There’s a quote by famous football coach Vince Lombardi: “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?” Well the answer to that is simple. Even for the teams who are out of the playoff race, there’s still dignity and pride to be defended and fought over during the last weeks of the season. Additionally, ending on a high note allows for a better start to the new season. So as promised last week, we will today be looking at teams that are looking to avoid relegation by claiming wins over other teams that are stuck at the bottom of the table.
A lot of this weeks games are featuring the bottom two teams and division 1 is no different with Cerberus Autoselect and HammerOn going head to head. The team of Cerberus Autoselect is sitting at only two wins but they’ve put up a good fight in almost every single series, suffering some tough 1:2 losses against both Griefers On Safari and Greybeard Gangsters. Only their last match was a bit of a blowout loss, showing the mental toll that a losing season puts on each of their many players. HammerOn the other side have started with a 2:0 victory but have failed to win a map since. Much like Cerberus Autoselect however, they have had the unfortunate pleasure of facing very strong teams like HIVE eSports Nürnberg and Battle Beasts Boys. It will be hard for them to match their four wins of last season and if they want to do so and avoid relegation, they have to start right now. Looking purely on their records, it's easy to forget that those are still two very strong teams, but there's no place in Heroes Lounge where winning games is harder than in division 1!
In division 2, Team NoobNoob has had a disappointing season so far to say the least, as they have not been able to win a single map so far with both of their victories coming via a forfeit from their opponents. Their struggles are also a testiment to the overall improvement of play inside each division. After last season Team NoobNoob had collected a very respectable four wins, ahead of team crisHiyo, a team to whom they've lost 0:2 in week 6 in a series that was closer than the scoreline would suggest. For Team NoobNoob, every game is basically a must-win scenario if they want to enjoy a third season in division 2. They are now facing Jaina The Frost Mage, one of two teams in this episode of #RIGGED which show how quickly the tables can turn on you. They started the season with two wins out of three games and in our week 6 preview, they were mentioned as one team in division 2 who needed to win to keep their playoff dreams alive. Three consecutive losses now have them fighting off relegation as well, but they won't go down so easily with recent results showing that they can keep up with some of the division 2 competition. Their only decisive loss came against the top team of TryHard after all.
Another team that is having a hard time reaching the same number of wins as they did last season is INAEqualis. The two main reasons for this are their opponents, which consisted of four of the top ten teams in division three, and their own performance which is resembling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While they managed to take a map off of teams Streichholz and Crème Fraîche, a lot of their games didn't last longer than 17 minutes. Both of those map wins were carried by the strong shoulders of Cho'Gall, but even his magic ran out when Team Streichholz figured out a way to play around it, handing INAEqualis another sub-15 minutes loss. For them it looks like they need to figure out how to win games with more straight forward drafts. In week 8 they have to deal with team Double Trouble, who are just coming off their first win of the season against team Thunder Clap. They have had their own streak of misfortune early in the season, losing some very close series that could have gone either way and even holding their ground decently against FAT Some Form Of Dinosaur. So even though they currently only have one win to their name, it's easy to see them go on a win streak to close out the season.
Protect Ya Nexus, just like Jaina The Frost Mage, is a team that has started the season strong and managed to win their first two games, but it's only been downhill since then. Not only were they unable to win another map, but they're also getting outfragged heavily. It only speaks to the strength of their macro game that only very few of their matches did not still go to level 20, giving them a shot at turning things around. Maybe they could get a coach that reportedly never feeds to help them fix their biggest issue and next season we might find them at the opposite end of the table. It should probably also be mentioned that Protect Ya Nexus just got promoted from division 5, so some growing pains had to be expected. With Uther Trait Abuse we are looking at a team that shows you how negative momentum can be a heavy disadvantage. When they entered Heroes Lounge last season, they won all of their first four games only to lose what are now eleven straight games (with their lone win coming on a BYE). Right now it is hard to find a silver lining for them, but every week gives you another chance to turn things around, right?
Talking about silver linings, at least in division 5 no team is in danger of demotion because of finishing the season in one of the last spots, but still you do want to collect wins as a sign of personal improvement. For YSG Phoenix, getting their first win has to be the ultimate goal for the rest of the season. It's hard to even believe it, but in their three seasons of Heroes Lounge, YSG Phoenix only wins came as BYEs or forfeits by their opponents. It is even more admirable how they haven't given up and still continue to try to improve and still compete in Heroes Lounge. Is there any more reason you need to root for this team really? It is however a fate they share with their upcoming opponents, FAT Goblin. Now we know of course that nothing is harder than winning and competing in Heroes Lounge with a team that has been assembled more or less randomly so it is no surprise that FAT Goblin is struggling a bit, but every map, every game and every season is a learning experience that should help them grow as a team and as players and it would be a shame if we don't see them again, even if it is on other teams.
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!