I’ve been a big fan of competitive heroes over the last 3 years having been to 3 events and spent many weekends watching tournaments and the HGC. As someone who was dismayed when HGC was suddenly stopped I leapt onboard Division S (Heroes Lounges competitive league) featuring some of the names I had watched in HGC and Open Division.
This article is my ranking of the teams of Division S. Read on to see how the teams qualified, and how I think they will do. And then see how right (or wrong) you think I am!
S Tier- the favourite
Washed Up has two of Dignitas’ multiple-tournament-winning team members that were such a force in the Western scene. Mene is a world-class assassin feared for his excellent mage play and JayPL is an S-tier tank back from retirement to play with this team. They also have two of Team Liquid's team members that showed such promise at Blizzcon and took Gen.G to game 5. Ethernal grew into his role to become a solid off-laner and Hasuobs is the very definition of a flex player and provides an experienced perspective. Last and certainly not least is Fntics support SmX. A talented healer he has the distinction of both winning a global event and beating MVP Black (later Gen.G).
Washed Up were the first team to qualify and only dropped a single map in the qualifier. Before the tournament, they were my favourite and they certainly did not disappoint making the first qualifier their own. This is a team who I am confident would have been a force in international competition when it existed.
With 5 of the best European ex-HGC players that can claim to be amongst the best European players in their role having multiple titles between them, qualifying first, this team has to be the favourite.
A tier- The Contenders
Coming Through are another team stacked with top ex-HGC talent. Three of their team played in HGC (Cris, Robadobah and Cronaz) and Guru regularly played in the Open Division even winning the Playoffs. Munky is the only one without serious competitive experience (though he has played in the Open Division and All hallows cup) but he makes up for that in his frightening off-meta heroes. Munky has drawn respect bans of his Samuro and Probius meaning enemy teams already start 2 bans down giving Coming Through free reign to pick powerful heroes.
They had a disappointing 1st qualifier going out in the quarter-finals. Replacing WolfJoe, who subbed for Guru in the first qualifier, with Guru himself seemed to do the trick though as the team only dropped one game in the finals of the 2nd qualifier. Munky’s Probius ended up getting them some wins and then bans throwing their opponents strategies off a little. We even got to see Probius win a game in the finals and draw a ban as they beat the former Leftovers, now Nothing Left, 2-1.
Coming Through is a serious contender to win the league. Whilst their players might not have hit the heights of Washed Up or Nothing Left they still play a lot of Heroes and that’s a huge advantage against teams who may not play Heroes that much.
Nothing Left are the former ex-HGC team Leftovers who were very successful, qualifying for international tournaments and were one game off winning the Western Clash in 2018. They have some incredibly skilled players with a synergy coming from playing together in Heroes competitive play. There is one difference in the sides Mopsio has been replaced by up and comer zdoon.
Despite only playing in 2 qualifiers they racked up good results losing in the finals in one series and winning the second. Due to their past results and 4 out of 5 playing together for quite some time, I think they are among the teams that could win the league. Mopsio is a loss though not just for his aggressive tank play but for his ability to make a team work well together. Because of this, I don’t think they are as good as Washed Up but they will still show some awesome plays.
This team is the only team with an organisation begind them so far) and were formerly known as aLbeus'r fnaculb or Laubers fanclub. It's players have limited competitive experience, apart from some Nexus Contests and a smattering of Open Division games. They only have one ex-pro (Lauber) and prior to the 3rd qualifier hadn’t got past the quarter-finals. Expectations were not high for this team.
Yet all was to change in the 3rd qualifier; Granit Gaming didn’t just win the qualifier, they absolutely dominated it. With a perfect run, they became the only team in Division S to win a qualifier without dropping a map. In their win they beat both top performing teams What does the photographer say and Team Russia convincingly.
Whereas before I had Granit Gaming as a team that might just scrape a spot in Division S and if so, they would be trying to avoid relegation this performance changes everything! I now think they are a team to look out for in Division S. They are a solid mid-tier team who can look up to competing with the top teams rather than having to scrap with the bottom teams.
