What You Missed – HGC NA Week 9

Phase 2 of HGC North America is quickly wrapping up, and Week 9 finalized much of what will be right around the corner for our 8 professional Heroes of the Storm teams. The week was full of clean 3-0 sweeps, and even a few ever elusive and entertaining “reverse sweeps”. Week 9 also locked in the two teams automatically qualifying to BlizzCon in November, while also determining the bottom two teams that must defend their HGC spot during the Crucible in October.

This is the second 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!

Superstars defeated SpaceStation Gaming 3-2

Both Superstars and SpaceStation Gaming came into Week 9 with high hopes after causing some big upsets during Week 8. Superstars defeated Tempo Storm and SpaceStation Gaming swept Gale Force Esports last weekend, making this matchup an exciting one to watch. After strong wins during Games 1 and 2, SpaceStation Gaming made a risky gamble by choosing Nova during Game 3, which Superstars punished. With consistent control during Game 4, Superstars forced a final close map, where they won to complete the reverse sweep.

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 5, which ended up being the closest game between these two teams on Dragon Shire.

Team Freedom defeated Even in Death

Hungry for an automatic bid to BlizzCon, Team Freedom showed no signs of letting up on their opponents this weekend. They started with fast wins over Even in Death in Games 1 and 3, but struggled to put anything together in Game 2 until late in the game.  

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 2 where Even in Death handedly controlled the first 14 minutes of the game, but Team Freedom put together an excellent comeback.

Team Freedom defeated SpaceStation Gaming 3-0

Team Freedom has been a force to be reckoned with during Phase 2 of HCG North America. With this 3-0 sweep of SpaceStation Gaming, Team Freedom improved their Phase 2 record to 15-4. By utilizing double support team compositions in Games 1 and 2, they drew out team fights by simply out-surviving SpaceStation Gaming.

Who to Watch:

Focus on Nazmas during this series, specifically when he played Valla in Games 1 and 2. Nazmas demonstrated just how much damage can be dished out from the Demon Hunter, especially when you land a well-timed Rain of Vengance.

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 1, a close battle on Sky Temple that boiled down to one last team fight for the win.

Gale Force Esports defeated Lag Force

Last week’s HGC matches could be characterized by two upsets, but this week’s matches were all about the reverse sweep. Lag Force’s lethal team compositions in Games 1 and 2 were too much for Gale Force Esports to handle, but they couldn’t keep up with the map pressure Gale Force enforced in Game 4. The third and fifth maps of the series were much closer, so the rivalry between these two teams is still strong this late in the year. Despite the final results, Lag Force has demonstrated revitalized energy in the second half of Phase 2.

Who to Watch:

Pay attention to k1pro on Tassadar for his outstanding efforts to zone with Force Wall and interrupt altar channeling. Additionally, watch the level of comfort Fan has on Valla to risk himself securing late game kills.

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 3, the turning point for Gale Force Esports on Towers of Doom.

Roll20 esports defeated Gale Force Esports 3-0

Serving as one of the marquee matchups for the weekend in North America, the actual competition between Roll20 and Gale Sports Esports was fairly one-sided. A demonstration of the disparity between these two teams can be seen with Roll20’s record-breaking 5:12 win on Warhead Junction for Game 2. Roll20 simply had better rotations and macro play in Game 1 and they won on team fights in Game 3. What’s even more impressive is that Roll20 was able to sweep Gale Force Esports without using two of their most game-changing heroes: Garrosh and Medivh.

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 1 on Braxis Holdout, where Roll20 took down Gale Force Esports on Braxis Holdout with double Support and slick rotations. If you have an extra 5 minutes, go ahead and check out Game 2 as well for the fastest HGC win.

Tempo Storm defeated Even in Death 3-0

Relying on strong plays from Genji and Medivh, Tempo Storm took a quick 2-0 lead in their series against Even in Death. This prompted a smart shift from Even in Death to ban out both Medivh and Genji in Game 3, which gave them a fighting chance against Tempo Storm. It wasn’t enough, as Tempo Storm kept their wits about them during a long and tough final game to close out the series 3-0.  

If you only watch one game:

Watch Game 3, where Tempo Storm never gave up and recovered from Even in Death’s dominating early game pressure on Tomb of the Spider Queen.

BlizzCon & Crucible Notes

Roll20 esports and Team Freedom have clinched their automatic bids to BlizzCon after their wins this week, along with Gale Force Esports’ loss. The third North American qualifying team will need to outlast all of their opponents during the HGC Playoffs which are September 29th – October 2nd. Gale Force Esports, Tempo Storm, SpaceStation Gaming and Superstars will duke it out for the final spot. Final seeding for the Playoffs will be determined after Week 10’s results.

As for the Crucible, Lag Force and Even in Death sealed their fates with their losses during Week 9. They will defend their HGC spots from the top two HGC Open Division teams the following weekend, October 7th and 8th.