By Blaze

Another entry into the HoN history books has been completed with Cycle 3’s championship matches all wrapped up. Four teams were still in the race when it began on Saturday evening and only one was left standing at the end of Sunday. Let's take a look at the games and how they went, who lost and who became the Champion of this Cycle:

Saturday matches

The first of four matches was between the two survivors of the Losers Bracket of last week, [tUS]The Last of Us and [BMG]BadMonkeyGaming. And while there was no surprise that BMG was still hanging on and slowly making their way to the finals, The Last of Us were a bit of a surprise after they took out [Rea]Reason Gaming in the previous round. So this match was a classic favourite vs underdog match, but on the highest level.

The first game was a clear display of skill by BMG. They taught The Last of Us a lesson here, showing how to play several heroes, including Parasite and Drunken Master. tUS had Draconis to carry them and Gauntlet to make things happen, but they were basically overwhelmed in every encounter. The game did not last very long because of that and after only 20 minutes, The Last of Us had enough and conceded the game, hoping for the second to be a better match.
And this second game was indeed much better from their perspective. Choosing the odd Zephyr for their lineup, they were not overrun right away and managed to stay in the game this time. BMG ran Drunken Master and Vindicator again and sought confrontation wherever they could, but this time they had to do much more work and lost several battles.

And so the game went beyond the mid game stage, allowing the carry players to pick up some of their items. After about 30 minutes we had a decisive team battle and BMG came out ahead due to great displays of skill as well as the advantage they had all throughout the game, which was way less than last time but still significant enough to make a change. With this, BMG moved on to the Losers Bracket Finals, while The Last of Us will have to try again next time, but they certainly made an impression and will be the dominant US team in HoN for now, at least until they settle it once and for all with [Null]Nullstone Gaming.

The second game of the weekend was the Winners Bracket Finals between [SynC]Sync eSports and [tree]willowkeeper. Just like last week, these two powerhouses made up the WB Finals and it gave willowkeeper another chance to beat Sync. And they went right at it in the first game. Sync decided to pick a durable and teamplay heavy lineup with Soul Reaper, Keeper of the Forest and Kraken, while willowkeeper opted for a surprisingly unspectacular lineup with Silhouette, Pebbles and Devourer. The game saw several engagements early on but no clear winner, although Sync managed to get a gold and experience lead early on and kept it during the whole game. When Sync managed to get some core items on their important heroes, they decided to step up and finish the game. willowkeeper tried to hold their own against this wave but eventually got washed away by the tide, losing this first game.

The second game was a little more exotic this time, Cthulhuphant and Valkyrie joined the ranks of willowkeeper, while Sync selected Wildsoul and Pearl. The game was pretty similar to the first one, Sync got ahead early and dominated in the mid game, at times even toying with poor willowkeeper, who might have had prepared for the Losers Bracket in their mind already at this stage. 25 minutes after the start, the game ended, with Sync eSports winning and moving on to the Grand Finals, while willowkeeper had to do the extra lap in the Losers Bracket.

Sunday Matches

willowkeeper versus BMG was the matchup early Sunday evening and it was a feast for the eyes when these two powerhouses played against each other. The first game saw relatively safe picks with tree going for Magmus and The Dark Lady, while BMG had their fun with Parasite and Doctor Repulsor. Clearly willowkeeper was hoping for the late game with TDL, but the lineup of BMG was incredibly strong in the mid game and this was where most of the action happened. They managed to pick off hero after hero, showing that Parasite is one of the strongest heroes at the moment and hindered willowkeeper so much in their game that TDL was unable to get the items she needed for the late game. After over 30 minutes the game slowly came to a close when both teams clashed and because of TDL not doing very much damage, the game ended in BMGs favour a few minutes later.

This loss left willowkeeper in a bad spot, first they lost the WB finals without having a chance and now BMG was handing them their behinds in just the same way. Game two was where this trend had to stop if they wanted to make it any further. So they decided to pick some of their signature heroes, Riftwalker for RootOf_z, Gemini for baltazar` and BOXI on Kinesis, while BMG went for a standard lineup with Pebbles, Puppet Master and Magmus. And it worked like a charm for willowkeeper this time. Expecially RootOf_z managed to impress with his unique playstyle, but all the tree players were at their best in this game. BMG tried to hang on, but were often caught in bad spots because of the coordination that willowkeeper showed here. After about 40 minutes, tree managed to win the game, forcing the third game to happen and putting themselves back on the board while BMG had to take a deep breath after the game.
The final game now saw a dominant willowkeeper showing everyone what they are capable of. Valkyrie and Madman were in their lineup this time, while BMG had several of their own signature heroes, Ravenor, Empath and Drunken Master. But having those heroes did not help them very much, right away willowkeeper pressured them and pushed them into a more defensive position while tree took the gold and experience advantage. This led to a dominant game of the trees and during the next 35 minutes, BMG managed to only get 6 kills, while willowkeeper netted a total of 25 kills. Clearly this was not going well for BMG and they conceded shortly after, allowing willowkeeper to get another shot at defeating Sync eSports in the Grand Finals.

The Grand Finals were played shortly after and as usual it was a BO5 but with Sync eSports being ahead by 1 game because they came from the Winners Bracket. The first game saw Sync picking a very common lineup that looked a lot like the one BMG used just an hour ago while willowkeeper decided to put some more heroes into the statistics, picking Midas and Lord Salforis along with Soulstealer. This was clearly a game unlike any other and willowkeeper were still on a high from their impressive victory from earlier. They played as if this game was just an extension of the last, really pressuring Sync and winning several team fights as well as getting good pickoffs. They lost a couple of heroes in the process, as Sync was not so easily dominated, but in the end they were too strong in this game, even for the Champions. So after 25 minutes the game ended with willowkeeper winning, just like they did last cycle, just with more style.

Sync knew that they had to come back hard now in order to keep willowkeeper from completely taking over, so they got out their secret weapon: Monkey King. While willowkeeper was using Soulstealer again and gave BOXI Rampage, Sync finished their lineup with some tested and true heroes like Kraken and Tempest. This game was a longer one, with a total of 44 minutes runtime. willowkeeper had their chances, but often enough the game was not Sync vs willowkeeper but just Monkey King versus willowkeeper, as m´ICKe played him like a true master, destroying the hopes of willowkeeper a little more with every dash, vault and slam. The other players also did their part, but it was Monkey King who really brought the pain and 44 minutes after the start, willowkeeper decided that this was enough, ending the game in Syncs favour.

Game three now had Sync in a good position to finish the series. They selected Wretched Hag and a surprise Moira while willowkeeper wanted to pull out a miracle rabbit by choosing both Devourer and Gauntlet. But right from the beginning it was Sync again who were on the offensive, relentlessly going at willowkeeper and scoring one kill after the other with suffering acceptable losses in the process. tree fought back but it was not enough to stop Sync. It was as if Sync had stolen willowkeepers confidence of the first game and now used it for themselves. It was a very entertaining match, that is for sure, but it already ended after 25 minutes and there would be no fourth game because Sync only needed this to win the series, which they then did, making them the Champions of HoN Tour Season 3 Cycle 3!

Congrats to Sync for winning the third Championship in a row and doing this in such an entertaining way. But also congrats to the other teams that played last weekend, you made it a memorable two evenings.Get ready for HoN Tour Cycle 4 in Newerth on Saturday, October 18th at 12:00 EDT | 18:00 CEST!

About the author: Blaze

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