Eastern Clash Stack Ranking
The Eastern Clash is here. The top HGC teams from Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan are currently convening in Shanghai, preparing for the first major HGC event in the region. While Europe solidified themselves as the front runner in the west, all signs point to Korea potentially leading the pack in the east with three of the strongest teams in the tournament. Here is our stack ranking of all the teams set to compete this weekend at the event:
L5 look unstoppable. After their undefeated run at BlizzCon when they won the Fall Championship while playing under the Ballistix brand, they have not faltered in their domination of the Eastern scene. With nearly $500,000 in prize money in their pockets, L5 has not dropped a series since their 3-1 loss to MVP Black in the semifinals of the Super League Season 3 (SL S3) playoffs in September.
When rematched against MVP Black in the grand finals of SL S3, L5 won 4-2. They went on to win the Fall Championship, the Gold Club World Championship, and defeat every single team in their division in the HGC, while only dropping two Battlegrounds in the process.
Where can an opponent poke a hole in L5’s armor? Their stats are below MVP Black’s across the board when it comes to KDA, % of time spent dead, average structure and hero damage. Where L5 excels is shot calling and drafting. They make what they have work in every situation and move as a single entity around the map as exhibited in the VOD above.
The only two Battlegrounds they have dropped were on Dragon Shire and Infernal Shrines. In juxtaposition to Western draft tendency, they rarely play Dehaka or Gul’dan. Their most favored Warriors are E.T.C and Muradin. Their favorite assassin is Li-Ming, followed by Ragnaros. Their most played composition featured one Warrior, one Support, and one Melee Assassin. This is also the most popular composition for the region in general which is a stark contrast to the double Support and double Warrior compositions that are favored in the west.
#2 MVP Black
While they steamrolled everyone in Korea (except for L5) for the first seven weeks of HGC play, MVP Black has not been performing quite as well on LAN as of recent. After ruling the Heroes esports world with an iron fist for nearly a year, it would seem the rest of the competitors have caught up. After losing to Fnatic in the semifinals of the Fall Championship, MVP Black went back to the Gold Club World Championship seeking redemption — but met with defeat at the hands of their sister team, MVP Miracle, in both the upper and lower bracket.
Despite their loss to Fnatic, they are still a staunch shoe-in for second place at the Eastern Clash. They have the highest kill:death ratio as a team across all HGC regions. They prefer double Warrior compositions, and are one of the few teams that prefer Kharazim over Malfurion. They boast a 100% win rate with the monk in nine regular season games. With that in mind, teams can expect a better chance of being gifted Malfurion in the draft.
#3 (tie) eStar
The most recognizable team from China, eStar has had its ups and downs. We believe they are tied with Tempest because of how they look during these “ups”. While they have rotated out a few members over the years, the core of the roster Chen "Tiger" Hanfei and Kang 'XingC' Lunhan remain from the post Summer Championship shakeup that occurred in the Chinese scene. They qualified for the Eastern Clash by taking first in the GHL 2016 Grand Finals without dropping a Battleground in the playoff bracket.
eStar looks just as strong if not stronger than they did when Sun 'xiaOt' Liwei led the team almost a year ago. He has since retired, but retains his status as team owner. Thanks to xiaOt and his predecessors, eStar has maintained a firm grasp on its position as a top three team in China since Heroes of the Storm was in Beta. They have accumulated over $500,000 in prize money from 30+ first place results since then. Unlike L5, whose prize money has come from one big pot, eStar have ground out this sum, with their biggest tournament win of $78,500 coming from their second-place finish at WCA 2015 when they lost 3-1 to MVP Black.
Their lows, while few and far between, have been bleak. At the Fall Championship — their last outing against international opponents — eStar bombed out, losing to both Fnatic and Please Buff Arthas from Taiwan. Both series were 0-2 shutouts. That said, eStar was playing with two subs (from Super Perfect Team) at the time, so take this result with a grain of salt.
#3 (tie) Tempest
The Summer Championship victors have changed their roster around quite a bit since hoisting the trophy in Jönköping. They lost Ju Dalm "dami" Park to MVP Miracle, and gained Ji Hoon 'Sign' Yoon from MVP Black of yore. With this remix Tempest has managed a respectable placement in the Korean HGC, going 5-2, only losing series to MVP Black and L5.
