Maciej Kołek – Fotograf
The first ever Heroes Global Circuit (HGC) Western Clash is over and we have our winner. Congratulations to Team Dignitas for coming back from the lower bracket to take down the seemingly unstoppable FNATIC in a best-of-five Grand Finals, 3-2. It was a hard fought battle for Team Dignitas, but they showed that they have the perseverance and the skills to come out on top of the EU region.
Match 1: (1) MISFITS VS (8) NOMIA
Day 1 started with big games and big plays. The EU team Misfits was heavily favored to win the Western Clash, coming into the tournament with a 7-0 record, a 21-5 game Win/Loss record and a number 1 seed. Their best-of-three match against Nomia was supposed to be open and shut, but Nomia surprised a lot of people by pulling off a victory on Infernal Shrines. Still Misfits prevailed and took the match 2-1 after winning on Cursed Hollow and Dragon Shire.
Match 2: (5) TEAM DIGNITAS VS. (4) TEAM 8
In the second match, Team Dignitas went up against North American Team 8. While Team 8 was ranked number 2 in the North American region, they were ranked 4 in the Western Clash coming in with a 6-1 record and a 20-6 game win/loss record. Team Dignitas took the first game on Infernal Shrines, but Team 8 even the match by winning Game 2 on Battle Field of Eternity. In Game 3 on Towers of Doom, Team Dignitas won in convincing fashion, sending Team 8 to the Lower Bracket.
Match 3: (2) TEMPO STORM VS (7) INFAMOUS
Tempo Storm took on Latin American team Infamous in Match 3. Infamous had a good showing in Game 1 on Sky Temple, but Tempo Storm proved to be better at commanding the map and controlling the temples. In Game 2 on Towers of Doom, Tempo Storm dominated the match, taking out Infamous’s core with ease while having a very healthy core of their own at 36 HPs.
Match 4: (3) FNATIC vs (6) GALE FORCE ESPORTS
Match 4 was the second EU vs NA matchup of the tournament and in Game 1 on Tomb of the Spider Queen this match did not disappoint. Mostly evenly matched throughout the game, they were close in levels and low in Hero Kills, but in the end FNATIC found an opening and took out the core. In the second game, on Braxis Holdout, Gale Force eSports tried a different team composition, hoping that it would have an effect against the FNATIC team. While Gale Force held their own with FNATIC in the early game, but FNATIC was able to capitalize on a couple of GFE miscues to win 2-0.
Match 1: (4) TEAM 8 vs (8) NOMIA
After going up against the finest teams EU has to offer, Team 8 and Nomia faced a steep uphill battle to get back into the Clash. Even though they were in the lower bracket, both teams surpassed expectations in their matches. Nomia won one match against Misfits, the favored team to with the Clash, while Team 8 picked up a game win against Team Dignitas, something that a lot of people didn’t expect to see. In Game 1 on Battlefield of Eternity it was starting to look like Team 8 would take this game, but Nomia made a comeback and won. In Game 2 on Infernal Shrines Team 8 tied the match to send it into Game 3. Unfortunately for Nomia, Team 8’s momentum continued through Game 3 on Braxis Holdout, where Team 8 would eventually come off with the win and knock Nomia out of the tournament.
Match 2: (6) GALE FORCE ESPORTS vs. (7) INFAMOUS
The last match of Day 1 of the Western Clash pitted Gale Force eSports against Infamous. Coming off sweeping losses from FNATIC and Tempo Storm respectively, both teams needed to regroup and bring their A game. Which Game Force eSports did, taking Game 1 on Sky Temple by utilizing the temples and racking up the Hero kills. Infamous had one more game to get back into the match, but in Game 2 on Infernal Shrines, Gale Force eSports continued their dominance over Infamous, taking the core, winning the match and eliminating Infamous from the Western Clash.
With the elimination of the ANZ team Nomia and the Latin American team Infamous, the rest of the Western Clash was a showdown between the 3 North American teams and the 3 European teams.
Match 1: (1) MISFITS vs (5) TEAM DIGNITAS
Day 2 started with an EU vs EU match up with both teams coming off 2-1 wins the previous day. Game 1 on Towers of Doom proved to be the closest and most intense game in this match as both teams trading off shots and whittled away at each other’s core. By the end of the game Misfits core was at 3 hit points and Team Diginitas’s core was at 1 hit point which ensured that it would all come down to who could claim the last shot. In the case of the Misfits, it was a lucky sapper that would ultimately get through Team Dignitas’s defenses. In Game 2 on Infernal Shrines, Misfits won convincingly. Team Dignitas needed the Game 3 win to stay in it but Misfits denied them a comeback, sweeping the match 3-0.
