Welcome fans, pros, dreamers and spectators to the HGC North American Open Division Cup #3! This week saw two new teams making it to the Top 4. One team, Team Nightcare, has been around all three cups and showed their growth by defeating teams like Flaming Laser Sword, ODI and Evel Medivhel. The other team new to the Top 4 also happened to surpass XD to clinch a Top 2 Finish this week, Trait Value.
A new challenger has stepped-up! This week’s Grand Finals pits SMV vs Trait Value!
Game 1 – SMV vs Trait Value – Infernal Shrines
Trait Value Bans – Malthael, Lucio
SMV Bans – Alexstrasza (1st), Junkrat
Trait Value Composition – Greymane, E.T.C., Uther, Tychus, Blaze
SMV Composition – Tyrael, Hanzo, Genji, Kerrigan, Malfurion
These two teams came out swinging in the first six minutes. There was so much aggression and some incredible calls coming out from SMV. SMV’s play fractured the macro-heavy play that Trait Value was trying to emphasize. SMV only had a one level lead going into the second Punisher (12 to 11 during the team fight):
SMV finds supreme value in a five-for-one exchange over the Punisher
With their Level 13 talent advantage and the frozen Punisher, SMV claimed the first Keep of the match at 10 minutes while killing two of Trait Value and losing two of their own.
Trait Value found some value taking out three of SMV in a short-lived fight in the top lane. This allowed them to clean up some of the mercenary camps pushing through the other lanes, and be ready for the next Punisher phase.
However, SMV’s aggression was over 9000 and we haven’t seen the likes of it so far in the Open Division Cups. Their macro awareness and coordination as a team was brilliantly executed for multiple picks on players not expecting bold calls.
SMV evaporated E.T.C.
Trait Value snagged a kill here and there and regularly equalized one-for-one exchanges, but it was not enough to give them any forward momentum. Trait Value was not able to find a crack in SMV’s aggression that allowed them back into the match. The tools they thought would help just couldn’t mitigate the Shimada Bros’ damage nor breakthrough the self-sustain from Tyrael and Kerrigan.
Trait Value held on for as long as they could, but ultimately could not turn things around. SMV won game 1!
Game 2 – SMV vs Trait Value – Volskaya Foundry
Trait Value Bans – Genji (1st), Tracer
SMV Bans – Malthael, Blaze
Trait Value Composition – E.T.C., Greymane, Malfurion, Kerrigan, Junkrat
SMV Composition – Tyrael, Hanzo, Tassadar, Arthas, Alexstrasza
If there is one game to watch the VOD of this week, it is this match.
The teams started out as equals on the field of battle; matching rotations for experience, early camp priority, poking and prodding to find an early weakness.
The first battle for the Triglav Protector went to SMV after forcing Trait Value off at 99%. And the battle started to tilt in favor of SMV with three kills and a full level lead. Shortly after that, four more corpses were added to the pile and SMV extended their lead to a three levels.
SMV took advantage of their experience lead with kill after kill and a Keep at 13 minutes. The match seemed so one-sided. Was there anything Trait Value could do while being four levels down? Well, could they get a quad kill? Would that work for you?
Four levels down and Trait Value cuts SMV deep
It surely worked for Trait Value! Their deficit was being eaten away to less than two full levels! Two more quick picks and they got within a half-level of SMV.
Trait Value continued their push with their own first Triglav Protector; claiming SMV’s bottom Fort and mid-wall. Twenty-three minutes in and Trait Value had actually surpassed SMV in experience! When the first Keep dropped at 13 minutes, SMV had a 14-1 kill lead. At 23 minutes in that lead was reduced to 17-11! These kills keep enabling Trait Value to slash and claw more and more territory control away from SMV!
Our teams would have a small trade of blows over the support camp in the top-mid, heavily damaging E.T.C. and forcing a disengage. Trait Value wasn’t done yet and so they went back in after E.T.C. was healed up. But then, it all went sideways.
SMV collapses on Trait Value
As soon as that camp was claimed, SMV forced the volume up to 11 even without Lúcio being in the match. Dragonqueen, Cleansing Flame and Dragon’s Arrow were used to devour four of Trait Value. Their hunger not satisfied, SMV dined on the Core and their second straight HGC North American Cup championship.
SMV’s victory tour continues for another week. Will they be able to three-peat? Their continued and refined aggressive play has propelled them to the top but how will other teams adjust? Will next week’s inclusion of Maiev shake up the meta so another team can test their mettle against SMV and push them from the top? It is going to be a long slow climb up the ladder, but our North American teams aren’t about to back down!
For a breakdown of points following Cup #3 visit https://heroeshype.com/naopen/ and click the “Standings” tab.