DreamHoN Summer 2012 Complete Recap

General Mario “Kolapz” Mađer
Almost two weeks have passed since the biggest event of the year for the competitive Heroes of Newerth community. The emotions have settled down, the VODs are up and the spoiler alerts are gone - it is time for us to take a complete look at the matches, the strategies, the storylines, the good and the bad.

The BYOC Stage

Teams that didn't manage to grab a spot in the $60,000 DreamHoN event via one of the regional qualifiers were given a chance to do so by participating in the Bring-your-own-computer event. 28 European teams decided to make the trip and take this opportunity and amongst them the favorites were certainly Europe Team It's Gosu and Europe Monomaniac eSports (ex-sGty) who both went far in the DreamHoN European Qualifier. Teams that were considered possible challengers included Europe Team Ay Man, up-and-coming Sweden The 90's and Europe Better Looking Than You(ex-HoNPortal); however, upsets were expected to happen due to the nature of the Bo1 format.

In the end, Monomaniac and It's Gosu lived up to the favorites tag. UnitedStates Kyle 'swindlemelonzzz' Freedman's team beat Norway BX3 Multicasters and the already mentioned The 90's with some unconventional hero picks and confident performances to secure their spot in the finals. The EU region qualifier finalists It's Gosu on the other hand, struggled more than it was expected despite having an arguably easier draw on the way to the finals and were on the verge of losing to Better Looking Than You in the semi-finals.

When the time came to play for all the marbles, though, Team It's Gosu seemed to put into fifth gear and dominated the first match of the series with one of their standard hero line-ups. They gained the 1-0 lead after 30 minutes and a 32-19 hero kill score. It was hard not to notice 'swindle's less than stellar performance on his signature hero Magmus (0-10-10), which certainly hindered his team's chances of winning the game.

In the second game of the series, "The Vanguard Brothers" ('Chessie' and 'Limmp') and their team went for their safe line-up with two tanky carries, while their opponents pulled an ace out of their sleeves with Pestilence and Emerald Warden. The 52 minute long match was more than exciting, but in the end the Hellbourne team didn't have the DPS needed to put a stop to the farmed tanks of Armadon and Zephyr and Team It's Gosu proceeded to the Group Stage, while 'swindlemelonzzz' missed his chance to face his brother UnitedStates Zakari 'ZFreeK' Freedman.

BYOC Qualifier Winner: Europe Team It's Gosu

BYOC Match Stats

BYOC Stage Brackets

The Group Stage

The crème de la crème of competitive Heroes of Newerth from all around the world were set to battle it out in the 8 team group stage in which everyone would play each other once and the four teams with the best score proceed to the semi-finals. Going into the tournament, red hot favorites UnitedStates Trademark eSports were more than confident in their chances and have said they expect to win every single game.

Three-time DreamHack champions Europe FnaticRaidCall had a less than stellar start of the tournament, losing two out of their first three matches to the incredibly strong Europe Blackfade and the surprisingly talented Malaysian Orange eSports, and talks of them getting knocked-out of the event earlier than expected started on the forums and in the stream chats. They once again showed they're best when it counts most though and won their remaining four matches to continue their journey to defend the title.

Trademark eSports, on the other hand, had a complete opposite experience in the group stage as they crushed their first five games and it seemed as if their promise of a loss-less run may just come true. Then, in the last two matches against Fnatic and Australia Tt eSports they suffered convincing defeats and exploited their weaknesses to future opponents.

Europe Blackfade, who were considered by some the best European team in the tournament, started the tournament with two convincing wins, one of which was over their rivals Fnatic and thus once again confirmed to be their doom. They followed it up with losses to two other favorited teams in Tt eSports and Trademark eSports, but managed to pull through with a 5-2 score in the end by beating the remaining three teams.

Tt eSports, the sole Oceanic representative in the tournament were hindered by Malaysia JunLiong 'dabeliuteef' Loh's visa issues, but Sweden Johan 'Mynuts' Andersson proved to be a good enough replacement as they dominated their opponents throughout the groupstage, dropping just one map to Fnatic, and topped the group with a 6-1 score. Their surprisingly calm celebration during the winning moment against Trademark eSports showed they are boasting with confidence and expected themselves to put up such a show in this event.

