HGC Western Clash Phase 2 Preview
Wed 8th Aug 2018 - 6:37pm
The second Western Clash of the year is upon us and once again Team Dignitas is the favourite to win the tournament. After having an undefeated Phase 2 thus far, the team is definitely looking to take the title for the second time this year. They are up against the best teams from Europe and North America for a 3-day tournament at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
With the 3rd ban having ensured heroes such as Genji, Tassadar, Abathur, and other annoying or niche picks don’t make it into the games, new heroes have emerged to fill their places. We saw Vilhelm "POILK" Flennmark on Sgt. Hammer quite a few times in the last few weeks of EU League play, as well as Cassia and Raynor. If Team Dignitas can keep Sgt. Hammer safe, her zoning will be super effective on point-capturing focused battlegrounds like Volskaya Foundry and Infernal Shrines. Surprisingly, EU teams have allowed Jonathan "Wubby" Gunnarsson to get his Yrel pick nearly every single game. We’ll see if she still holds supremacy over the solo-lane at the Western Clash or if teams will consider her ban-worthy.
Kenn "Zaelia" Rasmussen’s rotation of Support heroes saw a new face in Alexstrasza, whose Lifebinder change has given her the needed boost to see play on certain battlegrounds. The Support go-tos will most likely still be Malfurion or Deckard for both regions, although NA still goes down the Rehgar route from time to time. For Jérôme "JayPL" Trinh, Muradin has made a large comeback with his self-sustain and his ability to set up kills with his stun. JayPL is also very fond of Garrosh because of his ability to either put enemies in a bad position or save teammates from disaster with Into the Fray. Diablo will also be a likely contender for Team Dignitas as he was a pivotal hero for them in past LAN events. Some NA teams also play Diablo on smaller battlegrounds where the impact of his Shadow Charge stunning enemy heroes against walls gets extra value.
As for team captain Joshua "Snitch" Bennett, his hard work has paid off in his ability to flex into any needed role. With the Tassadar and Medivh comeback as of late, Snitch may be on the second-Support role a lot more this Western Clash, but he is always good for a sneaky Abathur or Zeratul if the draft allows it. It’s also interesting to see how metas clash when different regions face off and having someone like Snitch who has such a large hero pool will only benefit Team Dignitas in the draft against NA.
From Friday, August 10th to Sunday, August 12th, the eight teams will compete in a double-elimination bracket, where the first day’s matches will be bo3 and the rest will be bo5. The Grand Finals on Sunday will be bo7 with a 1-game lead for the team who advanced from the upper bracket with no losses. Team Dignitas will be the first match of the tournament, as they face off against North America’s Team Octalysis on Friday, so let’s have a look at what that might mean.
Team Dignitas vs. Team Octalysis - Friday, August 10th @ 9:00 AM PDT / 6:00 PM CEST
Team Octalysis is North America’s 4th seed. The team, previously known as Team Twelve and Roll20 Esports, have struggled a bit this Phase to regain their footing in North America. Nevertheless, Team Octalysis have been around the block, having competed against Europe at the previous Western Clash. Their first match they surprised everyone by beating Method with a 2-0. They moved on to face Team Dignitas, and while they lost the series 3-1, some really smart play in Game 2 on Towers of Doom and a well-placed Junkrat Concussion Mine on the boss point won them the game. While these two teams have experience facing one another, things have shifted quite a bit in terms of meta in both regions.
Team Octalysis also missed out on the Mid-Season Brawl in Sweden and all the experience that comes with international play. They finished Phase 1 in 3rd place in the NA standings but fell to HeroesHearth in a very close Grand Finals in the North America Playoffs. This was a big turning point for HeroesHearth, who is now the 1st seed in NA with an undefeated Phase 2 heading into the Western Clash. If going by seeding, it’s very possible HeroesHearth will advance through their bracket to face Team Dignitas on Sunday, but there is a lot of tough competition for them to get through from the likes of Leftovers, Team Freedom, and Team Liquid.
If Team Dignitas win their first series against Team Octalysis, they will move on to face the winner of Method and Tempo Storm. While facing Method could be easier in terms of familiarity, that also means that Method have a much better understanding of Team Dignitas’ strengths and weaknesses and could have a better chance of causing an upset. Tempo Storm and the NA meta being more unfamiliar to Team Dignitas could be an advantage for Tempo Storm, but the last two times these teams faced off, Team Dignitas won them with clean 3-0s.
Be sure to tune in on Friday, August 10th as our match starts right away at 9:00 AM PDT! You can watch the Western Clash from August 10th - 12th on the BlizzHeroes Twitch Channel.
And last, but certainly not least, the #DIGscord will be THE place to discuss all the matches live. Join the rest of our fans in our voice and chat channels and spam those Wowees! The support of fans like you means a lot to the team, so we hope we can bring home the #DIGWIN for you all!
Team Dignitas Discord Server: https://discord.gg/TeamDignitas