Power Rankings 2018
BlizzCon Grand Finals
Bracket and schedules on LiquipediaOnce again, BlizzCon approaches and the excitement of competition is in the air again! After a long and rigorous year, HGC teams from all over the world are ready to determine who is the best of the best.
|#9-10||Beyond the Game, TheOne|
|#11-12||Mindfreak, Luna Meow|
Who are the best teams? Where do they stand relative to one another? What are their strengths and weaknesses? After some discussion and debate, we have put together our power rankings for the 2018 BlizzCon Grand Finals. Some teams had a wide spread of votes, but for the most part, our top 5 teams emerged pretty clearly.
Our "Titans", as we like to call them, are the teams that are most likely to win at BlizzCon and go home with a trophy and hefty sum of money. "Contenders" are just that: teams who could contend with those top spots. And finally, we have the "Knockout" category, a set of teams we don't expect to make it out of groups.
Of course, Power Rankings can never be completely accurate. Determining the strength of a team relies on a synthesis of statistics, results, and gut feeling. We could be severely wrong about a few of these teams, but we look forward to being proven wrong.
Share with us where you think these teams should go!
The competition begins in
|There has been a distinct pattern for GenG: losing only makes them stronger. Throughout HotS esports history have been periods where no team in the world could give them a realistic challenge, but when other teams finally do catch up, the renewed competition ignites their passion and they come back three times stronger. |
After the Mid Season Brawl, after the Eastern Clash, after HGC Korea Phase 2, it feels impossible to bet against Gen.G. Their recent loss to Miracle only spices things up. For any other team such a loss might make them seem mortal, but not Gen.G; when they lose they tend to go on months-long undefeated streaks. Gen.G is coming into BlizzCon fired up, and their opponents should be very afraid.
|2. Team Dignitas|
|Dignitas is clearly the best in the West and one of the greatest rosters of all time. For as long as HotS has been an esport, Dignitas has always been a significant factor in international tournaments. The current roster has immense talent, but their list of possible opponents is just as big a deal.|
Historically, Dignitas has had two major rivals. They’ve had intensely close series with Fnatic and Ballistix, and either match-up is the stuff of legend. But neither Fnatic nor Ballistix has made it to BlizzCon this year, leaving Dignitas’ power unchecked. Without either of their biggest rivals to worry about, Dignitas is free to focus on what they see as the most important matches...and free to terrorize everyone else.
|2018 has been Tempest’s return to glory. They’ve returned to their place as a top Korean team and narrowed the gap with their closest competitors. Tempest enters BlizzCon at the top of their form and with plenty of momentum. They definitely have the potential to beat any challenger from any region.|
But crucially they haven’t beaten Gen.G. Their last victory against them was all the way back in January, and that only led to 2018 being one of Gen.G’s most dominant years. Anything can happen in a major world tournament though. Regardless of the Tempest/Gen.G matchup, the two teams are seeded into different groups, so Tempest is now the biggest question of Group B.
Even at their peak, Tempest’s performance in international events is not unbreakable; while undeniably one of the best teams in the world, they don’t have the rock-solid consistency of their biggest opponents. Classically, Tempest is known as a team with fairly mediocre macro but god tier teamfighting, often losing the first 20 minutes before taking a favorable teamfight to turn things around. While they've done some work to turn things around in their macro game, it's still an uphill battle to reach the sort of consistency that teams like GenG and Dignitas display.
|Previously the kid sister of MVP Black, Miracle was once the solid #4 team of Korea. They’d fallen off in HGC until recently, but now they’re on an absolute hot streak. They still ended #4 in the regular season standings, but look at how they shot up. In the past month, Miracle has been the only team to defeat Gen.G. They defeated Ballistix—twice—and eliminated them from the playoffs. Miracle blocking Ballistix from a major tournament is a feat that hasn’t been done since Super League in the summer of 2016.|
It’s only been a handful of weeks since Miracle’s victory, but has that been enough to cool them off? Their presence in Group A is already historic, but it’s hard to say whether their hot streak is still burning. They face Gen.G in group stages, and the last two time these teams faced each other ended in Miracle’s favor. A repeat performance would turn the entire tournament on its head, but Miracle has to face the rest of the world’s meta first.
|Leftovers is by far the biggest surprise moving into BlizzCon, but at the same time, they're not really the underdog either. Their run was no fluke.|
After a slow start to the season, Leftovers climbed their way over the struggling Method squad and cemented their place in the top 4. Still, after Fnatic's new roster rebounded in Part 2, everyone was expecting Fnatic to push Leftovers aside while Team Liquid made a miracle run for third place. But then Leftovers resoundingly beat Fnatic in the playoffs and turned everything upside down. BlizzCon. No Fnatic.
