Howdy everyone. Sorry about the delay in articles, but I’m sure you can imagine it’s been pretty hectic over here with the NGS blog going down. Regardless, the rest of the writers and I have made a commitment to finish out the season strong and continue covering the happenings around the divisions. Another big thanks to Trolls.gg who have been gracious enough to allow for my writers and I to post are articles here until we get a new website up and running. With that out of the way let’s dive into how the playoffs are shaping up and how might the Wildcard Weekend influence them.
Disclaimer: All of the rankings are being pulled on September 28th from the standings sheet here:
Division D East
Well, it’s been neck and neck all season between Wood League and LuBu for the no. 1 playoff seed, but in the end, Wood League was able to clinch it, primarily as a result of their 2-0 victory this round over LuBu as well as Calculated Throw and a draw against That was Jimmy. Fundamental to their success this round as well as the rest of their season was Johanna, being played 11 out of 24 games with a 90.9% win rate. Also up there is 9 games on Whitemane with a 88.9% win rate as well. If you’re looking to get to the finals, this is a team to start formulating plans for. Their most popular map is Towers of Doom probably speaking to their strong teamfight presence. They also enjoy going to point control maps like Braxis Holdout, Infernal Shrines, and Volskaya Foundry to break out their Alexstrasza and Junkrat play, so fair warning.
After that, the race for second becomes much wider. LuBu has home field advantage due to their extremely successful first half of the season and sitting on a 100% win-rate Dehaka on 11 games. That was Jimmy is also looking good having taken a game off Wood League in this past week thanks to their surprise double support Xul tank comp on Volskaya Foundry. United East has the distinction of having never been dominated by any team and drawing against both That was Jimmy and LuBu during the season, though they have yet to face Wood League. Don’t be fooled by the deceptful name, Ban Cho has yet to pick the titular character in a game so far this season, instead choosing to heavily prioritize Jaina, Deckard, and Johanna as a means of setting up reliable and sustained aoe pressure. Last but not least, The Found Vikings have made a name for themselves with their Junkrat and Alexstrasza play, predominantly on Infernal Shrines and Volskaya Foundry, and are also one of the few teams left to still run E.T.C. as a reliable frontline tank.
Moving on to the Wild Card Weekend, the bracket for the first round is as follows:
Missed My E(7) vs Screaming Weenies(15)
Mistakes were Made(10) vs Disturbance(12)
Xul Gin Distillery(8) vs [DG] Reborn(14)
Calculated Throw(9) vs Special Kids(13)
I won’t go through all the teams, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ll be looking out for over the entirety of this weekend. Obviously Missed My E and Xul Gin Distillery have the home field advantage in terms of record, however, as I’ve been saying constantly that due to the nature of best-of-ones, it is very easy to surprise your opponents with a composition they might not otherwise suspect. So look out for things like juice pirates, double support, Valeera and Abathur, and even perhaps a couple Cho’Gals if we’re lucky. Also a shoutout to all the returning teams in this bunch. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than seeing teams continuously work on improving and building on the relationships NGS is known for.
Division D West
Over in the West, one name rises above the rest of the competition, Off-Brand Cereal. Not much in the way of stats I can give beyond the word “perfect”. 11 opponents, 11 dominations. They’re also sporting some of the biggest hero pools around with 8 different heroes with 4 or more games played. If you’d like to take them to a new map to see if that throws them off their game, know that they have still yet to play on Tomb of the Spider Queen and Towers of Doom. Regardless, it’ll be tough to unseat such a dominant team in a best-of-three. With that said though, let’s meet the teams that are going to try.
One of the best chances in defeating Off-Brand Cereal can be found in second place Longhorn Gaming. The two have yet to play and stand alone at the top of the rankings. And, while not boasting a perfect record, the Longhorns were only dominated once during the entire regular season and it was from the no. 4 Lightly Salted way back in Round 1. Since then, they’ve been a dominant force thanks to their reliable Sonya and Stukov play. Also, be sure to take care around their tanks. With an overwhelming priority on Muradin, Diablo, and Garrosh, you can expect them to dominate on the rotations and exploit and punish those that overstep. Beyond second though, the league has been remarkably competitive with the next 5 teams all within 10% points in terms of win-rate. Spicy Bois have been living up to their name, picking up Cho’Gal and Auriel 4 times so far this season to great effect, garnering a perfect win-rate so far. Perhaps a comp Off-Brand Cereal might not be fully prepared to deal with. Lightly Salted is returning from last season where they made it to the quarter-finals in the playoffs. They’ll be looking to do better this season, though will be going against some tough opponents in the Bone Boys, who have also surprisingly shown a propensity to play Cho’Gal with Brightwing. A new found combo perhaps, but something to prepare for regardless. Lastly, we have Mildly Interesting, who clinched a playoff spot late on the final night of the season by dominating Team Skyarch with reliable play from their standard picks of Malfurion, Muradin, Cassia, and most importantly, Valeera, who was able to gank extremely effectively, shutting down many lanes of rotations.
