HGC Weekly Digest: Navigating the Endgame
This is it. Only one short weekend of games remains for teams from Korea, Europe, and North America as we edge closer to the HGC Finals.
While we have a short break after this weekend before the Crucible and HGC Playoffs kick off, we will have two intense qualifying LAN finals for both Latin America and Australia & New Zealand that you do not want to miss, as well as the final weekend of HGC China, which will conclude on Sept. 26. Below you can find the headlines from this past weekend, and information on upcoming marquee matches for Week 10.
Multiple Teams Secure HGC Finals Slots
While MVP Black technically qualified for BlizzCon in Week 8, they clinched the #1 seed in Korea this past weekend with their 3-1 win over L5, the champions of the most recent Eastern Clash. Outside of losing to L5 in Taipei, MVP Black have been extremely dominant in Phase 2, holding on to a perfect 13-0 match record headed into our final week of play.
In Europe, Team Dignitas locked up their spot at the HGC Finals after defeating Team Liquid 3-1. After a rough initial showing in Phase 2 that prevented them from attending the Western Clash, Team Dignitas have regained their footing, going nearly undefeated in the second half of the phase, losing only to Fnatic in a series that played out in a full five Battlegrounds.
Team Dignitas are the only Western team that have proven themselves against Korea. Yes, Fnatic beat MVP Black at the Fall Championship nearly a year ago, and won the Mid-Season Brawl. However, Fnatic has not beaten a Korean team since their victory at BlizzCon last year. It was Team Dignitas that went 9-3 against Korean teams at the Mid-Season Brawl. Fnatic? They only played one Korean team in groups—MVP Black—and they lost 0-2. If Fnatic falters in the name of Europe at the HGC Finals, expect Team Dignitas to step up in their place.
Roll20 are unstoppable in North America
Roll20 put on a clinic against Gale Force Esports this past weekend in an incredibly important matchup, securing Roll20 a spot at the HGC Finals. The series included a must-watch game on Warhead Junction (above) that lasted just over five minutes total. Roll20 Esports are set to square off against SpaceStation Gaming this coming weekend.
Team Freedom has also qualifed off the back of Roll20's win over Gale Force. Gale Force Esports must now play through the Playoffs against the likes of Tempo Storm and SpaceStation Gaming.
Team BlossoM vs. Tempest—Friday, Sept. 22, 2:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. CEST
Only MVP Black has claimed an automatic qualification slot in HGC Korea, with L5 and Tempest battling it out for the second slot. Outside of these three teams, the chase for playoff seeding has begun. Whichever team between L5 and Tempest that does not clench the remaining auto-bid slot at BlizzCon is favored to win the playoffs, with Mighty and Team BlossoM as strong contenders to upset.
Team BlossoM had a fantastic series against Mighty in Week 8, winning 3-1 with the help of Stitches, Kharazim, and Dehaka. This past weekend BlossoM destroyed Team RRR 3-0. Tempest has looked pretty hot as well, defeating every team in part two of Phase 2 with the exception of MVP Black.
Team expert vs. Team Liquid—Friday, Sept. 22, 9:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. CEST
Even though Team Liquid fell to Team Dignitas 3-1 this past Sunday, they looked much improved over earlier in Phase 2, where they started off with losses to Zealots, Fnatic, and Tricked esports. They are set to face Team expert, who placed second at the Western Clash, and are the current favorites to win through the playoff bracket in Europe.
tbh liquid looked way better than I thought they would, excited for them and their chances in the playoffs!— Filip SmX Liljeström (@FnaticSmexy) September 17, 2017
Team Liquid, the longest-running five-man roster in the HGC, must keep up the course correction and not let their failure against Team Dignitas this past weekend discourage them. Team expert has shown weakness since the Western Clash, losing to Good Guys, Dignitas, and Fnatic. We will need to see the Team Liquid from Phase 1 that started off the year undefeated, not the one that failed to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl earlier this year.
Tempo Storm vs. Team Freedom—Saturday, Sept. 23, 4:00 p.m. PDT / 1:00 a.m. CEST
Tempo Storm have been slowly spiraling downward since their return from the Western Clash, losing to Roll20, Gale Force Esports, and Superstars. Team Freedom, on the other hand, have had a stellar run in the latter half of Phase 2, defeating every team in North America with the exception of Roll20 and qualifying for the HGC Finals.
The results of the series between Roll20 and SpaceStation Gaming and Tempo Storm versus Team Freedom this coming weekend will determine exact seeding for the HGC Finals. Outside of that, the playoff bracket has been determined, with the winner of SpaceStation Gaming versus Superstars playing Tempo Storm, and the winner of that series facing off against Gale Force Esports for the final spot at BlizzCon.
We have multiple teams locked for the Crucible currently, including the likes of Team Good Guys, Even in Death, Lag Force, Team RRR, and Raven. The majority of these teams came from the Crucible originally, and will be looking to defend their spot in the league against the best teams that the Open Division has to offer.
The European Open Division Playoffs will take place Sept. 25–27, with the North American Playoffs running from Oct. 2–4. The Crucible follows for North America, Europe, and Korea from Oct. 7–8. You can find more information on the Open Division here.
Don’t forget to join us at 10:00 a.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m. CEST Sept. 21 as Gale Force Esports and Team Freedom duke it out on the newest Battleground to enter the Nexus, Volskaya Foundry. Jake ‘SolidJake’ Kulinski and Josh ‘JHow’ Howard will be casting as these top North American HGC teams battle over the course of five games. Be sure to tune into twitch.tv/blizzheroes for all the action.