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The HoNicle: Game of Thrones

By Mario 'Kolapz' Mađer
Dec 9, 2010 22:58

ImageAs the year is coming to an end it is time to analyze the past and predict the future and try to determine which teams could join fnatic and Team EG on the throne in 2011.

The first year of competitive Heroes of Newerth is coming to an end with a hectic couple of months, with two major offline tournaments behind us, Digital Youth Awards and Steelseries HoN Masters, and with the biggest online tournament, the Steelseries HoN World Cup closing to an epic climax.
EU Fnatic and US Evil Geniuses won one each and are more than likely, save a major upset, to meet each other twice by the end of the HoN World Cup - in the winners bracket final and the grand final. They are and have been sitting on the throne for quite a while now, dominating every tournament they participated in and thus the question arises - can anyone threaten them any time soon and which teams are most likely to do so?

CA Deal With it
The concentration of talent within this mostly Canuck team has never been an issue nor was it ever doubted by the scene. CA Chad 'Tarano' Muller is widely regarded as one of the very best support players and has produced enough magic Andromeda moments for a 3 hour long highlight video. US 'rYCHo' is undoubtably among the very best ricers, while many merely shovel with their carries - he has a brand new tractor and plows through creeps. AU Trent 'sLiCKz' Tucker has given many, according to the public, better rated mid players a run for their money, despite his enormous ping disadvatage. The only brick wall they seem to face is one that they have built themselves. They are the least active team of all that I'm going to mention here, seemingly competing in tournaments every three months, displaying their strenght and limitless potential, only to disappear again. I firmly belive that they are the prime candidates to knock EG and fnatic off the throne in 2011., or at least join them on it, if they can hold onto their roster and increase their activity.

US SK Gaming
Not qualifying for the Digital Youth Awards via the CAL Tournament hurt them greatly as it was just a very disappointing performance and pummeled their confidence and the way the community rates them. After this period of inconsistency during Summer and Autumn, which was also the time of roster issues due to CA Nick 'Testie' Perentesis retiring for a few months, they got back on track recently. US Mike 'CarDinaL' Smith and US Mark 'Tralfamadore' Seidl are through with their aclimatization and Testie is back in action and plays as good as ever. They are amongst the last four still in the Steelseries HoN World Cup and are by all parameters a top five worthy team, but remain probably the most underrated one on the scene. A statement which may seem negative but is actually one of their advantages when matched up against equally skilled opponents. Whether they'll make use of it or not remains to be seen. I predict they'll stay where they are in 2011., amongst the top five, hopefully with more consistent performances.

EU Online Kingdom
After their straight out catastrophic performance at the Digital Youth Awards, after which DE Dominik 'Black' Reitmeier and DK Mathias-Benjamin 'SemiJew' Larsen left them to join TS-Gaming and Dirty Minds respectively, they are now facing roster issues, conclusion of which is still uncertain. Loda and Kebap were used as stand-ins in the recent HoN World Cup match again SK, but are unlikely to remain part of the roster. UK Henry 'LGD`TjockTV' Dickenson, on the other hand, might be, considering they officially tagged him up. While their line-up was more or less stable, they played very good and maybe the most important thing, they had results behind them. Trying to predict what the future brings to this team is like being the groundhog of Punxsutawney (at least until they finalise their roster and things become more clear), you're probably going to be wrong. However, I think they'll remain top 10 in 2011.

EU Dirty Minds
Not being sent to DreamHack Winter 2010 by their organization, KD Gaming, was a huge blow to their morale from which they succeeded to bounce back from quite swiftly. As already mentioned, they added Mathias-Benjamin 'SemiJew' Larsen formerly of Online Kingdom, as well as DE Julius 'Kay' Fraatz. While the former is certainly a solid pick-up, it remains to be seen how the latter works out for them, given his reputation of being a clanhopper, amongst other not so positive things that the community has to say about him. SE Adrian 'Era' Kryeziu is probably their star player and is considered to be one of the better European carries. They consistently perform solidly in all events they participate in and are more than likely the second best European team. If their roster remains as is and they continue to be active, I can't see them slipping down from the top 5 podium any time soon, they can only move up.

