By Sören "Fantasy"

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

compLexityGaming: Chessie, bkid, Franzzii, Haxxeren, Horizontal: MoonMeander

The first cycle of the Diamond Division ended on Tuesday with a dominant performance by [tdM]Trademark eSports as they clinched the first Diamond Division title in HoN Tour history. Now the race is on, the target is on their backs and they are ultimately the hunted. A lot can happen over the next two weeks, as the heavyweights of Heroes of Newerth collide once again.

There’s no denying that Trademark eSports is entering the competition as a clear favorite to win it again. Their track record is marvelous in the last couple of weeks. Since their last downfall to [coL]compLexityGaming in the Redemption Grand Final, they have only been forced to concede a Best of Three series one time, against [VOTE]Gary Johnson 2021 in the HoN Tour Qualifiers.

Their dominance ultimately led them to the throne of HoN in both the DreamHon Championship and HoN Tour Cycle 1 Championship to solidify their status at the top. Now compLexity Gaming, Gary Johnson 2021, [aL]Absolute Legends and [357]QsQ will aim for them to overthrow the undisputed kings of HoN.

But the road to the throne is long and tough, and the competition in the Diamond Division of Heroes of Newerth is as hard as it gets. Even teams that are considered to be below the prestigious Top Ten teams can mount an upset in any given game, as they all possess a ton of skills, coordination and poise to climb the ladder and be on top of the world.

That phenomenon was displayed in the last cycle, when [OTP]One Trick Pony defeated [LION]Lions Esports in the first round, after the roaring Lions had received a lot of attention and love in the HoNCast Community Polls right from the start. That and the emerging forces in [sG]Stay Green (Gary Johnson 2021) and [aL]Absolute Legends (Fortune Bakery), paired with the veterans of [357]QsQ and [TteS]Tt eSPORTS make it a very top-heavy competition for the ultimate prize in Heroes of Newerth—the HoN Tour Diamond Division Championship.

Despite being the undisputed number two in the world, [coL]compLexityGaming is heading into the competition with the most to prove after being on the losing end for four consecutive matches against their nemesis [tdM]Trademark eSports and displaying some vulnerability against Lions eSports and Stay Green in the last cycle. Their aura of being the absolute top dog on the scene—almost invincible—is definitely gone, so younger teams are trying to make a name for themselves by defeating the old champion. compLexity has to respond and gain the reputation back that they possessed for the most part of the last month—that of the wrecking crew, pouncing on every mistake, playing absolutely phenomenally, coordinating fights at the highest level and able to turn games because of the massive individual skills of every single member.

Two other names on that lists are Stay Green and Absolute Legends, as they enter the second cycle with quite some momentum in their favor. Stay Green captain swindlemelonzz made his ambitions to defeat the top teams in Trademark eSports and compLexityGaming emphatically clear, when he talked about his own team being elite on his podcast 'Real Talkin.'

The team has to live up to those words and the enormous expectations of the community now, and they are playing a slightly more difficult bracket ahead of them, sharing the same branch with Absolute Legends, compLexityGaming, [Pika]Pikachu and the two newcomers [C1K]Call It Karma and [FyKu]Fack You Kurdi. The road to the Winner’s Bracket Finals once again will be tougher for the team around swindlemelonzz.

Absolute Legends proved a lot of doubters wrong last cycle when they played themselves into the Top Six. They even went to the Winner’s Bracket Semi Finals, a huge success for the new team around Clan Milk all-stars Kookiez, Mookiez and Kreamz. Now, with a massive sponsor in their corner, they have a little bit more pressure on their second season in the Diamond Division as the expectations from the team and the audience has risen dramatically. Can they withstand that pressure or will they collapse? We will be witnessing it this weekend!

That is by far not the only question, as a few new variables and situations have developed since the last cycle:

Will [357]QsQ get into the tournament quicker this time?

Are the four promoted teams going to perform well, or is it too tough of a challenge?

Can FyKu gain revenge over C1K for the Gold Grand Final?

Will Trademark march through again?

Can coL respond?

Who will get demoted?

Can DoP and Pikachu improve?

How good are One Trick Pony and Dendis jungldevos?

And ultimately: Who will claim the prestigious title of being the Hon Tour Diamond Division Cycle 2 Grand Champion?

All those questions and many more will get answers this and next weekend, when BreakyCPK,
Tralfamadore, and coL.caster Beefpotpie bring you all the action from another exciting cycle in HoN Tour.

- Sören "Fantasy"