Is it Possible? An NA Regional without Cloud9 or Tempo Storm
TNC and Astral Authority qualified yesterday for the ESL North America Summer Regional Championship, at Cloud9 and Tempo Storm’s expense. Cloud9 and Tempo Storm will have one last chance to qualify next week in the Invitational Qualifier.
If Cloud9 and Tempo Storm do not qualify next week, they are officially eliminated from the possibility of being the 2nd team to represent NA at Dreamhack All Stars - Summer, which is the Summer Championship. That honor is bestowed upon the team that wins the ESL North America Summer Regional Championship, which starts on June 4 and ends on June 5, unless Team Naventic wins that event. If Naventic does win, and Cloud9 qualifies for the 2nd Summer Regional, they will get the opportunity to play the 2nd place finisher in a Bo3 for the right to represent NA as the #2 seed at Dreamhack All Stars - Summer (if Cloud9 finishes runner up to Naventic at the ESL NA Summer Regional, they automatically get the 2nd seed).
So what’s going on with Cloud9 and Tempo Storm? Why haven’t they qualified yet?
With Cloud9, it seems to be an issue of them not taking the qualifiers seriously / banking on their ability to step up their level of play at LANs. These tweets from @C9Caffeine, warrior player for Cloud9, pretty much sums up Cloud9’s stance with respect to qualifiers:
Even other pros are commenting on Cloud9’s woeful qualifier performances:
With Tempo Storm, it’s a bit more complicated. They had a poor showing at Dreamhack Austin, finishing 4th in their group, and struggled in the first two qualifiers for the ESL North America Summer Regional Championship prior to Dreamhack Austin, losing 1-2 to Brain Power (previously known as Cognitive Gaming) in the first qualifier and 0-2 to Astral Authority in the 2nd qualifier. After Dreamhack Austin, Erho (Warrior player on Tempo Storm) stated on stream that he was taking a break from the competitive scene. This resulted in Tempo Storm's Zixz playing Warrior (he was the Tempo Storm support) and the new player, TigerJK, filling in as the support.
This Reddit thread explains Tempo Storm’s official stance on Erho being a streamer instead of a player. The thread begins with an ESL page showing that Erho is not registered as a player for Tempo Storm in the 3rd qualifier.
If Cloud9 and Tempo Storm do manage to qualify in the Invitational Qualifier, who will they face at Burbank? Let’s take a look:
Team Naventic, with their win at Dreamhack Austin and their consistently dominant performance in the qualifiers for NA regionals has established themselves as the #1 Heroes of the Storm team in North America.
Brain Power AKA COGnitive
Brain Power, formerly known as COGnitive Gaming, was a semi-finalist at the Spring NA regional, finished 4th in ETS NA #2, a semi-finalist at Dreamhack Austin...you get the picture. This team is clearly one of the top NA teams, but they just haven’t been able to break through and get that victory that they want. Qualifying in the 1st qualifier for Burbank, these veterans are not to be underestimated.
Gale Force eSports
Gale Force eSports is the most exciting new up and coming team in the NA scene. With Akaface and Michaeludall, who were two pivotal players in Arizona State’s Heroes of the Dorm win, and three veteran players that used to be on relevant NA teams (Fury, Khroen, and Roflcopter), this team has in a short time frame put up strong performances at Dreamhack Austin (semi-finalist) and the qualifiers for the ESL NA Summer Regional Championship (defeated C9 2-1 in the 2nd qualifier to qualify).
Panda Global has 4 ex-Team Blaze members. When Bigempct was on their team (he’s now on Naventic), they defeated Naventic in ETS NA #2 twice with resounding 2-0 victories and narrowly lost to Cloud9 3-2 after leading 2-1 to finish 2nd at the event. With the roster now under the Panda Global name with psalm as their 5th, how good they are remains unclear as in Dreamhack Austin, they had the misfortune of being in a group with both Cloud9 and Team Naventic.
Since then, they have put on strong performances in the ESL NA Summer Regional Championship qualifiers, although they were eliminated by Brain Power in the decider match of their group at Dreamhack Austin.
Team Name Change AKA THC
Team Name Change, formerly known as THC, shocked everyone in Dreamhack Austin Qualifier #2, defeating Cognitive Gaming and Astral Authority on route to qualifying in that qualifier. As a relative unknown, they weren’t exactly expected to do much at Dreamhack Austin - but they took Panda Global to the brink in Game 3 of their match before finishing 4th in their group. And as noted at the beginning, they have just qualified for the ESL North America Summer Regional Championship - by knocking off Cloud9 2-0 and sending them to the Invitational Qualifier.
In summary, the North American Scene couldn’t be more healthy and exciting to watch. Stay tuned and watch the ESL North America Summer Regional Championship on June 4-5 to find out which team will represent NA in Sweden as the #2 seed!
The bracket for the Invitational Qualifier next week is already out. It can be found here.
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