With HoN Tour's first weekend successfully behind us, teams are consoling each other among all the stomps that happened (let's face it, there were a lot of stomps this weekend). I'd like to offer a friendly reminder to the Heroes of Newerth populace that your teammates are your friends and you should not be at each other's throats over whatever misfortune transpired this weekend.

And now on to why you're here (or so I hope).

The qualifiers have been riddled with emotion between teams—frustration with each other, internet issues and the occasional rage quit—but one thing I'd like everyone to keep in mind is that none of this is your fault. This was bound to happen because the brackets have not been sorted out, and it would be unfair to most teams to just segment teams automatically based on mmr and have them fight each other. For those that lost (such as my team Frigid Fox Gaming), take the matches this weekend with a grain of salt because it is a learning experience.

There are several things that I'd like all of you to go back and look at:

How much experience does the captain or your team have with Lock Pick?

Lock Pick is a brutal mode, unforgiving to teams who do not have experience with it and to those teams who are unable to get a good line-up out of it. You have to be able to make adjustments on the fly and know what you want to do going into it.

For example, in my first match I wanted to pick up Moraxus. With my team never playing a match before there was no reason to ban it against us, yet our opponents just didn't want him in the game and banned him last.

This screwed us up because of our inexperience in Lock Pick; the heroes that were in the pool were not going to work with our strategy.

Does your team have defined roles and are they comfortable playing those roles?

MoonMeander plays suicide, NoVa plays support, AngryTestie plays a carry; everyone knows this, and your team must have players who commit to playing a certain style. Now certainly NoVa can play Bubbles, AngryTestie can play Pollywog Priest, and MoonMeander can mid (just not with The Chipper versus Behemoth).

Are you willing to review your matches and accept mistakes?

A key to learning is to go over matches as a team. Teams in all sports watch replays of themselves and their opponents for an overview of what occurred—in the moment, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is happening.

Admitting your faults is the first step in becoming a better player. Also, try not to call out your teammates too much on mistakes they have made, unless it's really funny (someone should gather clips from HoN Tour for a montage).

Laning Phase: What do you do?

Laning is extremely important but the question is tri-lane, dual mid, aggressive jungle, 2-1-2, 2-1-1-1? There are so many options, and being able to adjust your lanes in-game to counter an opponent is something you have to keep in mind.

Too often this weekend, suicides got matched against a tri-lane and were forced to concede the lane because the team could not help without losing every other lane.

Team Fights and Pushing

The team that has the better laning phase usually will start to push early while the other team turtles to try and make a comeback. If you’re pushing, keeping the pressure on is essential while maintaining your own team's farm.

My team experienced lost lanes but it did not hurt our team fight, as once we were able to hit 6 we could do some crazy Power Ranger transform super ulti and kill the enemy team. This often came at too much of a cost, though it gave us enough hope to try again until we couldn't muster a resistance any longer.

Looking to next weekend, the competition will get that much harder. Teams that got lucky and managed to make it through should be focusing on talking with your team and reviewing your strategy. It isn't going to get easier as you get into high Silver, Gold and Diamond divisions.

One thing to keep in mind is to use the channels ScrimLow, ScrimMid and ScrimHigh to find matches during the week to prepare for your upcoming matches or just general practice if you are knocked out.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun—is all the stress and preparation for matches worth it if you aren't having a good time at the end of the day?

GLHF and Game HoN!

- Crowslaw