Winners Bracket Match two in Group B of the Playoffs is going to be a big one. Two young but well known and pretty strong teams are set to play each other here, and both have been preparing for quite a while after a rather successful Season so far. Let's take a look at each of them before going into the second match of Group B this week.
[Null]Nullstone Gaming - #4 Seed
This is it, the big American team roaming Newerth and putting europeans in their place. Nullstone Gaming originate from parts of older American teams and decided to give it a shot at climbing the ladder to the top this season, with most of the strong teams from last season out of the picture. They placed in Gold Division right away after the Qualifiers and quickly moved on to Diamond Division where they would stay for the remaining seven cycles and get some impressive placements. And while they did not do as well as the top 3 teams, they are right behind them, ready to challenge and take their place whenever the opportunity arrives. Here is an exact list of their rankings from the last eight cycles:
Cycle 1: Gold: Champions (as Blue Dingleballs)The team has made quite an impression on the competition so far, proving that they could take on even the best of them on a good day, ruining several ambitions of the older teams. Their lineup, one that has changed every now and then, is one of top American players currently playing active in HoN - their strategies are as innovative as they are effective. Their lineup for the Playoffs will probably be as follows, but it is still subject to change:
Cycle 2: Diamond: 3rd place
Cycle 3: Diamond: 5/6th place
Cycle 4: Diamond: 5/6th place
Cycle 5: Diamond: 2nd place
Cycle 6: Diamond: 4th place
Cycle 7: Diamond: 5/6th place
Cycle 8: Diamond: 4th place
[Null]WhaT_YoU_GoT: Captain, Jungle, Secondary Support
[Null]FuzzySloth: Mid, Initiator
[Null]`Drentz: Substitute, Support, Jungle
A few question marks there for now, but once this team gets rolling, there is no stopping the stones. As far as this match goes, it will be a pretty even one. The Nullstones defeated their opponent in the previous match in Cycle 8 but their team member fluctuation and the big efforts that the other team has been taken might turn the tide this time. If you want to know more about this team, there is also an interview with BeaverBanger from early in the season here to get a picture of the team and what drives them. Overall, the Nullstones are in a good position to make it to the Final Four and maybe even the Finals there, but if they want to go all the way around the globe, they need to give everything they got every single game.
[Ogr]Shrek is Love - #7 Seed
The Ogres could be considered the top team that isn't a top team yet. Consisting of several veteran players of past top Gold and Diamond teams, they haven't had a chance for the big break yet, but have proven time and again that the future may be theirs. They started out as a team when the Carnage in Caldavar event was in full swing, only having to submit to what are currently the strongest teams around. Going into Season 3, they had some setbacks, spending plenty of time in the Gold Division, but always were just one step away from Diamond Division. And when they were in Diamond, they made sure to make their opponents work hard in every game. Here are their exact placements over the course of 8 Cycles:
Cycle 1: Diamond: 7/8th placeThis may not seem as impressive as other teams around their rank, but they always had to deal with teams above them, so they are much stronger than their match history this Season lets on. The team has been in this lineup for quite a while and they have improved all aspects of play, especially in the last few weeks, going as far as to gather in real life for a proper boot camp. As mentioned before the team members all have a history in older teams that have been top tier in Gold and Diamond, including the old QsQ 357 from Season 1. Their exact lineup for the Playoffs reads as follows:
Cycle 2: Gold: 3rd place
Cycle 3: Gold: 3rd place
Cycle 4: Gold: 2nd place
Cycle 5: Diamond: 5/6th place
Cycle 6: Diamond: 7/8th place
Cycle 7: Gold: 2nd place
Cycle 8: Diamond: 5/6th place
[Ogr]Kluckmuck: Captain, Support
[Ogr]TheDenverPro: Jungle, Secondary Support
The Playoffs are going to be their true test now, determining their future along the way. They certainly have the ability to go all the way, but so far they lacked a bit of consistency and punch, usually getting shot down by stronger teams despite their best efforts. Now their bootcamp may be the joker in this, if they trained hard and planned their strategies properly, they could be able to take their opponents now by surprise and later gain enough confidence to make it to the Final Four, even into the Finals. For the group stage, don't expect them to get through it in the Winners Bracket, but the Losers Bracket will probably be where they qualify, giving us plenty of entertaining matches along the way.
Due to rescheduling, the first big match of Group B will happen later this Thursday at 16:00 EST | 22:00 CET. Honcast will be covering the match live and it's going to be a feast for all HoN fans out there for sure, so make sure to tune in at the right time. The winner of this will move on to challenge [Rea]Reason Gaming this weekend while the loser gets a second chance in the Losers Bracket, playing against [RmR]Ride my Rocket this Saturday. Good Luck and Have Fun to both teams!
Blaze is a senior Hontour.com writer focusing on the NA/EU Diamond and Gold Divisions. After making a name for himself in the Dawn of War 1 scene, he began his career in journalism at DawnOfWar.de. As one of the first HoN Tour writers, Blaze has focused on the less known teams, bringing their name to the forefront. When he isn’t writing about HoN, Blaze enjoys playing RPGs, writing fiction, and listening to Metal, Avantgarde, and Neofolk music.
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