Mid-Season Brawl: Meet the Teams
With the HGC Playoffs behind us, we now look ahead to the Mid-Season Brawl. The first global event of the year features top teams from every region traveling to Stockholm to compete in a round robin group stage from June 10 to 14. The teams that advance will then travel to the main event in Jönköping, Sweden, to play out a modified double elimination bracket from June 17 to 19 as part of DreamHack Summer. A total of $250,000 will be on the line, with $100,000 awarded to the victors.
A cast of familiar HGC faces will be providing play-by-play commentary and analysis in Sweden:
The 12 teams at the Mid-Season Brawl will be split into two groups of six. In Stockholm, each team will play every other team in their group in a two game series. A Battleground win will be worth one (1) point, while winning both Battlegrounds will be worth three (3) points. The two teams with the least amount of points in their group will be eliminated while the rest will be seeded into the Phoenix bracket, so each team’s path through the group stage is crucial.
Group A looks stacked, with the number one seeds from Europe and China battling it out with the second seeds from Korea and North America. There is also the Nomia factor — they qualified for the Mid-Season Brawl by winning through the Australia & New Zealand Finals last month. After forcing Battleground wins over Team Liquid and Team 8 at the Western Clash, it’s anyone’s guess how they will stack up against the competition three months later.
MVP Black – #2 Seed Korea
The champions of the Eastern Clash fell against L5 twice in the regular season but outside of their regional rival, MVP Black just doesn’t lose. They should be considered the early favorite to take home the trophy in Sweden. They dispatched of their sister team, MVP Miracle, in the finals of the HGC Korea Playoffs 3-0 to earn their spot at the Mid-Season Brawl. MVP Black currently has a 100% win rate with Zeratul in the Korean HGC. Support player Tae Jun ‘merryday’ Yi is also known for his Kharazim play. He currently has a 92% win rate on the Hero in Phase 1.
Fnatic - #1 Seed Europe
The number one seed from Europe will be the most feared Western team at the Mid-Season Brawl thanks to their 3-1 win over MVP Black at the Fall Championship in November. With these two teams in the same group, you can expect that MVP Black will not let their guard down a second time. Expect Fnatic to utilize the likes of Chromie, Sylvanas, and Lunara in their repeat attempt to triumph over the Koreans on their home soil.
CE - #1 Seed China
China’s top seed, CE, are a team of veteran players who competed on famous Chinese rosters of yore such as OMG, EDG, and the 2016 version of Super Perfect Team. CE dedicates a single person to laning while the rest of the team roams for kills. Aggression demands an answer; you can expect games against CE to resemble one long continuous team fight. The team prides themselves on their star Warrior player Junfeng ‘Wind’ Gu, who currently boast a 100% win rate on Muradin, E.T.C, and Stitches over the course of Phase 1.
Team 8 - #2 Seed North America
Team 8 destroyed Gale Force eSports 3-1 in the North American playoffs. They will make their second live event appearance together at the Mid-Season Brawl after coming in fourth at the Western Clash. Opponents will look to ban Mike ‘Glaurung’ Fisk’s comfort picks of Medivh and Zeratul, but they should also be worried about Warrior player Justin ‘Justing’ Gapp. Justing has made a name for himself in Phase 1 on Diablo, E.T.C., and Varian. After the results they’ve managed to post in the first 10 weeks, it would be unwise for any team to underestimate them in Sweden.
Nomia - Australia & New Zealand
On day one at the Western Clash we saw Team Liquid — the only undefeated team in the HGC at the time — go up against Nomia from the Australia & New Zealand region. Nomia shocked everyone by taking the first game and setting the tone for the event. Nomia spends a great amount of time watching Korean VODs and learning from their playstyle, adopting it as their own. It’s safe to say no team will let their guard down against Nomia at the Mid-Season Brawl thanks to their past performances.
