Week 2 Recap
HGC KR Brackets and schedules on LiquipediaLast week, the spotlight was on MVP Miracle. Their performance was the main determinant in which teams would be qualifying for the Eastern Clash, and unfortunately for them, they did rather poorly. Tempest, L5, and MVP Black all walked over Miracle with rather decisive victories and more or less secured their spot in the upcoming international competition.
GG and Mighty came out of the weekend looking much better, but Raven and Supreme Mixtape both suffered miserable losses and find themselves tied for last with a 0-4 record. Unlike North America and Europe where the underdogs still have a chance on good days, the separation of skills is quite clear in Korea; Raven hasn't won a single game yet. Without a doubt, L5, MVP Black, and Tempest are the frontrunners, and the most interesting interactions will likely happen between these teams as they vie for first place in the standings over the next few weeks.
Friday, February 10
Tempest [3-1] MVP Miracle
The first highly anticipated match of the week featured Tempest against their former front line players Dami and HongCoNo, now on MVP Miracle. Miracle had an improved performance over their jittery Week 1 showing but were still no match for Tempest’s advanced teamfighting and playmaking ability. Lockdown in particular had a great set for Tempest, showing raw aggression in the ranged DPS role. He constantly placed himself in dangerous positions and challenged his former teammates to try and kill him. Split seconds of hesitation and underwhelming confidence from Miracle allowed Tempest to gain control in many fights and take the lead.
Hide, on the other hand, showed no such hesitation. In Game Three, he made the most impressive individual play of the season so far. Playing as a hybrid build Kharazim, he solo invaded Miracle’s five man attempt to capture boss. Dashing into the enemy team, he managed to stall the capture with a self-cast Divine Palm and buy enough time for the rest of his team to reach the capture point, wipe Miracle’s team, and steal the boss.
MVP Black [3-0] Supreme Mixtape
MVP Black continued in strong form, easily overcoming Supreme Mixtape. The difference in class between the teams became clear early in the set when Black effectively set the pace of the game around KyoCha’s Dehaka on Dragon Shire. Whenever he was ganked by multiple Mixtape members, the rest of Black converted that concentration of map pressure into taking huge structural and experience leads by pushing out the opposite lane. Supreme Mixtape was never truly in the game, and successful dive under their top fort resulted in enough kills for Black to end the game through the shattered bottom lane.
The series became even more one sided thereafter. Black showed a master class on Towers of Doom, capturing all six Bell Towers by 8:00 and escorting the sappers in. They continued to prevent Supreme Mixtape from recapturing any structures through the use of Ragnaros’s Molten Core until the rookie team initiated a desperate teamfight to regain some ground, but it was repelled by a five-man Void Prison. MVP Black returned to the tried and true style of protecting Valla in Game Three. Reset made good use of his resources and went berserk in fights, at one point turning the tables on the usual warrior vs ranged assassin dynamic and chasing a Diablo down half of the map for a kill.
GG [3-0] Raven
Raven had an unfortunate fixture in Week 1 by having to play against L5 and MVP Black in their opening two sets. Against a similarly winless GG, Raven got a chance to show their credentials as a potential mid-tier team.
Unfortunately, the series was completely one-sided—GG blew them out of the water. For Raven, the set was characterized by poor early trades, needless deaths, and the sacrifice of map objectives. Even when they were able to secure Falstad, a power pick in the Korean meta, they were unable to properly split soak to get value. GG sharpened their game after a mixed first week. Hooligan in particular showed great aggression and accuracy as Muradin, exploiting Raven’s poor positioning and snowballing the early game out of control.
Saturday, February 11
Mighty [3-0] Raven
Raven showed at least some improvement over their previous performance but were still unable to take a map off Mighty. Raven often over-rotated in an effort to force ganks, but Mighty kept their composure and effectively soaked all lanes. This was particularly evident on Sky Temple where they spent great lengths of time unsuccessfully trying to force a 5v4 fights whilst the remaining hero split soaked Mighty into a significant level lead.