Unfortunately, due to some of the late games and delays in reporting, I’m unable to share what the Wild Card lineup will look like. I wish the best of luck to all the teams and will be sure to cover any crazy results.
The de facto spiciest division sure has been busy these past few weeks. Since I’m skipping out on the end of season meta report, I thought it might interest the readers as to which heroes ended up on top of the division with the craziest meta out there. Xul, Murky, and The Lost Vikings ended the season with a 100% win-rate. In fact, the three of those heroes have a combined higher # of games won than Whitemane. Just goes to show how meta does not always lead to success. With that said let’s move on to the teams. Tied at the top of the division would be the two powerhouses of Married and Mediocre and Memefactory LLC. Both hold 9-2-1 records however in this past round M&M was able to edge out the Memers in a close 2-0. Both teams should be considered especially scary though. M&M has made extensive use of Thrall this season with a perfect 12 game record to prove it. This is backed up by an 8-1 Johanna and 7-0 Jaina. These guys go for control and own the waveclear. Consistently proving to be impossible to deal with on both Tomb of the Spider Queen as well as Cursed Hollow. For Memefactory, their bread and butter has been their ability to control the macro with powerful lane bullies like Dehaka and Yrel, both sporting a 80%+ win-rate. After that, beware of the ganking Genji. While his overall win-rate has been somewhat lackluster in the league, this team has found out how to utilize him effectively. The Memesters have also gotta be happy with their map success rate. 7 of the 8 maps they’ve played have a positive win-rate. The one exception, Cursed Hollow.
Moving on to the rest of the contenders, in the no. 3 seed we have Olaf and the Sweaty Bandits. Much like their brethren in Div D though, the team has yet to show off the Vikings, instead opting for safety and security in the form of the industry standard picks Deckard and Johanna. The team has been pretty stellar so far the season, though a weakness might be pointed out in their low win-rates versus melee assassins like Thrall, Greymane, and Alarak. Up next, we have THE PRINCE’S PEOPLE coming in with a respectable 68.18% win-rate which includes a domination over the aforementioned Married and Mediocre utilizing the excellent Medivh play of iceolation both games. One other thing to note might be the high prioritization of Brightwing with 7 games played so far. It’ll be interesting to see if the rework does anything to change this. Duking it out in fifth place is Save the Murloc and BACKBONE – VC. Something to note might be that while Save the Murloc is technically in the lead due to their domination lead, the teams drew their head to head match in Round 4. Taking a closer look at the stats reveals that the teams are extraordinarily close. KDA, Hero Pool, and average damage done to structures and heroes all point to a very close match-up that will hopefully be very exciting to watch given the opportunity.
In the Wild Card Weekend battle there are five teams currently vying for the last two spots. The initial match-ups below.
Luciodology(11) vs Frank’s Furters(14)
Nexus Cats(7) vs N/A (Bye)
Pigeon Stitches(8) vs MHS Tigers(9)
Now, Nexus Cats only barely missed the cutoff for 6th place so expect them to come out swinging against whoever wins between Luciodology and Frank’s Furters. They will have to play on Tomb of the Spider Queen for this though, increasing the possibility that a stray draft or comp can snowball the early game. Pigeon Stitches will be looking to regain some of the early season momentum to perhaps build a playoff run. They’ll have to go through a battle-hardened MHS Tigers though, a returning team from last year who have always been able to win with the strangest comps like Murky, Butcher, and The Lost Vikings.
Phew, that was a lot to type out. Hopefully I’ll get this up before the games start tomorrow, but if not, oh well. Glad to be back behind the keyboard writing for all of you. Let’s make these playoffs the best we’ve ever had, full of upsets, underdogs, and flamboyant personalities. Cheers to everyone playing!
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