We have a winner! Last week in Thailand, hundreds of people saw the final matches of the World Finals, and thousands more joined them in live streams, bringing the Highlight of the HoN year to the attention of a large number of HoN Fans around the planet. Here's what happened if you missed it, including a few words about the winner at the end of the article.

What happened so far
In long. In short: Fnatic dashed through the first day with two victories, one against [MiXs] Phoenix MiXs and a 2:1, the other against [eNeo] Neolution eSports in the WB finals, which was a quick 2:0. eNeo beat Aghanim previously with 2:0, so it was a pretty bleak day for both MiXs and Aghanim, while eNeo at least got to the WB and LB finals and Fnatic were quite satisfied with their day.

MiXs and Aghanim
As the Losers Bracket matches were BO1, tension was high right away. MiXs decided to pick a team including Silhouette for their star carry, as well as pure power with Pebbles, Fayde, Lord Salforis and Rhapsody, while Aghanim chose Bubbles, Madman, Blitz, Magmus and Lord Benzington. On paper, the MiXs selection seemed more powerful and while both teams were equal at first, MiXs made use of their paper superiority and translated that to the game, making several good plays and gaining a nice advantage. From there on, Aghanim fell behind more and more and while they tried everything they could, the strong Silhouette made it impossible for them to catch up and the game ended with MiXs bringing victory home.

eNeo vs MiXs
On we moved to the Losers Bracket finals and here it was once more BO1, just one mistake could decide the whole LB Finals. eNeo picked Bombardier, Blitz, Fayde, Lord Salforis and Puppet Master, seemingly taking several of the heroes from their opponents which MiXs used to win the previous game. MiXs reacted with Wild Soul, Sir Benzington, Pebbles, Andromeda and Slither. A rather unusual setup, that allowed MiXs to put up early pressure and take the advantage. eNeo were quickly in the same spot that Aghanim was last game, trying to catch up to MiXs, but failing to do so despite their best efforts. Once rolling, MiXs seemed unstoppable. It took MiXs 30 minutes to finally decide the game and with that they earned themselves another date with Fnatic in the Grand Finals and the chance to win it all despite having to go through all the LB stages.

Grand Finals
MiXs vs Fnatic

Game 1 of the Grand Finals held some interesting heroes, as expected. MiXs selected Klanx, Bubbles, Pharaoh, Circe and Behemoth, a very offensive selection. Fnatic answered with Gladiator, Rhapsody, Master of Arms, Slither and Bombardier, hoping to stall the aggression and play their own style. The game started with MiXs getting a very quick advantage, but Fnatic equalized just as quick, showing skill at keeping up with the asian team. It became a back and forth with no team gaining a real edge until late in the game, when a huge teamfight went in favour of MiXs, and they managed to break Fnatic's base in the end.
The second game saw MiXs mixing it up with their hero selection, choosing Silhouette, Tundra, Midas, Blitz and Circe, while Fnatic hoped for the best and picked Klanx for themselves this time while adding Gladiator, Myrmidon. Aluna and Bubbles. MiXs took the early advantage again by clever play, but Fnatic once more kept up and did not allow MiXs to take over the game completely. Instead they got their own game rolling and forced MiXs to play defensively. Fnatic continued the pressure and with Boxi especially playing fantastic on that Myrmidon, they managed to become so dominantly, that MiXs conceded the game after an especially devastating Kongor fight in favour of Fnatic.
It was now time for game 3 and the last chance for MiXs to turn things around. They decided to select Puppet Master, Geomancer, Pebbles, Andromeda and War Beast for this purpose, and Fnatic answered with their own stun heavy team of Maliken, Bombardier, Valkyrie, Voodoo Jester and Gladiator. This time, it was Fnatic who took the early advantage, putting pressure on their opponents quickly. MiXs struggled first, but came back into the game after a while, even taking over the gold, xp and kill lead after half an hour. Things were looking good for MiXs at that time and while they did not manage to gain dominance, they certainly were the more active team. Several teamfights later, MiXs lost the advantage they had gained before, thanks to great plays by Fnatic, and now it was a struggle for survival again for MiXs. And hour into the game, a decisive team fight erupted at Kongor and Fnatic won this fight in a big way, pushing into the enemy base as a follow up and eventually winning the game as well as the match with that move.

The Winners: Fnatic!
Congrats to Fnatic for winning the World Finals in Thailand. It was indeed an impressive performance that these 5 guys showed, not letting early setbacks rattle them and going straight to victory. The five guys, `Makke, iNsania, Xibbe, Boxi and m`iCKe all had some success in the past, but this should be the crowning achievement in their HoN career for sure. And they did not just win the title, they won it from the Champions of last year. Back in the NA/EU playoffs, the team seemed to be a bit unsteady at first, when they dropped to the Losers Bracket so quickly, but their comeback, the impressive path to the Grand Finals in the Playoffs and beyond and now the stellar performance in the World Finals have proven that they are the team to beat when it comes to HoN. I'm sure they had a great time in Thailand and will never forget this event, so once more congrats guys, it was a lot of fun to watch you in action the past few weeks!

And that's it for the World Finals for this year, but worry not: after the World Finals is before the World Finals!

After many years writing about esports in HoN and especially Hontour, BlahC is still not having any kind of life outside of this, so he writes about the esports lives of other people in 2024 as well. Shoutout to Inklin, Ace, Breaky, Beef, Jeremy, and Fnatic.

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