By: Thomas Ressa
The latest news in the Blizzard eSports landscape comes directly from the capital city of Seoul, South Korea where the hometown favorite MVP Black took the crown for the first of many seasonal global championships of the Heroes of the Storm 2016 tour. The Spring Championship was the first clashing of international juggernauts from Europe, North America and the Asia’s – featuring teams such as the North American champions Cloud 9 to the European powerhouses Navi & Dignitas. These big names made quick work of the field and met in the semifinals, but were quickly eliminated by the Asia based teams both from China and Korea before reaching the final four. There was a lot of hype around Cloud 9 and their previous success in the North American tournaments leading in to this international event because no North American team has been a stable name in eSports when matched against Korean teams.
Right now, the MoBA landscape is heavily dominated by MVP Black, a Korean team that has teams present in DoTa 2 as well as League of Legends and HoTS. Most notably, North American favorite EG (Evil Geniuses) was able to claim top honors in the 2015 International for DoTA 2 behind the likes of Fear and Sumail. DoTA’s 2015 International was a field littered with International teams and little North American presence, especially in the later rounds.
One of the biggest changes in the HoTS pro-scene prior to the Global Spring Championships in Korea was when Fan left Cloud 9 for Naventic, a newer North American team that hadn’t become a household name. He was said to be one of the most vocal players on the team, as well as a highly regarded member of the Heroes of the Storm community based off his presence on Twitch and popular talent builds that casual and the most serious players swear by. Also, I wanted to personally say congratulations to Team Blaze [@TeamBlazeGG] an up-and-coming team composed of mostly, until now, unknown players that strive in the draft phase by bringing dynamic compositions as well as unorthodox talent builds and play. I’ve been a big fan of this team from the start, giving any aspiring gamer or fanboy alike the belief that they could one day show their skills off on the big screen.
The next stop for HoTS is Blizzcon 2016, an event I’m really really hoping I can attend. This will also be the sight of the 2016 Fall Championship for Heroes of the Storm which will have a $1 million dollar prize pool, the largest to date for their newest MoBA/Brawler. With such a disappointing showing at the Spring Championship, I’m sure both North America and Europe will be hungry to redeem themselves in front of a growing global audience. This is Cloud 9’s home turf, so lets hope that they will have some new strategies in their back pocket to prove to the world they can still claim the top spot.