Hello, everyone out there.
Rounds 4 and 5 have passed by so very quickly, at least for me. There have been amazing matches, with a few spicy picks being shown by different teams. But, as we are halfway through the season, we are going to take a quick look at the top 12 teams, how they have fared in the first five rounds of Season 10.
At the very top are two teams that remain undefeated, not only in matches, but even holding perfect game records of 10-0. Both of these teams have played five matches without dropping a single map. Kubota Yellow Sox, especially, has impressed me with some flashy Medivh plays, as well as a Qhira pick in Round 5, showing that they are quick to take advantage of every change happening in the Nexus. Their favourite hero, however, appears to be Blaze, who made a flaming appearance in 8 out of the 10 games that Kubota Yellow Sox have played so far, piloted by two different players, Dutch and Firan. Blaze is followed by Tyrande, ETC, and their signature Medivh, as the most played heroes of the team.
Their next two opponents are The Bacon Landlords and 500ms, two returning teams in Division 7 who have shown great improvement since last season. Check these matches to find out how the legendary Landlords will fare against this seemingly unbeatable titan.
Red Dragon Gambling is the other team with a 10-0 game record, having a perfect win streak as well. Clearly, they are very lucky, because rarely do I see gamblers have a 100% success rate. On their path of triumph, they have defeated several other top Division 7 teams, such as Frieeend and FAT Doctor Who, though some of the games were very close to ending their win streak. Red Dragon Gambling appears to rely heavily on global heroes, picking Brightwing, Falstad, Dehaka and ETC (with Stagedive) regularly. In fact, in one game, all four of those heroes made an appearance, allowing the Red Dragons to take a fight anywhere on the map. As one might expect from such a global heavy team, their favourite map is Cursed Hollow, which was played in 4 out of their 5 matches.
This team is also facing 500ms and The Bacon Landlords in the upcoming weeks, which makes for an exciting set of games in the next couple of weeks. I, personally, am looking forward to the potential Kubota Yellow Sox vs Red Dragon Gambling match in Round 8 (if it happens, that is).
There is one other undefeated team with a 5-0 match record, though 500ms has dropped 2 maps, one to Xul - Push Alors and another to The Bacon Landlords. 500ms are one of the few teams in Division 7 that run Double Healer compositions, having drafted a hyper carry Valla into 5 different games. They have also played more explosive compositions featuring Zeratul's Void Prison and Jaina's Ring of Frost. 500ms also have shown that they have very little map preferences, having chosen 5 different battleground across the 6 games they were given the choice of battleground.
The undefeated reign of 500ms may soon come to an end, as they are scheduled to face both Red Dragon Gambling and Kubota Yellow Sox in the following weeks. This will be the true test to see how much this team has actually evolved since Season 9.
The Bacon Landlords are, for the first time, striking fear into the hearts of other Division 7 teams. Not only are they bringing on the memes, this Season, they are also bringing on the pain. They have only dropped one match to 500ms, barely losing 1-2, and have defeated every other team they have faced until now. This is another team that seems to favour Blaze, who was picked 6 times over their 10 games, followed by Johanna with 5 picks. They also have a larger hero pool than the other three top teams, having played 26 different heroes across their 10 games. In terms of battlegounds, The Bacon Landlords love Volskaya Foundry, having a 100% winrate on that battleground over 4 games.
Much like 500ms, The Bacon Landlords have to run the gauntlet in the coming weeks, as they are also scheduled to face Kubota Yellow Sox and Red Dragon Gambling. I find it quite interesting that the top 4 are facing against each other for the next few weeks, as this will give other teams a chance to overtake them in the standings.
The Rantners are also a familiar name in Division 7, having participated during Season 9. They have won 3 out of their 5 matches, a match score shared by every team between #5 and #12. However, what sets the Rantners and Frieeend apart is their map score, as both teams were able to take a map off even when they were losing. This is a team that loves Arthas and Greymane, a hero combination I am a personal fan of, having picked each hero 6 times across their 11 games so far. Despite their good record thus far, the Rantners have not yet played against the top 4 teams of Division 7, and should be prepared to do so after the next few weeks.
