By Fantasy

A bit sigh of relieve echoed throughout the HoN scene of Thailand, especially in the parts where Neolution eSports.MRR is celebrated as the best team. The multiple time champions of this HoN Tour season led by superstar Chitawan’X were on the ropes after the surprising upset loss to Acer.Dogg in the Semifinals of the big playoff spectacular in the Thai competitive circuit. Before that the team with legendary carry player duiqu was the absolute favorite to win the competition. Still, in a country stacked with marvelous HoN talent, the complacent attitude caught up with them and made them fall to the third place.

Their long-time rivals of Hybrid Gaming came closer to the gold,ultimately falling to Snoop Dogg as well. What a shocking turn of events it was to see that a newcomer team grown during the season would upset the two powerhouse teams of the last two full years. That was exactly what had happened. Acer.Dogg, a team ascending onto the competitive main stage this year with improvements in all cycles had done it. When crunch time rolled around they were able to overcome the crushing defeats suffered by Neolution eSports.MRR in back-to-back cycle finals, only to see their star completely rise. The HoN Tour title made them hold the ticket to the World Finals right away, with HBX and MRR relegated to fight their way through the Wildcard tournament.

The first step of that journey is now done, but once more with several question marks surrounding the teams - epecially towards Neolution eSports.MRR. The giant that was designated to start a new dynasty this year once more was exposed. HBX and Acer.Dogg dominated the qualifier, while Chitawan’X had to rally and guide his squad through the Lower Bracket from a very early point. The fourth round opponent was already all MRR could handle, being matched up with the other rising squad of the past HoN Tour season in Get Together. Two squads with postseason experience slug it out once more, this time with Get Together having the better end of the deal. This not only sent MRR straight into the abyss of the Lower Bracket, but also tarnished the untouchable aura of the squad even further. Before, in four cycles and one postseason clash, MRR had never lost a match to Get Together. Could this really be the final nail in the coffin of this year’s World Finals for the premier team of the region?

Not quite, as the team rallied back and torched every other opponent. Notable names like Turtle Master, Sorry Sorry, Nok 2 Hua and kero were defeated and eliminated, all to make it into the Lower Bracket finals and into the Top 3 of the qualifier. With Acer.Dogg being among those three, the other two had punched their wildcard spot and could pack their bags and plan their trip to the capital of Thailand once more.

The main event of the World Finals is still a not quite secured, but another stand at the GSL event is booked. Both HBX and Neo.MRR now have to sit back, practice and patiently wait for their Southeast Asian foes, who will join them in the four-team-wildcard on side of the big event. Only two teams make it through and SEA will send their best teams from all the countries to compete in the prelims at the end of February. Once that tournament is over, the two Thai juggernauts will know what they are up against and can intensify their efforts in training camp. A lot is at stake, since none of the teams have ever missed a World Finals event or a clash with the best teams of the world. HBX, formerly known as MiTH.s2y, was present at GSL 2021 with their breakout performance, as well as playing in the first ever HoN Tour World Finals last year - while Neolution eSports.MRR lost their mojo at the GSL 2021 event, only to reclaim it back and being the sensation and surprise of the World Finals in 2021 with a gutsy and thrilling performance against the eventual World Champs of stayGreen.

To add a chapter to their glorious team history on the biggest stage HoN has to offer, they have to reaffirm the dominance of Thailand in the Asian scene. A quest that is manageable, but not automatic. We’ve seen what happens to flagship teams when they take the competition too lightly, both in CIS and SEA. Examples like Cats Gaming, Orange eSports and even Neo.MRR to an extend come to mind. Can Hybrid Gaming and Neolution eSports.MRR avoid that fate?

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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