The group stage of the Heroes of the Storm Fall Championship is over, and guess what region looks particularly dominant? That’s right—it looks like the kooky departures Heroes of the Storm makes from the traditional MOBA formula aren’t enough to stop the Mecca of esports, South Korea, from fielding teams that seem a class above the rest of the world.
Ballistix have trounced every team they’ve come up against so far
MVP Black are generally considered the favorites to win the tournament right now. They’ve been playing together longer than most other teams in the tournament, and you can see the trust and familiarity with one another really pay off in their team-fighting ability. They’re an extraordinary team accomplishing extraordinary things; they beat one of their group opponents, Burning Rage, in a little over seven minutes. You’d have to be an idiot to bet against them.
Here’s the part where I call myself an idiot, though: MVP Black was only the second seed in Korea, and the first seed looks just as good, if not better. Ballistix have trounced every team they’ve come up against so far, including heavyweights like Fnatic, and they’ve performed consistently at an incredibly high level: until their final game against Fnatic, they hadn’t died a single time all tournament. MVP Black has the seven-minute-game thing, which is pretty flashy, but that’s not as impressive as some might think (I’m looking at you, Roy from one paragraph ago). Burning Rage was always going to go down to MVP Black, the process was just a bit more accelerated than we anticipated. And of course, in the Korean finals this summer, Ballistix—under the previous team name of L5—actually beat MVP Black. I imagine they can beat them again.
One surprise came in the form of Please Buff Arthas, a Taiwanese team which ousted the second seed Chinese team, eStar. This summer, they made Heroes of the Storm history as the first team from a region besides China, Korea, Europe or North America to make it to the top eight of an international tournament, and now they’ve gone and done it again. Appropriately, PBA seems to have a particular penchant for the comeback, having pulled unlikely turnarounds against both eStar and Fnatic.
And Fnatic! Talented, tormented Fnatic. They’ve done okay so far, and made it out of groups, but they do seem to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. They’ve been punished more than once for their aggressive style of play, but have bounced back into an overcautious demeanor (evidenced in their second game against Ballistix) that cedes objectives and advantages to more opportunistic teams. Maybe they’ll find themselves anew during quarterfinals, which will be held at BlizzCon this Friday.