What We Learned at the Eastern Clash
There is a lot to talk about in the aftermath of MVP Black's win at the Eastern Clash. L5's dynasty has come to an end, and there is a lot of speculation about where the chips have fallen. Here is a look at what we know for sure in the wake of the Eastern Clash:
There is an explicit skill gap between regions
The results at the Eastern Clash speak for themselves. Korea took the top three spots at the event, China took third to sixth, and Southeast Asia (SEA) and Taiwan went home without winning a map. While we were suspicious that this would be the case, we now have evidence of a pecking order from the eastern side of the globe.
The Western Clash had much closer series, with Nomia and Team 8 taking series off European teams. Europe placing top three at the Western Clash is an interesting parallel with Korea placing top three in the east, especially when you factor in Fnatic’s run at the Fall Championship and the two maps Team Dignitas took off L5 between the Fall Championship and GCWC. It would seem the top of Europe can contend with the top of Korea — with more success than the rest of the world, at least.
Now that the dust has settled, Europe and Korea are the two strongest regions in terms of offline results. Looking ahead to the Mid-Season Brawl, this will most likely be the story of the event in the upper bracket.
eStar is the best team in China, for now
Being that the Eastern Clash was China’s first real showing in months, there are a lot of takeaways here. Firstly, measuring the power of eStar is difficult to do. The team’s rivalry with MVP Black stretches back to the early days of Heroes of the Storm. The two always manage to clash at every event they qualify for, and MVP Black always walks away on top.
However, they go on to lose against Tempest, a traditionally weaker team than MVP Black. Can we chalk these results up to the idea that eStar plays better into the evil they know rather than the one they don’t? Or maybe the #1 seeded Chinese team has a problem with consistency at live events. With the beginning of the Chinese HGC on the horizon, we will see how they fair against the rest of the competitors in their region before the Mid-Season Brawl brings them back to the stage for redemption (assuming they qualify).
MVP Black made the right choice
After winning the Gold Series Hero League 2016 and the Spring Championship, MVP Black fell behind the rest of their opponents in the region. An older iteration of the Tempest roster had a surge of success before L5’s rise to the top. MVP Black posted a series of second place results in the summer, before coming in third at the Fall Championship and GCWC.
While teams have their ups and downs, a gradual descent like this typically means that a change is needed. After GCWC and before the HGC kicked off, MVP Black parted ways with Ji Hoon "Sign" Yoon and Jae Won "Rich" Lee, two legendary players who had been with the team through its prime in the beginning of 2016.
Critics and scene pundits were critical of the roster change, going as far as to say that MVP Black would wind up somewhere closer to fourth place at the end of the season, and that their sister team MVP Miracle would take their place towards the top.
However, this result at the Eastern Clash proves that their made the right choice bringing on Oon Sung "Ttsst" Kang and Jin Woo "Reset" Im. There was clear progess from the team over the course of the event, defeating eStar in a close 3-2 series, defeating L5 in a 3-2 series, and then again beating L5 in the Grand Finals with a more comfortable 3-1.
The kings have returned.