The second season of Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm Global Championship is on the horizon, and Australia and New Zealand are close to finding their representative. Last season it was Negative Synergy who was sent to Korea to represent the region, and they’re looking to make back-to-back appearances on the international stage. They’re going to have some competition though, as the three other teams vying for the top spot have spent the past months refining their rosters and their play.
There were two initial qualifying tournaments, from which two teams from each would move on to participate in the finals to be played on May 14. The first qualifier saw Negative Synergy come in as favourite and not disappoint, running through the bracket without losing a single game. Qualifying alongside them is the new team with not so new faces Gust in 5. A fortnight later they would be joined by two new teams Tutsis and Fusion as they fought their way out of the qualifier and into the finals.
Negative Synergy enter the regional finals as the favourites,and they will come in with the same roster they had put together at the start of the year. It has been a roster that brought them to Korea in the first season as the ANZ representative and will look to do so again.
Negative Synergy have been the absolute best Heroes of the Storm team that Australia and New Zealand has to offer all year so far. Even though they fell out of the international tournament early, they have used the experience they gained to continue dominating the ANZ scene. They entered the first of the qualifiers and ran through it without dropping a single game.
There is no doubt that they will come into the finals as the favourites, and it’s going to take a considerable effort from the other teams if they’re to be dethroned.
Gust in 5
Built from the ruins of last season’s finalists, Gust in 5 went by the name ‘Linda’s Little Angels’ during the first qualifier. They looked dominant throughout the tournament, except when they came up against Negative Synergy, where things started falling apart at the seams.
With four of the five players making it to this stage last season, only on different teams, demonstrates the individual skill that these players have. They were able to show this in their games, overcoming Fusion to take the second qualifying spot from the first tournament. Even though they have the skill, not being together as long as a team like Negative Synergy really showed in their matchup, with Gust in 5 falling behind strategically.
Given the amount of time they have had to practice as a team since then though, Gust in 5 can potentially be one of the teams most likely to take games off of Negative Synergy.
Tutsis is another team that brought together players who were playing for different teams during prior qualifiers. As we entered the second qualifier, there were a few teams that looked like solid contenders to make it through, and Tutsis was in the maybe column.
The players do have competitive experience with two making it to this point in the competition last season and the other three only just missing out on qualifying. It looked like their coming together was working, as they were able to pick up win after win against teams that looked to be stronger on paper. In the upper bracket final, they were able to knock off Fresher, one of the favourites to qualify, and then win the final series against Fusion to be the best team on the day.
Even though they looked good during the qualifier, there were moments where they looked exploitable, either in mechanical skill or in their tactical play. They have time to work on their individual and team play, and they’re going to need to if they’re to have a shot at representing the region.
Only one player from this team made it to the finals last season, with the rest of the players on Fusion playing for various middle of the pack teams. They did enter the first qualifier, and actually had a decent showing, but ended up losing to Negative Synergy and then Gust in 5 to fall out of the running.
It was this strong showing in the first qualifier that had Fusion as a favourite to make it far in the second one as well. The lineup did not seem strong at first glance, but in game they managed to make it work. Their second shot at qualifying didn’t start too well however, as early on they were knocked into the lower bracket by Fresher, and from there had no more second chances. They made the most of it, as they managed to make it to the lower bracket final where they had a rematch against Fresher. This time they were able to get the upper hand and take the win, securing themselves the very last spot at the regional finals.
Fusion looked to have moments of brilliance, and they’re going to need to bring those out consistently if they’re to come close to scratching the other top teams.
Gust in 5, Tutsis, and Fusion have had the time to build up the synergy that Negative Synergy already seemed to have, while for NS it’s all about refining their play. On May 14 all of their practice will be put to the test, with only one team being able to represent Australia and New Zealand at the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship in Jönköping, Sweden.