HGC – Focus Down: the Playoffs

Dylan Walker, Blizzard Entertainment

There is only one route to the Mid-Season Brawl remaining now for all regions, and that is winning through the HGC Playoff bracket this weekend. The stepladder format will see the winners of the initial matches described below play the next team above them in the standings. The last squad to survive this gauntlet will punch their ticket to Sweden.

HGC Europe Round 1: Zealots vs. Tricked esport

It’s difficult to predict who will survive the HGC Playoffs in Europe. The winner of Zealots versus Tricked esports must play Team Liquid, and the winner of that series must play Method to decide who goes and who watches from the sidelines.

In the five times that Zealots have played Tricked since July of last year, Zealots has walked away with two wins­, one of which was under the very same Playoff conditions last year for the HGC Finals. Will Zealots be able to pull off a repeat performance?

HGC North America Round 1: Gale Force Esports vs. Simplicity

Gale Force Esports have had a rough go of things so far in Phase 1. Here their resolve will be put to the test against Simplicity and the future opponents waiting in the wings. Based on the season’s results, the final spot in North America likely belong to HeroesHearth Esports or Team Twelve. The last two occasions in which Team Twelve played HeroesHearth, HeroesHearth walked away with a 3-1 victory.

HeroesHearth tied with Team Twelve for fifth/sixth place at the Western Clash but the team has been on a tear since returning from Katowice, winning their last seven series straight. They’ve dropped plenty of Battlegrounds along the way though (six to be exact). If the other teams in the North American Playoffs do their homework, HeroesHearth is a complicated but conquerable final boss.

HGC Korea Round 1: GLuck vs. Miracle

While there is admittedly a skill gap between the top four and the bottom four in Korea, GLuck is on the brink of a breakout performance after placing fifth overall in Phase 1. A back-and-forth five-game series against Tempest shortly after the Eastern Clash cemented GLuck as a threat. They’ve gone 1-1 against Miracle this season, and this will be the roster’s first-ever HGC Playoffs appearance.

Ahead of them in the stepladder bracket are two teams that have struggled with consistency throughout Phase 1, Tempest and Team BlossoM. Tempest came into the Eastern Clash as a first seed but was one of the first Korean teams eliminated. They also in Week 10 suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of BlossoM, a team which many are expecting to pull out the win in the region this time around.

Make sure to tune into the HGC Playoffs this weekend when the first match in Korea between GLuck and Miracle goes live at 2:00 a.m. PST / 11:00 a.m. CEST. Be sure to check out our schedule page to keep up with the stepladder bracket as it unfolds.

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