A year ago the HoN world was set on golden standards globally. In Southeast Asia Orange eSports dominated, Thailand was ruled by MiTH.s2y, NA/EU had stayGreen winning all the majors, while CIS was ruled by Cats Gaming. All of this has changed by now, even in CIS. The most dominant team in the history of the region, Cats Gaming, had slip ups in the past, but like their namesake, they have always been able to recover.

The squad emerged stronger than ever before after a humiliating loss in the DreamHack Summer 2021 playoffs. Proof of that rebirth was in the form of a perfect season in the first ever CIS HoN Tour. The Cats won the qualifier, claimed all four cycles and devoured every opposition at the offline CIS Finals in Kiev. Now the win streak in CIS’ highest division of HoN Tour is broken, after Cats has been eliminated already.

This all came on the heels of an already underwhelming group stage. For a team that hasn’t recorded many losses in any stage during last season’s competition, Cats Gaming struggled to find their old self a lot this time. Six wins and a loss might speak to a different tune, but the team wasn’t as dominant anymore. More victories in tight and tough games, more close matches and more rivals to take advantage of the weakness. QaM did it the best, but old rivals like SWAG and Meka followed suit as well. Surprisingly enough, only the fifth placed team and newcomer squad Sun5 was able to tarnish the spotless record of Cats Gaming, defeating them in the Bo1 duel. This had big consequences for the history books, seeing as it was the first time in CIS HoN Tour history, that Cats Gaming was not going into the playoffs as the winner of the regular season.

This trend of shattering new developments was bound to continue. CIS HoN Tour didn’t even take a break from upsets, as both of the dominant teams of the past were sent to the Lower Bracket straight away. Cats Gaming was wiped out by Meka, while regular season champion QaM showcased their great progress and continued their run. SWAG didn’t stand a chance, neither did Meka, later on in the Winner Bracket Finals. With that QaM clinched the Grand Finals spot for the first time in history, making a legitimate claim for the top spot in CIS.

Left to fight for survival, Cats Gaming suddenly found themselves in a position of iTS last season. Back then, the former DreamHack Summer 2021 participant iTS came off successful tournament outings and great performances, but slipped, fell, and found themselves shattered. The reign of the squad was over, they couldn’t motivate themselves to play in the Silver division and the great team disbanded. Only member left from those glory days inside the upscale competition of the region is Love’N’Stuff, a newer member of Cats. A demotion back to Silver was never a question for Cats, since they came out of the Upper Bracket, but a 5th/6th place for the four-time Gold Division champion would have been equally bad.

The demotion round saw Sun5 and 6u4u getting the boot, with TDU and well known Russian team Jk getting the better of those exchanges. Their run was stopped after that though, since both teams ran into the superior forces of SWAG and Cats - which set up the clash of the titans. SWAG against Cats Gaming is like stayGreen against Lions eSports/BMG was in North America and Europe. Both teams dueled each other on the biggest stages before; each walked away with some some accolades as their reward.

Still, the metaphorical passing of the baton happened in that series, with Cats Gaming having no chance at all. SWAG outplayed, outpicked, and outmaneuvered the team of Captain Shyla, sending them home in fourth place. SWAG’s dream to be the new Czar is still alive after this demolishment of the old regime, since the run continued against Meka. The team that upset Cats Gaming in the Upper Bracket tried to compete, but was forced out of the competition by a team on a mission. Now the last chapter of the HoN revolution in CIS can begin.

With Czar’s and revolution, the comparison doesn’t even lack credence. SWAG is playing the role of the old dynasty, even though they are not Cats. For the past year they’ve been on the same level with Cats, competing in most of the Grand Finals and even having notable victories over the old ruler. On the other side is QaM, the people’s champs. A team that has never quite been in the spotlight, but was always good. As one of the “pro” teams, QaM was always invited to every tournament, they’ve always placed high, but could never break out of their shell. Now it might be their time to go wire-to-wire from regular season champion to CIS HoN Tour Gold DIvision champion - the second team in history.

Can they complete their story of an uprising juggernaut or will the last standing character of the old dynasty crush their hopes? All this will be decided on Sunday, August 24th at 5 PM MSK | 3 PM CEST | 9 AM EST when the casting crew of Garena.RU[/url] ends the tournament in style and crowns a new conquerer of the Gold Division.

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