By quincy0191

This is the last one, boys and girls. The final cycle of HoN Tour Season 3, and one more chance for SynC eSports to potentially get a record-breaking fourth straight cycle victory. Standing in their way is a plethora of teams, including a resurgent Reason Gaming team – after a long break, it seems that the hype for the new Rea team is for real, and their second-place finish is evident all over these rankings. But we can’t forget about willowkeeper, who made second place their home for most of the season, a Nullstone Gaming team whose highs are as good as anyone, the return of BMG (and Ogr!) to Diamond, the combined powers of Dawn and REXXARS resulting in a Fresh, talented team, or the re-branded PI, Team Who, which picked up a couple great free agents. The central theme for these power rankings and likely the cycle ahead? “I don’t know”.

Honorable Mention – The Solaire Club (SolC), 7.5 points

Honorable Mention – Asian Reflexes (aXe), 20.5 points

Honorable Mention – Shrek is Love (Ogr), 26 points

8. Night Raid (NR), 62 points
Night Raid have still failed to make it back to Diamond despite being knocked down after Cycle 5 – this will make their third straight tour of Gold, and unfortunately they won’t be returning to HoN Tour’s top division this cycle. But they’re still in good position for the playoffs thanks to early season success, holding on to the eighth seed at the moment. If they win Gold this cycle or Team Who loses in the first two rounds, they will maintain that ranking going forward. Shrek is Love could also potentially leapfrog both teams, but it’s quite unlikely. NR still aren’t a team that practices a lot, and with a change from mzry to KingPlato in the captain’s position things may still take a bit of time to figure out. But we’ve seen them win surprising games before, so they can certainly do it again.

7. Team Who (Hoo), 64 points
After losing Teltook to aXe, apparently Prime Icarus thought they might as well make a ton of moves. They brought in TiMe2DiE to fill the suddenly vacant suicide role, which is probably an upgrade; TiMe2DiE is one of the better suicide players currently on the scene, and may be the most underrated player out there right now. We’ll get a chance to see what he can do in Diamond next cycle, and don’t be surprised if it’s great. Former Dawn support YUGOBIC was brought in to replace Znoowy as well, with Shorkan assuming the captain position. The flurry of changes pretty clearly results in a better team overall, and if they can gel quickly then Team Who is poised to upset.

6. Bad Monkey Gaming (BMG), 92 points
The return of the kings, at least the only ones other than SynC who can call themselves that. Bad Monkey Gaming was in a bad way for a little while, with the rumors of a disband roaring and the third place spot suddenly up for grabs. Instead, Superkge and Haxxeren got together to keep things going, and added pallet to replace fajN`. Things didn’t go that well early on, losing in the Winner’s Semifinals to CoolIo. But they powered through the Loser’s Bracket to eventually take the Gold crown and the superior seed (i.e. not having to play SynC) in Cycle 8. BMG’s getting a lot of love despite dropping to Gold last cycle, now all they have to do is prove they’re worth it.

5. Fresh (Mint), 103 points
The Dawn/KNX hybrid certainly had an interesting run in their debut. A first-round loss to willowkeeper meant demotion was a serious possibility, but they staved it off by eliminating REXXARS in a bit of an easy match. Through two rounds they weren’t looking much improved from the old version of either team, but taking down Nullstone before losing yet again to tree showed that they may have made the right changes to take a step forward. They don’t have time to move up or down from their current #6 seed, but with an eye toward the playoffs, this newer team could get in just under the wire.

4. Nullstone Gaming (Null), 104 points
Nullstone probably weren’t looking for that after a mediocre 4th place finish in Cycle 5. The Americans have repeatedly shown they can hang with the best of them, the issue is mostly how long. Getting knocked out in 5th/6th place isn’t an insult – you’re still one of the best teams in the world – but they’re looking to improve. Toward that end, a roster move is being discussed, and we’ll see if it has the impact they’re looking for. Something has to, because this version of Nullstone is one that will do well, but little more.

3. Reason Gaming (Rea), 142 points
HELLO! Reason Gaming is so good, they said. That trip to Gold was great. ImbaBoy learned how to draft. And sure, they were great in Cycle 6, but any team can (and seemingly most do) fluke their way into a great cycle. Reason upped the ante, though, advancing to the Grand Finals for the first time, and gave SynC a legitimate challenge in both the Winner’s Finals and Winner’s Semifinals. But perhaps even more impressive is two straight series victories over willowkeeper – Reason had had a ton of difficulty taking down tree, and now that they’ve done it twice they should feel much more confident.

2. willowkeeper (tree), 143 points
Speaking of tree, they unfortunately lost their punching bag a bit. Reason have jumped ahead on many lists, and nearly beat them out for second place, which is essentially all they have. tree remain one of the most consistent teams on the scene, but they’ve continuously failed to get over the hurdle that is SynC eSports despite multiple tries, and now it seems they have to pay attention to the rear-view mirror as well. Things are squeezing a bit at the top right now, and if they continue in their current trajectory, willowkeeper could be squeezed out. We’re a long way from them being a bad team, but they really do need to do something drastic if they want to maintain their appeal when compared to the hot, slim new Reason. One great way would be to beat SynC.

1. SynC eSports (SynC), 170 points
The only position that really wasn’t contested. Just before receiving the last ranking, I added everything up to see if there was anyone that was more or less guaranteed their spot, so I could do the write-up for them even without knowing how the final list would shake out. This was the only one – there are a few significant gaps, notably between first and second, third and fourth, sixth and seventh, and eighth and ninth. Within those gaps, however, there’s a lot of competition between teams. There really isn’t here – Reason made the Cycle 7 Grand Finals quite close, and one could certainly argue that if it were an unbiased series (Rea not having just played a long best-of-three, SynC being up one game) they could have walked away with it. The end result was still the same.

It’s possible SynC isn’t taking HoN quite as seriously as they should right now (or at least this position has been intimated by several people), and it’s entirely possible they lose the next cycle. willowkeeper are still a strong team, and now they have to deal with a resurgent Reason and the return of BMG. The “new” Team Who looks strong, Shrek is Love is back, and Nullstone aren’t exactly an also-ran considering they’ve been to the Grand Finals. So who knows?

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.