A month of competition is nearing the end—a month of Monkey King vaulting, Zephyr storming over the battlefield, Draconis setting the world on fire, Parasite infesting everything and Glacius turning the surface into an icy turf. This month has seen great matches featuring the elite of Heroes of Newerth like compLexityGaming steaming through the Lower Bracket, Domain of Pain, Fortune Bakery and One Trick Pony establishing their teams and Tt eSports, Gary Johnson 2024, Trademark eSports and QsQ cementing their high positions.

Now after several hundred matches, several thousand heroes played, killed and victorious; after thousands of wards placed, Creeps farmed and Ancients stacked—it all comes down to this: Gary Johnson 2024 against Trademark eSports for the first ever HoN Tour Qualifier crown.

If someone would have written a preview for this match before DreamHack Winter 2024, the favorite role would have gone to Gary Johnson, who have not lost a single match in HoN Tour, including a 2-0 victory over Trademark eSports in the Upper Bracket. However, with Trademark eSports now the reigning DreamHack World Champions, they are clearly the favorite in this challenge.

Regardless of stats and records, Gary Johnson 2024 can still look at their online achievements and get a huge boost of confidence. Captain swindlemelonzz is still considered one of the great minds in Heroes of Newerth today, with his extraordinary drafts and smart decisions in terms of tactics. The rest of his team is playing just as well; in the weeks leading up to DreamHack KheZu was playing out of his mind, Skyzoe was able to handle everyone on his suicide lanes, Zfreek was once again the King of the Jungle and Sender proved to be the supporting expert that he is.

Still, the roles have turned with tdM triumphant over the competition at DreamHack Winter, taking home the title, the prestige and $32,000 USD in prize money. They have now defeated the “highlight” team compLexity Gaming twice in a row—using a push tactic as well as a straight-up farm game—and they have done it on the biggest stage HoN has to offer: the DreamArena in Jönköping.

Their individual skills are exceeding almost every other team in the scene right now. Limmp, with the outstanding support of iNsania, is crushing nearly every opponent in the middle lane. Youngster zai` has not only been the MVP throughout the DreamHack tournament but is also a feared competitor when it comes to the suicide lane. Even HoNCaster Tralfamadore is constantly impressed by the young Swedish player and his ability to soak up farm and experience regardless of how difficult the situation on his lane is. On top of that, Mynuts has established himself as a good jungler and drafter and the Danish sensation noobG has become one of the best carries this game has to offer.

tdM sits atop the Heroes of Newerth throne, but it remains to be seen how they will handle that position and pressure. tdM was always the team that could not finish; by finally overtaking coL, they have switched from hunter to hunted and the target is on their back—everyone will be gunning for them.

The game could come down to the big confidence boost that tdM received over the weekend. Will Trademark eSports play with overconfidence after the surge in success, giving swindlemelonzz and his boys an opportunity to take advantage? Or will the huge momentum of DreamHon Winter 2024 carry them to yet another major victory?

All these questions will be answered in the Forest of Caldavar. Stay tuned to HoNTour.com for the match date and time.

- Sören "Fantasy"