Match 2: (3) FNATIC vs (2) TEMPO STORM
With both FNATIC and Tempo Storm coming off 2-0 sweeps, Game 1 of this EU vs NA match, set on Towers of Doom looked to be quite the match. Tempo Storm did everything they could to keep on pace with FNATIC, but down 40-13 in core health before the 10 minute mark, there wasn’t much Tempo Storm could do to get back into this match. In Game 2 on Tomb of the Spider Queen, FNATIC took control again and enjoyed a 3 level lead going into the late game. Tempo Storm couldn’t defend against the core push. With the match on the line, Tempo Storm needed a Game 3 win on Sky Temple. FNATIC had other plans, pushing to the core at the minute 13 mark with a Boss in tow and 2 level lead. They would go on to sweep Tempo Storm 3-0.
Match 1: (2) TEMPO STORM vs (4) TEAM 8
Now in the Lower Bracket, two North American teams faced off in a battle to advance in the tournament with Team 8 once again in danger of elimination. In the North American region, Tempo Storm and Team 8 had the same W-L record at 6-1 going into the Western Clash with Team 8’s only loss coming from Tempo Storm. Coming into Game 1 after suffering a 0-3 loss to FNATIC earlier in the day Tempo Storm seemed to have moved on from the loss, but Team 8 had a stronger late game composition and took the game. In Game 2 on Towers of Doom, Tempo Storm and Team 8 paced each other and traded shots back and forth as well as skirmish wins. Tempo Storm would win this game, tying up the match. In Game 3 on Sky Temple both teams were evenly matched, but Team 8 took down enough structures to make the shots from the Temples count, giving them the win. Game 4, on Braxis Holdout, was a game that Tempo Storm needed to win in order to stay in it. Team 8 had a slight advantage throughout the game, but Tempo Storm took the core with a Zerg rush, tying up the match again. In Game 5, on Tomb of the Spider Queen, this was anyone’s game. Late in the game both teams were tied in levels and it looked like Tempo Storm was going to go with a Boss + Zerg rush push, but they were denied their turn in, which gave Team 8 extra life in the match. It was all they needed to pull off the Game 5 win, stunning Tempo Storm.
Match 2: (5) TEAM DIGNITAS vs (6) GALE FORCE ESPORTS
Our third NA vs EU match was the last of Day 2. Team Dignitas was coming off a 3-0 loss to Misfits while Gale Force eSports was coming from a 2-0 win against Infamous. In Game 1 on Towers of Doom, Gale Force was poised to win the match, but Team Dignitas made a comeback and took the game. In Game 2, on Cursed Hollow, Team Dignitas took a level lead early and built on that lead, turning it into a 2 level then a 3 level lead towards the end of the match. Despite the huge core push by Gale Force, which left Team Dignitas’s core at 17%, Team Dignitas was able to wipe 4 Heroes, giving them the opening they needed to push to the GFE core and take it. With their Western Clash life on the line, Gale Force needed to win Game 3 on Battlefield of Eternity, but Team Dignitas once again gained a level advantage early. Gale Force eSports could nothing to defend against the core push by a powerful level 16 Team Dignitas, who swept Gale Force eSports 3-0.
Match 1: (1) MISFITS vs (3) FNATIC
Getting closer to the Grand Finals, Match 1 of Day 3 in the Upper Bracket pitted Misfits, coming off their 3-0 win against Team Dignitas, against FNATIC, who were coming off their 3-0 win against Tempo Storm. Coming into this match, FNATIC was the only team to have an unbeaten record in the Western Clash at 5-0, but Misfits were close behind, their only game loss coming from Nomia in their first match. In Game 1 on Infernal Shrines, Misfits took a level lead and seemed to be in some control of the match, but with both teams at pace with each other, the game could go either way. Late in the game, FNATIC made their push, and Misfits, down three Heroes, could not successfully defend the core. Game 2, on Sky Temple, FNATIC took control of the map and were able to pull off a win, going up 2-0 in the match. Misfits, in Game 3 on Tomb of the Spider Queen, needed this win to avoid the sweep. Late in the game FNATIC made a huge push to the Misfits core, taking it down to 7%, but excellent plays denied FNATIC the win, and resulted in a 5-man wipe. This gave Misfits the opportunity to take the FNATIC core. For Game 4, on Dragon Shire, Misfits had momentum on their side but still needed to win the next 2 games. FNATIC didn’t give into the momentum shift, taking the level lead early and didn’t look back. The game was done under 15 minutes, with FNATIC taking the match 3-1 and securing a spot in the Grand Finals. Misfits would go on to the lower bracket to face the winner of Team 8 versus Team Dignitas.
