Eastern Clash First Round Reconnaissance
The Western Clash is over. Fnatic won without losing a map. To put into perspective just how decisive a victory it was, Warrior player Pontus ‘Breez’ Sjogren died only once during the entire tournament. For every HGC team in the world, Fnatic are now the team to beat.
Chomping at the bit to do just that are the top teams from Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan, but before any of these rosters are afforded an opportunity to prove themselves against the new Swedish Dynasty, they need to prove themselves against each other at this weekend’s Eastern Clash. Eight teams will enter the Nexus, but only one will emerge victorious. Nobody’s going to be lifting the trophy for a few days yet, so for now let’s take a look at the first-round matchups.
MVP Black vs. DeadlyKittens – August 10, 10:00 p.m. PDT / 7:00 a.m. CEST
MVP Black are widely expected to be the team that will answer Fnatic’s dominant run. Since falling to Fnatic at the Fall Championship in 2016, this team has been driven by vengeance, decimating all who stood in their way to this point in Phase 2 of HGC Korea. MVP Black went 7–0 in their first five weeks with Jae Won ‘Rich’ Lee back on the team, dropping only three Battlegrounds in the process.
This is a tall order for DeadlyKittens from Southeast Asia, who only managed to take Battlegrounds from Super Perfect Team and Nomia at the Mid-Season Brawl. DeadlyKittens will have to play the best Heroes of the Storm of their careers if they want to beat their first-round opponents.
CE vs. Tempest – August 10, 11:30 p.m. PDT / 8:30 a.m. CEST
This is perhaps the most interesting of our first-round matches; Tempest, the third seed from Korea, will square off against CE, the second seed from China. CE have been a formidable force in China, taking the top seed in the region after missing out on the first Eastern Clash. They qualified for the Mid-Season Brawl, but were unable to attend because of visa issues.
The only teams that really challenged CE during Phase 2 were Super Perfect Team and eStar. For fans in the west who may not have had an opportunity to see CE play yet, know that this is a team with a deep Hero pool. They love making aggressive rotations when the time is right and won’t think twice about sneaking an enemy mercenary camp while their foes are distracted.
Tempest, on the other hand, are a little more down to earth and by the book. In contrast to the rest of their region, they will often substitute Li-Ming as their primary damage dealer in the draft. This pocket strategy has worked out nicely for Tempest, as they are the only team to hold a 100% winrate with Li-Ming across all HGC regions in Phase 2.
Super Perfect Team vs. Team Face Check – August 11, 1:00 a.m. PDT / 10:00 a.m. CEST
While Super Perfect Team finished near the bottom at the Mid-Season Brawl, they have subsequently enjoyed the same kind of win streak in China that MVP Black has in Korea. Super Perfect Team have gone 25–3 in Phase 2 so far, and handled CE, the next highest seed from China by sweeping them in both matchups.
Team Face Check have spent some time off the radar after failing to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl thanks to the success of Soul Torturers. This time around they managed to overcome their regional rivals and earn Taiwan’s spot at the table.
L5 vs. Soul Torturers – August 11, 2:30 a.m. PDT / 11:30 a.m. CEST
As fate would have it, Soul Torturers will be at the Eastern Clash as well, filling in for eStar, who are unable to attend due to visa issues. At the Mid-Season Brawl, Soul Torturers managed to take one map each from both eStar and Tempo Storm. Their star player, Su ‘GoDDog’ Yu-Yen, has represented Taiwan across multiple teams at the past five international tournaments, and will be the playmaker to watch at the Eastern Clash.
As for L5, it’s difficult to say which team will show up, figuratively speaking. After making their roster changes, they themselves have admitted that they’ve taken a back seat to MVP Black in the region. This is a team that is currently a shell of its former self but working hard to get back to the lofty heights they enjoyed as Ballistix just nine months ago, when they took home the trophies at the Fall Championship and GCWC. Their performance at this event will tell us if their new roster has had enough time to mesh.
Be sure to tune in to the main event tonight, August 10, at 10:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 a.m. CEST right here at www.playheroes.com/esports. We’ll have all the action in the Nexus coming at you live and direct from the Blizzard Estadium in Taipei.