At the start of April, twelve of the best Heroes of the Storm teams from around the world met up in Korea to compete in the Spring Global Championship. Coming into the event, the #1 seeds from Korea and North America, MVP Black and Cloud9, were seen as the teams most likely to take the whole thing. The Chinese and European #1’s eStar Gaming and Team Dignitas were always a part of the conversation, but tended to be overshadowed by their North American and Korean counterparts.
These top teams would not be seen on the first day of play, as their seed allowed them to skip the first group stage, leaving the 2nd seeds and the smaller regions to fight it out. The Latin American and Taiwanese representatives BigGods and GIA were essentially fed to the wolves when they were put in Group A with Korea’s Team No Limit and Europe’s mYinsanity. On the other hand, the Australia and New Zealand representative Negative Synergy was looking to shake up Group B alongside the South-East Asian team Renovatio I as they faced off against EDward Gaming from China and Team Naventic from North America.
As much as we wanted to see the ANZ team make it further into the tournament, any chance at seeing major upsets early in the tournament were immediately snuffed out. The teams from the major four regions made it out of the first group stage without facing too much difficulty
The second day of play was when we really started to see some unexpected results. With all of the big names in play, it was a bit of a reality check for the western teams. Group A this time had the Chinese teams, eStar Gaming and EDward Gaming, as well as Cloud9 and mYinsanity. A lot of fans were expecting Cloud9 to be able to defend the title that they earned at last year’s Blizzcon, but their defence did not start well, falling to EDG in their first series. They were able to keep their hopes alive by eliminating mYinsanity, but Cloud9’s struggles against Chinese teams continued as they were swept by eStar, ending their tournament with a rather disappointing performance.
On the other side of the draw, the #1 team in the world, according to the global power rankings MVP Black, showed just how strong they are, breezing through the group without dropping a game to either Team Naventic or TNL. Team Dignitas came into the tournament as the top European team, and was the last chance at denying an all-Asian playoff bracket. They were unable to fulfil that hope, losing to TNL 1-2 and then again in the rematch 0-2. This was a major blow to the western teams, who were confident heading into the tournament. To be dispatched with such ease really hit at some egos, and forced the players to re-evaluate their level of commitment to the game heading into the next season.
As the final day of play got under way, the only thing that we knew was that MVP Black was proving why they came into the tournament as the favourite, while there were questions about the form of the other remaining teams. MVP made their way to the grand final by taking out the Chinese #1 seed eStar Gaming with yet another clean sweep, where they would face an EDward Gaming who was looking better and better as the tournament went on. They would need to be at their absolute best to overcome a team that did not look like stopping any time soon.
Looking at the grand final match up, the paths the two teams took to make it to the final were incredibly different. On one side, MVP Black had taken the shortest path possible, bypassing the first group stage and then beating every opponent in their path 2-0. Edward Gaming played nearly twice as many games, having to go through the first group stage, and then forced to game 3 in multiple sets on their way to the final.
When the two teams got into the game, the difference between the two were made quite obvious, with MVP’s dominant form continuing and not giving their opponents any chance to breathe. Their already incredible weekend was capped off with yet another flawless set, dispatching EDward Gaming 3-0 and claiming the title as the best Heroes of the Storm team in the world. Ever since they missed out on their chance to compete at Blizzcon last year, MVP Black have played like a team possessed, and it’s going to take a lot of work from all the other teams if they’re to have a chance at taking down MVP next season.
This tournament is the first of four big international events that Blizzard have planned for Heroes of the Storm this year. With the Summer circuit just around the corner, teams don’t have much time to relax before they’re getting back into action. Although they exited the tournament earlier than what we may have liked, Negative Synergy put on an admirable performance considering the state of the ANZ scene. Hopefully this taste of competition not just for Negative Synergy but also for other players and teams in Australia and New Zealand will be the spark that the scene has been needing.