The World Finals are less than two weeks away as the HoN scene eagerly counts down the days till a new champion is crowned. Eight of the elite teams from around the world are traveling to Thailand in order to fight for the ultimate tournament victory. Prior to the departure of teams and crew the four main English casters have shared their predictions for the event. Read up what Breaky, iNsania, Ragroste` and Matthewmatical expect from the NA/EU scene, Thai squads, the event itself and also the CIS squad.
Who is your favorite to win it all?
Breaky: This season of HoN Tour has been no doubt the most even of seasons we have had as far as certain teams being victorious at points, and others being defeated when least expected. However in the end Sync eSports did what I would think a fair amount of people expected going into the season, and won the regular season thus earning their spot. Obviously MRR has to be highly recognized, but I think the determination and want from Sync, especially Zlapped, could push them over the edge to win it all.
iNsania: I have no choice but to believe in my old teammates. SynC all the way.
Ragroste`: I would have to go with DDOG, their style of play and the way they have been playing as of late, I think they're going to be the team to beat.
Matthewmatical: It's gotta be compLexity Gaming. I do not think they will let this second chance opportunity go to waste. They have been competing with Sync very strongly in scrims and they also are adopting their own versions of Thai strats which should keep things interesting.
Name the Darkhorse #1!
Breaky: Darkhorse is hard to do in an event like this, but if DDoG is considered that then I would say them. They reached the semi-finals last year, losing to MRR who has really proven themselves on the scene. And they also won the regular season for Thailand this year, so no doubt they will be a fun team to watch and see how they perform.
iNsania: Considering compLexity didn't win their qualifier, I think they could be considered a Dark Horse and I hope the SEA teams don't underestimate them. I think they have a very good shot at winning the entire event.
Ragroste`: Wingbow Gaming, They're going into the tournament with the mindset of "we have nothing to lose" so they could really come in and impress everyone, maybe even take a few games off some good teams and make it out of groups.
Matthewmatical: MiTH.MiXs is underrated as a team and I'm fairly certain we will see them in the Top 4.
Who will surprise the most people?
Breaky: I think if there is going to be a surprise, it has to be either MEKA or Wingbow gaming. Frankly, I don't expect much out of Wingbow gaming as we haven't had the strongest representation from Malaysia in recent events, but MEKA I think has a chance to pull out some big results and possibly make Top 4.
iNsania: I think it's impossible to call, that's why it's called a surprise. I hope sync outperforming everyone is the biggest surprise for the event.
Ragroste`: DDOG, the strongest team going into this tournament, and with them not winning anything major, I think this will be their time to shine.
Matthewmatical: Well, I think once again all of the Thai teams are going to surprise people. I only have about 20 recent matches casted to base my opinion off of, but I am confident that these teams are going to be able to compete with the NA/EU teams indefinitely. I have discussed some of the strats with a few competitive players who at first brushed them off, but are now starting to realize there may be something to their pick style and itemization.
Last World Championship we had 3 Thai teams in the Semifinals. How many this time and who/why?
Breaky: Well simply math suggests of course that they have by far the best odds to make the top 4 due to 4 of the 8 teams being from Thailand. But breaking it down, I wouldn't be surprised at all if once again 3 of the 4 make the top 4, the ones being left out Kimochi. Despite their awesome logo, I just don't know if they are as strong as the others.
iNsania: Depending on the format, I believe both our NA/EU teams should make it into the semi finals. However, without seeing the groups it's impossible to tell.
Ragroste`: I think we're going to see two teams, most likely DDOG and MRR, while i think the other Thai teams are good, I don't think they will be able to take down Sync and coL.
Matthewmatical: I can guarantee there will be at least two. DD0G, MiTH.MiXs, and MRR are all competing on the same level and are a step ahead of the other non NA/EU International teams.
Will the Sync eSports curse break - why?
Breaky: So Sync has of course had some shortcomings in the last couple of LAN events, including last years world finals not even making the top 4. Not to make excuses however, but the bo1 format last year caught them off guard, and I am confident if instead it was Bo2 that they would likely have made it. This year is Bo2, and they come in with MUCH more experience. I think they will easily make the top 4, what they do from there will be fun to watch.
iNsania: From my point of view, the only thing this Sync team shares with the old one is the tag. They play a different style. They play under different leadership. I don't think it applies to them.
Ragroste`: Sync didn't have the most consistent roster this season, took them a while to get all 5 players together, but when they did, very quickly they clicked as 5. I think this team is going to really step up and prove just how good they can be, this could be their year If they play as well as they did at the end of the last few cycles.
Matthewmatical: There is no denying Sync has been the most consistent team this season of HoN Tour, solidifying their place in the finals early on. The short answer to this question is a definite yes. Even though the roster has changed a bit, I think even everyone who was watching that unfortunate turn of events learned something about underestimating your opponent. I am sure they and every other team have prepared just a little extra this time.
