Round 4 of Heroes Lounge North America has just finished being played, and it's been quite intense. I'm LazyHydra, and in this post I'll be recapping as much as I can as far as how Division 3 is shaping up here in Heroes Lounge NA during round 4.
Round 4 Recap
Let's start by looking at all the matchups we had for Round 4:
Can't Counterpick Stupid vs. Annie Oak League: Can't Counterpick Stupid has been on a hot streak so far this season, only dropping two maps in their so-far undefeated season, and they continued to look strong in this match against Annie Oak League, who suffered their first loss at the hands of Ban Cho last round. Despite their best efforts, Can't Counterpick Stupid took the series 2-0.
Team Rainbow Strike Go! vs. Ban Cho: This series saw two undefeated teams facing off in Team Rainbow Strike Go! and Ban Cho. Both teams showed their strength and resilience during this series, despite some instances of being behind or having suffered defeat. To see the result, continue to the Deep Dive section.
Please Clap vs. Blackheart's Booty: Both these teams were 2-1 coming into this series, and Blackheart's Booty looked to use some early cheese to start the series off well, using an Illidan hypercarry comp similar to the first week. Please Clap was ready, though, with a cc-heavy double support draft, and was able to snowball into the second map, winning the series 2-0.
TriggeredBySalad vs. Bazzzzinga: This week Bazzzzinga went up against TriggeredBySalad, who had only been defeated last week by Can't Counterpick Stupid. Both teams put up a fight, but TriggeredBySalad was able to dominate the first map without losing a single hero, and carried that momentum to a 2-0 victory.
BEHOLD... ragaros vs. Blood Bath & Beyond: This match saw two mid-range teams facing off, and was one of the few series that went to three maps this round. BEHOLD... ragaros started strong using Medivh to great effect in the first game, but Blood Bath & Beyond fought back in the next 2 maps. In the end, despite their best efforts, Blood Bath & Beyond lost the series, with BEHOLD... ragaros taking it 2-1.
Deep Fried Pizzas vs. Snow Storm: This was one of the closer series of the week, with momentum shifting constantly. Despite this fact, Deep Fried Pizzas managed to take the series 2-0, clutching out both maps despite the back-and-forth.
FAT Aquaman vs. Always E In: This was another rough matchup, and FAT Aquaman showed why they were, in my opinion, the favored team of the matchup, showing up in both maps, while only giving Always E In one kill over the entire series.
This week saw a lot of 2-0 matches, but was quite entertaining, nonetheless. In future weeks we'll see even more matchups, and perhaps see teams start to rise or fall in the bracket.
This week saw a lot of 2-0 series, but we did have some amazing maps, which I'll go over here
Team Rainbow Strike Go! (TRS) vs. Ban Cho (BC)
This was probably my most anticipated match of this round, with both teams having strong showings so far in the season, both being undefeated prior to this. These teams both showed how strong they are when they're ahead and behind in this series.
Game 1 - Infernal Shrines: The series started out, as many do, on Infernal Shrines, where TRS drafted a composition of Sylvanas, Alarak, Diablo, Malthael, and Anduin. Their opponents, BC, drafted Rehgar, Raynor, Xul, Johanna, and Kael'thas. Despite their draft leaning towards some early aggression, TRS found themselves on the receiving end of some quick camp rotations from BC, which led to a kill on Alarak just before the first shrine of the game activated. Both teams duked it out over the first shrine, but BC's insane waveclear easily took it for them, despite not getting a kill over the shrine itself. Thanks to the earlier camp pressure, the first punisher secured the first fort in favor of BC as well. Both teams invaded camps and looked for picks, with each of the offlaners being ganked once. With the gank of BC onto Malthael, BC pushed forward and took the top fort of TRS, who traded it for the bottom fort with some quick decision making. Luck wasn't on TRS's side, though, as the second shrine would be in the lane where they had just lost a fort. Despite only getting one kill, BC was able to secure the 2nd punisher as TRS had to fall back to their keep to tap. TRS tried to apply pressure to the middle lane with a camp, since they knew they would lose the shrine, but this ended up only spelling their doom as they returned just a bit late, and BC was able to push with their Punisher through the keep wall all the way to the core, winning in a record 9:54!
