We all know that Heroes Lounge is a place for people to have fun, enjoy themselves and play the game they love in a competitive environment in which you can at least chose the people who will grief you. But for most of the players in Heroes Lounge, it is also about having a shot at the coveted highest quality plastic trophies that are handed out to the winners at the end of the season. Before you can lift them however, heavy lifting needs to be done to get to the playoffs. As history has taught us, often times you cannot afford to lose more than twice a season if you want to get your shot at glory, so for week 6, we will be looking at teams trying to avoid that third and possibly crucial loss.
Granted, rules in division 1 are a bit different as there are more playoff spots available, but you still need to win six or seven games to have a shot. For Team Below Average it is even possible to face Greybeard Gangsters having lost three games already as they still have to play against The Good Guys in week 5. It is pretty hard to gauge their strength overall. They looked good against Avada Kadablyat but struggled mightily against Don Our Fedoras, with their more creative drafts backfiring to two quick losses. The Greybeard Gangsters' position is a bit better, they have won three out five matches so far, showing a great versatility in their hero pools and getting aggressive with picks of Kerrigan and Valeera. Both teams have shown that they can keep up with good division 1 teams and this one should be a close series, with the winner holding a major advantage towards placing inside the top ten at the end of the season.
In division 2, it looks like even seven wins won't cut it when it comes to claiming one of the first six spots in the table, so losing a third match basically already removes your team from playoff contention. Gaming In The Rhythm have performed pretty well so far, but they were unfortunate when the rigging put them up against 25cm, one of division 2's top teams and they also lost a very close series against FireWall Gaming. While the margin for error certainly gets smaller, there are reasons to believe that this veteran Heroes Lounge team will make no more mistakes going forwards. Their fiercest enemy right now might even be Blizzard, as they have nerfed Stukov significantly - and he was their support of choice in all seven games. For Jaina The Frost Mage, being in division 2 could already be considered a success and a sign of massive improvement. Back in season 4, they were in division 4 still and now three seasons and two divisions later, they have shown the ability to win games. Their massive roster of nine players makes you wonder if a lack of synergy could be holding them back. Whoever loses this game probably has to start thinking about avoiding relegation rather than getting into the playoffs.
Remember last season when LE GAG stormed through division 5 to win the Heroes Lounge Cup? Only a few weeks later and reality has struck hard for this Cinderella team. Other division 3 teams have figured out how to play against their frontline heavy playstyle which often features two main tanks and just like Gaming In The Rhythm, their favourite supports have been hit by nerfs recently. There's no questioning LE GAG's talent, but you have to wonder if they can adjust their playstyle and drafting in time to keep the dream of a repeat alive. Talking about talent, there's no shortage of that with their opponents of Team Why No Follow, who have been playing in Heroes Lounge for a long time now. They've spent the last few seasons going back and forth between division 2 and division 3 and were now supposed to be favourites in division 3 once more, but something just does not seem to be clicking as their winrate is once again at 50%. If they can figure out and fix what is holding them back, it's not that hard to imagine them winning out still.
There is one big drawback to playing in divisions 4 and 5 when it comes to the playoffs, and that is there only being 5 spots each, so you can rarely afford to lose a third game and still make it. Enter Killer Koalas and Protect Ya Nexus, who both have lost twice already. Granted, both teams have just been promoted from division 5 which in itself can be seen as a big improvement, but as we've experienced many times, climbing a division does not necessarily mean that a team stops winning. So far both those teams have looked shaky against some of the teams that are currently reigning over division 4 but at the same time have looked good against teams that are around their own level. The team that will be able to adjust to the different playstyle of division 4 quicker should not only win this game, but also keep their chances at a surprise playoff appearance alive for at least a couple of weeks more.
To further highlight how hard it is to grab a playoff spot in the lower divisions, just take a look at Body Block Crew. After an unlucky draw had them face CoB Puppies in Shark Tanks and Southgate Boiz in their first two games, they have been extremely dominant in three consecutive 2-0 victories which saw them rise up in the rankings in a hurry. A remarkable feat that shows how this new team is growing fast and learning to play together. If they can keep it up against FAT Owlbear, they will have a very good chance at making it to the playoffs in their first season. For FAT Owlbear on the other hand, things are even harder as they are not only a new team, but also randomly assembled. They have experienced everything from blowing out their opponents to being blown out, but their close victory over yet another CoB team in Antimeta has shown that they can certainly compete and they are not out of the running yet!
Do you think we missed the most crucial match-up of the week or ignored a certain team for too long? Feel free to let us know by writing a kind DM to juliandoom on Discord and we'll consider fixing the issue immediately!