However, Leftovers is a good replacement. The Slovenian support Linked combined with a talented Polish roster (the likes of which we haven't seen since G2), including legendary tank player and salt lord Mopsio, has improved in strides and bounds this Phase to put them solidly above Team Liquid and their North American counterparts. They've got the consistency, they've got the momentum...can they turn it into another upset on the world stage?
|6. Team Liquid|
|Amid the turbulent scene in HGC EU, Team Liquid has somehow risen to the top once again. Players such as Nurok, HasuObs, and Arcaner are notorious for their work ethic and are always quick to blame themselves when things don't go the way the way they had planned, and that type of mindset is what's truly important for creating a champion.|
Despite their strong results this Phase, there are a few worrying tells though. Number one, Liquid dominated the first part of this season only to get quickly eliminated at the Western Clash by two North American teams. It's not surprising that Liquid struggled in an offline environment since that's one of their classic weaknesses, but that big of a dip points to a lot of inconsistency. Number two, although Liquid dominated the rest of EU 3-0 in Part 2, they recently dropped series against Team Dignitas and Leftovers. Luckily, they avoid their EU counterparts in the Group Stage, but again, an inability to succeed against the top teams points to a deeper problem within Liquid and a potential weakness in their BlizzCon performance.
|HeroesHearth is an insanely talented roster full of driven individuals, and their meteoric rise from the Open Division to best in region over the course of 2018 cannot be ignored. Despite faltering slightly against Tempo Storm in the second part of the season, HHE has been more or less dominant in North America. Then again, much of that was largely due to the playmaking potential of former player Arthelon, who retired suddenly during Week 7. HHE is somewhat of a question mark with Homi on the roster, but based on his previous performances on Open Division teams Even in Death and XD, he'll be a good fit for the team.|
When we talk about the endless rivalry between EU and NA, our American brothers tend to get the short end of the stick, but this is a competition where NA can truly shine. With walkovers from some of the minor regions and a weakened Europe, there's a good opening for HeroesHearth to actually go deep in this tournament. However, they still have to beat Korean teams to win it all. With the exception of Tempo Storm's unbelievable victory over Ballistix three times in the Mid-Season Brawl, there's no good example of NA standing up to Korean teams in recent history. NA vs EU makes for a great rivalry, but all contenders need to have their eyes set on beating the Koreans.
|8. Tempo Storm|
|The ups and downs of Tempo Storm are balanced out only by their relatively consistent performance offline. Despite sporting some of the biggest names in the region, TS always seems to struggle when it comes to winning day in and day out with the same sort of dominance that GenG, Dignitas, or even HeroesHearth seems to manage. Luckily, their greatest strength is an ability to show up in a live setting. By all rights, Tempo probably should be placed above HeroesHearth and Team Liquid for that trait alone, but there is some question as to their actual form based on recent results. |
Although they put up some good results in the last half of the season, they clearly struggled with Octalysis's off-the-wall drafts and Team Freedom's unbridled aggression. While it's easy to dismiss it as an NA thing, it definitely points to a weakness in Tempo's ability to deal with the unknown, and when you're wading out into the vast, deep ocean of teams you haven't played for months (or ever), a fear of the unknown can be crippling. If Tempo is allowed to play their game, though, there's no doubt they can make it far at BlizzCon.
|9-10. Beyond the Game, TheOne|
|No one can really tell how the Chinese teams will do at BlizzCon. It happens every year...one of the best Chinese teams (or both) can't secure visas and have to play with subs, and even the teams that should be good on paper tend to flail around with random teamfights and no sense of direction. There has simply been no structure to the Chinese meta ever since eStar and EDG disbanded.|
That's part of the reason we have the two Chinese teams we have. Don't misunderstand, Beyond The Game and TheOne both deserve to be at BlizzCon; they are most certainly the best teams in China right now. However, while both of these teams have climbed higher and higher every season, the usual Chinese titans fell off just as hard. SPT and CE became non-factors this season after having the region on lock for so long. Do BTG and TH1 deserve to be in the Finals? Absolutely. Are BTG and TH1 the strongest they've ever been? Yes. Are today's BTG and TH1 stronger than last year's SPT or CE? That's less clear.
To top it all off, even compared to each other BTG and TH1 have an almost 50/50 record against each other since their inception. BTG has the slightest edge, but on the other hand, TH1 has performed better in international tournaments. So...we honestly have no clue what to expect from the Chinese. Again. Overall, the mechanical skill level in the region is enough to place them above minor region teams, but it's just as likely that BTG and TheOne will bomb out in group stages.
|11-12. Mindfreak, Luna Meow|
|Unfortunately, 2018 has not been kind to minor regions. We've had a lot of advancement in the major regions with more stability, more sponsors, and HGC slot ownership rights finally taken care of...but the minor regions have fallen to the side a bit. Although ANZ got to experience a more structured league, the lack of playoffs combined with an overall lax attitude toward competition has time and time again caused backwards progress instead, much to the chagrin of more dedicated players in the region. In SEA, we've heard almost nothing at all. There were almost no broadcasted games, and the competition has been largely ignored from a global perspective.|
That said, the exclusion of minor regions from several global events this year has also had a negative impact, and now we're getting to a point where Mindfreak and Luna Meow are going to be thrown into the shark tank. It's always good to root for the underdogs, but we know they don't have much hope against the top teams.