The Christmas break is over; another year has started in most of the calendars that are in use here in the Heroes Lounge. And I won’t lie and say it’s been a quiet last couple of weeks in the way that everyone wants the end of the year to be, but we’re still here, games are still being played, and that means we should probably take a look at what the divisions currently look like.
There are a couple more divisions since the last time I did this, and an entirely new region to boot. Since we’re starting with checking in on NA, allow me to quickly explain what’s going on.
In these blogs, I tend to look at what the divisions look like. Standings, how our FATs are doing, maybe something else that catches my eye or was brought to my attention... The blogs are grouped by playoffs, so last season, we had a Cup and a Championship check-up. This season, since we’re switching up playoff formats it’s a little bit different, which also means we’re starting with only two divisions to be written about today. So without any further dithering, let’s dive into NA Divisions 5 and 4.
Traditionally, if you place all divisions along an axis, with adherence to the meta on one side, and comfort picks on the other, the lower divisions prioritise the latter far more than the former. We can see this in Rise N’ Grind’s preference for heroes like Sonya - brought out in 5 games and certainly not the most standard of solo laners at the moment - and both iterations of KT who have three games under their belt. No losses for these heroes so far, nor for the team in general, though they have gone 2-1 in every single match so far.
Joining them as unbeaten teams are Uark Esports, who have played six games - one series was a bye - this season on six different maps, Luciodology, whose hero selections show a disappointing lack of faith in the Brazilian DJ, only bringing him out once, and one of the Free Agent Teams set up at the start of the season: FAT Lapras. Amusingly, this team has a small habit of winning with 13 takedowns - they’ve done so three times so far, including twice in one series.
TriggeredBySalad leads the division on the website, but it’s an optical illusion as they have already completed five rounds instead of four. They’ve also lost once, but that still puts them in a pretty decent spot. The NA Season only has eight rounds, so having four wins is a very good start indeed. There’s an entire other group that has also lost only one series, just with one fewer round completed. From this group, I just want to shout out the Hello Kitty Action Squad for having a name consisting of four words I never quite thought to see combined in this way. (And in general, the naming from NA has put EU to shame. Step it up, people.)
Elsewhere in the Division, we also have a team that everyone playing any form of Heroes is familiar with: Team NaCl, sitting at a ranked winrate of 50 %. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Lastly, there is another FAT left: it’s FAT Slowpoke, who’re not having the best of seasons so far. Let’s hope that they’re just slow to get going.
Moving up one number, one team remains undefeated. Minion Miners are yet to lose a single game, which makes them the early favourites to get the top seed. They prefer running it down with Diablo, Lúcio, and Raynor, which, to me, just brings back memories of the old ‘press R to win’ meta. Thankfully, Hyperion isn’t bugged right now.
Speaking of pressing R to win... Just Press R and Bad By Design are the two teams in closest pursuit. They also just played each other on New Year’s Eve, with BBD taking the win. Neither team really lives up to their name, though: Just Press R has shown us several Kerrigan and Sonya picks, which aren’t typical heroes that need just their R button to win. And, well, if you’re tied for second in a league, you’re clearly not Bad By Design. They do have an incredible hatred of Mal’ganis, banning him out ten times out of eleven played games. Both teams have yet to meet the Minion Miners, though Just Press R will be doing so in Round 6.
Division 4, it also has to be said, is about themes. We have Pigeon Stitches, Morally Greymane, and Tickle Me Tassadar all hanging around in the top as well. Despite these heroic names, only Pigeon Stitches has actually played their namesake hero, and only once at that. TMT have played more Stitches, in fact. (Though not with great success.) Morally Greymane, meanwhile, are perfectly willing to go slightly off-meta, as a Valeera and a Lunara pick were spotted in the statistics. Not your everyday heroes, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Another naming theme of a kind is the frankly amazing one-two punch of Always E In and Missed My E. Apart from encapsulating the essence of what it is to play Genji in QM, the two teams also have the same theming switcheroo going on as before. Always E In’s most played hero is Tyrande, who can't exactly E in, followed by a quartet of heroes, two of which have an E that can engage. At least on Leoric it’s what you end up doing a lot of the time anyway post 13/16. Meanwhile, Greymane is by far the most popular for Missed My E. I suppose the Ana in tied second could count, but with Ana getting a stealth nerf in the gameplay update due to hitboxes being reduced, the teamname also becomes understandable if nothing else.
But wait, there’s more. Slightly more tenuous, but certainly counting in my book, are FrozenThrone and Windrunners, both sitting on two series and five matches won. Unfortunately for the storyline, the two have yet to meet in the Lounge, but there are two rounds of matchmaking remaining. Equally unfortunately, but par for the course for the Division, is the lack of Arthas and Sylvanas being played. FrozenThrone picked up Kel’thuzad once, but that’s a paltry replacement for the Lich King. He is, of course, only the Majordomo to the Lich King, as well as several other august titles.
Tomorrow, we jump across the Atlantic Ocean to take a look at four Divisions on the EU side of things. Until then!