Thoughts from Week 10 of HGC Korea

Youngjae ‘RallyJaffa’ Jeon
May 16, 2017

With the full menu of HGC mid-season competitions ahead of us, and all the hopes and dreams that come with them, it’s time for a look back at the final weekend of HGC Korea’s first phase. As competitive trends continue to evolve in the run up to the Mid-Season Brawl, the region showed an interesting bit of experimentation that could nudge Genji into his proper place in the meta. And at the shallow end of the food chain, an afterthought of a team showed a surprising amount of grit that could be just what they need as they head into a fight for survival in the Crucible.

Ninjas can’t cut it against Barbarians

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Making good on last week’s cheeky on-air promise, MVP Miracle’s Park ‘Dami’ Ju-dalm picked Genji in all four of their games against L5. As Genji is highly draft dependent, he tends to incur formulaic team compositions for both sides when selected early in drafts. MVP Miracle mostly looked to set up the ninja as a finisher, pairing him with heroes like Nazeebo and Greymane who excel at whittling enemies down. L5, in response, stuck to standard setups but made a point of including Sonya.

Throughout the match, Sonya proved to be a great answer to Genji; L5 won all three games in which she was utilized. Kim ‘sCsC’ Seung-chul revealed in his post-match interview that his teammate Lee ‘Jeongha’ Jeong-ha had specifically prepared her as a counter pick. The L5 captain also mentioned that his team was confused as to why MVP Miracle kept drafting the Overwatch cyborg ninja, as they themselves do not favor him.

Asked to explain why Sonya neutralizes Genji so well, L5’s Kim ‘Swoy’ Seung-won answered with a single line: “You just take Leap and cleave Genji’s head.”

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore”

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What better day to take your very first HGC win than on the very last day before the mid-season split? Literally almost any other day. Still, Raven’s unforeseeable spark against Tempest made for a glorious ending to the first phase of HGC Korea, and should give them a huge boost of confidence going into the Crucible.

“We got a lot of flak [over the season] for being all smiles in the booth after our losses, but it wasn’t like we were happy and elated to have lost [those matches],” Raven’s Lee ‘DDIYONG’ Hyeon-woo said, referring to the Korean community’s harsh criticism towards the team. “We only kept smiling because we wanted to keep each other’s spirits up despite those losses.”

DDIYONG also let on that such denunciations influenced their team compositions, which at times prioritized experimentation and entertainment over meta feasibility. Some viewers took offense at Raven picking “fun” heroes such as Nova, Azmodan, and Cho’Gall, and condemned the team for not being serious enough, he recounted. Not wanting to give the wrong impression, Raven quickly retreated to standard meta choices when drafting.

Regarding their victory against Tempest, DDIYONG revealed that Raven had not exactly been desperate for it. “As a team, we’ve always aimed to be happy while playing Heroes of the Storm. So, when we were three Keeps down [in Game 3], we decided to just clear a few incoming waves then head out to teamfight, win or lose, and just look to enjoy ourselves. We were actually really surprised when we won.”

Tempest captain Chin ‘Hide’ Gyeong-hwan admitted that his team suffered a mental blow following Raven’s unthinkable comeback victory on Sky Temple, and that it affected their play in the following game.

HGC play in Korea will resume this coming Friday with the first two games of the highly-anticipated HGC Playoffs. Kicking off the action will be MVP Miracle vs. GG; with the winner of that match going on to face Tempest. Be sure to join us at twitch.tv/blizzheroes as the stepladder to Sweden unfolds!