The Rantners are due to play FrUk Unleashed, another successful Division 7 team, in Round 6, followed by LFxD in Round 7. As noted before, 8 teams share the same match record of 3-2. Keep your eyes out in the following weeks to see which teams take the lead on the race to playoffs.
As the highest ranked FAT team, Frieeend have shown a lot of potential despite having been formed when the Season started. Let by Adamek (aka Tabalan), this team won all 3 of their games where they were allowed to play Garrosh, before the other teams began banning the warchief against Frieeend. Since then, this team have shown great flexibility in their hero pool, picking no hero more than 4 times over the 11 games they've played so far and boasting a combined hero pool of 28. It is noteworthy that both of this team's losses come from top 4 teams, one to The Bacon Landlords and the other to Red Dragon Gambling, so they are likely to have easier match up's in the future.
Frieeend are matched against Hots shot and Dazzling's Mile in the upcoming weeks. I believe that they are capable of winning these games and solidifying their position in the top half of Division 7, but only time will tell.
FAT Doctor Who is the only other FAT team in Division 7, and they have also been very successful thus far. Not only that, they have embodied the 'fun' spirit of Division 7, playing 31 different heroes across 11 games, and even allowing some of the meme heroes such as Cho'gall, The Lost Vikings and Murky to have a chance to shine. FAT Doctor Who is another team that seems to have no designated 'comfort map', having chosen 5 different battlegrounds throughout their time in this Division. Keep an eye out for some of the crazy strategies this team might try to employ in their upcoming matches.
Speaking of upcoming matches, FAT Doctor Who will face Hots Musical in Round 6 and FrUk Unleashed in Round 7, both teams in the top twelve. I believe these two matches may actually be very significant, in how the top 8 turns out to be (but I'm not a prophet, so don't mind me).
FrUk Unleashed has had a tough start to this season, having played against both Kubota Yellow Sox and The Bacon Landlords, even taking a map off one of them. However, they have managed to defeat every other team they have faced so far, keeping them in the race for the playoffs. Their signature strategy, hyper carry Kerrigan run mainly on Tomb of the Spider Queen, has secured the victory for them on 3 different occasions. The Kerrigan was usually protected by Tyrande and Tassadar, two of this team's most common picks this Season. It will be interesting to see how better teams fare against their Kerrigan compositions, which forego ranged damage dealers in exchange for more sustain in fights.
FrUk Unleashed have to defeat the Rantners and FAT Doctor Who, two of the stronger teams in Division 7, in the upcoming weeks. Tune in to watch their Kerrigan in action.
4 Guys 1 Nurse had a remarkable start to the season, remaining as one of the undefeated teams up until Round 3. Due to their early success, the match making process matched them against 500ms and Kutoba Yellow Sox in two consecutive weeks, two of the top 4 teams. Despite this, 4 Guys 1 Nurse is a formidable team, utilising some under-represented heroes such as Dva and Probius with great success. One interesting fact is the 4 Guys 1 Nurse is one of the few teams in Division 7 to favour Malfurion as their go to healer, sporting a 100% winrate over 4 games. We'll see if Malfurion Stormrage can lead the 4 Guys and the 1 Nurse to victory in the coming weeks.
The next two weeks provide 4 Guys 1 Nurse with a break from the top teams, as they face LFxD and HotS Musical. However, it would not be wise to underestimate either of these teams, as they have shown potential in their previous matches as well.
This is a team that annoys me to no end by trying to steal my players, but I will forgive them because their captain is pretty cool. HotS Musical is another team that had a rough start to Season 10, coming into Division 7 with a crushing defeat against Kubota Yellow Sox. Since then, however, they have bounced back, taking a few wins here and there, to make the top twelve for this post. Their most picked hero is Muradin, using the dwarf to lead them into battle 6 times. Notably, HotS Musical is one of the few teams in Division 7 that seem to prefer taking map choice whenever they can. We'll see if this strategy can give them an edge.
