The Western Clash just finished and it created plenty of talking points. Upsets aplenty with Team Liquid and Tempo Storm going out on the first day. A great run from the unfancied Leftovers (EU’s 4th seed) which saw them reach the finals, and of course, Team Dignitas having an utterly dominant tournament not dropping a single map. The production was on point with no noticeable delays or issues, just good games. This was clearly helped by being at the fabulous Blizzard Arena which showed it is a good venue for non-Overwatch games.
By most measures the Western Clash was a success, but what can we expect from the Eastern Clash. I’m not able to predict the production and hope for the best, but what of the games? How will China do? Will they show up? Will they lose every series? Will Blossom upset the world by getting to the final? Will a top contending team get knocked out on day one? Are Gen.G the favourites and will repeat Dignitas’ performance and win every single map?
The first point to mention is that the Eastern Clash is a very different beast than the Western Clash in that the regions are far different in terms of ability. NA LUL is a meme and sounds funny, but NA is much closer in talent to EU than China is to KR. If looked at objectively whilst NA is weaker than EU, the best of NA can compete with EU, beat European teams and get top 3 positions. China is not as strong as NA and Korea’s top 3 (Gen.G, Tempest and Ballistix) are stronger than Europe’s top 3.
China at the Eastern Clash
If any region should be considered a meme region it is China. I don’t say this with any pleasure being an avid watcher of the fabulously entertaining Monday-Wednesday Chinese league, but it is a weak region. It is certainly the weakest of the major regions. Even Kendric and Tetcher (the casters for the English broadcast of HGC China) admit the gulf in class between the two regions at the Eastern Clash. China does not play the maps as well as other regions, they are fantastically aggressive when they should macro, and make too many late-game mistakes which cost them games.
So, I can confidently say that we won’t have a Chinese team in the top 3. However, some are claiming , that we won’t have a single Chinese team beating a Korean team? I am going to be bold and say there’s a good chance we will see a Chinese team beating a Korean team. Indeed, I am going to predict this.
Partially because I think TheOne and SPT (Super Perfect Team) are decent teams. Especially TheOne who has shown some good play in the league, are able to macro well, play the map and fight when needed ‘like a Korean team.’ Partially because I think Blossom doesn’ took too impressive, and are still labouring with having their best tank playing ranged whilst they have a returning player unconvincingly tanking (Hongcono).
I have already mentioned one upset that I think China will take a series off Korea but what of other upset potentials? I don’t think we will see Team Blossom in a Leftovers style run to the finals as Tempest and Gen.G are too strong, and neither do I see a Chinese team getting to within a game of the finals.
The only other realistic upset that I can see happening relates to Ballistix, the third seed of Korea. If we look at recent games from MSB (Mid-Season Brawl) onwards they have not looked like the world-beating team they once were. They were frankly poor at MSB going out in 5-6th place and were well beaten by both Gen.G and Tempest, 3-1 in each case though the one game against Tempest they won, they benefited from a Tempest late game throw.
Because of this I see a small chance of an upset that TheOne or Blossom could beat them. I also see about the same chance that Ballistix could beat a misfiring Tempest and would count that as an upset too. I think it would be a huge upset for Ballistix to win the Eastern Clash as I think the gap is quite far between them and the first seed, Gen.G.
My tips for the Finals
I think the Final will be Tempest vs Gen.G and Gen.G will win it. It is perhaps not the bravest of predictions, predicting the top 2 Korean teams to be in the finals. Sometimes you have to go with the highest likelihood and not bet against a team that got to the MSB finals (and won it). And you have to go with a team in Tempest that has looked like a top 3 world team since the MSB.
Tempest has quite an easy run to the winner’s bracket finals playing a weakened CE and then Blossom or SPT. To get to the final they then have to pull off a BO5 win against Gen.G in the winners bracket, or drop to the losers bracket and win one more BO5 to get to the final. I think a lot has been made in the past of Tempest being an unpredictable team that can play terribly or really well, but I think this is overstated and certainly is not the case presently. Whilst they can play better some games, I think their worst is still good and still good enough to beat whoever they might need to (likely Ballistix) in the losers bracket final.
Gen.G recently have shown us how good a team they are. They won the MSB despite an extremely partisan crowd cheering for their opponents (I was there, the atmosphere was electric). Bar the series to Miracle they have had a dominant Phase 2. I do not, however, think they will repeat Dignitas’ dominant performance and not lose a single map. I think KR is a stronger region and other teams are closer to Gen.G than EU/NA was to Dignitas. Gen.G can sometimes lose focus when playing (as can be seen versus Miracle). Additionally they have dropped maps to both Ballistix and Tempest this phase.
Hence, I predict a Gen.G versus Tempest final which Gen.G win 4-2. I’d love to be wrong and have a different winner and have a more competitive Eastern Clash, but there we go, Gen.G win another title and make up for not winning the last Eastern Clash.
Gen G at MSB – photo by Me!
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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.