The NA Nexus Games so far: Malf and Zarya edition
Malf and Zarya aren't the only ones making noise though: we saw Denial eSports pull out Nazeebo and Imported Support shock Naventic. And boy, do those nukes on Warhead Junction ever hurt.
It's a Malfurion and Zarya Meta
It's hard to talk about this week's games in the NA nexus games without mentioning Malfurion and Zarya: they both have a 100% involvement rate (picked or banned), with Malfurion having a 75% winrate and Zarya having a 50% winrate.
This also has had a massive impact on the rest of the heroes being picked, as we are seeing more double support and double warrior compositions in response to Malfurion's great sustain healing and Zarya's ability to counter burst. We even saw a double support and double warrior composition from Denial vs. Vox Nihili.
We only got to see the map played once, in Game 4 of GFE vs. Gust or Bust. All I can say is, nukes make ending on this map real easy: two or three of those bad boys with a keep down and any core rush is GG.
A big piece of news came out just before the NA Nexus Games started: Astral Authority had dropped their old roster and picked up Murloc Geniuses. Playing their first match under their new sponsor and since Burbank, Astral Authority showed some rust and jitters, and dropped Game 1 on Tomb of the Spider Queen decisively to Mcintyre's team Level Up. After that poor performance though, the former Murloc Geniuses got their act together and cruised to a 3-1 win.
Gust or Bust has played under the Astral Authority name for much of 2016, but when they were dropped in favor of Murloc Geniuses, the players returned to playing under their original name. They would have liked nothing more than to get an opportunity to play against the team that took their sponsor, but it wasn't to be as Gale Force eSports defeated them 3-1, only dropping a Cursed Hollow Game where GFE was unable to get to Lt. Morales.
This one's going to have Reddit talking about this match, especially after Denial's withdrawal from the tournament at Bloodlust. For starters, both teams had apparently not practiced on the current patch for the tournament.
Nonetheless, the matches were highly entertaining to watch, with Game 1 featuring a big comeback from Imported Support down 20-2 in core health. Game 2 was similarly fun to spectate, even if Imported Support ultimately won in decisive fashion to take a 2-0 lead. This raised the spectre of a massive upset, one that was confirmed when Zuna was unable to continue playing after being kicked out of his computer booth @ Twitchcon. This means that Naventic falls to the lower bracket, where they will face Vox Nihili.
Man, that Game 1 draft. Denial eSports drafted a double warrior double support composition, with Nazeebo being their only damage. Yes, you read that right. Vox Nihili unsurprisingly took an early game lead, but over time Denial eSports was able to seize control and eventually win the game, especially with mule preventing the temples on Sky Temple from giving Vox Nihili too much of a lead. The end of game damage numbers on Nazeebo were just crazy - he severely outdamaged all of the other 9 heroes in the game. Denial eSports would comfortably win the next two games to advance to semifinals of the Winners' bracket.
Where to Watch
The NA Nexus Games aren't finished this weekend though. There will be two more matches played tommorrow starting at 3 pm PDT. The EU Nexus Games are also ongoing, and they continue tomorrow as well starting at 9 am PDT. Catch all the action on the Blizzard Heroes of the Storm twitch channel.