Game 2 - Volskaya Foundry: After the first map, TRS couldn't have been feeling great moral-wise, but they persevered into the second map on Volskaya, choosing to pick Blaze, Li-Ming, Johanna, Gul'dan, and Stukov, against BC's Lucio, Leoric, E.T.C., Kael'thas, and Raynor. Both teams showed early priority on item camps, and the first fight ended up happening over the Support Camp, which BC managed to win with a CC chain on Johanna. BC looked strong, and with an early level 7 and a kill onto Blaze, they took the first objective of the game. Thanks to a good defense, TRS managed to not lose more than some front walls, but BC still had a level advantage, and used their early ultimate abilities to secure the second healing item of the game. BC continued pushing their advantage, managing to secure 2 extra kills and the entire top fort just as TRS got their own ults. Things looked to be snowballing again, but a clutch defense against BC's invade attempt over TRS's turret led to 3 kills and BC being forced to drop their items, though they did manage to get 2 kills for themselves. The second point unlocked, and both teams managed to get a few % before focus shifted, once again, to the healing beacon. Once again, TRS's double mage comp struggled and both damage dealers, as well as the healer, fell, and the Support Camp and second objective fell to BC with them.
Now two levels and a talent tier behind, TRS looked for a pick, which they managed to find on Kael'thas, just as the protector was arriving to help. This allowed for TRS to harass the remaining two members outside of the protector, and BC found themselves netting only the middle fort for their push. Still up level 16 talents, BC looked to invade once again, but once again TRS managed to dig deep and win the fight, this time even more decisively than the last failed invade, taking 2 kills for nothing. It was finally their turn for aggression, and they looked to the items, taking everything the map could offer. The structure and xp advantage still belonged to BC, but TRS finally had the item advantage for the first time in the game. Thanks to the items and defensive tools, such as Flailing Swipe and Bunker, TRS managed to withstand the onslaught of BC, despite getting extremely low, and win the third protector trading four kills for one, and pushing to take the first keep of the game in the bottom lane. Using the pressure of catapults in the bottom lane, TRS once again controlled the map and the items. It all came down to one last teamfight over the fourth protector, and despite an amazing entomb securing kills on both the damage dealers of TRS, TRS managed to take 3 kills of their own, as well as the protector, allowing them to march to the core and tie the series.
Game 3 - Towers of Doom: Both teams having secured a map for themselves, BC decided to take the map pick and go to Towers of Doom, betting on a pick comp made up of Rehgar, Falstad, Malthael, Stitches, and Junkrat. To face them and try to get the reverse sweep, as well as maybe some revenge for game 1, TRS drafted a composition of Lunara, Li-Ming, Johanna, Lucio, and Chen. To start, the 4-man of TRS double soaked, while BC chose to have their solo laner, Malthael, double soak. While this allowed BC to apply early siege pressure in the valuable bottom lane, TRS took advantage and killed Malthael not once but twice, getting nearly a level lead by the first objective. Things looked different from the start of the past two games already, and Chen rotated quickly to invade the BC-side altar before Malthael arrived, allowing TRS to win all three of the first altars. BC wasn't out of it yet, though, and stalled for a long time thanks to Junkrat, allowing Malthael to crucially catch them up in soak, thereby enabling them to fight for and win the single altar of the second objective. BC continued to apply pressure, as seen throughout the series, nearly capturing TRS's bottom fort, but a rotation from Chen and a full-out teamfight as a two altar phase was spawning managed to not only push back BC, but secure 3 kills and the objectives.
Down 16 core points, BC managed to secure the bottom fort, but continued to look shaky against the poke of Li-Ming and Lunara, as well as the dive from Chen. With BC committed to defending the bottom lane, TRS slowly wittled away at the top fort, eventually leading to even count of forts once more, while BC elected to push sapper camps in. Both sides seemed content to play their own macro game, but this meant BC continued to be unable to find the picks their composition was designed for, until their core was down to 6 points. Desperate, they went to reclaim their bottom fort, which had traded hands with a push from TRS, and managed to catch 2 kills off of a slow rotation by TRS. Knowing thinks were starting to look like they might turn in BC's favor, TRS set up in a bush and ganked Malthael one final time, able to use the downtime to take a final altar and boss.
I couldn't decide on an MVP for this series, as both teams showed tons of potential to win the whole thing, without any individual player carrying. For this series, though, I will give mention to SuperStyxx of Team Rainbow Strike Go!, who played excellently on Li-Ming in two games, as well as Sluggoden of Ban Cho, who played excellently on Raynor two games.
With this round being the 4th played so far, things are starting to look more consistent, but we're also starting to see how the meta might be shifting a bit within the division.
Map Statistics - The map meta of Division 3 continues to be pretty clear, but here's a quick update based on this week's play:
Hero Statistics - With 62 games played in the season so far, we've seen priorities shift and a meta arise. Let's take a look at it, once more.
Team Stats - Here's some fun trivia about the teams, once again, based on the updated stats from this week. Remember these aren't representative of the teams themselves, but merely for fun.
Thanks again to everyone who read! Next round is the fifth one, which means we're almost at the halfway point for the regular season. The teams are starting to shake out, and we'll soon only have one undefeated team, so look forward to the match between Team Rainbow Strike Go! and Can't Counterpick Stupid, as well as many more, in my next article!