By quincy0191

As the year wraps up and HoN Tour Season 3 winds down, it’s time for yet another edition of the prestigious Honcast Community Awards, honoring the year’s best teams, players, and content creators in a wide variety of categories. We have 80 nominees in 15 categories, and we need you to help pick the best of the best in Heroes of Newerth this year.

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The Rookie of the Year award, though for players who aren’t necessarily rookies. It’s not like anyone on this list is really new to HoN, and in the majority of cases, they’re not new to competitive HoN. But the competitive scene is multi-layered, and it’s pretty much impossible to keep up with every facet of it, which means there are always players who are breaking into general awareness for the first time. Their achievements are finally being recognized, and not only are they noticed but they often shine brighter than some veterans.

BOXl (tree)

BOXl is not only a relatively new player in the upper tiers of HoN, he’s quite young as well at sixteen years old. But he, RootOf_z, and Fusen have been playing together since the middle of HoN Tour Season 1, so there was some m`ICKe potential at some point. Regardless, he’s a high-variance player whose peaks rival anyone in the game, and with a bit more time in the top tier it’s easy to see him smoothing things out and maintaining a consistently high level of play. He’s not far off now, and could be one of the best in the game by the time next year’s awards roll around.

BeaverBanger (tUS/Null)

We needed someone with a ridiculous name ever since Mynuts’ departure, and thank god BeaverBanger came along at just the right time. It’s also pretty great that we got ourselves another quality North American carry player, because there’s been a serious lack of high-tier NA HoN teams since the departure of compLexity. BeaverBanger’s emergence in the competitive scene as a member of The Last of US was relatively low-key, but with Nullstone Gaming he’s become the focus of just about every game he’s in.

WhaT_YoU_GoT (tUS/Null)

Much of BeaverBanger’s notable attributes apply just as well to WhaT_YoU_GoT: first good American jungle player in a long while, started with The Last of US before really emerging with Nullstone. The only area he falters is in his name, which is solid but not spectacular. Luckily for us, his jungle play is closer to spectacular, and befitting a new player, he’s not confined to established heroes or strategies either as a jungler or as a second support. Play of a veteran, style of a newcomer, it’s a good package.

RootOf_z (tree)

Another player that’s bringing something new to the scene besides himself (though he can’t take full credit for the jungle pulling idea I’m sure), Root should be celebrated for more than just novelty, because he’s legitimately a great player. We’ve seen it repeatedly with his Riftwalker, a hero nobody else seems interested in trying despite how much success he’s had. Now we’re seeing it with Blacksmith, who has been roundly mocked as possibly the worst hero in the game. willowkeeper are a nontraditional team in many ways, and RootOf_z is an integral part of their unconventional success.

L4byr1nth (Dawn)

The captain of Dawn through a number of roster changes, promotions, and demotions, and arguably the best Kraken player in the game. At the very least he’s excellent with one of the most popular and strongest initiators in the game, but as a mid player he can’t be pinned to one hero. You’ll also notice he’s the only captain here, and that’s worth a special mention, especially as sertas was captaining Dawn just a few months ago. There aren’t too many players who can come into the scene as a leader of a team; usually that takes experience to garner the appropriate respect.

If someone had told you that Stay Green and Bad Monkey Gaming would combine for just one cycle of play in HoN Tour Season 3 a year ago, then you might well have imagined the competitive scene to be entirely dead. Instead we’ve had a significant influx of talent in Season 3, with strong new teams popping up left and right. In fact, all five of the nominees for this category are in the top eight of the HoN Tour standings, with just SynC, BMG, and Reason established as veterans. The depth of talent that’s been discovered through HTS3 has made it probably the most balanced season of HoN Tour yet.

willowkeeper (tree)

Fusen & Co. have been together a long time, and they made Diamond in Season 2 but weren’t particularly competitive. They stood out in the Season 2 playoffs but didn’t progress especially far in the second stage, and barely missed the cut for the first cycle of the Carnage in Caldavar Pro League. But in Cycle 2 they picked up a spot and haven’t looked back. They were surprising silver medalists in Cycle 2 of HoN Tour Season 3, and have consistently occupied that position through the first six cycles with the occasional hiccup. Defined by their lack of (traditional) jungle play and generally innovative strategies, as well as off-the-wall hero picks, willowkeeper aren’t playing the same meta as most other teams right now. For the most part, that’s worked out great.

Nullstone Gaming (Null)

Out of the ashes of tUS – who had some issues with roster stability that characterize American teams – rose a surprisingly stable team in Nullstone Gaming. The Last of US’ various adds and drops left an entire squad of players able to form a separate entity, and after spending Cycle 1 of HTS3 in Gold they’ve emerged as one of the better teams in NA/EU. Most impressively, they have five players who consistently show up on time for matches, but it’s not like punctuality is their only virtue. They’ve got a great lineup up-and-down, and though they haven’t always performed to the top of their potential, they have shown flashes of being a top three team. If they find some regularity in the quality of their play they can be one of the biggest challenges to face.

Night Raid (NR)

Another team born from the death of tUS, though more directly than Nullstone, NR added a few ex-Absolute Legends players (sporting more aL tags than NR) for a solid five-man lineup that reflects Nullstone in many ways. When they’re on, they can beat top teams like tree. When they’re off – or don’t show up – they look like pushovers. Though they were demoted to Gold after Cycle 5 thanks to a forfeit, and were unable to come back to Diamond for Cycle 7, they’ve been amazing enough times that they can’t be taken lightly. The only thing standing in their way right now seems to be dedication.


KNX were an extremely surprising third-place team in CiC Cycle 1, no doubt largely thanks to the addition of iNsania (AKA AZUREREXXAR) to the captain and jungle position. After he left the team for Cycle 2, they were unable to continue, but re-formed before Season 3 and qualified for Diamond right off the bat. They haven’t been able to consistently stay in HoN Tour’s top division, though they have consistently been ranked as a top team by competitors in the power rankings, and occasionally justified it by taking games off SynC and topping out in fourth place in Cycle 5.

Dawn (Dawn)

Dawn were a popular pick to advance to the CiC Pro League for either cycle, regarded as one of the better also-rans over the summer. They stepped it up a bit before HTS3, winning the qualifiers handily and looking like they were ready to step into the limelight. But they found Diamond perhaps harder than they anticipated, getting demoted after Cycle 2, and it took them a couple cycles to come back with a revamped lineup that included the return of probusk, this time as a carry. Though they showed a much greater potential with a third-place finish in Cycle 4, which included victories over both American teams consecutively, an early exit in Cycle 5 meant a second demotion. Dawn and KNX have shaken things up after Cycle 6 by merging, and we’ll see where the two teams go from here, but their performance in the latter half of 2021 has been impressive.

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quincy0191 is a HoN veteran with a focus on the numbers. Fascinated by quantifying and valuing human beings, he shunned the world of finance in favor of sports and competition. When not on Honcast you can find quincy playing games like Civilization and Pokemon, or watching movies, writing, pondering, or catching a game of baseball.