This is a recap of the HoN Tour Cycle 1 Diamond Division Grand Finals between [coL]compLexityGaming and [tdM]Trademark eSports. Game 1 took place on Sunday, December 9th.

Game 2

With [coL]compLexityGaming having the upper hand from the previous match, they were only one single map win away from pushing the series into overtime, forcing a second and deciding Best of Three. In order to achieve that, the American team went back to an old friend of the competitive scene: the Magebane played by Haxxeren. That hard carry paired with bkid on Moraxus, MoonMeander running Tempest, Franzzii on Glacius and Chessie on Ophelia formed the squad for coL.

[tdM]Trademark eSports countered that roster with Keeper of the Forest, played by captain Mynuts, trademark heroes Wretched Hag and Pebbles on zai` and Limmp respectively, in addition to iNsania’sEngineer and noobG’s Torturer to complete the lineup.

Chessie, bkid, Franzzii, Haxxeren, Horizontal: MoonMeander

compLexity showcased a lot of aggression with Ophelia in the enemy jungle, contesting the farm of a jungling Keeper of the Forest and applying a lot of pressure on noobG, who played the Torturer in a supposed safe lane solo. Chessie used that aggressive jungling to give his team an early advantage, with two good ganks—one against Torturer, the other against his brother Limmp, who played the Pebbles in the mid lane.

Despite that little setback in the start, Limmp and zai` were able to counter those early kills, giving a slight advantage to Trademark eSports with a kill count of 3-2 in favor of the Europeans after just 10 minutes of play. Another thing to mention in top-level matches such as this are of course not only the hero kills, but also the tower kills. In that regard Trademark eSports had a slight advantage of 2-1 early on.

Even with Portal Key pickups very early in the game with Moraxus and Pebbles getting the PK around the 12-minute mark, the game did not really take off in the gank department as both teams really put the emphasis on getting farm on their respective carries to get into a perfect decision for the later stages of the game. The only aggression the teams showed towards the opposing side was the anger against structures, as both teams continued to push towers without getting into any casualties or engagements.

After 18 minutes both teams managed to push each other’s Tier One towers without really seeing any enemy contact happening. The next PvP contact happened when Magebane, Tempest and Glacius spotted Keeper of the Forest and were able to bring the contest to a 3-3 tie, followed by a kill of Glacius and Moraxus on Torturer to push the kill count back in the favor of compLexityGaming.

That passive early game led to good farm on pretty much every hero. Magebane and Pebbles led the way with a GPM over 400, and KotF, Hag, Tempest and Moraxus sat on more than 300 GPM after 20 minutes. That farm also provided stacked heroes in terms of items fairly early on. Wretched Hag was working on the Hellflower and Magebane looked for an early Shrunken Head after his completed Runed Axe, while Moraxus and Pebbles worked on those items after their very early Portal Keys.

Trademark eSports: iNsania, Limmp, Mynuts, noobG, zai`

As the game progressed a lot of small, tiny engagements happened with solo heroes getting caught out of position. It took the teams about 40 minutes to finally engage in a teamfight, with Restoration Stones up on Tempest and Keeper of the Forest and Magebane at an impressive level 22. The fight started with a very good engagement by MoonMeander, who was able to catch three tdM heroes in his Elemental Void, including the crucial catch of Keeper of the Forest. With three heroes out of the equation, Haxxeren on Magebane was able to pound massive blows to the opposing team, making it a 3 for 2 engagement in favor of the Americans, allowing them to claim a free Token of Life in the process.

However, that teamfight had some costs for compLexityGaming, who had to use most of their “big cooldown spells” and so they saw Trademark eSports grouping up to push immediately after the respawn, keeping in mind that Tempest had cooldown on both his Ultimate and the Restoration Stone while Keeper of the Forest was potentially able to use both. So tdM went in very aggressively and brought down the tower and the Melee Rax, but ultimately lost the fight 3-1 with only Glacius falling and Magebane picking up a Hat Trick.

With that victorious engagement—and a slight misplay by Mynuts on Keeper of the Forest, who got caught in a bad spot—compLexity knocked heavily on the door of their opponents. The unfortunate news for the American organization was that the engagement of MoonMeander only brought Wretched Hag down, who immediately responded with a Buyback to pick up a Quad Kill in the fight. So compLexity not only blew the big cooldown of the Tempest Ultimate, but also gave zai` on Hag a massive spike in his farm. coL only claimed the middle tower, forcing Hag to Buyback and kill Torturer, but the teamfight was a devastating setback allowing Hag to get closer to his Frostwolf Skull as the followup to Hellflower, Shrunken Head and Posthaste.

After those action-packed last minutes, both teams kind of settled down again to get a little bit more farm on their crucial heroes. Magebane had massive items with his Runed Axe, Wingbow, Shrunken Head, Frostwolf's Skull and Geometer's Bane. Wretched Hag completed the Savage Mace, Keeper of the Forest completed his Portal Key, Moraxus finished his Hellflower for the Hellbourne team and Ophelia got her supportive hands on a Stormspirit.

After those items were completed, tdM wanted to get more pressure on coL’s base. They made their way towards the top lane to knock on the tower there. First it looked like compLexity got the better deal out of that engagement as they pounced on Wretched Hag; as soon as they saw an opening they busted her down in no-time. With the main damage gone, coL continued to push into the opposing heroes, but with a Buyback on Wretched Hag in combination with Posthaste, the survival skills of Torturer living by the skin of his teeth and two great Keeper Ultimates, the tide turned back in Trademark's favor.

Still, with the help of a Buyback on Magebane, coL was able to get a crucial kill on Wretched Hag again, with the Moraxus Ultimate just blowing up that little Hag. Bottom line of that engagement was coL lost the fight, but hung on to their Barracks and didn’t get too far behind in terms of Gold and Experience.

