What to Watch: Back to Business

Blizzard Entertainment
April 13, 2017

The break is over! HGC is back in action this Friday morning with a Korean blockbuster and a major test for a pair of North American contenders. Team Dignitas, the Western Clash champions, will also be looking to prove that their win at Katowice was no fluke as they face one of Europe’s most dangerous teams. Here are the games you can’t miss this weekend:

Tempest vs MVP Black – Friday, April 14 at 2 a.m. PST/ 10 a.m. CET

TEMPEST1.jpg

After their win at the Eastern Clash, it’s safe to say that MVP Black is heavily favored to win this series. However, there are a few variables to consider ahead of Friday’s games.

These two teams did not meet at the Eastern Clash. Tempest lost to L5 in both the upper and lower bracket of the tournament. In fact, the last time Tempest played MVP Black was in Week 1 of the regular season, when they lost 3-1.

MVP Black cannot be complacent in this series. Tempest is a team of veterans, many of whom have played on MVP Black in the past alongside current members. These two teams know each other well.

Mechanically, this series boils down to Tempest’s Jae Hoon ‘Lockdown’ Jin and MVP Black’s Jin Woo ‘Reset’ Im. These two players are neck and neck for highest average hero damage in the region.  

Gale Force eSports vs Team 8 – Friday, April 14 at 2 p.m. PST/ 11 p.m. CET

20170305_Maciej-Kolek_IEM-Katowice_05365.jpg

My how things have changed.

Gale Force eSports spent some time at the top in North America last summer, but heading into this summer, things aren’t looking as hot. Their showing at the Western Clash brought out some cheesy compositions that may have worked in practice but which felt out of place on stage. In the games that they played against Team Dignitas and Fnatic at the Western Clash they missed the mark altogether, going home with a 0-5 game record against Europe.

In the regular season, they lost to Team Freedom and Team 8, the latter of which had a much more successful run at the Western Clash. Team 8’s Justin ‘Justing’ Gapp has proven to be a threat as time has gone on in the North American HGC. This match up will come down to his Warrior play against Jon ‘Equinox’ Peterson, or whomever decides to play the tank role absorbing damage for Gale Force eSports, as they have stated time and time again that they are a team of flex players. This loose approach may prove to be their downfall unless they can execute with razor sharp precision. 

Team Dignitas vs Team expert – Sunday, April 16 at 11:30 a.m. PST/ 7:30 p.m. CET

170304_Stephanie-Lindgren_IEM-Katowice_00036-4.jpg

Since they won the Western Clash, you might assume Team Dignitas has the upper hand here. They looked like an entirely new team on Championship Sunday at the Western Clash compared to their regular season play. However, this is a team that historically struggles online against other top teams from their region.

This game will most likely come down to the play of one Dominic ‘Nic’ Asal, who boasts the second highest average structure damage and eighth highest average hero damage in his region. Both marks are higher than any player on Team Dignitas. It’s conceivable that Team expert will win the first game in this series as Adrian ‘adrd’ Wojcik and crew have had ample time now to theory craft on the intelligence they gathered from watching Team Dignitas’ drafts at the Western Clash.

Team expert will have their series on Friday against Fnatic to warm up for Team Dignitas. Speaking of other series, this weekend is packed full. Superstars will square off against Team Freedom on Friday, and Team 8 plays Tempo Storm on Sunday – the same morning that Team Liquid goes up against the Playing Ducks, who have been bootcamping in their off-time.

Let the games begin!