Hoofit’s totally right power rankings
This is more a tier system to rate the teams than an absolute ranking of where the teams will finish. Partially because of the nature of the groups Group A looks to be less challenging than B and partially because the best of three Quarterfinals can lead to unexpected outcomes. Nevertheless, here we go.
The teams that are there for the experience
12 Luna Meow, 11 The one, 10 Beyond the Game
It gives me no pleasure to say this, but I really think the Chinese teams are going to get smashed this Blizzcon even if they have their full rosters. I’m a big fan of HGC China but at this point even the biggest of fans must admit they have serious issues.They exhibit a lack of discipline, sloppy late game play and sub-standard macro play letting them down.
The best of the group, Beyond the Game (BTG) actually looked like they might be the team we were looking for as a Chinese hope at the start of the season. They were able to close out series with clean crisp play, they looked like a threat, but then true to China lost silly games against teams they really should have beat 2-0. They are the only Chinese team with hopes to get out of the group stage, but I think it is very unlikely.
Speaking of not getting out of groups I bring you Luna Meow. They are not winning a game in the groups and if people want to argue that minor-regions shouldn’t be at Blizzcon this will be the team they use as their example.
The teams hoping to make it to Blizzcon proper
9 Mindfreak, 8 Heroes Hearth, 7 Tempo Storm
I’m going to put this here. Mindfreak is a good team and ANZ is a stronger region than China. People can say that Mindfreak have had to make changes (they made 1 after MSB), but the team has had regular division play even if its ANZ play for a season. It’s still 4 of the 5 who finished 10th-12th at MSB. I think they have a decent chance of qualifying for Blizzcon if they can pick up points against non-Chinese teams.
Heroes Hearth are the number one NA seed and their division record is extremely impressive (13-1). I don’t think they will have a good group stage finish, their Western Clash finish of 5th-6th was decent but likely less than they were hoping for. Additionally, they have a last-minute replacement as Arthelon announced a late retirement. There’s some argument about how much of a loss Arthelon will be but that misses the point, they have had to make a late replacement and quickly try to build team synergy.
Tempo Storm is my pick for the best NA team at Blizzcon. They also had to make a 2018 replacement though they have had far longer to work with Vin. Psalm may be missed but Vin is looking good and whilst I don’t think this team will win Blizzcon they should qualify for Blizzcon proper and a semi-final is certainly possible for them.
The Dark horses
6 Leftovers 5 Team Liquid 4 Miracle
Let me start this section by saying it’s a bit of a toss-up. I could see any of these teams making the semi-finals, and even perhaps the finals but no further. Its extremely hard to rate them as all of these teams have potential but all have something to prove.
Leftovers have done impressively well from a team that not too long ago was concerned with the crucible to being a finalist at Western Clash. They have a strong claim for being the second-best team in Europe having beaten Fntic, Liquid and even (Team) Dignitas this split (whilst Dignitas had secured their number 1 seed it’s still impressive). Mopsio is a motivational genius able to turn 5 players with potential into a great team.
Why then do I put them as number 6? Two reasons. Firstly, I think that everyone will take Leftovers extremely seriously, Leftovers (and Mopsio teams generally) do better as the underdog, not as the favourite. Secondly, the lack of scrims against top teams/ other regions (Leftovers couldn’t bootcamp and Team Liquid and Dignitas travelled abroad) mean they will lack competitive practice.
Team Liquid (TL) are probably a surprise for some as my number 5. Some will point to their frankly disastrous Western Clash whilst others will argue they scraped to qualify as the number 2 seed and avoid the playoffs. I take a contrasting point. I think TL are an extremely hard-working team who have skilled players and who were stung by their Western Clash performance. They are practising like mad at their Alienware boot camp and I think they will do decently well at Blizzcon for it.
Miracle are my number 4, but I was extremely hesitant about putting them as number 4, it wasn’t an easy choice. This is their first international event as a roster and only a few of their members have international experience. Yet this is a team that is dripping with talent from their playmaker Frankle to their top acquisition the support player BlueB2tle. This is also a roster that has beat both Gen.G and Ballistix not once but twice this year. No one else has done that.
I can see a world where stage-nerves sees Miracle go out in the quarter-finals in a shaky best of 3. Yet I can also see them making their way to the finals. And if Miracle get to the finals all bets are off.
3 Tempest 2 Gen.G 1 (Team) Dignitas
It’s easy to put Tempest as number 3 as all of their tournaments this year they have placed third. They have shown glimpses of promise, have an extremely good tank and support and they are well known for their team fighting prowess. They can make good teams look bad and have a good record versus Miracle. However, they can be rash and over-aggressive in games; Gen.G has their number this year and Dignitas in the play-off stage beat them 3-1 in Sweden.
I think both Gen.G and Dignitas are better than them but Tempest can run both of these teams close and should be better than everyone else in the field.
Gen.G are my number 2 team in the power rankings (I think I may be alone in ranking them as number 2). They are a brilliant team who have won ‘everything’ with some of the highest skilled players in the game and a great coach. They draft, rotate, macro and play mechanically fearsomely well. Why then number 2?
Simply put I think Gen.G are at their weakest when they are at their strongest. If I can unpack that; when Gen.G are performing really well, when they expect to dominate series, when Rich tries to play versus the entire team, that’s when they are weakest. That’s when they lose semi-finals to Fntic, give up series to Miracle, and almost lose a best of 7 with a one game advantage to Dignitas. I also think that Dignitas are extremely good…
Dignitas are my number 1 in the power rankings. They have only lost one series in league play in 2018 (and that was a series with nothing riding on it). They almost pulled off a miracle come-back series win against Gen.G with only a Genji final cut denying them. They dominated the Western Clash. They also have extremely mechanically skilled players, great macro and they have a great mentality. In LAN’s they seem to get better as the tournament goes on.
With Jaypl leaving I think they will be even hungrier and their bootcamp in Korea will have further honed their play. If Dignitas get to the final they will win it I believe. They just have to get out of their group as number 1, not lose a best of 3 quarterfinal, avoid Gen.G in the semi-finals and they’ve got it in the bag. Easy really.
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Hoofit has been following Heroes Esports since 2016 and has enjoyed watching and writing about Heroes especially since HGC has come about. He is fortunate enough to have gone to 2 events live and met some great people at those events. He has followed Team Liquid since they were mYinsanity and still supports them despite their recent downturn. Having graduated from an English university he now works there to fund his need for Heroes of the Storm merchandise.