The Rise and Fall of Tempest


Tempest’s Early Years

The South Korean Heroes team Tempest had its biggest success in 2016, with a first place finish at DreamHack Summer. A brief four month sponsorship from Tempo Storm followed but the team disbanded and in late 2016 reformed as Tempest again. Success did not follow, however, and 2017 saw Tempest resigned to a string of third place finishes.

The low point in 2017 league play came in phase 2 when Tempest barely beat Blossom to qualify as the 3rd place Korean seed for the HGC Finals. The series went to 5 games and had a close wipe on core which gave them a victory that they barely deserved. It was most unusual for a top 3 Korean team to be challenged by a lower team and Blossom very nearly managed to beat Tempest.

Worse was to come when they were seeded into a HGC Finals group which included Dignitas and Roll20, two capable and dangerous teams. Tempest managed to take a game off Dignitas but lost to Roll20 0-2 and were unceremoniously dumped out of the HGC Finals in the group stage; they did not even get to BlizzCon proper and had to watch on from the sidelines.

The Rise of Tempest

Changes were made in late 2017 with Good joining and Dami returning, but 2018 seemed destined to be a rebuilding year; one where Tempest would be battling with Blossom for third place. Tempest were to face KSV Black, in my opinion the best team fighting team in the world, on the first day of 2018 HGC Korea. I distinctly remember thinking, I hope Tempest can take a game off them.

The first game seemed to bear out all of my fears as Tempest went well behind. Yet, they then won team fight after team fight for a miracle comeback in game 1. Tempest then proceeded to take the next 2 games, picking aggressive blow up team fighting competitions. This from a team that had spent most of 2017 playing macro at an ordinary level. Tempest managed to decisively outfight KSV Black, and win comprehensively  3-0.

This result proved to be not a one-off; Tempest then beat Ballistix 3-1 and only dropped one more game throughout the first half of Phase 1. The two new additions were doing well and there was cause for optimism. Going into the Eastern Clash it seemed that they were a serious contender and could get to the finals at least.

The Decline of Tempest

The Eastern Clash was to follow a familiar trend for Tempest as they came third in another tournament. They were well-beaten by KSV but then performed well against Blossom, setting up a loser finals against Ballistix. In a five game thrilling series that is well worth the watch, Tempest went out in third place, a result which disappointed them but the manner of which they went out, in a close fought series, gave hope.

The teams were to get their rematch in the first week of HGC play after Eastern Clash with the same result as at the Eastern Clash. A very close five game series in which Tempest lost. Frustrating, perhaps, but not the end of the world: with still a great win-loss record and map score, an automatic Mid-Season Brawl qualification spot seemed still a likelihood.

The first sign that there may be trouble ahead was in week 7 when they faced Gluck.A crucible team, they were not thought to be much of a challenge to Tempest and even the most pessimistic Tempest fan envisioned a 3-0 or 3-1 win. The series went to a fifth map and Tempest looked very shaky. Alarm bells were going off ahead of a week 8 which would see them facing KSV, after playing Feliz.

The Fall of Tempest – Week 8

Feliz are a new team to the pro division and firmly rooted in seventh place, well behind Miracle in sixth. They were almost guaranteed to go the crucible. In a region where the top teams and the bottom teams are worlds apart, an easy win for Tempest had to be the expectation. Despite losing to Ballistix in this part, they had a very good map score and a series win over KSV Black in the last part. It was still possible for Tempest to be in the top 2 spots and gain an automatic spot to the Mid-Season brawl even if they lost to KSV, if they beat Feliz convincingly.

Hence, the Tempest series versus Feliz took on more importance than might be expected given their respective standings, as they needed to win the series and win it convincingly. This was not to happen. In a somewhat shocking development one of the Tempest players, Good, arrived late to the studio and Tempest was given a forfeit loss, and Feliz awarded a 3-0 win.

It was later revealed that Good had thought they were the second game and not the first, an astonishing mistake to make and one that reflects badly on both the player and the management. By that mistake Feliz now suddenly had a chance to escape crucible, and realistically Tempest had to beat KSV Black to get an automatic spot to the Mid-Season Brawl. They would get their chance later on in the week.

In the first half of Phase 1 Tempest beat KSV 3-0 after a comeback win in game 1. There was still some hope Tempest could beat KSV Black but after that forfeit loss and subsequent humble apologies their morale was bound to be low. Tempest were up in game 1 and there was a brief glimmer of hope, but then surrendered the lead and proceeded to get comprehensively beaten 3-0 and cap off a disastrous week by falling to third place.

The Present and Future of Tempest

With Week 9 now played, realistically Tempest are going to finish third. There is a chance to get second, but that is dependent on the unlikely circumstance of Ballistix to get beaten by Miracle and for Tempest to beat Blossom. Because of the map difference even if Tempest won 3-2 and Ballistix lost 3-2, Ballistix would still get the second spot.  Miracle are competent but not in the same league as Ballistix and Blossom are a serious challenge (more on that later) so I don’t see that happening.

Tempest must rally themselves and prepare for the playoffs where in all likelihood they will face Blossom for the third spot for the Mid-Season Brawl. It will be a close series and on current form I believe Blossom has every chance and might even be the favourite. As fate would have it, the two teams meet on the last day of HGC Korea in a preview of the playoff match. If Tempest loses, it will cap off a bleak second half of Phase 1 and give the initiative to Blossom for the rematch.

Looking ahead I think Tempest need to reorganise which will take time. I don’t know whether removing Good is the right answer, but Tempest have been disappointing. It is unacceptable for a team to forfeit a series because one of their players got his schedule wrong. I am not trying to excuse Good, it is his fault, but the manager needs to make sure that the players are in the right place, at the right time.

I don’t think that Mid-Season Brawl would be helpful for Tempest. They got to Blizzcon in a similar way and did poorly, and I worry if they beat Blossom in the playoffs they will have a similar result. I don’t think it will do Tempest any favours in the long term if they narrowly escape their group and get knocked out in the first round. There needs to be rebuilding and perhaps not going to the Mid-Season Brawl will be the wake up they need. Whether it is with new players or just improving their discipline, Tempest needs to make changes for Phase 2 HGC.

Tempest play Blossom Saturday 21st April at 11 am CEST, 5 am EDT.

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