Lined up for this roster are FAT Doctor Who and 4 Guys 1 Nurse for the next two weeks. This will be a challenge for this team, but if they manage to take a win against either of these teams, it will set them up nicely for the race to playoffs.
LFxD is the team I like to remember as the 'Abathur Team', as they are responsible for 60% of Abathur's appearances in Division 7 this season. In fact, Abathur has been quite a successful pick for this team, securing victory for them twice. In fact, they are bold enough to pick Abathur in the first rotation, giving their opponents the entire draft to prepare a counter. They have also picked Sky Temple as their choice of map twice, which is a very interesting choice, considering the fact that most other Division 7 teams appear to avoid that map at all costs. Or perhaps... that is why they choose this particular map.
LFxD have a chance to pick Sky Temple against 4 Guys 1 Nurse in Round 6 and the Rantners in Round 7. Watch these matches carefully if you want a glimpse of that illusive creature known as Abathur.
Last, we have Hots shot. They lost their first two matches to Kubota Yellow Sox and FrUk Unleashed, but have been on a winning streak since then that remains unbroken. This team is a big fan of Raynor, Anub'arak and Stukov, picking them multiple times across their 12 games. Hots shot also seem to prefer larger maps, picking Volskaya Foundry and Cursed Hollow 3 times each. One thing I find very interesting is that Hots shot has tried drafting almost every single mage in the game, including Kael'thas, Li Ming, Orphea, Mephisto, Jaina and Gul'dan. I am waiting for the Chromie pick in the coming weeks.
In the next two weeks, Hots shot will try to maintain their win streak as they go up against the formidable forces of Frieeend and the Facepalm Tacticians. May they rise against the odds and defeat these teams.
That concluded our quick review of the top twelve teams. By the time you are reading this article, however, some of the exciting developments might already be under way, so I apologise for that.
Next, I would like to give you guys a short summary at some of the deciding matches in Round 4 and 5 that led to this rather tense selection of teams vying for the top spots in Division 7.
At first glance, this looks like a clean 2:0 sweep by one of our favourites from Division 7, Red Dragon Gambling. However, this match showed that the top 2 teams are not as invincible as they appear. In Game 1, Frieeend was able to push Red Dragon Gambling to their limits, even being in the lead at certain points in the game. Of course, Red Dragon Gambling played an incredible game and defeated Frieeend, but this series marked one of the few times I, personally, felt like the top 2 were being challenged.
This match showed that the Lost Vikings and Cho'gall in the same game is awesome. It also showed that this strategy may not always win games. While FAT Doctor Who ultimately took the victory with a 2-1 map score, The Rantners did a very good job of shutting down the meme comp FAT Doctor Who ran in game 2. While it is always a pleasure to see some spicy picks, it is also important to note that a good team will not be taken by surprise and fight back.
This was the battle of the titans for Round 5, as these two undefeated teams faced each other, and they did not disappoint (well, maybe a little bit :D). The first game was a very one-sided stomp for the Bacon Landlords, who absolutely demolished the Double Heal Valla composition of 500ms, using their Imperius as a hard engage into the vulnerable back line of 500ms. The second game was a back and forth struggle, as 500ms attempted to execute a Void Prison and Ring of Frost combo, winning a few fights off that alone. A failed core call by the Bacon Landlords gave 500ms the opportunity they needed to win the game. The final game saw 500ms out-rotate the Bacon Landlords on Alterac Pass, pulling off the reverse sweep. While this series sets the Bacon Landlords one match behind the 3 undefeated teams, they are still one step ahead every other team and have a very reasonable chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
Phew. That was a rather long article.
A huge thank you to everyone who read this.
See you next week for more exciting updates about Division 7.