Heroes Global Championship Day 3: Group D
The last day of the group stages for HGC Finals 2017. The best minor region team, Soul Torturers, and the second Korean seed Ballistix are both here and are worth talking about, but my mind is not on them. My mind is on Super Perfect Team, the number one seed from China who is playing with an alternate for their support due to visa issues and Team Expert the third seed from EU. Expert and SPT both have a slightly mad scientist feel to their drafting. Misaka and Adrd are players that, due to their drafting, frequently end up defining parts of the meta for their respective regions. Assuming neither team holds anything back, if they end up going against each other it may well be the most interesting drafts we see in the entirety of the group stages.
Super Perfect Team vs Soul Torturers
Game one ended up being relatively close with ST taking an early lead in shots on Towers of Doom, but after a slog of a game that ended up 22 vs 22, it all came down to one team fight at bottom shrine. SPT had to channel one altar to win, one alter spawned. SPT had not only Divine Shield but the level 20 upgrade Bulwark of Light, which means that Divine Shield lasts for 5 seconds. The channel time for an altar on Towers of Doom is 6 seconds. If ST allowed SPT to channel for literally even a second, the game was over. They zoned aggressively with E.T.C. but in the end they simply couldn’t trade damage in that scenario with their double spread healing support picks of Brightwing and Lucio and a clutch isolation allowed the pick on E.T.C.
Game two was an SPT special with Ragnaros on Tomb of the Spider Queen. ST almost clutched the come back in the late game even with all their keeps down, but Falstad played distraction for a Greymane backdoor. A few seconds alone with ST’s core was all it took. SPT played well in this series despite their sub, but Scroll in the tank role for ST was nowhere near his usual level and made a surprising number of errors.
Ballistix vs Team Expert
I almost feel like this set was a test for Expert’s belief in how the game should be played. Their holistic, whole map style of play where they are always looking for the asymmetrical fights normally serves them very well, but against Ballistix they were getting out valued at every turn. Ballistix may well play the constrictor style of map control oriented play better than any team in the world, even Dignitas, but that also means it was an incredibly valuable learning experience for Expert and the odds of them going out against other teams in the group is not high. By playing their comfort style and seeing how it stacks up, they have taken an important step in preparing for BlizzCon.
Anyone familiar with Ballisitix’s play saw nothing new in this series, though we get a painful reminder that Korean Muradins are always terrifying. The first game on Tomb had a higher waveclear against a pick composition. Expert couldn’t get the picks and Ballistix strangled the map. Game two on Dragon Shire was all about rotations, Ballistix was always where they needed to be. With both teams having double support and one global each they both had basically the same tools, Ballistix just managed to utilize them better. There was a lot of respect for Adrd and in a later interview he said Ballistix had better prep and won every draft. By immediately identifying the specific issue speaks well for their chances at BlizzCon.
Ballistix vs SPT
The first game in this series, SPT ran a composition that just felt unfinished. We saw Zarya picked up on Cursed Hollow, not for push the way we do in NA or EU, but for tribute delay with the grenade cooldown reduction at one. Then we never saw that happen. Zarya was frequently left completely alone in a lane, something that neuters a third of her kit and at least half her damage if not more. SPT’s team fight synergy, when they team fought, made the game go long, but it felt like SPT was ignoring the map and Ballistix was not. Playing the map has become more and more important as the level of professional play in HotS has increased and we didn’t see that at all from SPT.
Game two was more of the same on Sky Temple. Ballistix played for the objective and structures. SPT managed to catch up in experience at level 16 and take a boss but Ballistix just kept being ahead in structures. In the end SPT lost because of two picks that allowed their opponents to go core, but they were never ahead at any point. Even without letting those picks happen they still would have lost unless Ballistix made an uncharacteristic mistake.
Soul Torturers vs Team Expert
In game one on Infernal Shrines, Expert drafted a hyper carry Genji comp: double tank, support, Abathur, Genji. Expert dominated with it from level 1, which is not normal with an Abathur comp. ST may be the best minor region team, but compared to a top 3 team from EU there is no competition whatsoever. The question is whether Expert thinks this was a real composition that they could run against an equal or better team, or is it their equivalent of a pubstomp composition. I don’t think it is likely that we will see this style of composition again from them this tournament.
Game two was more of the same: a Tracer without a Tassadar on Tomb. Malfurion and Brightwing were acceptable stand-ins, but the whole match was so one sided there is very little else to say. Though we did get to see Tychus in pro play for the first time in a while.
Team Expert vs Super Perfect Team
Game one of this series was on Braxis Holdout. It’s important to remember SPT brought Zag back into the meta specifically on this map. They were one of the first teams to break the 1-4 dynamic and have rotational compositions that played the whole map. Expert also was one of the first teams to think about the map that way, playing 3-2 splits and 2-2s with a roam. So this should have been a really interesting game. Instead, SPT either didn’t research or didn’t respect the power of Chromie at delaying and controlling in the laning phase and got bodied by Expert’s Chromie pick all game. At one point they clumped on a boss invade and a Chromie Dragon’s Breath hit four of their players, which should not happen at the pro level if you respect the potential area damage. Very disappointing to watch.
Game two almost looked like SPT gave up. Expert played a very standard Tassadar and Tracer composition on Tomb and did the typical EU thing of controlling turn ins and turning picks into turn ins, into buildings, into the game. Nothing new or exciting here either. A very poor performance overall from SPT and it has to be said that their sub didn’t even play that badly by comparison to their regular support, but SPT overall seemed disheartened. Maybe it was jet lag or unhappiness about their visa issues, we can’t really know even though we see something clearly holding them back in their play. Expert on the other hand seemed extremely crisp overall.
That secures the top 8 spots for Blizzcon. The bracket has already been published so we know exactly what we have to look forward to next week!Related: Blizzard Entertainment, eSports, Heroes of the Storm, HGC, MOBA