The Southeast Asian teams failed to upset the Western favorites.

Out of the other representatives, Malaysia Orange eSports raised more than a few eyebrows with their performance against Fnatic and gathered a couple more wins in the groupstage. The western players at the event, including Germany Jascha 'NoVa' Markuse, said they were in awe of their individual talent in terms of game mechanics but that they lack the teamwork and strategy needed to take it a step further. On the other hand Malaysia Team MUFC and Russia Team GA were obviously not up to par to the level of competition at this event and need a lot more experience to be able to put a dent into any of the other teams. Europe Team It's Gosu pulled out of the tournament after going 1-3 at the start and realizing they have just a marginal chance to proceed to the next round. They listed exhaustion due to the packed schedule and wanting to participate in the Swedish Championship side-event as reasons for forfeiting the rest of their matches in the group.

DreamHoN Group Stage Results
1.Australia Tt eSPORTS6 - 1
2.Europe FnaticRaidCall5 - 2
3.Europe Blackfade5 - 2
4.UnitedStates Trademark eSports5 - 2
5.Malaysia Orange eSports4 - 3
6.Russia Team GA1 - 6
7.Malaysia Team MUFC1 - 6
7.Europe It's Gosu1 - 6

The Semifinals & 3rd place match

Europe FnaticRaidCall 2 - 0 Trademark eSports UnitedStates

In the first game of the series, both teams threw a couple curveballs during the picking stage as they picked Witch Slayer and Slither, heroes we haven't seen in a while. The first kill of the game went into the hands of Trademark when David 'Moonmeander' Tan got the last hit on Johan 'Notail' Sundstein. The game continued to be a slow paced, low kill-count farm fest with Sillhouette and Dark Lady, played by superstar Adrian 'Era' Kryeziu, farming away while the rest of their teams struggled quite a bit. At the 24th minute mark, Alex 'Sender' Wieker teleports his team to the enemy jungle with the Nymphora ultimate to not only set up a double kill for 'Moonmeander', but also to waste the token that Fnatic picked up a few minutes earlier. The score was evened out at 8-8 at the point. Trademark continued to use the same tactic along with three portal keys to catch their opponents off guard for a couple more minutes, but before too long passed, the 600+ gold per minute Dark Lady was too much for them to handle and in the 36th minute mark they failed to interrupt a Kongor attempt after which they decided it was enough and conceded the match. Fnatic was one game up.

Trademark was obviously fairly confident in their ability to surprise the defending champions and picked Tremble for Mark 'Tralfamadore' Seidl in the second game. Fnatic on the other hand, went for a staple, super-safe lineup with Magebane as the carry of choice. The initial laning phase once again went in the favor of the Americans, at least as kill score was concerned, as they were 2-0 8 minutes into the game. However, thanks to quick split-pushing and resulting tower kills, as well as magnificent last hitting prowess, 'Era' managed to not only keep up with the enemy carries but pass them in GPM around the 15th minute mark as Trademark failed to realize it will cost them the game if they don't shut him down. In another low-action game, the guests from North America were in the lead by 7 kills, but that didn't mean that much as FnaticRC streamlined all farm into their hard carry. 38 minutes in, tDm decided it was the right time to try and break through the defenses, but smashed their heads against a brick wall and had to retreat, which definitely was a clear sign of trouble in the near future. 10 minutes later exactly that happened as they got double-raxed. Around the 55th minute mark, FnaticRC decided it was enough, forced a fight near the Kongor pit after 'Era' picked up a Doombringer, and sealed the deal with a confident 2-0 victory. Trademark eSports exit the DreamHack tournament in the semi-finals second time in row.

Fan favorite David 'Moonmeander' Tan and his team didn't "walk the walk" against Fnatic.