Raven came close to winning Game Two but came up short in the clutch moments. The experience soaking problems they faced in the first game was somewhat rectified by picking Dehaka, and the fights generally went back and forth throughout the game. The game went all the way to level 22, but Raven badly bungled their final engagement by whiffing Muradin’s Rewind and Malfurion’s Bolt of the Storm/Twilight Dream combo and using Dehaka’s Adaptation to little effect. Mighty was able to easily turn the fight after this series of mistakes.
Game Three showed a return to a more dominant Mighty, with a composition centred around Kerrigan on Infernal Shrines. They were able to coordinate Heroics effectively to win fights, at one point chaining a three-man Horrify into a Kerrigan combo to instantly win a fight. Mighty’s SDE was a standout player within the set. He put Raven’s back line under immense pressure with Gul’dan in Game Three and played a disciplined Ragnaros in Games One and Two.
L5 [3-1] MVP Miracle
Burdened with a 1-3 set record and attempting to find some spark of magic against the dominant L5, MVP Miracle opted to role swap with dami taking the warrior role and HongCoNo moving to melee flex. The move did not have immediate effect, and L5 took a straightforward victory on the first map. However, Game Two was a different story. Miracle took a triple warrior composition on Infernal Shrines in response to L5’s early Gul’dan pick, and it ended up paying dividends. L5 had small experience advantages throughout the game, but once Miracle hit level 20, dami was able to use Muradin’s Rewind to generate a crucial pick onto Gul’dan and break open the game.
Miracle also put up a impressive showing in Game Three despite ultimately falling short. Down early on Battlefield of Eternity, HongCoNo managed to land a huge four-man Void Prison as soon as Miracle hit level 10. This was followed up by a well-timed Mosh Pit and Ring of Frost that obliterated L5’s entire team. Miracle began to take control the map after that point, easily securing the next Immortal and attempting to siege L5’s bottom keep, but L5 made a rather imaginative play in order to retake control of the game. While the enemy Immortal was pushing on bottom keep, Jeongha snuck down from top lane and used Molten Core on his fallen outer fort. L5 then full on committed to a fight, pincering the helpless Miracle team into a fiery zone of death.
L5 returned to dominance in Game Four on Sky Temple. Miracle lacked interrupts, and L5 easily closed out the series with Noblesse setting up advantageous fights with Mosh Pits. The BlizzCon Champions came out of the series still looking like the best team in Korea, but their flawless score was sullied.
Tempest [3-0] Supreme Mixtape
This series was a bloodbath. Tempest showcased their superior playmaking ability and crushed Supreme Mixtape. In the end, they accumulated 65 kills compared to Mixtape’s 12. The lower tier team looked helpless in all three games, at no point taking any kind of meaningful lead or finding ways to come back into the game. Sign was particularly merciless and dove deep against seemingly little pressure. In Game Two, he painted a target on Lt Morales’s back, constantly jumping through the entire team as Muradin to stun and kill her.
Sunday, February 12
Tempest [3-2] Mighty
With both teams tied in third place with a 3-1 score, this match decided who would qualify for the Eastern Clash in China. Tempest is a team of individual star power, while Mighty is a team that relies on team synergy and careful risk management to make up for what they lack on an individual level. Unlike previous games of Tempest where Hide and Lockdown brothers were the main spectacles, this series was marked by brilliant performances of duckdeok and Sign.
Tempest opened up the series with a carefully planned draft, cornering Mighty into a Johanna/Zarya frontline and then going into a Kael’thas/Ragnaros composition to exploit Mighty’s lack of dive. In Game Two, Tempest decided to go with another classic mage with Jaina, but Mighty reacted appropriately by picking Zeratul to deny the Void Prison into Ring of Frost wombo. With their backs against the wall, Tempest went with a last-minute Medivh pick. duckdeok played a defensive but potent Medivh, but a surprisingly lackluster performance from Lockdown on Jaina ended up costing them the game.
In Game Three, duckdeok stole the show on Cursed Hollow with Blunt Force Gun on Sgt Hammer. With the mighty power of BFG, he managed to snipe two kills plus a keep and lead the team to swift victory. Mighty pushed back Tempest’s momentum in Game Four thanks to several clutch Sunderings by Sans, but the looming presence of the “immortal warrior” Sign came to full fruition in Game Five. In the final game, Sign was able to pick off Mighty’s members one after another as the true Lord of Terror, and despite Mighty’s valiant efforts, Tempest was able to solidify their third place position in convincing fashion.