Match 1: (4) TEAM 8 vs (5) TEAM DIGNITAS
As the last remaining NA team, Team 8 had to get through a rematch with Team Dignitas in order to advance to the Lower Bracket finals against Misfits. In Game 1 on Battlefield of Eternity, Team Dignitas and Team were neck and neck throughout the game. Team Dignitas enjoyed a bit of level lead, but Team 8 was gaining momentum in the late game. That momentum was short-lived however, with Game 1 gong to Team Dignitas after a 4-Hero kill left the core undefended. Choosing Cured Hollow as the Game 2 map, Team 8 chose a map that played to their strengths in the hopes of getting the win. Team 8 led for most of the game, but Team Dignitas ultimately came out the victor. In Game 3 team 8 need to win the match to avoid elimination and to get back into the match. Team Dignitas denied them the win, taking down the core, and eliminating Team 8 from the Western Clash in a 3-game sweep.
Match 2: (1) MISFITS vs (5) TEAM DIGNITAS
With a spot in the Grand Finals on the line, this rematch between Misfits and Team Dignitas promised to be a close one. In Game 1 on Towers of Doom, Misfits played a good early game, getting in their shots on the Team Dignitas tower. Team Dignitas was unable to catch up in tower damage and Misfits took the first game. In Game 2 on Cursed Hollow, Team Dignitas took a slight level lead and built on it, taking control of the map. A push on the core almost guaranteed a win, but Misfits defended their core at 9% and wiped Team Dignitas. With the Team Dignitas’s core open, Misfits took it quickly. Game 3 was do or die for Team Dignitas who needed a Game 3, Game 4, and Game 5 win to advance to the Grand Finals. Misfits looked to be in the position to sweep Team Dignitas but on Infernal Shrines Misfits struggled to get out in front of Team Dignitas. The game would go to Team Dignitas, their first win against Misfits in the Western Clash. Game 4 on Sky Temple, momentum was once again on Team Dignitas’s side, but Misfits had a level lead for most of the match. Despite that lead, they could not stop Team Dignitas’s boss-led core push, resulting in a tied match. In Game 5 on Battlefield of Eternity, Team Dignitas’s had control of the game early, gaining a 3 level lead over Misfits heading into the late game. Executing a spectacular combo resulted in a 4-Hero takedown, Team Dignitas was able to push to the core, pulling off a comeback and winning a spot in the Grand Finals.
THE GRAND FINALS
(3) FNATIC vs (5) TEAM DIGNITAS
Now at the Grand Finals, FNATIC, coming off big wins against Misfits, Tempo Storm and Gale Force eSports, were now the favorites to win the Western Clash because of their impressive 7-1 record in the tournament. They would have to get through a tough challenger in Team Dignitas who fought hard through the Lower Bracket to defeat Gale Force eSports in Day 2, and Team 8 and Misfits just hours before the Grand Finals.
In Game 1 on Tomb of the Spider Queen, it appeared that this was FNATIC’s game to lose; however, Team Dignitas had no intention of letting FNATIC continue their dominance. By mid-game, Team Dignitas had a 3 level lead over FNATIC and was absolutely dominating the game. There was nothing FNATIC could do to stop a level 20 Team Dignitas core push. Game 2, on Towers of Doom, was a continuation of Team Dignitas’s win from Game 1. With superb Kael’Thas and Stitches plays, FNATIC had no response and no chance of winning this game. Going into Game 3 on Infernal Shrines, FNATIC needed this win to stay in the match. Looking like the FNATIC of the previous matches, they took a level lead early and kept it, utilizing the Punishers and whittling away at structures when possible. Team Dignitas could not stop the core push in the end and FNATIC got their first win. In Game 4 on Sky Temple, the game was close for most of the game, but FNATIC pulled away and successfully used the Temples to their advantage. This game would go to FNATIC and send the Grand Finals to a Game 5. In Game 5 on Dragon Shire, the momentum was on the side of FNATIC, who had avoided a 3-game sweep from Team Dignitas and tied up the match in Game 4. However Team Dignitas had level leads early and made good use of the Dragon Knight. A risky end game push to the core paid off as Team Dignitas took down the core, winning the HGC Western Clash.
Maciej Kołek – Fotograf
Congratulations Team Dignitas! Stellar performance all around.