As the game drew closer to the hour mark, tdM tried to make something happen again in the middle lane with Pebbles picking up a Double Damage Rune, hitting for up to 670 Damage with one giant blow. Still, that massive damage was not quite enough to win the teamfight for tdM, who were able to burn the Token of Life that Moraxus just picked up and actually kill him again right after his resurrection, but coL responded very quickly with Moraxus buying back, turning the fight to a 4-1 decisive victory.

tdM was looking for fights to force, so they regrouped quickly in order to push the top lane. Two beautiful Keeper Ultimates later and several huge blows again, and tdM forced a Buyback from MoonMeander and was still able to get a slight edge in the fight, leading the engagement 2-1. The even bigger result was the fight distracted compLexity just long enough, allowing the big creeps in the middle lane to wreck the Hellbourne base, even pounding damage on the Sacrificial Shrine, bringing it to half life.

After the success of the last attempt, tdM tried another push to the top lane but got beaten up badly with Magebane picking up a Quad Kill, MoonMeander landing a clutch Ultimate on Keeper of the Forest and bkid dealing massive amounts of damage with his tanky beast that Moraxus became. As a result of the horrendous defeat tdM conceded the fight—they had to leave massive parts of their base vulnerable with no Buybacks to be activated.

coL capitalized on that, immediately killing the Melee Barracks in the middle and the bottom lane. The stats still indicated a slight advantage for Trademark eSports in terms of Gold and Experience, but the advantage was so slight that it was basically a completely even match.

It was all about the entrance into engagements, and Trademark eSports got a huge initiation into their next teamfight courtesy of Limmp. He found a vulnerable Tempest and immediately pounced on his prey. The teamfight went heavily in favor of Trademark, who picked off almost the entire coL team, including a level 25 Magebane, who was forced to use his final Buyback as a result of that shattering engagement.

On the heels of that defeat coL still got some good positive signs, as their creeps pushed the Barracks on the bottom lane and they were able to kill Kongor for the third time, claiming not only the Token of Life, but also Bananas on Moraxus.

As the match neared the 80(!!!)-minute mark, both Magebane and Wretched Hag decided to put all their eggs in one basket, purchasing a Doombringer almost simultaneously. The fate of both teams was in the hands of their main carries—the next engagement could potentially end the entire game with at least one Doombringer failing on the turf of the battlefield. So naturally both teams operated very, very conservatively in approaching the deciding teamfight.

After almost 82 minutes, bkid saw the opening to engage on Pebbles. MoonMeander was able to land two great Ultimates and Mynuts got at least one great root off, but in the end a fantastic Bat Blast and the auto-attack damage of zai`'s Wretched Hag just destroyed the entire compLexity team. Insania picked up the Doombringer, zai` hustled to the exposed Shrine and the fate for compLexity was sealed. They were forced to concede after an 85-minute extravaganza, an epic clash between the two best current HoN teams in the world.

Game 3

After that demoralizing loss for compLexity Gaming, they still had the chance to push the match into overtime and force a second Best of Three in the third match. This time they fell back on a Hammerstorm on bkid, with Chessie playing a jungling Tempest, Franzzii getting his Aluna, Haxxeren playing Silhouette and MoonMeander proving his skills on Wildsoul.

Trademark eSports, with the momentum in their corner, relied on the power of the Dragon, played by noobG. In addition to the brute force of Draconis, captain Mynuts drafted the powerful Jeraziah, Keeper of the Forest as the suicide laner, Ophelia as the great jungling presence and Glacius for the support power.

The early stages of the match were dictated by compLexity, who aggressively pushed the bottom lane with Silhouette and the Tempest Minions, pushing two towers—one being denied by Keeper of the Forest. In the meanwhile Draconis had a fairly good time on the top lane, applying a lot of pressure to the opposing tower himself. Another big play of the early game was the “Neutral Creep” kill against Franzzii, robbing Trademark eSports of a Bloodlust kill at the 8-minute mark.

That Bloodlust kill still went to tdM, as a cooperation of Mynuts and noobG resulted in a well-executed gank against MoonMeander on Wildsoul. That initial kill was answered 5 minutes later by compLexityGaming cleaning up the middle lane as bkid picked up a Double Tap against iNsania and Limmp with the help of Chessie's Tempest Ultimate.

Trademark eSports had a massive advantage around the 19-minute mark, as they were able to split push two lanes, cleaning up 3 towers without compLexity responding at all, followed by an uncontested Token of Life for the mighty Draconis.

The huge advantage and the power of the draft that Trademark eSports displayed in that match was showcased at the 30-minute mark, when compLexity could absolutely do nothing against the massive heal and damage of the Hellbourne team, losing a downhill fight decisively, resulting in a loss of the Melee Barracks. Even the item pickups displayed the huge disparity between the teams, as Keeper of the Forest picked up a Brutalizer, adding insult to injury for the completely overwhelmed coL lineup.

The final fight showed the absolute dominance of every single hero of Trademark eSports in ridiculous fashion. compLexity was able to pick off Keeper of the Forest before the actual teamfight started and they also got a nearly perfect Tempest Ultimate to start the actual teamfight, but once Draconis came free and was supported by Jeraziah, it was all over for compLexity, whose hopes literally went up in flames.

That victory claimed the number-one seed for Trademark eSports heading into the second cycle of HoN Tour’s Diamond Division, as well as providing tdM with a nice purse of $4,000 USD and 4,000 points, not to mention the satisfaction of the fourth consecutive victory over their archrivals compLexity Gaming.

For the HoNCast of the match, please click here.

- Sören "Fantasy"