What You Missed – HGC NA Playoffs

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One last shot.

This past weekend four teams entered the HGC Playoffs for North America: Superstars, SpaceStation Gaming, Tempo Storm and Gale Force Esports. Competing in a ladder bracket, these teams fought to keep their HGC 2017 season alive. Once a team lost their best of five series, they were knocked out and their season concluded. The last team standing would earn their tickets to compete at HGC Finals at BlizzCon.   

This is the fourth edition of “What You Missed”, a showcase of HGC North America. It features results, standout performances, and major events over the weekend. For those who are under a time crunch, I’ve selected one game from every series and included the VOD to give you a sense of how that series felt. Enjoy!

 

SpaceStation Gaming defeated Superstars 3-1

A lot of the SpaceStation Gaming and Superstars series can be boiled down to execution. For Game 1, SpaceStation Gaming put all of their eggs in the wombo-combo basket and it simply paid off. During Game 2, Superstars simply couldn’t heal enough with Malfurion and Stukov to compensate SpaceStation Gaming’s Gul’dan and Sonya. Superstars executed well to dominate Game 3 behind Erho’s precision Stitches hooks and Srey’s Entombs on Leoric. Ultimately, the series ended in an anticlimactic fashion during a 13 minute Boss fight on Warhead Junction. SpaceStation Gaming looked clean (except Game 3) and prepared to win this series.

 

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 1 on Battlefield of Eternity. SpaceStation Gaming drafted a combo-centric team composition, but pulled it off to set the tone of the series.

Tempo Storm defeated SpaceStation Gaming 3-0

Timing their boot camp for the week leading up to the HGC Playoffs was the best possible route for Tempo Storm, a team that looked like they had lost their identity during the second half of Phase 2. Tempo Storm looked focused and their strategy for the entire weekend was calculated.

Overall, their goal to outlast SpaceStation Gaming using double Supports paid off, and they continued to outlive their opponents during team fights. Additionally, reserving nuclear warheads for just the right time gave Tempo Storm a quick victory in Game 2 on Warhead Junction. It is unfortunate that Equinox misclicked his Zeratul heroic during Game 3, because SpaceStation Gaming looked to be in control on Sky Temple.  

 

Who to Watch:

Pay close attention to Fury throughout the short series. His Garrosh flips in Game 1 were an integral part in Tempo Storm isolating kills. His crowd control as E.T.C. in Game 2 and Anub’arak in Game 3 were stunning to behold. Fury showcased why he is a (if not the) top Warrior in North America.

 

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 1 on Braxis Holdout. The matchup was close prior to Level 10 and stayed that way due to Zerg rushes, but Tempo Storm prevailed in the end.

 

Tempo Storm defeated Gale Force Esports 3-0

As the longest standing roster in North America, Tempo Storm had a large burden to bear coming into the Playoffs. If they lost, BlizzCon would be the first Global tournament that they missed. To win, they would need to get past Gale Force Esports. Continuing their trend against SpaceStation Gaming, Tempo Storm relied heavily on psalm playing Valla with a double Support to back him up.

Throughout the series, Tempo Storm made a point to emphasize map control. Early in Games 1 and 2, the teams would have prolonged fights, but very few would ultimately die. This left Tempo Storm to decide the fate of each map through stronger team compositions and overall execution of their plan. In the end, it felt like Tempo Storm was the team with more confidence with better preparation.

 

Who to Watch:

There was a lot of fire and passion from psalm in the post series interviews on Saturday and Sunday, and for good reason. He demonstrated Tempo Storm’s hunger for victory both outside and during the games. He slung maximum damage on Valla in Games 1 and 2, and his Medivh portals set up invasion after invasion to secure kills in Game 3. For those reasons, keep a close eye on psalm.

 

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 3 on Towers of Doom. Tempo Storm broke away from Valla and used psalm on Medivh to constantly control every part of the map through fast rotations.

 

What’s Next?

The top amateur Heroes of the Storm teams are currently competing to earn a place at the HGC Crucible on October 7th and 8th. Lag Force and Even in Death will be defending their HGC spots at 12 PM PDT on the Heroes of the Storm Twitch page: https://www.twitch.tv/blizzheroes.

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