After a couple weeks off, we’re back with the 6th Cup of the HGC Open Division. Despite the extended absence, things have mostly remained the same. Returning for their sixth appearance is ePunks Black, while their challenger, Team Bananas, has been here before under the moniker Time To Shine. To date, the combination of Olf/Rzuf/Earth/Guru are the only team to defeat ePunks in a Cup Final during Phase 2. Could they pull off a sequel?
Game 1 – Battlefield of Eternity
ePunks Black – Genji (Roskmeg), Yrel (Cas), Anub’arak (Lauber), Kharazim (GranPkt), Li-Ming (SonicLeBeast)
Holy Bananas – Blaze (Olf), Deckard (Rzuf), Thrall (Googoosh), Muradin (Earth), Fenix (GURU)
Holy Bananas took the early lead in kills, however, ePunks Black managed the early experience lead which allowed them to capture the first Immortal and subsequently the top Fort. ePunks, like we’ve seen many times before, started to pull away during the mid-game:
What looked to be a snowball victory for ePunks Black turned sloppy as Holy Bananas turned a Shaman Camp invasion in their favor despite being down a talent tier. This allowed Holy Bananas to catch up in experience and claim the third objective. With the possibility of a comeback mounting, ePunks Black decided it was time to put the matter to rest:
Game 2 – Tomb of the Spider Queen
ePunks Black – Blaze (Cas), Raynor (Roskmeg), Jaina (SonicLeBeast), Anub’arak (Louber), Stukov (GranPkt)
Holy Bananas – Leoric (Olf), Deckard (Rzuf), Fenix (Googoosh), Hanzo (GURU), Johanna (Earth)
Each team played the early game relatively conservative with only a single kill for the first 13 minutes of the game. ePunks Black managed to turn-in enough gems for the first Web Weaver phase, but Holy Bananas didn’t have much trouble defending. Holy Bananas then got their own set of Web Weavers but equally had trouble gaining much ground during the objective. The seesaw continued with ePunks’ second objective, but once again little was achieved as only the top Fort fell. Finally, Holy Bananas got something going scoring a kill on Jaina which allowed them to turn-in for their second objective. With Web Weavers in their service they turned aggressive:
With both teams opening up the map with downed forts, the action started to come fast and furious:
Off the heels of the team fight, Holy Bananas expertly rotated into the mid lane, capturing their opponents Bruiser camp and clearing out the middle Keep. They used their time to then capture the Boss, resulting in the top Keep falling. ePunks Black managed their third Web Weaver phase of the game, but with catapults in the top and middle lanes, the defense was easy for Holy Bananas. With the map completely in their favor, Holy Bananas played the late game perfectly, avoiding unnecessary team fights and patiently waiting for their lanes to push forward and give them the space needed to get their third objective of the game and ePunks Black was forced to engage with a disadvantage:
Game 3 – Infernal Shrines
ePunks Black – Deckard (GranPkt), Hanzo (Roskmeg), Yrel (Cas), Genji (SonicLeBeast), Johanna (Louber)
Holy Bananas – Blaze (Olf), Fenix (Googoosh), Muradin (Earth), Malfurion (Rzuf), Jaina (GURU)
With the Cup championship on the line, the equalizer match was about as entertaining a map as one could ask for. The teams played carefully around each objective, but each Shrine phase brought the thunder, and the second Shrine was no exception:
On the ensuing defense, ePunks landed a pair of kills which, along with the middle fort, gave them a full level experience lead and it appeared as if the game was coming to a close when ePunks Black captured their third consecutive Punisher and pushed the top lane Keep:
The stellar defense by Holy Bananas gave them the opening they needed to get back into the game and the possibility of a comeback. Both teams used the time between objectives to reach Level 20 Storm talents and the Holy Bananas comeback train was leaving the station:
ePunks mounted their own defense against the push of the Holy Bananas and the final result was both Keeps down in the bottom lane. The 5th Shrine phase once again went to the Holy Bananas as ePunks Black had to retreat as bottom lane pressure was reaching critical mass in the bottom lane. The defense of ePunks Black was textbook as they lost the mid Keep but reengaged the moment the Punisher was down:
Another spectacular set between the #1 and #3 seeds in the Open Division standings. ePunks Black’s continued dominance nets them their 5th OD Cup of Phase 2. Meanwhile, Holy Bananas made up ground on the current #2 seed, down only 5 points heading into the final Cup.
The Open Division will play the final Cup of Phase 2 with the action starting on Monday, August 27th. The HeroesHype website has all the details for your viewing pleasure.