L5 [3-0] GG
Despite the 3-0 score, the series was a lot closer than what one would have expected. GG had a strong start in Game One on Dragon Shire and was securing every single objective with ease during the first 19 minutes. However, a greedy overextension from GG cost them the game as sCsC chased down GG with his Sgt. Hammer to secure a team wipe into a keep push—and from there, straight on to Core. Recognizing the need to assert dominance over GG after such a shaky start, L5 brought out Tracer for the first time this season and proceeded to decimate GG on Battlefield of Eternity.
In the final game, L5’s world-renowned decision making was in full display. Taking advantage of GG’s lack of globals on Sky Temple, L5 used NaCHoJin’s Falstad to dictate the pace of the game and avoid ever taking unfavorable engagements. Overall, L5 closed up the series in a strong note, but given the context of Game One, it could have easily been a 3-1 series if not for GG’s mishap.
MVP Black [3-1] MVP Miracle
MVP Black delivered the final blow to MVP Miracle’s miserable weekend. Miracle had their best performance so far in this season against Black, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. They continued with the role swap between HongCoNo and dami, and it appeared as if they had finally started to figure out how to dance in their new shoes. Overall, MVP Black continued their strong performance, and while Miracle had to suffer their third consecutive loss of the week, they did manage to provide a glimmer of hope for their fans.
The series started with a lightning fast draft on Dragon Shire that took only a little over a minute. The first game was incredibly evenly matched; both teams were dead even on kills, structures, and experience for most of the game. However, MVP Black eventually cracked Miracle’s passive split-soaking strategy and snatched the victory. Moving into Game Two, Miracle did an excellent job punishing Black’s Leoric pick and evened up the score.
Unfortunately, Miracle’s spirits finally crumbled in Game Three on Battlefield of Eternity. They were heavily invested in Sniper’s Tracer, but Black’s swift response with a Hammer/Tyrael draft was too powerful for the time-skipping Brit to overcome. In the following game, Miracle didn’t look like they had recovered from the previous game. They got picked off all too easily in the early game, which lead to their quick demise on Towers of Doom.
Week 3 Preview
The two top teams, L5 and MVP Black, remain undefeated, with Tempest following closely right below. These three teams are most likely to advance to the Eastern Clash unless MVP Black suddenly goes into a major meltdown. Mighty in fourth place is maintaining a comfortable gap with the bottom four teams, but Supreme Mixtape and Raven are at the bottom of the barrel, competing fiercely to avoid last place.
The separation between top, mid, and bottom tier teams have now become quite distinct: L5, MVP Black and Tempest at the top, Mighty, GG and Miracle in the middle, and Supreme Mixtape and Raven at the bottom. Looking at the remaining matches, it is unlikely for the teams to break out of their respective groups, but we can expect the standings within these groups to fluctuate a bit in the next two weeks.
Friday, February 17
- Supreme Mixtape vs Raven
- MVP Black vs GG
Saturday, February 18
- L5 vs Tempest
- Mighty vs MVP Black
Sunday, February 19
- Supreme Mixtape vs GG
- MVP Miracle vs Raven
All the big matches for Week 3 are concentrated on Saturday: L5 vs Tempest and Mighty vs MVP Black. L5 vs Tempest will be a battle of refined macro vs raw individual aggression. Even L5 will need to watch out for the incredible growth Tempest has shown since the beginning of the season. The battle of the top tanks between Noblesse and Sign is also a matchup you don’t want to miss.
Mighty vs MVP Black is another interesting matchup. While MVP Black is the strong favorite, the series will help us assess how strong Mighty is in their current form and how close are they truly are at becoming a team that can contend for the top spots. The outcome of this series have little significance in the short term, but it will set the bar on what to expect for the second half of the season.
Finally, the Supreme Mixtape vs Raven matchup is going to be a slugfest that will likely decide which team ends up at the bottom. It will be a battle of pride for both teams, and we can certainly expect both teams to do whatever they can to earn their precious first (and possibly only) victory.