Monday, October 15, 2012

DreamHoN Grand Finals Matchups

After a couple of weeks of pretty intense gameplay we are finally going to figure out the last three NA/EU teams to make their way to Sweden for Dreamhack Winter 2012's DreamHoN Winter Champsionship (which, unless they changed it, is called DreamHoN II: Champions of Newerth) tournament. As expected, the 6 teams I had predicted would finish Top 3 and move into the final stage of the Destination Dreamhack tournament with three seperate Best of 5 deathmatch games.

The matchups are as follows:

Gary Johnson 2012 vs Pikachu :: October 16, 2012 @ 12:00 EST/18:00 CEST
Tt eSPORTS vs Lions Electronics Sportsclub :: October 17, 2012 @ 12:00 EST/18:00 CEST
Q sQuad vs Bunker Down :: October 18, 2012 @ 12:00 EST/18:00 CEST

Since I like typing, I will break down each matchup individually and highlight what I believe the strengths and weaknesses of each team are.

Gary Johnson 2012 vs Pikachu

You've heard it on Honcast, and if you've been watching the competitive scene for the last couple of months you already know why, but this is probably going to be the best matchup of the entire tournaments. This matchup has everything: great teams, well known individual players, and the fact that Swinde and Zfreek both played for Pika during DreamHoN Redemption a mere three weeks ago. The only downside is that one of these teams will not be going to Dreamhack no matter what happens since there is no BYOC, and I think they're both very close to being in the Top 5 teams in HoN.

Gary Johnson:

GJ 2012 looked pretty much unstoppable in Group A which far and away had the highest competition. While some of their matches came down to all three games being played, they still finished the group stage 7-0. One of the reasons this team is so hard to beat is how quickly they adapt both during the picking stage as well as mid-game. Swindlemelonzz may be critical at times of what his team is doing, but he is also very critical of himself and does not need to watch a replay to notice his mistakes. This is one of the reasons why GJ2012 has a leg up on most of its competitors, he can call effective and accurate audibles on the fly. The other thing that makes this team a nightmare is the amount of utility they have, meaning you never really know who is on what role until the picking stage ends and that makes it hard to plan an effective laning phase against them. Aside from Sender who plays support there isn't much of a case for calling this team "cookie-cutter." Tempest picked? Could be Zfreek in the jungle, or it could be Swindle in the suicide lane. Pebbles? Could be Swindlemelonzz farming safe lane or it could be Skyzoe in a dual mid role. You really just never know what they're going to do, and they all do what they do very well. Key heroes for this team are Pebbles, Tempest, Keeper of the Forest, War Beast, Fayde, Tremble, and Aluna.


Pika ended up 5-2 with a close 2-1 loss to Lions but just yesterday dropped a series 2-0 vs Black Sheep. I'm not sure if that makes me think more of Black Sheep or less of Pikachu to be quite honest. I have also wondered about the possibility of taking a strategic loss to play Gary Johnson 2012 over Tt eSPORTS, but since Pikachu were not going to move up the 2nd place even with a 2-0 victory (they would have been tied with Lions but lost to them in H2H) I don't think that's the case. I wonder about that in a few cases though and for anything future planned like this. If you know who you're playing ahead of time and you're guaranteed to be in the finals, why wouldn't you try to select your opponent....I dunno, food for thought I guess. ANYWAY, Pikachu has been around for awhile and tried a couple different players here and there. During the past 3 DreamHoN online events they have used 3 different rosters, each time keeping the same core players however, and this is what keeps Pikachu a very strong team. Buch has been in the scene for a really long time and definitely knows how to win. Gordob and Nir have recently been kind of the stand out players for Pikachu however, with Nir often times filling to jungle role and Gordob functioning as the drafter and playing some really impressive Pollywog Priest. The newest members of this tournaments roster are OwnedMe (I think he's new) and Probusk who have both also been playing very well. There isn't really anything to point out that is gonna blow peoples minds. This is just a team with a very very solid understanding of the game and great mechanics. Key heroes for this team  are Bubbles, Pollywog Priest, Silhouette, Pharaoh, and one of the leftover jungle heroes.

The Match:

If both teams are at the top of their game, I can honestly see this one going to 5. Ultimately however, I have Gary Johnson 2012 coming out on top in 4 games. I think Pikachu will take game 3 by utilizing some interesting heroes after getting beaten in a long 1st match and a quick 2nd match. Pikachu has a nasty habit of not banning Fayde, so expect GJ 2012 to take advantage of that for the first game at least. Final score: GJ 2012 > Pikachu - 3:1

Tt eSPORTS vs Lions Electronic Sportsclub

Here we have a matchup between Tt eSPORTS who has a great reputation at Dreamhack with two consecutive 2nd place finishes (yes I know rosters are different) and one of the hardest teams to judge in the scene. I really want to believe that Lions is a top 5 team, but it's just so damn hard to tell.


I'm a very harsh critic at times and I feel that maybe I have been feeling a bit harshly about Tt eSPORTS. Without a doubt a lot of my feelings of them dropping off was a result of their loss to The Returners. This isn't meant to say that I think The Returners are a bad team, simply that a team with the pedigree of Tt eSPORTS should not be losing to a group of guys who really had very little experience if any playing together. This is also compounded by the loss they took to Gary Johnson 2012 who also has not been playing together for a long time; although swindle, zfreek and sender have a lot of history playing together back during the early days of Trademark eSports. They finished their group 5-2 however with a 2-0 victory over Q sQuad. Tt eSPORTS likes to run Magmus and LeonBlack` is probably one of the most dominant Magmus players there is in HoN to date (no Swagmus but then again who is) and they have one of the most consistent rosters in competitive Heroes of Newerth. The most recent addition to this team is Moiravus who took the place of dabeliuteef and I think that's where a lot of my trepidation lies when forecasting this teams matches. Moiravus is a great player, but he doesn't have any of "big show" experience and his last team (Clan Milk) completely buckled after an incredible 7-0 start in the Group of Death (Group D) during the DreamHoN Online Summer Championships. SLiCKz is known to play a wide variety of heroes extremely well, making their drafting stage very difficult to predict; which works as an advantage for them. Key heroes for this team are Forsaken Archer, Witch Slayer, Pebbles, Magmus, and Bubbles.

