The time’s they are a changin’. Bob Dylan once wrote those lyrics to chorus one of his greatest hits, in eSports those words hold true. Not just in NA/EU or SEA change is happening, but also the CIS region has been infected by this wave. For NA/EU it’s Sync who take over, in SEA Evil Genius is making a run and in CIS it’s SWAG who prevail.

The title of SWAG comes at a time, when the CIS region was threatening stagnant results for ages. Previously it was even worse than NA/EU in the stayGreen era, as Cats Gaming had no real adversary once the big lights were on. The team with veteran GuessWho and carry star FF might have lost some here and there in smaller tournaments, but going undefeated through the four cycles and the CIS regional finals were the real deal. Ever since Love’N’Stuff joined, the ripples were enormous. iTS fell from grace and out of the title picture forever, losing their star, while Cats Gaming claimed one of the best players of the region and looked unstoppable.

That all changed this cycle, the debut cycle of CIS HoN Tour Season 2. For the first time in the history Cats couldn’t secure the #1 seed after the group stage, for the first time ever they couldn’t walk through the Upper Bracket straight to the Grand Finals and for the first time ever, they couldn’t even come close to the championship. An upset loss against Meka and a devastating defeat against their rivals SWAG in the Lower Bracket sealed their faith and eliminated them as only the fourth best team of the region. SWAG, Meka and QaM all placed higher, causing change in the region.

The only reason this region is not turned upside down is SWAG’s victory. As the only credible opponent of Cats during Season 1, the team with standout carry Jeffstep takes over. Many considered them the logical choice to follow the Cats dynasty, given their ability to go toe-to-toe with the kittens on several occasions. When the world was watching the big EU/CIS showdown, SWAG eliminated Cats and looked good against teams like Lions eSports, when the CIS regional finals rolled around, it was SWAG who challenged Cats - fiercely. Both wound up in the Grand FInals with a spot in the HoN Tour World Championships on the line, when SWAG choked and surrendered the big upset. Cats Gaming once more represented the region at a big event, SWAG once more couldn’t break through.

Now it seems as though they are ready. The team looks strong, the morale is up and individually, they don’t have to beg down to anyone. The same goes for QaM, the quickly rising team. The team with Tendy was only one map away from writing history, being the first team to win the CIS crown after Cats. After the group stage they were in prime position, poised to make a run for the title. The regular season title already under their belt, it seemed to be them or Cats to take over the division. Cats’ early slip up blew the door wide open. QaM was looking to be the obvious choice, until SWAG ran through the door and shut it straight in their face.

That metaphor might be the best way to describe the Grand Finals, in which QaM held a 1-0 advantage courtesy of their Upper Bracket seeding. That bonus was quickly gone, when SWAG showcased their incredible class as a team. The equalizer and the go-ahead map win followed suit very quickly, leaving QaM to dig deep and search for their morale. They found it, rallied back and pushed the map the distance, only to then fall just short of history. QaM, representing the new guns, failed, SWAG saved the honor of the established teams.

Regardless, CIS has gained a lot of momentum and many different storylines. Gone are the Tiger Woods like coverage scenarios in which it was Cats against the field, gone are the thoughts of Cats being the frontrunner. The kittens have to get back on their paws and prove themselves again, while the rest of the teams will be gunning for them. The targets are on SWAG and Cats Gaming, the hunter’s are QaM and Meka. Old against new, experienced against young - all coming together to create the greatest CIS HoN Tour season to date. Who will strike next?

About The Author: Fantasy

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