HGC Weekly Digest: Chase for the Championship
An upset-littered Week 8 qualified two more teams to the HGC Finals. Join us in analyzing the aftermath from this past weekend and look ahead to the upcoming matches Week 9 has in store.
Fnatic and Soul Torturers Qualify for HGC Finals
To the surprise of no one, Fnatic has become the first HGC Europe team to qualify for the HGC Finals at BlizzCon in November. The Mid-Season Brawl champions will be looking to make a repeat performance on the biggest stage in Heroes esports.
Fnatic will be joined by Taiwan’s Soul Torturers, who qualified this week after winning the Taiwan Season 4 Finals in Taipei, defeating Team Face Check in the grand finals. These two teams are both 2-2 for regional victories, as TFC attended both Eastern Clashes this year and ST will be able to say they’ve attended both global events (the Mid-Season Brawl and HGC Finals). Congratulations to Soul Torturers and Fnatic!
Latin America and Australia & New Zealand Narrow the Field
In Latin America this weekend we had four teams qualify to the region's Season Finals. In the northern region, Thunder Awakens went 4-0 in groups before running it back with another 4-0 record through the playoff bracket. The southern region, which qualifies three teams to the Season Finals, saw the Red Canids take first after winning 4-1 through groups and 4-0 in the playoff bracket. Runners-up Black Dragons and NeoBlue E-sports will join Red Canids and Thunder Awakens at the Copa America Finals in São Paulo on September 23 to determine which of these four teams will represent Latin America at the HGC Finals.
Australia & New Zealand will see Crimson esports, NMD, Dark Sided, and Nomia attend the ANZ Finals in Sydney on September 30. While Nomia, the first seed in Sydney, would still appear to be the strongest team from the region, they are not the same five we saw at the Western Clashes and Mid-Season Brawl over the past year. Both Liam ‘Arcaner’ Simpson and Robert ‘robadobah’ Purling have left the team and Tae Hyung ‘Ryoo’ Ryoo and Andrew ‘Penta’ Moffatt have joined. We will see if this new Nomia can live up to the reputation of the old.
As always, you can check out our calendar for non-league regions to stay up to date on what is happening in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Australia & New Zealand.
The Gatekeepers: SpaceStation Gaming
SpaceStation Gaming had a slow start when Phase 2 resumed after the Western Clash, losing 3-1 to both Lag Force and Tempo Storm. SSG appeared to be a completely new team this past weekend in their 3-0 win over Gale Force Esports.
"We played drafts we thought were good and decided to take them off macro-oriented maps because team fighting is one of their weaknesses," said SSG shot caller Jon 'Equinox' Peterson. "We abused that. We've just been focusing on drafting aggressive comps that complement our playstyle—making sure we have a lot of kill pressure but still having the ability to play macro at certain stages of the game.”
SpaceStation Gaming will play Team Freedom and Superstars this coming weekend, as they look to secure a higher placement in the standings ahead of the HGC Playoffs.
Tempest over L5, BlossoM over Mighty
Both L5 and MVP Black anticipated securing auto-qualification to the HGC Finals off of L5’s win over Tempest this weekend. The celebration unfortunately never came for these teams. Tempest have yet again managed to take a series off one of the two best teams in Korea, and are dangerously close to edging one of these rosters out of their trips to BlizzCon at this point.
BlossoM also performed better than expected in their series against Mighty, who have held onto the fourth-place spot in Korea for most of Phase 1 and 2. BlossoM, who narrowly survived the Crucible in Phase 1, are now nearly safe from the end-of-year Crucible occurring before the HGC Finals. The addition of both Hyeong Sik ‘Gondar’ Yu and Jin Hak 'mora' Jang seems to have helped this struggling roster find its footing. Assuming they keep up this successful trend, look for Team BlossoM to be a wild card in the Playoffs.
Tricked esport vs. Team expert—Friday, Sept. 15, 9:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. CEST
Tricked esport, who have seen consistent improvement, are due for a matchup against Team expert, one of the hungriest teams in the region. Team expert was met with a 3-0 defeat this past weekend at the hands of Fnatic and will be looking to knock Team Dignitas down a rung in the standings to secure the second auto-bid spot at BlizzCon in their matchup against Tricked.
That said, Tricked absolutely have it in them to upset Team expert this coming weekend, considering all the game tape they’ve had a chance to review since the last time they faced expert in Week 1, and walked away with a 3-2 victory.
Gale Force Esports vs. Roll20—Sunday, Sept. 17, 2:00 p.m. PDT / 6:00 a.m. CEST
After cruising along at the top of the standings for a number of weeks, Gale Force Esports are licking their wounds after going 0-2 this past weekend against SpaceStation Gaming and Team Freedom. This stumble comes just ahead of GFE’s matchup against Roll20, who have looked nothing but dominant in the last two weeks of play.
GGs @TEAMFREEDOMgg some small mistakes cost us a lot. Driving down to SoCal in a couple hours for our bootcamp to prep for next weekend.— KingCaffeine (@CallmeCaff) September 10, 2017
Roll20 have only dropped a single battleground out of the past 16 they’ve played since league play resumed following the Western Clash. We will see if the boot camp that John Paul ‘KingCaffiene’ Lopez references above works out for Gale Force Esports ahead of one the most important matches for both teams ahead of the HGC Finals.
MVP Black vs. L5—Sunday, Sept. 17, 4:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. CEST
Korea's two best teams are set to collide yet again this coming Sunday. With L5’s loss to Tempest, MVP Black will be looking to capitalize on the mistakes of their opponent, who may be going into this series with less confidence than they intended. The champions of the Eastern Clash will have to be in top form if they want to beat MVP Black, as L5 has struggled in this matchup online. A win here for MVP Black would be one of the last steps on the road to a perfect 14-0 Phase 2.
You can scope out MVP Black ahead of this matchup as they kick off the weekend against Raven at 2:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. CEST Friday morning. Check in with us later this week at playheroes.com/esports as we profile one of the top Korean Heroes of the Storm players.