Lions Electronic Sportsclub:

Lions advanced through the tournament with a 6-1 record, however 3 of those wins were forfeit wins and including a match that got rescheduled and forfeit anyway. It's not that these guys don't deserve to be here, it just makes it really hard to tell exactly what level of success they're possible of achieving. Group B was far easier than Group A as far as extraneous competition, and they did play the teams that were going to finish Top 3 in the group. Still, I wish they would have played Black Sheep so I could learn more about both teams. Lions, formerly Druidz, formerly Decerto, formerly 90s, also recently underwent some roster changes, leaving behind former "leader" PhilMcHunt and replacing him with Krebsen who plays seemingly EVERY hero in the game. I've seen him on hard carry, jungle, support and initiator and he seems to be very good. Handsken and Superkge are probably two of the most forgotten/underrated players in the competitive scene. Key heroes for this team or Moraxus, Fayde, Demented Shaman, Silhouette, and occasionally Master of Arms.

The Match:

Tt eSPORTS has an unique advantage over most teams. Since they have two Australian teams they usually get to play on US West servers. The reason this is so beneficial is that despite having two players with 250 ping (they are used to it, so its not really that much of a disadvantage) their three North American players are all West Coast players meaning they have about 50 ping at any given time. Because Lions is an entirely European team, they will most likely be looking at around 180 ping per person. Both of these teams have a good chance to win here, despite the ping advantage Tt eSPORTS have and if Lions is able to put SLiCKz on tilt and take advantage of Moiravus nerves they may come out ahead. I'm going to all 5 games with this one. Final score: TteS > LION - 3:2

Q sQuad vs Bunker Down

This is actually a very interesting match. It's gonna be EU vs EU so server selection won't be an issue here. Both teams have been around for awhile and both teams have players with experience at Dreamhack events prior to this upcoming one.

Q sQuad:

So I think it's pretty well known by know that sQy is NoVa, formerly of Fnatic fame. QsQ started out as a project for him to not only find his own team but also help other high level players reach their top tier. QsQ started off relatively quiet during DreamHoN:OSC but ended with a lot of people looking at them as they finished 2nd behind Pikachu in Group A and beat out teams like Lions, Orange eSports, unZ and SdS. Though they did not meet with much success in the OSC quarter finals stages, they really showed some power in the Redemption tournament where they placed 4th behind Tt eSports. Finishing 5-2 with losses to Tt eSPORTS and Gary Johnson 2012, during Destination Dreamhack they have received quite a bit of attention especially because of players like Malle and NoX; who have had some absolutely stellar performances. In their 1st group stage game vs The Returners they finished AngryTestie and crew off in just two games, which was casted by Honcast and drew much attention to the ricing capabilities of NoX. NoVa has also proven that he is capable drafter and captain utilizing heroes that have not seen much attention in the competitive scene. Key heroes for this team are Voodoo Jester, Parasite, Dark Lady, Forsaken Archer and Pharaoh. 

Bunker Down:

Bunker Down comes into their finals match from the Top of Group B with a 6-1 record, their only loss coming at the hands of Pikachu. Bunker Down (former 15) added Zetpro and Rythme to their roster in between the DreamHoN tournaments and they've been doing a phenomenal job accentuating Bassets already stable roster. Bunker Down finished off all of their opponents off using mostly AOE style lineups. Favoring aggressive midgame strategies seems to have been their key to success in this tournament. This team reminds me a lot of Pikachu actually, which explains why their games were so close. The are very mechanically sounds and don't really run many off the wall heroes. This is a strength and a weakness going up against Q sQuad however, who runs many strategies and adapts very well at the picking stage. Key heroes for this team are Pollywog Priest, Pharaoh, Tempest, Aluna, Nymphora, and Magmus

The Match:

This could get ugly real quick for Bunker Down. sQy does a pretty good job at the picking stage and if Bassets is caught off guard they could get screwed really early and allow QsQ to jump off to a free one game lead. Ultimately I see Bunker Down buckling down however and taking this series all the way to five games and pulling off a surprise upset against the boys of Q sQuad. Except at least one game to go over an hour, maybe even two games. Final Score: BUNK > QsQ - 3:2

Final Breakdown (for lazy people)

These matches look a lot more even than they did when I was doing my predictions mid group stage. Especially seeing weakness in teams like Tt eSPORTS and Q sQuad who came into this tournament as the #1 and #2 favorites, things could get very interesting. Either way, we're only a few days away from knowing at least eight of the ten teams who will be attending Dreamhack Winter 2012.

GJ 2012 > Pika - 3:1
TteS > LION - 3:2
BUNK > QsQ - 3:2


  1. why did nova don a different id?

    i thought everyone was trolling.

    also what happened to freshpro?

  2. Phil, you might also consider the fact that Pikachu seem to have chosen some different heroes than usual since the game in a sense didn't matter (as it seems from seeing their hero picks).

  3. Good read but isn't DHW 11 already played? You know, last year.

  4. Jesus christ holy wall of fucking text... maybe break up your posts with some pictures or something so it's not like reading an especially boring encyclopedia?