BlizzCon 2016, Day 3: Korea’s MVP Black and Ballistix crush the competition
In the second group stage, Korea’s two teams did not lose a single game. Meanwhile, Europe impressed, while North America and China floundered. Check out the clips of the best moments here!
In the second group stage, MVP Black and Ballistix won their respective groups and secured the first two spots in the playoffs of BlizzCon. In group A, Astral Authority, Please Buff Arthas, and Team Dignitas will vie for a playoff spot next week. In group B, Fnatic, ZeroPanda, and Denial eSports will battle for the other remaining playoff spot.
Note: Click on the images for highlight clips and on the headers for the video of the full match.
In the last global championship, Please Buff Arthas (PBA) defeated Gale Force eSports to reach the top eight. Astral Authority’s Fury was a member of Gale Force at the time; he and his former team believed travel issues were the primary reason for the loss. Fury, with his new team, finally had his chance to enact revenge on PBA.
In game one, Astral Authority allowed PBA to take Kerrigan and E.T.C. on Infernal Shrines, which proved to be a grave mistake. PBA annihilated Astral Authority. PBA won every Punisher and every team fight, ending the game in less than 13 minutes.
Despite a lopsided loss in game one, Astral Authority rebounded with a measured, yet convincing game two victory. The analysts questioned Astral Authority’s unique draft, especially their final Dehaka selection.
However, Dehaka won the solo lane matchup against PBA’s Alarak and wreaked havoc in the team fights. After landing a Condemn, Rain of Vengeance, and Twilight Dream combination; Astral Authority took the lead and never looked back.
In the deciding game, Astral Authority drafted a traditional Illidan-centered composition, while PBA selected the first Greymane of the tournament. In a back and forth game, Astral took a convincing team fight victory and rushed to PBA’s core. In a parallel situation to PBA and Gale Force’s final game in the summer championships, PBA’s Zeratul had to land a perfect Void Prison to save PBA’s core. You can watch Astral’s core rush attempt below.
Unlike Gale Force in the summer championships, PBA mounted a miraculous defense to win the game and thus the series. PBA is now 2-0 against North American teams.
Despite qualifying for each global championship, Dignitas never played a match against MVP Black. Dignitas wanted the challenge and, while they did not win, they put up a very impressive fight against the Korean juggernaut.
For game one, Dignitas took MVP Black to Tomb of the Spider Queen and drafted Leoric and Johanna. MVP Black responded with Tyrael and Gul’dan. While MVP Black dominated all of their games so far, Dignitas finally stopped that trend as they took control of the early portions of game one. However, MVP Black retaliated. Once Tyrael obtained the Holy Ground talent, MVP Black began to pull the game back to even. While pushing with their Webweavers, Dignitas landed an Entomb on three MVP Black members. Unfortunately, one of those members was Tyrael. Tyrael activated Sanctification, negating the Entomb. Consequently, MVP Black retaliated with three kills and proceeded to finish Dignitas.
In game two, Dignitas committed to an early Illidan pick, so MVP Black countered by banning Tassadar and taking Brightwing. While not as close as game one, Dignitas stood toe to toe with MVP Black for the majority of the second game. MVP Black took complete control, however, after team wiping Dignitas during a fight for the middle shrine. MVP Black Kyocha’s Tracer dominated the game with impressive Pulse Bombs and near-death escapes. In the final team fight (see below), MVP Black secured another team wipe and thus won the series.
While PBA upset both eStar and Astral Authority, they could not take down MVP Black.
In the tournament, Alarak has had limited success: no team has won a game with him besides MVP Black. However, MVP Black Rich’s Alarak was a sight to behold: unlike his peers, he did not seem to miss a single Telekinesis and Discord Strike combination. Unfortunately, PBA had no answer for Rich’s Alarak.
In game two, PBA drafted Nova, marking her debut in a global championship.
PBA attempted a Tyrael Judgment and Nova Triple Tap combination, which worked a few times. The game appeared closer than it probably should have as MVP Black attempted several flashy yet overly aggressive plays that PBA punished. Nonetheless, the game was highly entertaining as both teams notched over 10 kills.
