This sunday it happened: The first HoN Tour Cycle Grand Finals in Bronze! Who would man up and be the champion? In the EU region, we had [WSD]Slash Defenders and [IIll]IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (STD) clashing for the title and the extra points and money, and also a nice morale boost with moving into the Silver division.

Game 1

In the first game we have WSD on the Legion side, with JokeShot playing Engineer, PapaTurkish on Fayde, YonggiPK with Pebbles, HansPanda as Glacius and finally Hooven on Master of Arms. On Hellbourne side, Jollem picked Silhouette, Heartskate on Legionnaire, MrLing on Moraxus, Mizukami with Nymphora and SaintroX on Bubbles.

The game started with the death of Kongor in the very first minute of the game. STD slew the oversized gorilla without WSD suspecting it at all. But STD’s advantage did not last long—WSD made up for it as their trilane against Silhouette on top was way too powerful. After 7 minutes, WSD took the lead and now it was on STD to catch up again.

Having gained momentum, WSD initiated a few teamfights and razed towers, increasing their gold lead, while STD maintained a small experience lead and kept avoiding direct confrontation where possible. It took 15 minutes until STD won their first teamfight, but it was enough to balance out the gold advantage and get further ahead in experience. Once again the game shifted in STD's favor.

Some skirmishes followed and during another major teamfight in the Hellbourne jungle Silhouette finally started to take over, securing the victory in at least this team fight by putting out a lot of damage onto the heroes of WSD. Two more won team fights at the bottom lane and a final clash right in the middle then decided the game, STD won the first game.

Game 2

After a short break the second game started. This time we had STD on the Legion side with Jollem playing Tremble, Heartskate on Tempest, MrLing got Fayde, Mizukami played Engineer and SaintroX on Bubbles.

WSD on the other side selected Master of Arms for JokeShot, PapaTurkish played Dampeer, YonggiPK on Wretched Hag, HansPanda with Aluna and Hooven took care of Wildsoul and Booboo.

WSD started aggressively right from the go and occupied the Legion jungle until the first minute, fending off an attempt to flush them out and securing wards at several neutral creep spots. And so it was no wonder that they eventually scored Bloodlust on poor Bubbles after a prolonged battle in the mid lane that started out with 3 people in total and ended with all supports joining in.

Tremble was eaten by Booboo not long after and 10 minutes in, but surprisingly STD was in the gold lead because they had a jungler and managed to destroy a tower. Also, just like last game, STD managed to firmly keep their lead in experience. And while WSD committed to destroying the top tower, STD made a play that took two enemy heroes out and destroyed a tower themselves. Way to recover from the early pressure!

STD continued to stay ahead in the game for quite a while, razing towers and making use of all of their heroes skills, putting WSD in a bad spot. The tide finally turned when Wildsoul got a quad kill in a prolonged fight near the Hellbourne ancients. After a short spree for WSD, the game calmed down again and both teams were at the same level in kills, experience and gold.

A standoff at the bottom secondary tower of Hellbourne led to a major teamfight that ended with two kills on both sides, but since STD managed to kill Wildsoul, they went out ahead. Both teams went back to farming for a while and it was WSD who gather for a push in the middle, winning a big teamfight and following it up with the destruction of several towers and the middle set of barracks. STD wavered and after a failed Kongor attempt, the loss of their courier and another lost teamfight, they conceded the game.


Game 3

The final game saw WSD on the Legion side again. JokeShot picked Engineer, PapaTurkish liked his Dampeer so much that he played him again, YonggiPK on [Master Of Arms, HansPanda played Glacius and Hooven with Zephyr.

On the Hellbourne side, STD picked themselves Silhouette for Jollem, Heartskate took Keeper of the Forest, MrLing on Pebbles, Mizukami on Aluna and finally SaintroX on Tundra.

From the set-up the third game reminded me of the first one. Silhouette against a trilane on top, the dual stun lane mid and the solo/suicide clashing bottom, even the first blood on Silhouette and the followup kill on her again were the same. Heck, even the permanent experience lead of team STD was the same. So, if everything was the same as last time, would the outcome be the same too?

All in all it was a relatively slow game after the first few kills—it took until minute 10 before the first big push happened and STD destroyed the first tower. WSD answered by killing more heroes, but this time STD struck back, making use of invisibility and waiting patiently for their targets to run into their trap. All in all the game was balanced at this point, other than Silhouette dying over and over again: 5 times already in 12 minutes.

Moving on, the next minutes brought some action but little change. The Legion was up in gold by a tiny amount, while the Hellbourne kept their slight XP advantage. After a Kongor kill near the 25th minute the action finally picked up again when STD successfully defended their top second tower by winning a teamfight. And some minutes later they repeated their teamfight success and finally got a proper lead in both gold and xp.

With the momentum from their victorious teamfight, STD pushed into the enemy base and killed the tower at the barracks before retreating back to their own part of the map. It was now their game to lose. Again the game was slowed down to a crawl and a Kongor standoff began that ended when STD made their move. Unfortunately, just at the time when the battle started, a pause was called, and even this bit of action had a long downtime in between.

Being in a better spot from the beginning of the fight, STD clearly won it without any losses and destroyed the middle barracks right after that. WSD put everything into a bottom push after resurrecting and this ended in yet another teamfight at a tower. The Hellbourne tower went down but so did 4 of the WSD heroes. With a significant lead, STD killed Kongor and prepared their final assault. The forces clashed at the Legion top barracks and a double ultimate by Keeper of the Forest decided the game.

STD wins the series 2-1!

Jollem from STD was nice enough to give a few comments about the game and his plans for the future.

How were the games for you and your team?

Jollem: Well, going in we weren't taking it very seriously, even though we picked seriously. I had looked over some replays of our opponents and stated that they were good, but pubstars. We weren't really focused from the start, I hadn't eaten, which led to us getting far behind, despite a level 1 Kongor from our side (it took us about 2 minutes to throw that advantage away). But we shaped up, made a comeback in game 1, threw away game 2 while running an all-in setup and finally played well in game 3, despite us having a rough start.

I'm sure you and your team are quite happy now, what are your feelings about the next cycle in Silver? Will it be another straight march to the top again?

Jollem:Without being too cocky, we kinda expected to finish first place in Bronze, even if we were surprised by the amount of good teams who were playing in the cycle. I really feel that there is no one who can contest us when it comes to the lower leagues and we are expecting straight marches until we reach Diamond, but then it will get a little bit trickier.
I also feel like this Bronze cycle is harder than the Silver one and about the same class as the Gold cycle, because of a lot of new teams forming.

Where do you see your team at the end of all the cycles? Do you think you still have a chance to get into the Grand Final event after that?

Jollem: Our main goal is to qualify for the offline event, but there is a long way to get there and a lot of competition for it. It will all come down to how much we practice and how much we don't want to kill each other.

Thanks to both teams for exciting games to watch and congrats to STD for becoming the first Bronze EU Champion!