Everything you need to know about the World Championship Opening Week
Missed the group stages for the World Championship? As unlikely as that sounds, if you don't have the time to watch the games, we've got you covered.
The international meta
It's fairly well known that each region has developed independent tactics separate from each other. A sweet team comp in North America might be laughed at in Korea, and vice versa. So what happens when every region comes together? Well the meta flips itself on its head. Whether it was counter picks, comfort picks, or just new surprise tactics, yesterday's games saw some surprising heroes being played. E.T.C., Sylvanas, Brightwing, solo support Tyrande and more not only saw play, but also proved to be effective.
GIA was clearly the underdog heading into these matches, as Cloud9 has been wreaking havoc across North America for some time now. Interesting things to note are GIA's love of Anub'arak, a pick that might seem a little foreign for other regions, Lt. Morales's Blizzcon debut, and the ever happy Brightwing. GIA may have been the underdog, but they gave Cloud9 a run for their money, threatening victory several times.
In the first Chinese vs European competitive game, expectations were shattered. E.T.C. proved to be especially effective for the Chinese team, prompting a steal from Dignitas in the final game. It wasn't just the bull's power who was shown either, Tyrande was crucial to YL's success, and they don't seem to mind running her as the only support. If anyone had doubts about China's skill after this series, they were shattered. Being able to take games off of one of the finest teams in Europe is no easy feat.
The matchup that we've all been waiting for: North America vs Korea. It has come to light recently that Tempo Storm was plagued with internal issues that threatened their performance at Blizzcon. What we saw was a very different team. It looks like they have been able to band together once more, as casters and players alike were saying that they resembled the old Symbiote Gaming more than the new Tempo Storm. The games were exciting and back and forth, with massive aggression on both sides. Every mistake from either team was punished with extreme prejudice. Although they didn't win, Tempo Storm seemed more than happy with their performance.
Known for taking the European Road to Blizzcon by storm with their unique strategies, Na'Vi once again brings them to the table. Running their tried and true Butcher - Falstad combo, they had incredible control during team fights. Brave Heart tried desperately to imitate their playstyle in game 2, but with an old school Tyrande - Diablo roam squad, Na'Vi was able to secure an early advantage that put them in a dominant position for the entire game.
Cloud9 vs Dignitas
Another long awaited matchup: the young team Dignitas vs the old school pros of Cloud9. Dignitas is well known for Bakery's incredible Kharazim play, and it is no surprise to see him banned in two out of three games. Sonya also went surprisingly unbanned in all three games. Sonya is incredibly scary, especially with a Tassadar to pair with her. It seems like Dignitas has figured out C9's weakness though, as Abathur - Kharazim was able to throw them off their game extremely hard. Realizing this threat, Cloud9 blocked it out, allowing them to control the flow of the games.
Team DK vs Na'Vi
The innovators from Europe versus the Korean powerhouse. This one is interesting because the game that Na'Vi lost is the only one where they played their unique style of Diablo - Falstad. Clearly DK was prepared for this, but what they weren't prepared for was Na'Vi being so good with the Korean triple tank strategy. Using their powers against them, Na'Vi was able to throw DK off and take the wins for themselves.
So what's next?
So the clear favorites to win at this point are definitely Cloud9 and Na'Vi. Both have trumped the international competition and proven that they are incredibly strong. Of course anything can happen, but I wouldn't be surprised to see either of these teams in the winner's spotlight. The next games we see will be losers bracket games where teams will fight for their lives (or at least their chances at the #1 spot). Those who fail, will be eliminated. You can catch all of the action when it happens at twitch.tv/blizzheroes.
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