The gloves are off this weekend in the HoN Tour playoffs as the favorites all collide in the Upper Bracket Semis. With Fresh, compLexity, Evil Corporation and Bad Monkey Gaming all making it through the first round unscathed, the big matches start early.
Two teams, two continents, one winner
Especially the matchup between compLexity Gaming and Fresh is of much intrigue. Both teams started the playoffs as the clear favorites, solidified by the performance in the DeadEye Bounty League. As a matter of fact both squads were the only teams to end the stacked tournament with a victory – but only Fresh took away the championship. Nevertheless it will be the battle of two of the best teams in HoN, if not the best teams after Sync eSports.
That DeadEye Bounty League was also the last time these two juggernauts of the HoN scene clashed in an official match. On the last week of the group stage the red-black roster squared off against the minty Fresh boys around probusk, parting ways in a draw. No momentum gained, no confidence lost there. Now the result has to be decisive for either one of the teams to advance one step closer to the Grand Finals and therefore to Bangkok, Thailand. Who is the better team though? Statistically throughout HoN Tour the edge would go to compLexity Gaming, but only by the slimmest of margins. In the nine matches between the squads in HoN Tour, a grand total of four ended in a draw, four times coL was the winner, only once was Fresh able to celebrate after. That, plus the consistency of coL making it into seven of the eight playoffs, winning three titles to the one of Fresh is making compLexity the favorite on paper.
Why the hesitation then? Well, it might be a prisoner of the moment situation. Fresh is the most current champion in HoN's pantheon, even slaying the beast that is Sync eSports. Their path to the Grand Finals of the DeadEye Bounty League might have only been against the already eliminated WOP DASH. A win against Sync eSports though is a win over the strongest team in HoN right now – the only team can is already in Thailand. compLexity Gaming should be cautious, but definitely not timid of the task at hand. On Saturday only one thing is for sure: The audience will be a winner. Two big-time teams collide, two of the strongest carries in the game go collecting gold coins, Europe against America – who will win?
World Champs vs. HoN Tour cycle champs
The other match of Saturday looks even more contested on paper. With Bad Monkey Gaming and Evil Corporation being all over the map throughout the season, it's even harder to call a favorite or find out who possesses the edge. Fact is that the season series between the squads is almost as split as it can get. Including the group stage match of the DeadEye Bounty League Evil Corporation walked away four times as the winner, Bad Monkey Gaming three times with three draws as well. The map score in total is 12-9 in favor of ECx with their only playoff matchup in Cycle 3 ending 1-2 for BMG.
All fascinating stats that sadly don't really tell a story or give definitive odds on who's favored. Both teams are veterans of the game, both teams can look at titles and accomplishments in their past – for BMG further back in the past though. As the reigning World Champ they feel the pressure of getting back to Thailand, as ECx wants another shot at the big stage after getting blown out by Neolution eSports.MRR at DreamHack Summer 2015.
Most recently the series titled a little bit towards the Monkeys, adding two decisive victories over the evil suits in Cycle 8 and the DeadEye Bounty League. Little disclaimer to that stat – ECx went on to win Cycle 8 with only one loss on their record. It might be entire the case that ECx is the stronger team overall, but BMG seems to have their number recently. Now with iNsania in the mix and the convincing blowout win last Saturday against Reason Gaming they look poised and ready to take on even bigger challenges. Ironically the next challenge is the team that used to be Reason Gaming – can the Evil Corporation stop the Monkeys from getting into the Upper Bracket finals?
Patiently waiting for the challenge
No matter what happens in the Upper Bracket, the two teams waiting in the Lower Bracket will be the underdogs once more. Reason Gaming and Polymorph fought hard to stay alive in Week 1 of the playoffs, now they will have even bigger challenges on Sunday. As they will face the two losers of the Saturday, they have to deal with two angry teams looking to make a statement.
That is the one side of the story, on the other side they could also face teams demotivated and on tilt. Whatever they face, they will have to be more than ready to make some magic happen. It was a foregone conclusion to most of the fans of competitive Heroes of Newerth that the big four of HoN will make into the final weekend of the playoffs. Now it's Reason Gaming and Polymorph as the gatekeeper of that scenario.
The first bout with members of the Big Four didn't go so well for neither Polymorph nor Reason Gaming. Have they learned their lessons and are now ready to compete and swing for the fences? A dream trip to Thailand hangs in the balance. HoN: Any Given Sunday style!
Follow all the action of the HoN Tour playoffs this weekend with BreakyCPK and the Honcast community on twitch.tv/honcast!
Saturday, May 14th:
compLexity Gaming vs. Fresh – 12:00 EDT | 18:00 CEST
Evil Corporation vs. Bad Monkey Gaming – 15:00 EDT | 21:00 CEST
Sunday, May 15th:
Polymorph vs. Loser ECx/BMG - 12:00 EDT | 18:00 CEST
Reason Gaming vs. Loser coL/Fresh - 15:00 EDT | 21:00 CEST
Fantasy is a journalist with four years of experience working in various eSports. He is currently the HoN Tour correspondent for the CIS and SEA regions, as well as an editor for both ESL Gaming and compLexity Gaming. In addition to his online endeavors, he studies Publicity and Communication, plays American football, and loves movies.