Team Russia is the same team who won the Nexus Contest. Other than that accomplishment their players are not as well-known and lack competitive experience; the one exception being their tank stalkeba (stalk) who has international experience with Epsilon eSports. They love to team-fight and accordingly pick maps that they can prioritise fighting rather than macro; their off-laner shamzlo plays a mean Rexxar if they get to play on Braxis Holdout.
Team Russia did well in the first two qualifiers and after getting to the finals in the 3rd qualifier qualified to Division S on points and so did not play in the 4th and last qualifier. They are an extremely aggressive team, sometimes to their advantage and sometimes to their disadvantage. They have taken a game off Nothing Left and could have won their first game against Washed Up.
I don’t think they will win Division S but they will take games off the top teams and no one should underestimate them.
B Tier- The hopefuls
What does the photographer say (WDTPS) is a team that that includes two ex-HGC members (Makke and Schwimpi). Both of these players rather uniquely switched what roles they played during the series. Schwimpi especially has shown some great skill, cementing his already great reputation as an excellent flex player able to play mages, specialists and even Samuro. Makke has demonstrated that like Schwimpi he can play assassins, supports like Tassadar and even Dehaka.
WDTTP had a solid three qualifiers getting to 2 semi-finals and a final, only losing to the eventual winner of the qualifier each time. In a match that showed off Schwimpi’s Samuro they managed to take a game of Washed Up on Towers of Doom. Samuro was too much for them harassing them, taking down towers and being instrumental in late game team fights and altar channeling.
I think that WDTTP will be a competitive team in Division S and no one can doubt their skill. Yet I can’t see them being a genuine contender for the title; they look great against weaker teams or when they can surprise opponents in draft. Yet the fact that they have lost each qualifier, they played against the eventual winner is a good guide to where they will finish. They will be able to beat the bottom teams and lose to the top teams. At the time of writing 2 of their players are going to compete in the Chinese Gold league (Jia and Schwimpi) and so will not be able to play in Division S. This will hugely affect their chances, before this news I had them finishing mid-table, whereas now I think they will be bottom 3.
LFT for Div S may not be recognisable to some watchers lacking any ex-HGC pros, yet that is not to say they are totally lacking in competitive experience. They have the core of the second placing Nexus Contest Team France (Mascarade, Nesdip and BananaH) and also have some Open Division play between them. They certainly do not lack coordination or skill as this late-game winning team fight against WDTPS shows. Check out BananaH positioning and healing!
LFT for Div S had a fairly solid performance in the qualifiers, twice they got to the semi-finals and twice the quarter finals. They were one of only the last qualifying teams for Division S having to get the points to qualify by playing the fourth qualifier. Though it must be pointed out that they did face Nothing Left twice.
I think that unfortunately, they will struggle with Division S finishing in the bottom half. Where exactly they finish depends on as much as how other teams play as how they do. It is quite possible they will get wins especially against other B tier teams, and perhaps Team Russia if they get over-aggressive. A good result for LFT for Div S would be avoiding the relegation spots I think, yet I suspect they will be there or thereabouts.
Memeldors Meme Machines (MMM) is not a team that those who do not watch much Heroes Lounge (shame on you!) are probably familiar with. Their players have little experience in pro play having played only a few Open Division Cups and not having had HGC experience. Yet his doesn’t mean they lack competitive experience, it's just at a more amateur level; they have played together in Heroes Lounge for many seasons, getting to finals yet never winning a championship.
MMM did not have a good first 3 qualifiers, with their best performance being a single Quarter-Finals place. I did not even mention them in my article about who could qualify after the 3rd qualifier, that’s how under my radar they were. That was all to change in qualifier 4 where benefitting from Ryzing Gaming, Nothing Left and LFT for Div S being in the other half of the bracket they got all the way to the finals and gained enough points to qualify.
I don’t take pleasure in saying this but I think MMM will find Division S very tough and they will struggle to stay in it. That’s not to say that they can’t stay in, they are a hard-working team that have a lot of experience playing together which is invaluable. I think that there are a lot of good teams in Division S who might well be too much for them. Don’t dismiss them as a walkover or you may suffer the wrath of Chen.