PH DuskBin
These pinoys were the first Asians to enter the international scene, instantly making a bang. Their skill level was instantly regarded comparable to top American and European teams and they never ceased to deliver solidly in all their appearances ever since. They recently won the Garena HoN LAN to cement their place as the best Asian team (their biggest rivals, iMpUniTy, did not attend though), but were, however, unable to place on the podium in international events since August. Despite being active, they are regarded as a question mark by most, often surprising with off-the-wall hero picks and strategies. A testament of their potential is the fact that they are one of just two teams (!) that managed to take a game away from the two champions in the three major tournaments, as they got beaten by Team EG 2-1 in the Steelseries HoN World Cup winners bracket quarter final - only to disappoint against US Dilated's Dream Team in the losers bracket afterwards. They are considered a top 10 team but haven't really produced the results worthy of such a claim just yet. I am of the opinion that they do have potential, but will have to back it up with results in order to prove their true worth. My prediction for them in 2011.? They'll solidify their spot in the top 10 - nothing more, nothing less.

SG iMpUniTy
In a pre-DYA interview they showed off their confidence by claiming they're as skilled as Team EG is but lack their teamwork, a claim that was laughed at at that time, soon became reality as they gave Team EG a run for their money and took a game away from them. A couple weeks prior to that they took a game away from fnatic in the HoN World Cup as well. In fact, iMpUniTy is the only team that took a game away from both fnatic and Team EG in the past several months and that's gotta mean something. Much like DuskBin, not a lot was known about them on the international scene, but that's starting to change due to them being amongst the most active teams. If there's a tournament running, iMpUniTy is most probably participating. They already had some success in international events, more so than their Asian rivals, and I fully expect that trend to continue. Their roster is as stable as it gets and they have unrivaled motivation to practice, to compete and to come up with unorthodox strategies. I expect them to continue this in 2011. and am sure that they'll break into the top ten list sooner rather than later.

There's a myriad of teams equally deserving of the last two spots in this, highly opiniated, top 10 list of mine. I will only briefly mention them here, due to it becoming increasingly hard to draw a line somewhere and stop predicting which team could make a big impact in 2011.

US Inner Circle Elite , after their fairy-tale run in the Digital Youth Awards, doesn't really exist anymore. It has been pretty much confirmed that some of it's players will form a new team led by US Cyrus 'Brized' Krol. If and when that happens, they'll probably instantly be a top five team.

RU Team Empire , once a community favorite, now seem to be just another team. They were a firm top ten squad, but with new teams popping up everywhere and their performances being less than dominant, they'll have to step their game up come 2011.

US Dotally Rad have fallen off the scene quite a bit recently, especially since they lost US 'WaC', who was undoubtably their star player. I don't see them breaking into the top 10 in 2011., unless they make some roster changes.

SE TS Gaming are one of the most consistent teams on the scene. They're active and motivated, but lack something to produce results. DE Dominik 'Black' Reitmeier, whom they recently added, might have been the missing link. It is quite possible that they'll claim one of the remaining top 10 spots in my list.

SE Team Wahlin have, in my opinion, heaps of talent and have already shown glimpses of it in some tournaments. They also recently added SE Jonas 'Revyy' Olander, which can only help them in the long run. Strong contenders to make the list.

PH Infinity Zero have been competing on the international scene for as long as DuskBin and iMpUniTy did, but never managed to do anything worth noting. I don't see them improving soon, unless they change something drastically.

EU Binary Evasion is a team that's been around for a while and have been performing solidly. They recently added SE Victor 'DreamWalker' Nykvist Löfström, a well-known player in the european scene. A talented squad which can only improve.

RU Muscle GuyZ is a pretty underrated bunch. They'd been on the scene since forever and are one of the leading teams of the second wave I guess you could say. If there's a small tournament without the top teams participating, these Russians will be in it and will probably be in the finals.

EU YouMadBrah , a newly formed team that united under NO Visar 'Twista' Zymberi as they left 'Revyy' and their Druidz Qpad tag behind after their silver medal finish at DreamHack Winter 2010. It is too early to judge.

EU Infused Gaming is another newly formed team with very well known players with heaps of talent and all that stands in their way is themselves and their motivation.

The last couple rounds of the Steelseries HoN World cup will make things much clearer on the very top of the podium and finally, at least for a while, settle who deserves to claim the throne: fnatic or Evil Geniuses. The raging battle below them is a ruthless one, without a clear winner in sight. Who will emerge victorious and join the rulers of the scene in 2011.? The Game of Thrones continues.

Inspired by "Who can make the elite four a five?" by Stuart 'SwitchbacK' Macdonald.



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