By Blaze

HoN Tour Season 4 finished with the Qualifiers just last weekend and already it's time for the first of eight official Cycles, starting this Saturday and going for a whole three weeks in a somewhat changed and immensely improved format. The Diamond Division will be the focus of the action and to ensure maximum entertainment, fair matches and a worthy Champion, Diamond will now have a Group Stage and a Playoff Stage. The Group Stage will have the teams play everyone else in a BO2 round robin, making 2-0 victories especially important to those who seek to become Champions. After two weeks, all matches have been played and the Playoffs for the top 4 teams can begin, while the bottom two teams have to go into relegation matches against the top 2 of Gold Division, making the third week the most important one. At the end of the third week we will have a Champion and the setup for the next Cycle. Sounds good?

Now in this very first Cycle we have five teams that have been invited beforehand for their performance in last Season as well as three teams that went through several weeks of hard matches in the Qualifiers. Now is the question who of the set teams kept up training well enough to beat all the others and who of the teams will have to go into the relegation matches. All eight teams are eager to play and prove themselves, so let'S take a short look at them and their situation before the Cycle starts.


[BMG]BadMonkeyGaming

Champions of last Season and unlucky in the time between the Season, this team once came out of nothing and had immense ups and downs since. In recent weeks they have shown some weakness and did not make it into the Onslaught Playoffs, a big surprise for everyone. They had plenty of time to practice now though and are always good for a surprise, so we will have to see if they were able to improve enough again to actually keep up with the other top teams. Last Season they had an edge due to their ability to adjust to the changed game meta and now this meta has changed again, so maybe they can use this to their advantage once more. They should make it to the Playoffs, but will probably have a hard time from there, so don't bet on them to win the first Cycle.


[coL]compLexity Gaming

The big American team made a dramatic appearance in the last Season and has been among the top teams ever since the second half of it, including a very good offseason. They haven't been the top team yet, but it seems that they are getting there slowly, always emerging stronger from a defeat. This Season may as well be their Season with the EU teams getting mixed up and struggling to adjust to the new heroes. Another prime candidate for the Playoffs, coL will certainly continue next Cycle in the Diamond Division and eventually get a chance to become the Champion of a Cycle or two.


[Mint]Fresh

Back to their old team name, the Ex-Druidz players have had their share of intense games and amazing moments in the past, especially in the Offseason. Fans of this team have been used to some cold showers every now and then and live for those dominating moments when the players get out their signature heroes and in this new format, the team will have plenty of chances to do that. They might not be a prime candidate for the Playoffs, but also don't have too much to fear from the newcomers if they play their cards right. But then again, no team is safe from a surprise, so we will have to wait and see where their path leads.


[Rea]Reason Gaming

Considered to be one of the strongest teams right now, Reason Gaming seems to be the best candidate after ex Sync to become the Champions this Cycle. They worked hard to get here, had a stellar Offseason after a few mild fails and seem to have gotten used to the game and team changes. Now it's time to show everyone just what they are capable of and this will be very entertaining for sure. If you are a betting person, Reason Gaming would be a good bet to become the Champions.

Ex-[SynC]Sync eSports

With that said, the other most likely team to make it to the top are the guys from ex Sync eSports. Not sure yet what they are going to call themselves, they clearly are sure that they will dominate the Diamond Division and go into the Playoffs unchallenged. They have the skill, the players, the experience and the motivation, and only a few other teams might have a tiny chance to stop them. Their short term goal will be winning this Cycle, while their long term goal is to finally win a big thing, in this case becoming the World Champions of Season next year. This weekend will be the first step.


[AZN]Chopstick Gaming

First of the three teams that joined Diamond Division via the Qualifiers, the Chopsticks looked really good all through the tournament and are now among the best HoN players in the world where they have to fight for survival in the Diamond Division. But with their impressive display of skill the last few weeks, they may reach for more, get a spot in the Playoffs and upset some of the top teams while they are at it, they certainly have the skill for it. Keep this team in your sights, they might go far in the course of the Season.


[HOT]Sauna eSports

The second team to join via the Qualifiers and kind of a surprise, Sauna eSports worked hard, sweated a lot and made it further than most expected. Now in Diamond, their main concern will be survival, as they don't have the most impressive team, at least on paper. Still they have proven themselves in the Qualifiers and will take any chance to defeat the enemy, hoping for a sweet spot in the Playoffs if everything works out well. But even if everything fails, the Relegation will probably pit them against teams they defeated in the past, so it's a good chance that they will remain in Diamond for at least another Cycle and improve their skills even further.


[REVO]Revolution

The last team that made it into Diamond Division and a complete surprise to everyone. This team had to work incredibly hard to get here after they dropped into the losers Bracket of the Qualifiers early, and they prevailed, defeating top team after top team in the process. But there is no rest for this shining new star on the competitive scene yet: The Group Stage of Diamond Division is calling and all the top teams are now at their doorstep, eager to show the new guys how the cookie crumbles. To survive here, Revolution has to work hard once again and probably focus on defeating the weaker teams, the top 4 are rather unlikely to fall for their strategies. But then anything can happen, really, and watching Revolution will be quite entertaining, as it is alway awesome to see a new team in the top 8.

These are the 8 teams for Cycle 1, a great mix of skill, innovation and funkiness. The first matches, Reason Gaming vs Chopstick Gaming and Revolution vs Sauna eSports, will commence this Saturday at 12:00 EDT | 18:00 CEST and as usual, Honcast will cover one of these matches live, as well as the others that will happen later today and Sunday. Enjoy an evening full of HoN, Season 4 Cycle 1 has begun! Good Luck and Have Fun to all teams and players!

BlahC
BlahC is a senior Hontour.com writer focusing on the NA/EU Diamond and Gold Divisions. After making a name for himself in the Dawn of War 1 scene, he began his career in journalism at DawnOfWar.de. As one of the first HoN Tour writers, BlahC has focused on the less known teams, bringing their name to the forefront. When he isn’t writing about HoN, BlahC enjoys playing RPGs, writing fiction, and listening to Metal, Avantgarde, and Neofolk music.

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