Australia Tt eSports 2 - 1 Blackfade Europe

As was already mentioned, after topping the group stage with a 6-1 score, Tt eSports chose Blackfade as their semifinal opponents. Right off the bat, they stunned the viewers and the casters with a Nighthound pick to start the series with, played by Quinn 'LeonBlack' Wagner. Unlike the other semifinal match-up, here we've seen an action packed game with a 9-6 hero kill score after 10 minutes favoring the Europeans. Just five minutes later, though, the tides turned for a little bit due to four consecutive kills by their opponents as Trent 'SliCKz' Tucker started to move around the map a little bit more with his Bubbles. The kill score remained fairly even for a while, but Blackfade had a significant farm advantage on their key heroes, something Tt eSports couldn't keep up with and in just a three minute period, between the 34th and 37th, they lost two crucial teamfights and decided to concede the game to the talented Maurice 'KheZu' Gutmann and his Dark Lady.

The worldwide mix of Tt eSports realized they may have underestimated their opponents in the first game or possibly overestimated their Night Hound strategy, and have thus opted for a safer, more conventional strategy this time round. And it paid off. After a fairly quiet early game, havoc happened in the bottom lane around the 12 minute mark as 'LeonBlack' on Deadwood came to help out his Corrupted Disciple carry with a gank and suddenly a gank turned into countergank turned into a countergank. The end result of this game-defining engagement? 9-3 hero kill lead and two heroes just below the 400 GPM mark. 16 minutes later the Australian team successfully interrupted their opponent's Kongor attempt despite losing two players at the start of the fight. They continued to slowly wear down the Europeans before going in for one last push in the middle lane. The push was completed and they got a set of barracks as 'SliCKz' confirmed his MVP-worthy form with a 16-0-10 score.

Blackfade knew that the fecal matter hit the rotating oscillator and thus went for the safest possible carry pick, the Magebane. Tt eSports were a far too experienced team to let that daunt them, so they responded with a heavy disable plus silence line-up along with a Jereziah played by stand-in Johan 'Mynuts' Andersson. Last year's runner ups forced a teamfight in the middle lane at just the right time, which gave them a 4-1 hero kill lead, two of which went into the hands of the Dark Lady. This gave them the edge needed to gain the map control so they could shut down the blinking pest, while farming themselves. After just 25 minutes and another lost teamfight, it was clear there was nothing Blackfade can do to get back into the game and they humbly conceded to the better team. Tt eSports was in the DreamHack finals for the second time in row and were about to meet FnaticRC in the finals once again.

Europe Blackfade 1 - 0 Trademark eSports UnitedStates

Due to the tight schedule of the tournament, the two teams battling it out for the 3rd place agreed to play a Bo1 instead of the planned Bo3, so they could finish on time to watch the Grand Finals on the same evening.

With so much at stake and with just one game deciding the winner, both teams went for the most standard picks imaginable, as it was expected. Blackfade took the early lead with some nicely set-up Parasite ganks played by the 14-year-old wonderkid Ludwig 'mmbzai' Wahlberg, resulting in a 19-10 kill score 20 minutes into the game and four member of his team above the 330 GPM mark. Trademark didn't give up, though, and 15 minutes later they pulled even at 28-28 as their attacks were spearheaded by 'Tralfamadore' and 'Moonmeander' on Bubbles and Wretched Hag, respectively. In the meantime, their mobility allowed them to keep even with Blackfade until the 58th minute mark, when they won another crucial teamfight around the Kongor pit and in the middle lane, followed by the barracks, and it seemed like Blackfade managed to throw away the lead they had and possibly the victory. Trademark were determined to finish the game right then and there, looking for a crack in the defenses in order to take another set of raxes, but unfortunately for them chose the wrong moment to do so, got wiped by the defenders and forced to use even more buybacks. Blackfade quickly regrouped and counterpushed, stomped over the heroes that were still capable of defending and the concede vote was called. Blackfade won the bronze medal.

Blackfade wins 3rd place and the 8,000$ prize.

