By quincy0191

I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. SynC didn’t win the cycle. Reason are in Gold. We don’t even know where willowkeeper finished, because they didn’t get further than 5/6th place (were they fifth? Sixth? It’s so confusing!). Things are so even and up in the air right now that it’s taking some of the guys below days to figure out what their lists should be, and I don’t blame them. If you just do your list in ten seconds, like me, you inevitably end up looking like an idiot. Wait a second…

If you’re unfamiliar with the format, we take a whole bunch o’ them players, observers, and the community, then ask them to rank teams from first to tenth place based on how good they are. Then we give each team 10 points for a first-place finish, 9 for second, all the way down to 1 for 10th. All teams are eligible to be included, though we only got 12 different ones, which is a nice indication that everyone is at least paying some attention and isn’t just making stuff up to get me to go away. Here are the lists, so you know exactly who hates you and your favorite team:

Leon casino,

Honorable Mention – Twisted Fusion (TwFu), 1 point

Honorable Mention – Prime Icarus (PI), 8 points

Honorable Mention – ChatroulleteboyZ (cZ), 15 points

Honorable Mention – Shrek is Love (Ogr), 32 points

8. REXXARS (KNX), 37 points
You’ll notice a significant gap between the ninth-place finisher in Shrek is Love and ChatroulleteboyZ (yes, it’s spelled wrong) in 10th. Ogr has more than double the points of cZ, mostly because cZ didn’t place on five of 14 lists. Why am I bringing this up when writing about REXXARS? Well, based on their Gold Division performance, that gap might better be suited between Ogr and KNX. REXXARS lost exactly zero games in Cycle 4 of Gold on their way to the championship, and didn’t look particularly troubled at any point. Their first game was their longest at 55 minutes, and they usually clocked in at under 30. The Grand Finals were done in less than an hour, with a fifteen minute concede victory to give KNX the cycle championship.

It’s perhaps unfair to compare KNX to Dawn considering what Dawn has already accomplished and what REXXARS has yet to do. We know how good Dawn were last cycle, and it’s possible that KNX folds under pressure and exits Diamond early. But I’ll just say that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them replicate Dawn’s success early on, as they looked nigh unbeatable. Sure, it’s Gold Division. But this team looked great during Carnage in Caldavar with iNsania at the helm, and it seems like they’ve recaptured some of whatever that was going into the second half of HoN Tour Season 3.

t-6. Reason Gaming (Rea), 66 points
Speaking of Gold Division, look who’s headed there after what has to be the surprise of the season. Okay, so playing BMG and willowkeeper in the first two rounds is awful. Reason probably shouldn’t beat either of those teams, so one could consider their demotion expected based on the schedule they played. That ignores the strangeness of tree losing to Dawn in the Round of 8, which we’ll get to in a bit, but for now Reason have a bit of a crossroads ahead of them. A new lineup hasn’t quite brought immediate improvement – which isn’t to say it won’t – and one would think Reason expect more of themselves.

If there’s any good news to be had, it’s that their stay in Gold likely won’t last long. The competition for the two Diamond spots for next cycle are mostly Prime Icarus and ChatroulleteboyZ, neither of whom should beat Rea. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be in this position in the first place, and the overarching opinion is that they are at least substantially better than REXXARS, though in seventh place more on the border between Diamond and Gold than firmly in HoN’s top division.

t-6. Nullstone Gaming (Null), 66 points
Speaking of underperforming teams, here’s another one. Nullstone finished third in Cycle 2, and since then hasn’t done much. The good American team is rapidly becoming the other American team as Night Raid takes over the US crown in the battle we all really care about. Because at the end of the day, who cares who wins the cycle if they’re European? USA USA USA

Regardless, Null have got some work to do to get back up there. Suddenly Dawn are passing them by. They were ahead of NR, and now they’re not. Diamond is getting more and more competitive every day, and we already have a cautionary tale in Reason Gaming of what can happen if you’re not careful and a little bit unlucky. To their credit, Nullstone have recognized that they need to do a little more, and they’re scrimming more than they were. This isn’t a complacent team, but we’ll see if it’s too little too late.

5. Night Raid (NR), 77 points
And right on cue, we have the good American team. Night Raid had a performance that was reminiscent of, well, Nullstone. They took on a strong European team in tree and managed to beat them. It still wasn’t enough to do better than fourth place, but NR has shown steady improvement while making a number of roster changes. Diglet_, Narcy, and various others are of course long gone, WhaT_YoU_GoT and FuzzySloth are on the other American team, and KingPlato and Present25 are on their second cycles with the team. Yet another new add in Kookiez acquitted himself well on his first cycle of Season 3. If this is what these guys can do after long layoffs and little time together, they could be scary after a bit of practice.

