How'd They Lose: Tempo Storm Upset by Gale Force Esports
Week four of HGC brought us a clash of Titans. 6-0 Tempo Storm vs. 4-2 Gale Force Esports. Most would not technically call this an upset but considering Tempo Storm hadn't lost a game I'm going to call it that for the purpose of this article.
Gale Force Esports won 3-0 with the first two wins coming in dominate fashion. Let’s take a look at the series and see how Tempo Storm could lose so convincingly even though they were the undefeated team at the top of the standings.
The main theme of this series was preparation. Gale Force seemed ready for every composition Tempo Storm would draft. They let Tempo have what they wanted and were fully prepared with compositions to counter. So with that said let’s take a look at each game and see what went wrong for Tempo Storm.
Game 1 Braxis Holdout
So how did Tempo Storm lose game one?
Well here are the reasons that I could find:
#1 Too Much Sustain vs. Not Enough Burst
Gale Force Esports drafted an incredibly difficult composition to kill and Tempo Storm didn’t draft any burst damage. Tempo Storm has great pick potential with Varian and Artanis, but no burst to actually kill the picked targets. They already had Valla to fill the basic attacker role and needed a burst damage hero to capitalize on the picks the two warriors created. Li-Ming would have been an excellent pick because of her ability to combo with Varian. I would have liked to have seen Ragnaros for Sulfuras Smash one shot potential. Even Kael’Thas could have fit here if they didn’t want either of those heroes.
#2 Gale Force Played Their Composition Perfectly
After the draft phase the game broke down like you might expect. Dehaka wins the 1v1 in top lane because he has better wave clear and sustain. The four man is impossible for Tempo Storm to kill because Gul’dan has his sustain, E.T.C. peel, Tassadar to prevent damage, and Morales to heal him if he does take any damage. Any time Tempo Storm goes for an engage Gale Force does a great job of stopping it with peel and healing. Eventually GFE just wears Tempo down and secures both of the beacons. Here is an example of how the beacon fights typically went. That sequence is pretty much the story of the game.
Game 2 Cursed Hollow
Time to take a look at game two in which Tempo Storm got dominated and lost in nine minutes and fifty-six seconds. So how did the best team in North America lose this badly? Well there isn’t a whole lot to analyze in this one but here are the things that I believe contributed to this loss:
#1 The Wrong Wombo
When you look at this draft you immediately think “Zeratul, Diablo, Ragnaros, and Falstad, there are definitely tools to blow Sgt. Hammer up when she tries to siege.” However, they didn’t do the wombo combo you would expect with these four heroes.
Diablo took Lightning Breath and Falstad took Mighty Gust. The normal wombo is Void Prison to set up Apocalypse into Sulfuras Smash and Twilight Dream. In most scenarios I wouldn’t advocate for Hinterland Blast over Mighty Gust, but I believe this was the situation for it. It could have provided the extra burst they needed to blow up Sgt. Hammer.
The wombo they tried to pull of was Void Prison to set up a fly behind Mighty Gust into Lightning Breath, Sulfuras Smash, and Twilight Dream. This wombo is much more difficult to pull off. Without Hinterland Blast there is no room for error. Lightning Breath has to land for the full duration. Sulfuras Smash has to land dead center. Here is a look at the one time Tempo Storm had a chance to do it and didn’t execute it properly. Even if those things do happen there is a chance that Zarya Shielding, Ancestral Healing, and a few nice counter talents are enough to save Sgt. Hammer.
#2 Excellent Talent Choices by Gale Force Esports
Block Party from E.T.C. gives allies 50 physical armor against the next basic attack after he uses any ability. As long as he is spamming his buttons he is constantly giving his allies 50 physical armor.
Resistant from Sgt. Hammer at level one gives her 50 armor if she gets stunned or rooted while in siege mode. The whole point of Tempo Storm’s team is to lock her down and burst her down. This 50 armor is a massive defensive boost that is almost guaranteed to happen when Tempo goes for their wombo. This is the only reason I could see for Tempo Storm changing the type of wombo combo they went for.
Defensive Shielding from Zarya at level four gives 75 physical armor to her after Personal Barrier expires, but more importantly to the Shield Ally target after that shield expires. The shield is definitely going to expire with Sgt. Hammer sitting still to guarantee a Resistant proc.
This combination of talents creates a constant stream of protection for Sgt. Hammer. If she gets stunned while siege she has 50 armor. If her Zarya shield breaks or wears off she gets 75 physical armor. If neither of these buffs are on her then all E.T.C. has to do is press a button near her and she will receive 50 physical armor. The other brilliant thing about this composition is that even if they do get Hammer low, a well timed Ancestral Healing is there to heal her back to full health. Also, don’t forget about first aid to help sustain through any poke that might land.
Game 3 Battlefield of Eternity
This game saw a much better draft from Tempo Storm.
They got great race potential with Tychus, Illidan, E.T.C., and Kharazim. So where did it go wrong?
#1 Lack of Burst and Poke
If I could point out one problem with Tempo Storm’s draft it would be the lack of burst and poke in their composition. They drafted excellent sustained damage but the lack of poke kept them from exploiting Rehgar’s low level of sustained healing ability and the lack of burst allowed Rehgar to save low health members with Ancestral Healing before they could be executed. This isn’t the reason Tempo Storm lost the game, but it was a contributing factor.
#2 Picks During Objectives
Tempo Storm nullified their excellent race potential by getting picked off during the Immortal Phase or right before it started. Here is an example of Gale Force Esports capitalizing on a mistake from Tempo Storm’s Psalm. He gets caught by Varian and blown up by Li-Ming and Zeratul leaving them at a massive disadvantage for the race without Illidan. This disadvantage lets Gale Force Esports win the first half of this late game immortal race, creating a huge momentum swing. They then dictate the fight and with a few clutch heroic abilities win it and never look back.
#3 Clutch Void Prisons and Ancestral Healings
Gale Force Esports picked a composition that was inferior at the immortal race. Their hope for this game was to win team fights and take objectives off the back of those fights. Here is an early game example of a well timed Void Prison and later in the clip Ancestral Healing to swing the fight in Gale Force’s favor. Because of those two clutch heroics Gale Force Esports won this fight and created time for themselves to get an immortal race lead. This immortal lead allowed them to dictate the pace of the race and set up for another team fight on their terms. They picked a fight and again won it off the back of clutch heroic abilities from Fan and Akaface. Here is a clip of the fight that swung the game for Gale Force Esports. This immortal gave them a keep kill and a big lead in the game.
#4 Patience from Gale Force Esports
After the keep take for Gale Force their only goal was to soak and stall until they got level 20. They showed incredible patience, disengaging every fight until they got level 20. Even though Tempo Storm won the final immortal race they couldn’t maximize the value because they didn’t get level 20 in time to push with the immortal. Since this immortal couldn’t win the game for Tempo Storm they had to suffer through another team fight in which they lost all five members, killed no members, and lost the game.
This was an extremely impressive series from Gale Force Esports. They looked perfectly prepared for Tempo Storm who made more mistakes than usual. No one expected this series to be a 3-0 for either team, but especially not for GFE. They showed why preparation is important, how critical drafting can be, and how to exploit even the smallest mistakes from your opponent. GG Gale Force Esports, this was a well deserved win.