The Grand Finals

Fans flocked in masses to the DreamArena Extreme to spectate the two best teams in the world, FnaticRaidCall and Tt eSports battle it out for the grand prize of 32,000$. Once both of the teams settled in and fixed their settings, it was showtime!

The three-time champions built their team for the first match of the series around Armadon and Sillhouette; their opponents instantly countered with a heavy negative armor strategy featuring the likes of Pestilence and Demented Shaman. The first blood went to the Legion team as the three support heroes collapsed onto the unsuspecting Andromeda played by Kieton 'Bobo' Beilby. A five minute lull in action was abruptly ended as an invisibility rune allowed "the thunder from down under" to score a couple of kills in the bottom lane in order to even things out a bit. 14 minutes into the game, Tt eSports decided it was time to start the popular "pubtrain", so they grouped up in the middle lane in an effort to take down a tower. Fnatic forfeited one for a tower kill of their own and kept a slight gold and experience lead, but the big advantage was in the distribution of those commodities, as they pumped it all into their two carries. 'Era' lost focus for a split second five minutes later and was caught off-guard by 4 enemy heroes. Tt eSports responded with a misstep of their own as they mass-teleported to save one of their own towers, instead of trying to capitalize on their enemies mistake with a push. An excellent bait by 'N0tail' allowed Kai 'H4nn1' Hanbueckers to show off his new shiny portal key on Behemoth and net four kills for his team. FnaticRC grabbed the bottom barracks and an insurmountable lead which they built on for the rest of the game, before interrupting a Tt eSport's Kongor attempt in the 38th minute, stealing the token and wrapping the match up for a 1-0 lead.

Fans in DreamArena Extreme spectate the two finalists.

Unlike the first match, when one team picked and the other countered, both teams opted for their safe line-ups in the second game of the series: an AOE heavy Bubbles, Tempest, Forsaken Archer combo for the Aussies; Dark Lady and Moraxus for the Europeans. FnaticRC sent two of their supports to the enemy jungle to disrupt David 'wyt' Ashwell, but instead they managed to get more out of it - a bloodlust in the middle lane. Tt eSports continued to make error after error in their own jungle, resulting in a 6-2 hero kill lead for the defending champions by the 10th minute. The pace of the game slowed down significantly hence forth, with just a kill here and there, as teams were content with farming up their core items without risking too much. In the 24th minute, though, Tt eSports did the same mistake as in the first match - they engaged on the enemy carry (with token) without having vision of his teammates, which meant they got counterinitiated on by 'H4nn1's shinky new portal key once again and it cost them 3 deaths and a tower. At this point FnaticRC had a 10k gold and experience lead, similar to the advantage they had in the first game after exploiting the challenger's mistake. That, of course, could have meant only one thing - FnaticRaidCall will wear them down slowly and capitalize on the lead that they have. And that is exactly what happened. The saying "when you're ahead - get more ahead" doesn't seem to fit their playstyle at all, as they jumped on the opportunity to finish the game as soon as possible. Tt eSports even tried to stop their Kongor attempt a few minutes later, only to fall to their knees and conceded the game to the four-time DreamHack champions - FnaticRaidCall.

Europe FnaticRaidCall 2 - 0 Tt eSports Australia

In their typical trollishly playful manner, after lifting the DreamHack trophy for the 4th consecutive time, FnaticRaidCall said in an interview: "It feels great winning for the 4th time. It was a bit easy, but it was great, really great. EZ money.".

FnaticRaidCall show off the big cheque to cameras and fans at the main stage!

DreamHoN Summer 2012. results:

1. Europe FnaticRaidCall - 32,000$

2. Australia Tt eSports - 16,000$
3. Europe Blackfade - 8,000$
4. UnitedStates Trademark eSports - 4,000$

The Links

DreamHoN.com - Official DreamHoN coverage
Honcast.com - Official casting coverage
HoN Facebook - Photo Gallery
Fnatic.com - Photo Gallery
Tt eSports HoN Facebook - Photo Gallery
HoN-news.com - Source
Fragster.de - Source