Aaron Blackman – Blizzard Entertainment
Week 10 has come and gone, wrapping up league play for Phase 1 of HGC in Korea, Europe and North America. Some of this weekend’s matchups finalized how teams ranked going into the upcoming HGC Playoffs, determining the number of matches they’ll need to win to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl at DreamHack Summer. Other matchups had little bearing on the standings, giving teams the freedom to experiment with off-meta hero picks.
That freedom brought out heroes like Murky, Gazlowe, The Butcher and Zul’jin to name just a few. The picks were likely a mix of hiding strategies for the HGC Playoffs/Crucible, testing new combos, and just pure fun. Part of the entertainment in these radical picks is the potential for unique wombo combos: devastating plays that render enemies stunned or helpless until they die. As new heroes are released, new tools for effective combos become available for players to try out and perfect. The Nexus’ two newest heroes, Fenix and Maiev, fit right in.
Fenix Fires from Afar
As the freshest face to the game, Fenix dishes out plenty of damage once he gets in range. While both of his heroic abilities offer opportunities to finish opponents off, Purification Salvo isn’t as reliant on crowd-control for the setup.
Blending both old and new heroes, Tricked esport executed an impressive set of wombo combos in Game 3 of their match against Method this week. Utilizing Diablo’s Apocalypse and Medivh’s Ley Line Seal, Tricked locked down multiple heroes long enough for D.Va’s Self Destruct to drain their health bars and Fenix’s Purification Salvo to finish them off. Pieces of this combination fit together twice in the game before everything snapped into place during Tricked esports’ final push with their Immortal.
On the other hand, Planet Cracker offers debilitating damage at a distance. The catch of course, is locking down enemy heroes long enough for the beam to secure kills. Out of the 48 games Fenix has been played in during the two weeks he has been available for, Planet Cracker has been chosen only 7 times.
This week’s matchup between Team Freedom and Simplicity brought plenty of flavorful hero choices and team compositions. One fun interaction found Team Freedom using Murky’s heroic Octo-Grab to stun Medivh in place for three seconds, letting Fenix obliterate the hero.
Maiev Contains and Kills
Available for HGC play since the Western Clash, Maiev has been a high priority in drafts due to her damage output and crowd-control. Maiev’s heroic ability Warden’s Cage is well tuned to lay the foundation for a wombo combo through zoning.
A clear example of Maiev’s playmaking ability was demonstrated during Week 9 in Tempo Storm’s first game against HeroesHearth Esports. Desperate to defend their Core, Harrison “psalm” Chang on Maiev and Jun “Jun” Jang on Stukov trapped the entire HeroesHearth team next to the Core with a well-timed combo. psalm’s Warden’s Cage restricted movement while Jun’s Lurking Arm rendered them helpless through silence. Maiev’s Fan of Knives made short work of multiple heroes due to how clumped up HeroesHearth was.
While wombo combos are a sight to behold, they can be quite risky as a strategy. Relying heavily on timing, coordination, and enemy positioning, if one piece of the setup is missing the play becomes less effective. Be sure to tune in to the HGC Playoffs this week as teams work to fine tune and showcase their combos!
Other Notable Highlights from Week 10
- The first set of regional representatives attending the Mid-Season Brawl have been locked in: KSV Black and Ballistix from HGC Korea, Team Dignitas and Fnatic from HGC Europe, and Tempo Storm from HGC North America. The final team from each region to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl will be determined by the HGC Playoffs, which begin on Friday April 27.
- Following the wild hero picks of Week 10, all 78 heroes have now been used competitively somewhere within HGC Korea, Europe, and North America.