NA Weekly Recap – HGC Open Division Phase 2 Playoffs

After weeks of hard practice, seven Open Division cups and three days of intense competition, we’ve crowned our champions of the Phase 2 Open Division. We’ve also confirmed the second team who will battle in the Crucible for a chance at taking a coveted seat at the HGC table. Without spoiling anything let’s look at our Grand Finalists and break down how they went.

Scythe Esports

  • Won 5 out of 7 cups
  • In the two cups they didn’t win, they still placed second
  • Never dropped a set 0-2; only lost to Freebirds in Weeks two and five 1-2

If you didn’t follow this team through each of the Open Division cups, this team was stacked from the beginning and easily favored to win going into the Playoffs. It wasn’t any surprise to see them make it 3-0 into the Grand Finals after battling through Firm Handshake (#8), Necrodancers (#4) and PSISTORM Gaming (#6).


  • Did not participate as a team until the fourth cup
  • Only had two chances to play against Scythe Esports before the Grand Finals in the four cups they participated in
  • Needed to finish second or better in the last cup to have a clean entry into the playoffs; they placed second and secured the sixth seed

If you only paid attention to the seeding, you’d see PSISTORM Gaming definitely had an uphill battle through the playoffs; first battling Rebourne (#3) into FreeBirds (#2) and then Scythe Esports (#1) before being sent to the losers bracket to re-battle their first opponent, Rebourne in a dramatic five-game series.

Game 1 – Infernal Shrines

Scythe Esports bans:  Diablo (1st), Maiev, Genji
PSISTORM Gaming  bans: Medivh, Sgt. Hammer, Garrosh

Scythe Esports composition: Deckard (1st), Blaze, Raynor, Johanna, Thrall
PSISTORM Gaming  composition: Whitemane, Yrel, Hanzo, E.T.C., Greymane

Both teams came out with the plan to play the standard game and respect their opponents. It wasn’t until PSISTORM focused on a mid-lane push and Scythe Esports took the bottom Siege Camp. The first Punisher ended up being the first bloody skirmish of the series. With 1-1 trade on takedowns and a 38 to 40 claim on the Punisher, PSISTORM was able to start claiming resources and territory to claim the early game as a victory.

However, once Heroic abilities and another objective fight came out, Scythe Esports was able to turn on significant pressure onto PSISTORM’s frontline. Blaze’s Bunker and Deckard’s Lorenado with Thrall and Raynor to secure takedown after takedown, there was just no stopping Scythe Esports once they got into the mid-game and made it all about the teamfights. PSISTORM’s teamfight ability is nothing to scoff at either. They were able to create opportunities, but then also had the awareness to retreat when they see the momentum turning on them.

You spin me right round, baby

Two Punishers and nine takedowns later, Scythe Esports mounted a final offensive on to PSISTORM’s core and wrapped up the first game.

Game 2 – Towers of Doom

Scythe Esports bans:  Dehaka, Diablo, Anub’arak
PSISTORM Gaming  bans: Medivh (1st), Abathur, Johanna

Scythe Esports composition: Yrel, Sgt. Hammer, Whitemane, Muradin, Genji
PSISTORM Gaming  composition: Deckard  (1st), Maiev, Li-Ming, Garrosh, Thrall

Even after the first game loss, PSISTORM came out strong in the first few moments: challenging space, aggressively rotating looking for picks, keeping soak ahead of Scythe Esports. It was definitely interesting to watch PSISTORM rotate faster on to their sapper camp consistently before Scythe Esports.

After a few takedowns on both sides, PSISTORM ended up giving up a bit of the experience lead they had, but managed to keep Scythe Esports from running away with the map. While there weren’t nearly as many flashy teamfights in this game as in game one, Scythe Esports’ polished rotations was getting such a significant structural advantage and territory control.

Once again, a fight that seems like it could go in PSISTORM’s favor, but Scythe Esports’ mastery of their composition as a whole and as individual heroes proved to be too much for their opponents, despite having lost their Whitemane first in the fight.

Support? Where we’re going we don’t need Support

The consistent structural pressure, some key takedowns and a Sgt. Hammer with momentum running into the late game gave Scythe Esports everything and more of what they needed to seal out this game as well.

Game 3 – Battlefield of Eternity

Scythe Esports bans:  Genji, Hanzo, Li-Ming
PSISTORM Gaming  bans: Medivh (1st), Sgt. Hammer, Whitemane

Scythe Esports composition: Yrel, Diablo, Lúcio, Raynor,
PSISTORM Gaming  composition: Deckard (1st), Artanis, Garrosh, Valla, Zeratul

Aside from a little Korean meta flair from Zeratul and highly effective boops from Lúcio the game was very even through the early game and into the Level 10 timeframe.

From there on it was a bloodbath of PSISTORM. With a growing experience lead, capped out at a three level lead, PSISTORM was choked out from having any opportunity to come back. There’s not a lot left to say about this game when you look at the takedown scoreboard: 21 to 4. PSISTORM Gaming tried playing a composition that was focused on the Immortal race with Artanis and Valla with a late game Zeratul, but they just weren’t able to sustain until the late game came online without already having put themselves in a compromising position.

We are the champions!

That’s it ladies and germs! With a one game advantage as a prize for making it to the Grand Finals in the winners bracket, Scythe Esports claim the throne of North America Phase 2 Open Division Champions four wins in the best-of-seven.

The Aftermath

And that’s a wrap of the Open Division for 2018’s Phase 2. In just a few short weeks we will get to see Scythe Esports battle the opponent of their choosing from the bottom of the HGC, and PSISTORM Gaming will duke it out with the opponent Scythe Esports chose not fight it out with.

One last shout-out and thank you to all of our competitors in the Open Division cups and playoffs. It has been incredibly rewarding to write about these matches and share them with the readers of HeroesHype community.

Can we start a Phase 3 of Open Division yet? I don’t know if I can wait…