This week, 16 teams are preparing to take Anaheim by storm as the HGC Finals are finally upon us! In anticipation for Opening Week, we’ve put together power ranking for the 16 teams competing for BlizzCon. A variety of factors went into the rankings:
- First matchup during BlizzCon opening week
- Previous results in international tournaments
- Previous experience in international tournaments
- Phase 2 results
- Outside issues (hot streaks, synergy, roster problems due to visas)
Before we begin, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Argy, Romo and Temisis for providing additional notes and feedback.
#16 – RED Canids
Facing a mountain of obstacles, RED Canids are fairly hard to bet on for the HGC Finals. Hailing from Latin America, they weren’t able to win a map during the Mid-Season Brawl or the Phase 2 Western Clash. Additionally, RED Canids will be playing with 2 subs as their drafter and shotcaller Typhex as well as Assassin player Lethocerus ran into VISA issues leading up to BlizzCon. To top it all off, they landed in Group C, the so-called “group of death” with Team Dignitas, Tempest and Roll20 Esports.
#15 – Deadlykittens
The SEA region hasn’t left it’s mark at an international competition yet, and Deadlykittens faces a massive first hurdle on opening day of HGC Finals by facing off against the titans of MVP Black. With a likely loss against MVP Black, Deadlykittens will need to win out over both CE and Tempo Storm. While they did take a map off of CE during the Phase 2 Eastern Clash as well as Super Perfect Team during the Mid-Season Brawl, Deadlykittens hasn’t fared well against Western teams. Finally, they lost two players to Soul Torturers following the Eastern Clash, which leaves far too many question marks for this SEA team.
#14 – Beyond the Game
Newcomers to international play, Beyond the Game emerged as the third seed from China to qualify for HGC Finals. The major issue they face for their first international tournament is a significantly substituted roster, as 3 of their members were unable to obtain visas to compete at BlizzCon. Their first matchup is a tough one against Team Freedom, who saw some success during the Phase 2 Western Clash. The sheer difficulty in preparing to face Beyond the Game’s reworked roster could lead to an upset, but it’s a long shot.
#13 – Dark Sided
Defeating the long-time ANZ representatives Nomia allowed Dark Sided to qualify for HGC Finals this year. In the past, Nomia has been able to put up a fight at the international level, defeating Super Perfect Team and taking maps off of Team Liquid as well as Roll20 Esports. That experience will be helpful as robadobah left Nomia to join Dark Sided. Unfortunately, Dark Sided faces the Fnatic in the opening matchup for Group B, which puts them at quite the disadvantage for making it out of the Group Stage.
#12 – Soul Torturers
This Taiwanese team is known for upsets in the past, making them hard to place in terms of predictions. They gained two members from Deadlykittens, but will need to conquer some tough competition in their first matchup against Super Perfect Team.
#11 – CE
The #2 seed from China will need to move past MVP Black, Tempo Storm and Deadlykittens to advance past Group Play. While they are missing a major Assassin player xuyu due to visa issues, Challenge Everything has been able to take maps off of MVP Black and Tempest in the past. We’ll have a much clearer picture of their potential with a substitute when they face Tempo Storm for the 2nd match of Opening Week.
#10 – Team Expert
Team Expert has seen a lot of growth with the addition of Atheroangel, qualifying to the HGC Finals as the #3 seed from Europe. They went 8-6 in Phase 2, with a 32-22 game record. In preparation for BlizzCon they bootcamped in Korea, which will likely be a very helpful boost as they will need to escape Group Play out of an unpredictable Group D that includes Super Perfect Team, Soul Torturers and Ballistix.
#9 – Tempo Storm
Phase 2 was a rocky time for Tempo Storm, the #3 seed qualifying from North America. With some experimentation on role swaps in the 2nd half of Phase 2, Tempo Storm looked out of sorts at times. They went 7-7 in Phase 2, with a 31-26 game record, nearly losing to Lag Force at the end of League Play. The team bootcamped in preparation for the HGC Playoffs and the results were instantly clear. They finished off SpaceStation Gaming and Gale Force Esports with a fire and passion we haven’t seen from the team in awhile. Additionally, this is the longest-standing roster in North America and their second year as a full team at BlizzCon (they competed under Astral Authority in 2016). While they haven’t had the best luck in international competitions, their roster consistency and recent fire makes their opening match against CE a very intriguing one.