Deadlykittens - Southeast Asia
Deadlykittens have only made one roster change since attending the Fall Championship under the name Imperium Pro Team. Two members, Michael ‘Mirr’ Luo and Bjorn ‘Zeys’ Ong, played with Relics at 2015’s Americas Championship. While they may not be the most well-known players, members of Deadlykitten have appeared at every international Heroes of the Storm competition in the past year except for the Eastern Clash. Even though they usually appear a few steps behind the rest of the world’s best, Deadlykittens absolutely have the experience necessary to force an upset in Sweden.
Group B will likely belong to L5, but you can’t count out Team Dignitas, who bolstered a miracle run at the Western Clash to take home the trophy. eStar did not have a chance to play against L5 at the Eastern Clash, but they did manage to take MVP Black to a fifth map, so it will be interesting to see if the Chinese powerhouse can manage better results against Korea’s number one seed in Sweden.
L5 - #1 Seed Korea
Trumped only by MVP Black at the Eastern Clash, L5 have been on a tear since winning the Fall Championship in November. Back on the worlds stage as Korea’s top seed, all eyes will be on L5 as they embark on yet another rally to the finals of an international competition. Look for L5 to draft Li-Ming for flex player Jin Su ‘NaCHoJin’ Park, who currently boasts an 80% win rate with the Wizard.
Team Dignitas - #2 Seed Europe
The Western Clash champions come into the Mid-Season brawl as Europe’s second seed. While they haven’t had great results against opponents in global events of the past, the addition of Zaelia to the roster places higher expectations on Team Dignitas now more than ever. They have been to every single international event in Heroes esports history — with that amount of experience in the bag, they are and will always be a threat on the main stage.
eStar - #2 Seed China
Another incredibly aggressive Chinese team, eStar as a brand has been around since the early days of Heroes esports. eStar has represented China in some form at nearly every international event since then, generally posting somewhat successful results. In recent history, however, they’ve fared poorly at international events. They bombed out at the Fall Championship and the Gold Club World Championship (GCWC), and only lately have returned to form by placing fourth at the Eastern Clash. eStar has a lot to prove here at the Mid-Season Brawl as they are tasked with not only taking down the Korean teams, but the new threat out of Europe.
Tempo Storm #1 Seed North America
North America’s top seed went 7-0 after returning from the Western Clash with disappointing results. The team seems in form now and ready to give the rest of the world a run for their money. Tempo Storm have not changed their roster since last summer, when they won back to back regional events to qualify for the Fall Championship. Their showing against the Eastern teams has been dismal, however, taking last place at GCWC. When it to comes to their prospects in Group B, Tempo Storm has struggled against Team Dignitas in the past, falling to them at both GCWC and the 2016 Fall Championship. This year is an entirely different animal, however. Tempo Storm will be out for revenge against Europe at the Mid-Season Brawl.
Soul Torturers - Taiwan
Soul Torturers consists of three members formerly of Please Buff Arthas (PBA), the Taiwanese team that eliminated Gale Force eSports at 2016’s Summer Championship. At the Fall Championship, PBA took it to the next level by defeating both eStar and the team we now know as Tempo Storm. While the new iteration of their roster is unproven against international opponents, they certainly have a legacy to live up to when it comes to Taiwan.
RED Canids – Latin America
RED Canids won through the upper bracket of the Copa America Season Finals to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl. Juan ‘Jschritte’ Passos has led yet another team to an international event, this time featuring former members of Burning Rage (who competed with Jschritte at the Fall Championship). While Latin America has struggled to post results against the rest of the world before, there is now a lot more available data to draw on when it comes to analysing the top teams. We will see if the RED Canids have done their homework.
Each of the teams at the Mid-Season Brawl has their work cut out for them in the initial group stage. With quick two game matches, there won’t be much time to learn and adjust, so each team will likely spend the next couple of weeks plotting strategies and tactics that will lead to successful tournament runs, rather than settling for solid play.
For now, all eyes will be on the Crucible, kicking off this weekend for Europe, North America, and Korea. More detailed information on the Crucible, and the unveiling of the official matchups for each region will be live on May 23.
Our coverage of the HGC Postseason is just beginning. Keep it tuned to playheroes.com/esports as we dive into the first round matchups and explore the storylines that have unfolded over the three months leading up to this monumental event.