This weekend our Heroes of the Storm team left their homes to travel to one of the most impressive esports events of the year, IEM Katowice, to take part in the Spring Global Championship qualifier.
The trip had a setback before the team even started traveling, as Nikita “zwHydra” Medvedev was hospitalised with a high fever, making him unable to travel. Luckily Matic “Zarmony” Mikec was able to jump in to fill in for zwHydra at the last minute. Despite the high fever, he was still cheering on from his sickbed, showing his support to his teammates all the way on both Twitter and in the stream chat.
— Medvedev Nikita (@zwHydra) March 4, 2016
Our first match-up on the Saturday was against Team Liquid and was set to be a tough first game as Team Liquid currently sit 8th in the GosuGamers world rankings, where as we sit at 41st. Not letting that play on our minds, we went into the first game confident and ready for battle. The first map of this best of 3 was Dragon Shire and things started off good. We were acting well as a team and fighting hard for objectives. One wrong move in a mid-game team fight though allowed Team Liquid to get the XP advantage on us, and slowly work to close the game out.
Keeping our heads held high, we went into map 3, Tomb of the Spider, ready to revenge the previous defeat and draw out the series. With a bucket load of early game pressure, we took control of this map and didn’t give Team Liquid a chance to get into the game and secured the win to even up the series.
The third and final map was a relativity new map to the scene, Infernal Shrines. This map started off very evenly, neither team wanted to give the other a chance to get a head. But as the levels started to gain, the Team Liquid synergy game into action, and with some last second heals from Rehgar the team fights started to go their way. We put up a fight for as long as we could but eventually their lead was too big and they managed to close out game 3 winning the series 2-1.
Despite the 2-1 defeat, spirits were as high as they could be as they managed to take a map off Team Liquid. The team had a couple of hours to regroup, talk about their games and work out what they needed to do differently in their next match-up against Virtus.Pro.
The best of 3 series against Virtus.Pro unfolded a lot like our Team Liquid games. Virtus.Pro won game 1 on Blackheart’s Bay with the overpowering damage from the Captain Blackbeard’s cannons proving too much, and fights over the cannon payments not going our way.
Game 2 was on Infernal Shrines where we learnt from our mistakes against Team Liquid and managed to secure the map in our favour, evening the series out 1-1.
The final map of the series, and our time at IEM Katowice, was Tomb of the Spider, a map we excelled in earlier in the day. Sadly it seemed that Virtus.Pro had worked out our play style by this point and repeatedly split up our team in teamfights making it easier for them to pick off their targets, and near impossible for us to synergies.
Despite not making it out of groups, under the circumstances of playing with a stand-in and their first outing at this level, the team performed above and beyond. We are extremely proud of their performance and except great things from their future in Reason Gaming.
On a final note, we would also like to say thank you to Matic “Zarmony” Mikec for jumping in at the last second and making these results possible.