Which player are you most eager to see over in Thailand?
Breaky: So of course the players of both Sync and compLexity will be awesome to see in Thailand, they are always a fun bunch of guys to hang out with and just talk about HoN. But also getting to see some of the Thailand players, such as punkpang and chitiwan , it's weird. You would think after doing these events for 6 years now I wouldn't be as "star struck" but we don't get to see those guys nearly as much let alone cast them. It's always great just meeting and hanging out with everyone in general though.
iNsania: My brother m`ICKe. I think he's one of the most entertaining to watch, but for me, the atmosphere he creates in a team is his biggest strength.
Ragroste`: Lord`Mikael, watching him for the last few months, he's an absolute monster, I'm so excited to see him in person, I believe he's going to show everyone just how good he can be, one of the most dominating forces in Thai HoN.
Matthewmatical: I am equally excited to meet every single player and the behind the scenes cast of HoN who have contributed so much over the past 6 years.
Who will disappoint most at the World Championships?
Breaky: To disappoint, you have to have high expectations going into the event. The only teams with the pressure I think of succeeding are MRR and Sync. Since I am picking Sync to win it, I think the obvious choice here is MRR. Winning the last DreamHack event really put them on the map if they weren't already and meant a lot to the Thailand HoN scene in general. But now they are on home turf, they are expected I am sure by a lot of their Thai fans to take these finals as well, so they have the most chance of being a disappointment. I would be shocked though if they don't make top 4.
iNsania: With my experience last year at the event, I think it's impossible to tell until you've seen game play. Every team has the ability to impress, but also disappoint.
Ragroste`: It will be the CIS region, I don't think they have improved enough to take on these teams on the big stage, while they might take a game from maybe a Top 4 team, I don't think they're going to make it very far.
Matthewmatical: This is probably an easy one for me. Kimochii is a team that slipped by in the invitational and I have casted maybe 5 of their matches since then. The team is leagues behind all the rest when it comes to farm efficiency, and while they are strong players, failure to react quickly in most games puts them around 15k gold behind by the 25 minute mark, even when winning team fights. That being said, I haven't seen MEKA play in a year, and never saw Wingbow, so who knows.
Will CIS have their breakthrough - why?
Breaky: So this year we get a new CIS team in MEKA after having Cats be the strong team from the region. I will be the first to admit, I haven't had the chance to watch a LOT of CIS HoN, but I know their scene has grown a bit and they are very active with their events as well. So I would like to think that they could have similar impact as Thailand has had in the past, where this could possibly be the year that CIS, in this case MEKA, really shines and shows that they can compete with the best. But being realistic, history suggests that this isn't the case. I look forward on seeing how they compete against the top teams.
iNsania: I would love for the CIS scene to breakout this year, but I doubt it will happen. I haven't seen them perform at the level required to win an event of this size. However, I think they're aggressive play style always makes them a dangerous team depending on the format.
Ragroste`: No, I don't think much has changed in the cis scene to make them play well vs anyone but themselves, but who knows, they might surprise everyone.
Matthewmatical: IT would come as a shock to me, I have casted Meka in the past, and while they play strong as a team, I'm not sure that teamwork alone will be enough to get them far in the tournament.
You'd have to pick your candidate for MVP of the tournament, who would it be?
Breaky: Picking a possible MVP going into such a huge event is a nearly impossible task. But since you asked the question, If I had to choose it would be m`ICKe. This kid has not only proven that he's one of the best in the world for a while now, but his carefree attitude I think is his best weapon. Not feeling pressure, just acting like he's at home enjoying a game he loves to play and happens to be really freaking good at, is big at these LAN events with the lights all around you and the crowds in the stands.
iNsania: The M-God.
Ragroste`: Lord`Mikael, he's the one I'm definitely the most eager to see, an incredibly strong laner. You rarely see him lose his lane and if he does, It's not 1v1, definitely see him being MVP.
Matthewmatical: Well, this is an off question before the tournament but...I think the drafting of DD0G is going to surprise everyone. They consistently swap team leaders and allow multiple players to draft which makes their play style unpredictable. If I had to pick a single I guess Kanom`Pang impresses me the most and I have very high expectations of him.
Last question - pick all eight teams in order of their final placement - GO!
Breaky: How about instead I just pick the teams to make the Top 4! Now this might not be possible since we don't know who is in what group yet, but just picking from who I think are the top 4 teams... Sync, MRR, compLexity and DDoG
7. Wingbow Gaming
1. compLexity Gaming
2. Sync Esports
3. Sig DD0G
4. MiTH.MiXs Phoenix
5. Neolution MRR
6. Meka Esports
8. Wingbow Gaming
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.