant in a thrilling 3-2 series on Sunday.
  • Arthas is appearing more in North America in the offlane role as well as the primary Warrior position. After winning 80% of his 15 games in NA, Arthas has tied Xul for the highest win rate in Phase 2. This handy statistic and plenty more can be found on the HGC Hero Stats page, check it out!

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