Blizzcon featured the World Championships for four different games, including the first ever for Heroes of the Storm. The top teams from North America, Europe, China, Korea, and Taiwan all sought to bring glory to their region by claiming the title as the best team in the world.
If you have not seen the matches yet, FlintlockFreedom has you covered with a spoiler free VOD list. For those that have already seen the matches, or do not plan to watch the 15+ hours of gameplay, this article will summarize the most important and memorable moments throughout the tournament. If you want to see the highest level play and get a feel for the story of the tournament without watching every match, we recommend that you watch the entire set for each of the Hype Matches.
Cloud9 first demonstrated their superior teamfight ability with this 4v5 boss steal on GIA. The Taiwanese representatives did not impress with their first showing, but the American Champions looked to be on top of their game.
YL used ETC to great effect, and took the EU Finalists, Dignitas, off-guard by finishing their core with some Shadow Stalk sneakiness. This Chinese influence was seen throughout the tournament, as the Rock God’s pick rate skyrocketed.
Dignitas crumbled under the pressure and abandoned ship with a questionable Medivac. Although a close series, Cloud9 maintained their flawless record against the European region.
Na’Vi busted out their signature Butcher/Falstad combination (which won them the European Championship), while also showing the godlike power of Santification against Brave Heart. The pressure applied by the EU champs proved too much for the impromptu Chinese team.
In a back and forth series with DK, Na’Vi took it to Haunted Mines for game 3. DK rushed down a keep, but Na’Vi punished heavily with a brilliantly placed Holy Ground to close out the series, and secure a spot in the semifinals. This made it clear that the Korean representatives were not as invincible as they claimed to be.
YL once again picked ETC and exploded onto the Blizzcon stage with a blistering 9 minute victory over GIA. With another quick stomp in the second game, this was the quickest and most decisive win yet.
(Hype Match) We knew right away that there was a great match in store when Brave Heart won this close race to summon a Punisher. The apparent improvement of Brave Heart to match up so evenly with Tempo Strom was exemplified by these fog of war mind games. After their big teamfight win, Brave Heart got aboard the BM (bad manner) train and rode it, repeatedly, into Tempo Storm’s Hall of Storms. Finally, Brave Heart mounted a comeback in game 3 by picking off Tempo Storm one by one to close out the closest match in the entire event.
Both YL and Dignitas played defensive early games, which led to some interesting late game scenarios. In the half-hour marathon that was game 2, it was YL who flinched first during this game of “Chicken”.
DK threw Brave Heart off their game with the unlikely pairing of The Lost Vikings and Stitches. After a taste of their own BM medicine, Brave Heart collected themselves made it clear that they had transformed into a much more powerful team than the one that played during Opening Week, winning multiple hectic, drawn-out teamfights. This time, the BM train pulled into the DK station, which seemed to affect their early game in the deciding match. However, DK flipped a switch at level 13, and secured their place in the semifinals with an incredible 4v5 boss steal. Of course, their victory would not have been complete without a BM cherry on top.
After Na’Vi and Dignitas completed the first draft, an audio issue was discovered. This led to a 3 hour delay, during which some members of the Heroes community were interviewed by our wonderful host, Anna Prosser-Robinson.
Once the match began, it appeared Na’Vi had the upper hand until Aetheroangel’s Holy Ground usage earned Dignitas a four-for-none exchange, and later a game-winning fight at the boss pit. Na’Vi tried the premier gank squad of Diablo and Tyrande in game 2, but Dignitas had superior early rotations. Eventually, Dignitas was able to simply outsustain and outsiege, then snowball their talent lead to victory.
(Hype Match) Cloud9 debuted Rexxar as a lane opponent against Zagara, but DK seized the early game with 2 Dragon Knights in under seven minutes. C9 built map pressure with their shrine control, and collapsed upon 4 members of DK while Muradin was at the opposite shrine. Cloud9 then proved that you don’t need a healer to win a teamfight, and rode that momentum into game 2. The crowd erupted at the sight of everyone’s favorite Baby Murloc, who proved to be quite an annoyance for DK. Cloud9 made a point of getting under their opponent’s skin, with BM at the end of game 1 and constantly B-stepping with Murky. They were able to stall out DK around the tributes while Abathur was free to split push. Just when DK was finally able to deal with the slug, Cloud9 punched their ticket on the BM train to the finals with their undying Murky composition.
(Hype Match) Cloud9 methodically gained an experience lead and captured the Dragon Knight while k1pro on Falstad escaped by the skin of his teeth. Seven Sided Strike demolished Dignitas’ Warriors, allowing a final Dragon Knight push. In a less bloody game (but still with exciting escapes), Cloud9 forced their way to victory, this time on completely even footing. Dignitas was again holding their own in game 3, until Cloud9 chased down a few kills to reach level 16 first. Dignitas showed impressive mechanical skill while in teamfights and even when retreating, but it was the superior macro play, the emphasis on objectives that allowed Cloud9 to squeeze the life out of Dignitas.
Cloud9 made history as the first ever World Champions of Heroes of the Storm, not losing a single map on the Blizzcon stage and proving that they are without a doubt the best team in the world. Congratulations to Dunktrain, Fan, iDream, k1pro, and KingCaffiene, it is well deserved!