With the victory, MVP Black secured the first playoff spot at Blizzcon. They will play again on November 5. Astral Authority, Team Dignitas, and Please Buff Arthas will play for group A’s second playoff spot on November 4.
Yesterday, Fnatic defeated China’s second seed team, eStar Gaming. Unfortunately, ZeroPanda could not avenge their fellow Chinese team. If there is one game to watch this tournament, it is game two of this series.
In game one, Fnatic drafted a very strong composition for Tomb of the Spider Queen. Conversely, ZeroPanda did not.
ZeroPanda possessed limited wave clear and low kill potential. As a result, similar to their two games against eStar, Fnatic demolished ZeroPanda.
In the best game of the tournament so far, ZeroPanda rebounded from their disappointing game one. ZeroPanda grabbed E.T.C. and Malfurion, but Fnatic selected Falstad and Dehaka. ZeroPanda held a slight lead early on, but their decision to take an early boss proved costly as Fnatic stole it with Mighty Gust and a Dehaka Drag.
From then on, each team played extremely conservatively to avoid the numerous traps their opponents attempted to bait them into. At the end of the game, ZeroPanda threw all caution to the wind and rushed Fnatic’s core, while Fnatic scrambled to defend. Watch ZeroPanda’s bold move play out below.
Last year, Cloud9 defeated Team DK in the semifinals of BlizzCon 2015. The matchup between Ballistix and Denial represented a quasi-rematch: former Team DK members sCsC and Noblesse lead Ballistix, while former Cloud9 members KingCaffeine, k1pro, and iDream comprise 3/5 of Denial.
Denial tried to employ a unique composition with no ranged damage: they drafted Illidan, Abathur, Chen, Rehgar, and Leoric. However, Ballistix was not fazed at all. Similar to MVP Black’s performance against Denial, Ballistix annihilated Denial in less than eleven minutes. Denial did not secure a single kill nor destroy a single fort.
Unfortunately for Denial, game two did not look any different. Ballistix drafted the first Thrall of the tournament. Conversely, Denial hoped a Tassadar and Tracer combination would help them in the team brawls. While Denial almost scored a kill this game, they still could not secure one. In another flawless game, Ballistix again dismantled Denial. While pushing with the boss, Ballistix killed two heroes. Without hesitation, they pounced onto Denial’s core and quickly ended Denial’s misery.
With the victory, Ballistix’s sCsC and Noblesse finally avenged their 2015 BlizzCon loss. Denial, on the other hand, will have to improve drastically if they hope to continue on in the tournament.
In the final series of the day, Europe once again faced Korea. The winner would secure the first playoff spot from group B, while the loser would have to continue to battle in the group stage.
In the first game, both teams drafted some rarely seen heroes. Ballistix selected Greymane, while Fnatic drafted the first Kael’thas of the tournament. Ballistix played yet another flawless game. Similar to their games against Denial, they controlled the map and easily won every single team fight. Fnatic, like Denial, did not secure a single hero kill. However, Fnatic did last a little longer than Denial: the game lasted nearly 15 minutes.
In game two, Fnatic scored the first hero kills against Ballistix in the tournament. While Ballistix led from the beginning to the end, Fnatic made some miraculous plays to almost win the first game against a Korean team in the tournament. During their attempted comeback, Fnatic killed Ballistic’s Muradin several times by using Twilight Dream to prevent him from activating Avatar. In the final fight for the two altars, Fnatic’s Malfurion put himself out of position to land a Twilight Dream onto Muradin. Muradin barely survived, while the rest of Ballistix pounced onto and eliminated Malfurion. After failing to kill Muradin and losing their support, Fnatic could not salvage the situation. Consequently, Ballistix captured the final two altars to win the series, 2-0.
Looking Ahead to BlizzCon
With their group victories, MVP Black and Ballistix secured two of the four playoff spots. Since no teams were eliminated, the remaining teams will battle for the last two playoff spots on November 4.
Tune in to Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm channel on Friday, November 4 at 4:00 PM PDT to see which two teams will join MVP Black and Ballistix in the playoffs.