#8 – Team Freedom
Team Freedom rapidly ascended in North America during Phase 2 to qualify them as the #2 seed from the region. They boast a 12-2 match record in League Play during Phase 2 with a 38-14 game record. This will be their second major competition for the year, they won against Nomia at the Western Clash and took Team Liquid to 5 games before being knocked out. We’ll likely see how they compare to Fnatic as their first matchup in Group B is against the deeply substituted Beyond the Game.
#7 – Roll20 Esports
Roll20 Esports finds themselves in an awfully tense situation during Opening Week of HGC Finals. The #1 seed from North America was placed into the “group of death” alongside Team Dignitas, Tempest and RED Canids. Although they missed the Phase 2 Western Clash, Roll20 Esports gained a lot of international experience in both the Phase 1 Western Clash and the Mid-Season Brawl. They have won over Nomia, Super Perfect Team and Deadlykittens, and taken maps off of Team Dignitas and MVP Black. They have a chance of making it out of Group Play but a lot will revolve around securing high impact heroes for Glaurung and Justing.
#6 – Super Perfect Team
Super Perfect Team emerged as the #1 seed from China due to their 48-8 record in Phase 2. The team is often plagued with visa issues when competing at international events, but it seems like they have become quite flexible due to their ever shifting roster. The Support player “sa” will be filling in at HGC FInals, where they will face off against Soul Torturers to kick off the tournament.
#5 – Tempest
The #3 seed from Korea is back at their first international tournament since the Summer Global Championship in 2016, where they shocked MVP Black to take home 1st place. Tempest was 11-4 in Phase 2 with a 36-18 game record. Although they were placed in the tough Group C, Tempest has a good chance of making it past Team Dignitas, RED Canids and Roll20 Esports behind the continued synergy of brothers Hide and Lockdown.
#4 – Team Dignitas
The #2 seed from Europe has had their share of ups and downs in 2017, but are looking to end the year on a high note at HGC Finals. They started the year by defeating Fnatic to claim 1st place at the Phase 1 Western Clash. At the Mid-Season Brawl they gained an extensive portfolio of international victories against Soul Torturers, MVP Black and L5, only to lose in the Grand Finals against Fnatic. Team Dignitas wasn’t able to make it to the Phase 2 Western Clash, but their time bootcamping in Korea prior to BlizzCon will be essential as they attempt to escape the dreaded “group of death” against Roll20 Esports, RED Canids and Tempest. With their experience and level heads at a LAN, Team Dignitas should make it out in one piece.
#3 – Ballistix (L5)
Qualifying as the #2 seed from Korea, Ballistix (formerly L5) will be attempting to defend their 2016 Fall Global Championship title. Although they were knocked out of the Mid-Season Brawl by Team Dignitas, Ballistix took 2nd at the Phase 1 Eastern Clash behind MVP Black. Ballistix returned the favor during the Phase 2 Eastern Clash winning over MVP Black 4-1. This team is on a mission to re-establish Korean dominance in Heroes of the Storm and will make waves once the competition begins.
#2 – MVP Black
The 2017 version of MVP Black isn’t as dominant as they were in 2016, but they are absolutely a major contender for HGC Finals. After winning the Phase 1 Eastern Clash, they were not only knocked out of the Mid-Season Brawl in a close match with Ballistix, but also lost their captain with merryday retiring. Filling the void, Rich joined for Phase 2 where MVP Black went 14-0 in League Play, and held onto an impressive 42-6 game record. They did lose to L5 at the most recent Eastern Clash, so expect MVP Black arrive in Anaheim with a vengeance.
#1 – Fnatic
Walking away with 1st place at the Mid-Season Brawl wasn’t enough for Fnatic, the #1 seed from Europe. They also won the Phase 2 Western Clash without dropping a single map, which was an incredible feat. Add to that their 13-1 record in Phase 2 League Play and their 40-8 game record for Phase 2, Fnatic has become a well-oiled machine for Heroes of the Storm domination. They’ve set their sights on 1st place for HGC Finals and are the team to beat – but will certainly be challenged by MVP Black and Ballistix out of Korea.
HGC Finals Opening Week begins on Thursday October 26th at 11 a.m. PDT. All of the action can be seen on the Heroes of the Storm Twitch page.