Heroes Of The Storm has its scheduled mid-season Brawl, an opportunity for us viewers to take a step outside of the grind of the league play and for those teams that have already been proving themselves to have a little fun and – more importantly – a chance to size up their would be competitors across the regions.
But for us it’s fun to see how the current season is taking shape. We’re already getting a glimpse of who is hot in HOTS right now – Fnatic, Tempo Storm (of course), MVP Black, L5 and eStar Gaming to name a few – but the Brawl lets us get a bead on who might be taking it all the way.
So we’re going to take a look at some of the best moments from the Mid-Season Brawl, and while we’ve still got the knockout tournament to come it’s already clear which teams – and players – are the biggest threats.
eStar sneak a win from Tempo Storm
While Tempo Storm might be the name that most recognise when it comes to HOTS esports, eStar has proven itself on a number of occasions during the Global Championship that it shouldn’t be discounted.
While Tempo Storm is sitting pretty at the top of the NA league with a comfortable – though not unreachable – lead, eStar Gaming has managed to stand out over in the China Gold League, too, matching CE in wins and only slightly trailing with individual matches won.
So it’s no surprise that eStar is wanting to once again stand out as one of the favoured teams to win this year, having just missed out on the finals last year. If this Brawl has been anything to go by, it may just manage that, now sitting pretty at the top of the group undefeated.
So take this clip as an example where eStar, up against NA’s best, manages to sneak into the base with only two players and claim a victory while the rest of the team keeps them occupied. It’s always heartwarming to see such tactics used in a pro game, but the confidence with this one – they really aren’t looking for anything more than that first win – is what makes it stand out.
Deadlykittens makes the most of D.Va
With the recent influx of Overwatch characters getting added to Heroes Of The Storm, it’s always interesting to see how the strategies from the FPS carry over, and in most cases they’re typically the same – Genji and Lucio, for example.
D.Va retains her zoning abilities from the FPS, but rather than relying so heavily on her Defense Matrix ability the real skill comes in a well-timed self-destruction, which deals such earth-shattering damage that it simply has to be avoided.
This is a prime example of that taking place, where Deadlykittens’ Enavir perfectly times the exploding mech to not only counter the abilities of Roll20 as the team fight begins to slowly break out, but to separately damage dealer Genji from the rest of the team – and easy kill pick as a result.
Soul Torturers’ Zola won’t let it go
These are our favourite types of clips from such games. There’s something so thrilling about watching a player hunt down their prey, determined to find some advantage somewhere.
Soul Torturers, coming in from the Taiwanese region and so having few opportunities to prove themselves, and you can almost see that that is exactly what Zola is thinking as he sneaks off to finish off the only weakened player on Tempo Storm’s side.
A brief skirmish sees Tempo Storm’s Psalm get caught out and is killed, forcing TS to back off a little and recuperate. It’s a small and fairly insignificant advantage, otherwise, but watch the end of the fight carefully.
As Tempo Storm drops back, believing it is safe, Zola follows up by rushing down, back and around to try and finish off a weakened Li Ming. He does, and in a split second he’s dead, Zola dashing off to safety as the remaining four players of his team comes to meet a three-man Tempo Storm. It’s a play that not many would have planned for, but there’s something delectable about it.
— Heroes Esports (@HeroesEsports) June 11, 2017
Illidan is OP
If ever there was a video to prove the unfairness of certain characters, eStar Gaming’s (again) X behind the wheels of Illidan is one great example.
What begins as a small back and forth between the two teams quickly grows, but where eStar Gaming’s team remains at a maximum of two players, while Red Canids utilises every one of its five players.
To say the focus that Illidan is getting here, it’s quite ridiculous to see just how little threat Red Canids appear to be. X manages to claim two easy kills and pays with only a small portion of his health to do so. Alone he manages to force Red Canids to back off, and is able to completely ignore the potential concerns of heavier characters like Diablo.
Genji taking names in HOTS, too
If you thought Genji was a pain in Overwatch, then consider this clip – where Fnatic’s QuickNiix takes the ninja to a horrific level and able to bring a whole team down.
It helps that Fnatic is currently one of the strongest teams in Europe, not only sitting at the top of the EU league but also reaching the heights of the table in the Mid-Season Brawl behind MVP Black who has a single game – a draw – ahead of them. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Fnatic finally faces MVP Black.
But for now there’s this Genji play, which begins with a strong engage by Fnatic that cuts off one of the Nomia players. That’s enough of an advantage, though, because the team quickly begins to drop health a Genji slices and dices through the packs.
All it takes is this outstanding triple-kill Swift Strike to put Nomia on the backfoot, who then begins to retreat. It’s not enough, though, with Genji’s Swift Strike off cooldown (as a result of his three kills), he dashes forward and chases down the last remaining player to help work towards a team wipe.
— Heroes Esports (@HeroesEsports) June 11, 2017
The best ‘til last…
It’s plays like this that really make esports such a thrilling endeavour. It’s as much a combination of timing as anything else, but the skill required to see events unfolding – often before we can – is really what makes such it so entertaining.
This clip is especially telling of the state of Tempo Storm, too, who have already been used as fodder in the clips above. They’re considered to be one of the best teams around and they’re certainly proving that in the league of the Global Championship, but in this Mid-Season Brawl they’ve struggled having only won a single gaming. Perhaps a sign for how things might for for the team come the finals this year?
Even with that aside, this is a beautiful Twilight Dream that stuns four of Tempo Storms players, incapacitating them and chunking their health – a decisive move that goes on to give Soul Torturers the game. It’s a glorious moment.