With an interesting weekend across the board in both Gold and Diamond Divisions, we see competition toughening up in response to the teams entering the fray. We see [TFR]The Fire Rises dominating their way throughout the brackets; their low seed has proven to not affect them as they roll through the competition including [MOE]Moes Tavern and [cTi]Perfection Esp. Both teams have gone far in Gold throughout the past Cycles. Moes Tavern now face off in the Loser Bracket versus [DCx]Justice League, a team that is working toward entering Diamond yet again in hopes to make it into the 4-11 position for the tournament.

The Losers Bracket is full of amazing teams currently and I wish to see them rise to Diamond, but I feel many of them still need practice. As I continue to look for scrims to watch the teams grow, I can see many teams beginning to practice. Several teams have told me how they need to start reviewing other teams and doing research in order to win in later stages of Gold. I agree that if you want to go to Diamond, you have to start acting like a top team; it is the first step in understanding and improving your games.

[CM]Clan Milk, [hade]HAVE IT, Justice League and [C1K]Call It Karma are all former Diamond level teams who are now in each bracket in the Losers Bracket. They’re competiting against some of the strongest teams Gold Division can match them against: Moes Tavern, [euni]Eunis 5, and Druidz Esports, in addition to the struggling Isot Pelit who have shown a strong outing this cycle.

The matches on Sunday, March 3rd happened as follows:

Winners Bracket Ro8

[TKAG]Team Kagge 2:0 Eunis 5
HAVE IT 1:2 [Due1]Do You Even Lift Bro
Moes Tavern 0:2 The Fire Rises
[SdS]SdS 2:0 Isot Pelit

Losers Bracket Ro16

Clan Milk 2:1 [GGSe]GGS eSports
[DrDz]Druidz eSport 2:1 Perfection Esp
[REMI]RemigijusBubblus 2:1 [nX]Animus Vox
Justice League 2:0 [DASH]Rainbow Racers
[WSD]Slash Defenders 1:2 [BYE]A HonTour Team
[Bx3]Bloodbath N Beyond 1:2 [mind]Mindgames
[L00K]L00K AT MY HORSE 0:2 Call it Karma

Losers Bracket Ro8

[y5]Yoshi 5 0:2 Clan Milk
Druidz Esports 2:0 RemigijusBubblus
Justice League 2:0 A HonTour Team
Mindgames 1:2 Call It Karma

Matches on Monday, March 4th

Losers Bracket Ro8

Clan Milk versus Eunis 5
Druidz Esports versus HAVE IT
Justice League versus Moes Tavern
Call It Karma versus Isot Pelit

I had the chance to sit and talk with iNsania about how everything was going in Gold with his team The Fire Rises. When entering Gold, many teams have a stigma that they are just bad players or bad teams in general since they are top Diamond material. iNsania shared some his thoughts about what he has experienced playing them.

iNsania: "Going in obviously we knew we would dominate them, but surprisingly we have seen teams that show great promise. Overall they are not bad players, they just lack experience playing compared to top teams. I'd say they are missing that one exceptional player who knows what to do."

Overall it's very good for a team to have a veteran player who knows a lot and can share that experience with his team. Though in this day there aren't many freelancing veterans sitting in HoN's scene.

Any worry going into the semi-finals of Gold Winners bracket and beyond?

iNsania: "Looking at the teams I see no bigger threat than any of the other teams we've faced - again not to say they are bad, just they are lacking experience."

With your team being new, how are you handling deciding on who will be on your team such as the decision to bring Kebap on board.

iNsania: "As for Kebap, I don’t think I've ever met a player this dedicated. He really shows why he has been so good in HoN previously and his experience in Dota and League. He's amazing to play with despite my previous doubts of his ‘bad history’."

Going into Season 2, are you expecting to break into the top teams to be above what Lions and aL are now to be closer enough to compete versus the top three?

iNsania: "When I first formed this team we set a goal aiming to reach Dreamhack Summer, Hon Tour Season 2 is also something we are focusing on but it isn't the main goal. We are still a new team so it will take a while before we can compete with the big three, but I expect us to be able to defeat teams like aL and Lions relatively soon."

[xCet]Team Excellent defeated [357]QsQ, [tdM]Trademark eSports and now they are set to face [coL]compLexityGaming next weekend, thoughts on them knocking your former team out to 7th/8th place this cycle?

iNsania: "With what I know about Trademark and knowing what probably happened it was more than likely Trademark playing really poorly instead of Team Excellent playing good. I mean it was a 2:0 series so obviously they are doing something good, but I think coL will wipe the floor with them."

Overall iNsania sees the same thing as me when we look at some of the lower teams, Moes Tavern for example are set to face Justice League. In terms of experience Justice League is ahead, albeit at this level it is both experience and team skill level. Being slightly better as an individual player doesn't provide that much when you start getting to the higher positions in Gold. Looking forward to tomorrow's Winners Bracket matches and who will be dropping down to Losers, as well as who ends up making it into the Winners Bracket Finals. Stay tuned as always for more updates tomorrow.

- "Crowslaw"