By Crowslaw

One of the more anticipated matches this past weekend was the Trademark eSports vs. compLexityGaming Loser’s Bracket Semi Final match. The loser of this match would fall to 4th place for the Qualifiers while the winner would move on to face the loser of Gary Johnson 2024 vs. QsQ (VOTE won) in hopes of facing the winner at the Grand Finals. The series went to an uncommon three matches, so let's jump on in and hope they were as exciting as we were hoping for.

Game 1

Game 1 started off with nothing too fancy—standard locks and bans coming out from both sides, the most noticeable locks being Pollywog Priest and Flux, two heroes who don't get to see too much game time. The really interesting part came from the picks, when we saw a Succubus pick up from iNsania being played by Limmp. Will this be a competitive comeback for Succubus or a harsh reminder as to why she isn’t played anymore? We would find out, as she faced the very safe picks coming out from bkid as he had Chessie on War Beast and Haxxeren play Magebane.

Lanes started off as they should with nothing much playing out. Overall this was the most action-packed part of the game with Succubus getting a first blood kill on Tundra middle; Glacius was too late to save or avenge his teammate as Succubus escaped the follow-up. Half of the kills throughout the entire game happened early on with Magebane, Tundra, Engineer and Tremble getting picked off.

After a while it seemed that each team was playing safe. No one wanted to overextend and we constantly saw Master Of Arms farm the Hellbourne jungle with Parasite while coL stuck to their ancients and would occasionally come towards the jungle but retreat soon after. Both teams farmed their own jungle and ancients as a group, never leaving their team’s side. Throughout this game I constantly hoped for initiation, but in the mid game the only action was Parasite walking into the Hellbourne team in their jungle.

With Master of Arms and Tremble both nearing 500 gpm for Trademark and a fully farmed Magebane and War Beast for compLexity, it ended up coming down to a single team fight to determine the game near the one-hour mark.

Trademark conceded after losing a fight at the Kongor pit, failing to prevent the attempt for the Token of Life by War Beast. With a Shrunken Head and Brutalizer in addition to the rest of his items, he was near invincible while in his ultimate form, constantly getting first hit bash proc's onto Parasite and preventing any kind of escape or retaliation.

If this is what the rest of the series was going to look like, I felt many people would be severely disappointed by the performance of both teams. coL being up 1-0 is exactly where they want to be though—one more game and they will be going through to the Loser’s Bracket finals and possibly the Grand Finals.

Game 2

Game 2 proved to be a very entertaining match, starting with the picks from Trademark. We saw the revival of the tank-push strat with pickups like Zephyr and Balphagore with a Demented Shaman behind them. With coL's lineup of Engineer, Bubbles and Wretched Hag, do they have enough to stop the mass Creeps and heals coming from tdM?

Trademark threw a wildcard at compLexity this game by sending Tempest middle versus Fayde, something not even BreakyCPK and Tralfamadore could seem to grasp. With Zephyr and Glacius facing a suicide Bubbles, noobG on Zephyr decided to man up and they chose to backlane the tower to push on it heavy.

This proved to be what they needed and they got the tower down fast, despite giving a double tap to Bubbles with the assistance of Engineer. Also of note: a failed gank attempt from Keeper of the Forest onto Tempest resulted in a Bloodlust for zai` in mid, who died to Fayde shortly after the damage had been done.

tdM regrouped and pushed the lanes hard, killing five towers and beginning to pressure the barracks just around the 10-minute mark. After pulling back and getting an early Kongor and the token of life on Zephyr, tdM pushed into the coL base, taking down a tier three tower and a melee barracks. Despite coL pushing them back, Trademark had accomplished what they set out to do in breaking down the compLexity base.

Despite having the lead in experience and gaining a gold lead in the mid game, compLexity was under pressure from being down a barracks so early and using all five members to successfully defend.

And in spite of accusations of running a cheesy lineup or doing an all-in type of strategy, tdM certainly caught compLexity and everyone watching off guard.

Their efforts resumed and they repeatedly tried to break into the base at bottom, with compLexity holding off the onslaught and genociding them for what seemed like 7 or 8 times until tdM finally got through.

It came down to a saving grace Elemental Void from Tempest, who had been unsuccessful in getting off an ultimate longer than a second until that point. With most of compLexity having Tablets of Command it seemed impossible to get off any kind of channeled spell; even Balphagore was unable to portal out and was denied several times by the push book.

After another long game we saw tdM finally beat the seemingly unstoppable coL, requiring a third game which is—certainly uncommon for these stages of HoN Tour Qualifiers with most games decided in a 2-0 fashion.

Game 3

Hoping Game 3 would not disappoint, we were all quite shocked that tdM ran almost the same lineup. After remaking the game because of a mis-pick from iNsania the game went on without a hitch for tdM.

Exchanging Tempest for Keeper of the Forest in suicide was the only change for tdM, with Demented Shaman and Balphagore mid and Zephyr with Glacius bottom. coL went for a safer route yet again, and things quickly went very poorly for compLexity despite the seemingly strong laning phase.

Just after six minutes, tdM started to group and push towers with no response from coL. War Beast seemed completely useless this game—although he free farmed for the first few minutes, once towers were being pushed he could do nothing except counter-push where possible.

Eight minutes into the game Zephyr touted a 526 GPM and Helm of the Black Legion, Ghost Marchers and Mystic Vestments, and compLexity could not stop the mass push from tdM. tdM devastated team fights with their combined ultimates Root, Typhoon and Hell on Newerth. Bubbles, Torturer and Aluna didn’t stand a chance.

When the lineup was first picked Tralfamadore made a comment about the trollish nature of the choices, and despite the obvious intent it seemed coL thought they could just outplay and win with their safe picks. Trademark played extremely well throughout the last two games and the third was by far their best performance.

Unlike game two, this contest was over before 15 minutes had passed. During game two we saw coL able to hold off and win team fights for almost 30 minutes. Game three ended when coL called the gg wp’s just after 17 minutes. This marked the first time that compLexity lost a tournament match in about three months.

compLexity finishing in 4th place in the HoN Tour Qualifiers is not a reason to panic—they will be fine, but these losses may affect them during DreamHack. Although Trademark and compLexity are not in the same group, they could face each other in the finals and now every team has seen a way to defeat compLexity.

This is really something that compLexity will have to deal with and learn to beat fast. Wasting a ban on heroes like Balphagore and Zephyr will leave many other options, and who knows what other strategies can come from the other teams—strategies that will certainly impact Cycle 1 of HoN Tour.

- Crowslaw