HGC Weekly Digest: Curtain Call
With only two more weekends’ worth of games before the Western Clash, every single match and Battleground matters more than ever as squads vie for their respective regions’ spots in Kiev on August 4-6. This past weekend saw a pecking order emerge in North America and rather large upset in Europe. Join us to count the chips where they’ve fallen before we run the numbers for next weekend’s blockbuster series.
Four Major Regions, Three Undefeated Teams
For many teams, this upcoming weekend’s results will determine who attends the Western Clash and who is left at home mired in defeat. With the exception of North American, each region still has one undefeated team heading into Week 4, including the Mid-Season Brawl Champions from Europe, Fnatic. Over the weekend, Fnatic dropped only their third Battleground in Phase 2 so far to Team Good Guys before pulling the series back in their favor. The rebound was fueled by a momentum swing on Tomb of the Spider Queen that featured Dob ‘Quackniix’ Engström’s Lunara dishing out an insurmountable amount of damage. Fnatic is currently undefeated with Lunara in 2017.
Felt like I played with my feet game 1, deserved loss on that one - overall 3-1 win tho GG's #HGC— SmX / 스맥시 (@FnaticSmexy) July 8, 2017
Tricked esport Take Down Team Liquid
After losing 3-0 to Fnatic in Week 2, Tricked esport came prepared for their matchup against Team Liquid this weekend in Europe. It wasn’t even close. The common theme of this 3-0 was a Gul’dan pick on the side of Tricked esport, piloted by none other than Martin ‘Crozzby’ Rugh on every Battleground. Crozzby has played Gul’dan 25 times since the beginning of the HGC, making the Destroyer of Dreams his most-played Hero. In fact, Tricked has played Gul’dan more than any other HGC team this year, and can boast a 72% total win rate with the Hero across Phases 1 and 2 so far. With Team expert, Team Dignitas, and Tricked in the running for the final two European spaces at the Western Clash, Tricked will have to muscle some big names out of the race in the final two weeks of play.
MVP Black vs. Tempest – Friday July 14, 2:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. CEST
The weekend kicks off with the #1 and #2 teams in the HGC Korea standings duking it out in a mouthwatering series. Tempest’s only loss so far in Phase 2 came at the hands of L5, who have been struggling since making roster changes after the Mid-Season Brawl. MVP Black, on the other hand, remain undefeated since the return of Jae Won ‘Rich’ Lee as team captain and shotcaller.
If MVP Black walk away with the win on Friday, then the tables will be set for a Fnatic versus MVP Black redemption story at the HGC Finals. If Tempest are able to pull off the upset however, then the Eastern Clash may prove to be less predictable than originally thought.
Roll20 vs. Tempo Storm – Saturday July 15, 2:00 p.m. PDT / 11:00 p.m. CEST
In North America, Tempo Storm have recovered from a rough Week 2 during which they lost to both Gale Force eSports and No Tomorrow. This past weekend they returned to form with 3-0 wins over both Superstars and Naventic. Roll20 have been fairly stable so far in North America this season, only losing a series to Gale Force eSports and dropping individual Battlegrounds to Superstars and Naventic.
While Roll20 have defeated Tempo Storm every time they have faced each other on LAN, the former have always lost in this matchup online. In order to reverse this trend, Roll20 will need to accurately analyze the way the addition of Malthael has impacted the metagame. Since it’s safe to say that Tempo Storm knows this matchup well, Roll20 should plan to play Heroes they aren’t as comfortable with, as it’s unlikely that Tempo will give them Diablo, Medivh, or Zeratul in draft.
Team Dignitas vs. Fnatic – Saturday July 15, 9:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. CEST
The Mid-Season Brawl Champions and runners-up will meet for the first time since that fateful night in Sweden when Fnatic clinched the win and hoisted the trophy at DreamHack Summer. Team Dignitas have had a rough go of things since then, and are currently sitting in fourth place in the European standings following losses against Team Liquid and Team expert. They also had an incredibly close 3-2 series against Team Good Guys, who have clawed their way into the HGC from the Open Division through the Crucible.
Team Dignitas will have to channel the same strength they displayed at the Mid-Season Brawl that allowed them to win nine Battlegrounds against Korea in order to improve their chances of attending the Western Clash. If not, things become far more complicated for a team that has never once missed an international LAN event in their longstanding competitive history.