While their placement at the event depends entirely on how the bracket is structured, to overcome these giants is a tall order for Tempest. This group hasn’t been given a chance to mesh on stage together like the other two Korean teams, having missed their qualification for GCWC by a hair after dropping their qualifying match to MVP Black 2-1 in the Global Wildcard that would’ve punched their ticket to the event.
They did take one game apiece off both MVP Black and L5 in regular season play, but have also dropped several Battlegrounds to teams outside of the top two.
In terms of stats, Tempest has a 100% win rate with Varian, and has managed to go undefeated on Cursed Hollow throughout the HGC. On the other end of the spectrum, they have not won on Braxis Holdout and Towers of Doom. If they can stay away from these Battlegrounds and get the drafts they want, they may be able to complete the upset. Looking back at the Summer Championship and their win over MVP Black in the grand finals, crazier things have certainly happened for this group.
The second most formidable opponent from China now is easily ZeroPanda. They turned heads in the west when they eliminated the old Cloud9 roster from GHL 2015 Season 2 and came in second behind eStar. The only remaining player from this result almost two years ago is Warrior player Xu 'Six' Yiran.
Six and his team managed first place in the round robin at the GHL 2016 Grand Finals but fell to eStar in the upper bracket and again in the Grand Finals. Since this is the last result we have from the region, we place them only below eStar and Tempest.
#6 Super Perfect Team
The third seed from China, Super Perfect Team (SPT) has shown some breakout play in recent public appearances. At the GHL 2016 Grand Finals they took a game off of ZeroPanda in the group stage and eliminated Summer Championship attendees X-Team in the lower bracket, securing their spot at the Eastern Clash.
At the end of last year at GCWC they had a better showing, taking a game off L5 in the round robin group stage, and went even with ZeroPanda and Team Dignitas. They eliminated eStar in the same tournament, before being sent home by MVP Black.
Reaching further back, SPT came in second behind ZeroPanda at the GHL 2016 Summer Playoffs. SPT has been around since the beginnings of the Heroes Esports scene, consistently placing within the top five at events over the past year.
#7 Team Face Check
We all remember Taiwan for one reason and one reason only: Please Buff Arthas. Unfortunately, PBA has disbanded and with them one of the greatest underdog stories in Heroes history has ended. In their place, a new competitor has appeared.
Team Face Check’s name has had real estate in tournament brackets before this. Many of their players have participated in qualifiers for global events before in the region, but their efforts have always been thwarted by teams such as PBA — who, since 2015, have had Taiwan’s spot at international events locked down without issue.
Their play in the qualifiers for the Eastern Clash was superb, and they utilized Heroes that have not commonly seen play in other regions such as Zul’jin, Medic, and Kael’thas. Perhaps these picks out of left field will be enough to score an upset against the rest of the Eastern teams.
While they’ve never won much of anything Resurgence as a brand has been around since the beginning of Heroes of the Storm. They were represented in a different form entirely in 2015 when they spent most of the time in second place behind Relics, their regional rivals. However, they overcame Relics during the Singapore Pro League in 2016, and again in the SEA Spring Regional tournament. There they lost out to Renovatio I in the grand finals, which denied them their spot at the Spring Championship.
Once again that summer, Resurgence won the Singapore Pro League over Relics. However, they lost their footing in the group stage of the SEA Summer Regional. Renovatio I would continue to be the team to represent SEA on the global stage.
At the Fall Regional, Resurgence fell to Imperium Pro Team in the grand finals which meant that their dreams of playing on stage at BlizzCon were extinguished. Time and time again this team has come within inches of making the main event.
Resurgence has finally broken through. At the end of the SEA Top 8 Finals to determine which team from the region would play at the Eastern Clash, they used their veteran status to their advantage and edged out a win in the final best-of-five series, securing their spot in the tournament alongside the Korean and Chinese teams.
Being that this is Resurgence’s first major tournament outside of their home turf, they are the least favored team in attendance. They may be able to take a few games on surprise factor alone.
Tune in later this week when we put the first-round matchups at the Eastern Clash under the microscope.