By Fantasy

While the Western world was preparing to feast on the Christmas dinner, unwrap presents or chug down tons of Egg Nog, two Thai teams prepared for one of the biggest games of HoN in their life. Right before the festive season, the Thai HoN Tour Grand Finals were set to take place in a rented out theater complex in the heart of the capital, Bangkok.

The unlikely pairing of Snoop Dogg and Hybrid Gaming was one of the main storylines going into, seeing as the dominant team of Neolution eSports.MRR played themselves out of contention. With a sloppy performance and a little bit too much swagger and confidence, they looked like they took the challenge against Dogg lightly - and might pay a hefty prize for it. The official numbers or starting spots for the World Finals are not yet announced, but a third place is definitely guaranteeing a berth and entry into the biggest Heroes of Newerth competition of the season. After a tumultuous, but nice year for Chitawan’X and his boys, this was the sad moment ending their great run. Before they’ve looked untouchable,going through there opponents like they were butter, winning three Thai HoN Tour regular seasons and three playoffs - even defeating the odds and fighting off the punishment handed them by the dirty-ringing scandal. They weathered every storm, always came out on top, but in the end couldn’t get to the big dance, couldn’t crown themselves the Champions of Thailand once again.

That left open the possibility of Hybrid Gaming, formerly known as Made in Thailand.Sorry Sorry, to solidify their tremendous, yet spotty, dynasty. If you take a look at the grander picture and not just the individual cycles and results, Hybrid Gaming might actually be the team to come closest to dynasty. While they lack the utmost success in the regular seasons, aren’t stockpiling wins in playoffs, they are always around the top, ready to pounce. The moment you give them an inch, they take a mile, the moment something truly great is on the line, they will show up and perform at the highest level. This happened in the Garena Star League 2021 when they had to prove to the world that they are the best Thai team, this happened in the Thai HoN Tour Season 1 when Turtle Master challenged their authority. It also worked in back-to-back play-in matches to DreamHack events and in the SEA HoN Tour last season. The moment the real playoffs started, Made in Thailand.Sorry Sorry was ready for any challenge.

This season was no difference. After announcing their new roster with authority, taking home the title in the first cycle of the fresh season, they shifted back and relaxed. No more flashy results, no more real big events played. The conceded the center stage to Neo.MRR and Turtle Master, while still lurking around and gathering valuable points to get a higher seed for the playoffs.

Still once the playoffs started, Hybrid Gaming was on top of their game and added their masterpiece by defeating Turtle Master in the Semis to reach the third consecutive Grand Finals game of a HoN Tour event hosted with Asian competition. Both previous games went in their favor, both times beating out Neolution eSports.MRR. This time it was Snoop Dogg standing in their way.

The Giant Slayer team started off as an unknown entity in midst of the four known Thai HoN teams. At the beginning of the season they weren’t only unknown, but also only served as a footnote in the big fight of Neo.MRR, HBX and Turtle Master for a playoff seed. They weren’t quite at the level yet and so had to learn the ropes and enhance their play to get to a better level. This process came quick though, much quicker than anyone could have anticipated. In Cycle 2 they were already knocking on the door of the playoffs, in Cycle 3 they knocked that door down. Through the dirty-ringing punishment they’ve received a berth in the playoff finals for Cycle 3, adding a second finals appearance in the fourth cycle. The consistency was astounding and the team was just known as that - a team. They don’t possess a flashy player like duiqi, Tianza or I’Ron’Nun, they have their success because of superior team work and cutting down of mistakes. That path led them all the way to the finals of the playoffs twice, and also to the biggest game of their youngster HoN career - the Grand Finals of the HoN Tour season.

That they don’t crumble under pressure, they proved on stage. Despite the big venue, the big opponent and the big prize just inches away, they stayed as cool as the other side of the pillow and played their game. The ability to not be overzealous and just take what the opponent gives you is a strength not all young teams, or even veteran teams display in these circumstances. Snoop Dogg did though, bringing their journey of constant improvement to a great ending. In the first cycle they were fifth, the second one ended on the fourth place for them, followed by two second place finishes. Now they finally got the #1 spot and are charging full steam ahead into the next chapters of the great story.

On top of the success, the win also paid off for Snoop Dogg in terms of notoriety. The team that started out as a bunch of friends enjoying the game is now backed by a major company as a sponsor. The green brand from Acer decided to step into the flourishing Thai HoN scene. Ever since Yamaha was involved with the Sorry Sorry team, this is the most notable and accomplished world-wide operating company that gets involved with the Thai scene. With Acer and this burst in momentum, Snoop Dogg is going to present itself to the eyes of the public during the World Championships. BOYAAH!

Final Standings of Thai HoN Tour:

1. Snoop Dog By Acer V Nitro
2. Hybrid Gaming
3. Neolution eSports.MRR
4. Shooter eSports
5./6. Turtle Master
5./6. Get Together
7./8. YwY
7./8. Kimochi Tt.eSports
9.-12. OHP
9.-12. Kaff
9.-12. 4DOK
9.-12. IAAI

References in sweet memory to Stuart Scott.

About The Author: Fantasy
Fantasy is a journalist with four years of experience working in various eSports. He is currently the HoN Tour correspondent for the CIS and SEA regions, as well as an editor for both ESL Gaming and compLexity Gaming. In addition to his online endeavors, he studies Publicity and Communication, plays American football, and loves movies.

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