Or they could falter. For some reason, I personally have issues giving NR their due. The biggest problem for me is likely the constant roster switches; it doesn’t usually bode well for a team to keep changing their starting five, and these players in general don’t have the most consistent history on the HoN competitive scene. They’ve been around for awhile, they just don’t seem to stay for extended periods. As problems go, that’s not a huge one (being bad is much worse), but it’s common enough and has sunk a lot of other good teams. Pew can certainly testify to that. If they can stick together, Night Raid can be a force.

4. Dawn (Dawn), 96 points
So far I’ve tried to balance positives and negatives for each team, but it’s going to be hard to say too much that’s negative about Dawn. I guess they didn’t win the cycle. They didn’t even go to the Grand Finals! They were in the Grand Finals last cycle! What a bunch of slackers. Clearly Dawn is HoN’s worst team.

All kidding aside, this is basically the dream. Dawn makes a couple changes, swapping in YELLOWREXXAR (whose old team I can’t remember for the life of me…) and probusk. It’s easy to ignore the former’s contributions considering probusk had probably the best individual cycle performance we’ve seen so far, so let’s keep doing that in the interest of brevity. probusk played out of his mind, and he’s a huge reason why Dawn is where they are. Another huge reason? They’re a very good team. It’s easy to wonder after they somewhat disappointed in their initial run through Diamond, but this is a different team. Only L4byr1nth and ICELANDGOGO remain, and clearly their additions have worked. I don’t know if we should expect more like this, but they seem a very good bet to hang out in the top half of Diamond for the foreseeable future.

3. willowkeeper (tree), 106 points
Strangely enough, tree has the opposite problem as Dawn: there are pretty much only bad things to say about their Cycle 4 performance. The best thing you can really point out is that they were playing without baltazar` after the first day, and even that is more like an excuse than a positive. Handsken is by all means a capable replacement, but he isn’t a consistent member, and tree’s team play is a large part of their success. Adding a new player in the middle of that isn’t a great plan.

Let’s start at the literal beginning: they shouldn’t have lost to Dawn, a statement meant as an expectation more than a condemnation (to either side). Dawn are obviously very good, and much better than we thought they were going to be, especially this quickly. Still, I don’t think there are too many competitors who would say that that series should go against willowkeeper the majority of the time, and based on these rankings, a bounceback is expected. The victory against Reason was good and needed, but following it up with a loss to Night Raid is borderline unacceptable. For a team that was in the Grand Finals in back-to-back cycles, getting knocked out by what has been to this point a mid-division squad can’t be considered a reasonable outcome. We’ll see where tree goes from here, but like a few other teams in Cycle 5, it appears they have some work to do. Or at least they need baltazar` back, because clearly he is the only reason they are winning.

2. Bad Monkey Gaming (BMG), 128 points
Here we are with the biggest jump in the rankings yet, as BMG apparently have regained their standing as one of HoN’s two good teams. At least, that’s what a lot of people who don’t know what they’re talking about will tell you. Certainly it seems the new iteration is getting back to where the old one was, perhaps even better considering their final result. And it is difficult to argue there isn’t a significant gap between second and third place right now, regardless of who your 1-2 is.

It might seem odd to place BMG 2nd after they won their first cycle, especially so considering they beat SynC in two separate series. The chance of a fluke is too high, though and there’s the appropriate level of caution here; some people see enough in BMG that they think SynC has been overtaken, but the majority are content to appreciate what they did once and see if they can do it again. The same effect was seen after SynC beat BMG in Cycle 1, and if the monkeys can capture another crown, then I think we’ll see the winds of change start to blow significantly. BMG isn’t far behind, either in terms of skill or subjective evaluation, and it seems like there’s a more even contest for the #1 spot than there has been in at least a couple of months.

1. SynC eSports (SynC), 138 points
Last time SynC swept the first place votes, but that didn’t last long. It was to be expected after they lost a cycle, but as said earlier, it will be a bit before they’re knocked off their perch. We saw plenty of good play out of them, definitely enough to hold off on the death knells just yet.

But for the first time in some time, we also saw some weaknesses. Sure, they had lost a game here or there. They were never in any real trouble in Cycle 2 or 3, though, and overall they came in sporting a silly 28-4 record. They didn’t lose a series for two months. Then they lost two in two days. Now the question is whether there’s enough blood in the water to attract the rest of the sharks; BMG took a significant bite, and if SynC start flailing, we could see some interesting things. Diamond becomes harder and harder to evaluate as the season goes on, with teams getting better and more even. Three weeks ago SynC winning was a foregone conclusion. Now if I told you they would finish third or even fourth in the next cycle, it would be believable. They’re still the favorites. They’re just not the gods they were.