North America Fall Regional Preview

Friday marks the beginning of a three-day event that will showcase eight of North America's fiercest Heroes of the Storm teams duking it out for the title of North American Fall Regional Champions. Also up for grabs will be a chunk of the the $100,000 prize pool as well as a guaranteed spot in the Fall Championship in November. The coveted spot will only be awarded to the first place finisher, and with the Fall Championship boasting a $1,000,000 purse, it's clear that every team will bring their A-game from day one.

The North American Fall Regional will have two separate stages. The first stage will start with group play, which will see the eight teams split evenly into Group A and Group B. Within those groups, each team will face off against each other once, with the two teams sporting the best overall records advancing to the playoffs. During the playoffs, the final four teams will face off against each other head-to-head in a single elimination bracket. Let's take a peek at the groups.

Group A consists of Team Naventic, Denial eSports, Astral Authority, and Murloc Geniuses. While Team Naventic should be the clear favorites, Gale Force eSports team captain Michael "MichaelUdall" Udall has suggested that Denial eSports may be the team to beat for Group A.

Group B is comprised of Gale Force eSports, GulDans Game, Team Name Change, and Vox Nihili. Of this group, Gale Force eSports are the clear favorites. With that being said, Vox Nihili boasts some exceptional players and could potentially be the dark horse in Group B.

Here's a closer look at the eight teams competing in the NA Fall Regional.

Murloc Geniuses

Roster: Manny "Fury" Medina (Tank), Rori "CauthonLuck" Bryant-Raible (Carry), Jun "Jun" Jang (Support), Harrison "psalm" Chang (Flex), Ben "cattlepillar" Bunk (Bruiser).

Path to NAFR: Defeated Astral Authority 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #2.

Previous finishes: N/A

Key points: While this team is just one month old, it has already proven itself in tournament settings against some of the better, more established teams such as Astral Authority and Savage Gaming. Expect some Medivh-heavy play from this squad.

Team Name Change

Roster: Hao "HaoNguyen" Nguyen (Flex), Francisco "Goku" Avalos (Flex), Chandler "Buds" Gavran (Assassin), Ed "TigerJK" Hong (Support), Justin "Justing" Gapp (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Defeated Savage Gaming 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #3.

Previous finishes: N/A.

Key points: Keep an eye out for TigerJK's mechanics and positioning. He is the weak link in an otherwise strong lineup and will likely determine whether or not TNC sinks or swims.

Denial eSports

Roster: Mike "Glaurung" Fisk (Bruiser), Kyle "Prismaticism" Belaiche (Flex), Keiwan "k1pro" Itakura (Assassin); Francis "aPm" Gilbert-Brodeur (Support); John Paul "KingCaffeine" Lopez (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Defeated Vox Nihili 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #1.

Previous finishes: N/A

Key points: Pay close attention to aPm. Of all the teams competing in the Fall Regional, he is the least tested player when it comes to playing in a professional tournament. Will he flounder or flourish under the tutelage of some of the best players North America has to offer?

GulDans Game

Roster: Jason "Jason Mei (Carry), Stafford "McIntyre" McIntyre (Bruiser), Kayla "Faye" Murray (Carry), Jeffrey "iakona" Dolan (Support), Quinn "Srey" Fischer (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Defeated PeterDinklage 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #1.

Previous finishes: N/A

Key points: This team is just three weeks old, and comes complete with a mixture of S-tier North American players, as well as some less-than-notable names. It will be interesting to see if some of the weaker members rise to the occasion or if they succumb to the potentially large gap in skill level.

Vox Nihili

Roster: Nelson "GOAT" Le (Carry), Raphael "Hosty" Tsantili (Flex); Adam "Zoos" Stupavsky (Flex), Todd "LexUther" Stevenson (Support), Long Huu "Daihuu" Wang (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Defeated Team Blaze 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #2.

b>Previous finishes: N/A.

Key points: One of several relatively unknown teams whose members banded together and fought tooth and nail to earn a spot at the Fall Regional, Vox Nihili boasts a handful of lower level players that have performed admirably in amateur Heroes of the Storm tournaments, but are as yet untested on the grand stage.

Roster: Damian "FrozenX" Nagel (Flex), Richard "Kladeous" Tran (Flex), Kevin "TalkingTrees" Marco (Assassin), Chris "Darkchimaera" Beery (Support), Marty "Batterry" Nivinski (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Defeated Chu 8 my HotDoge 2-0 in the NA Fall Regional Qualifier #3.

Previous finishes: 3rd, 2016 ESL Heroes of the Storm NA Summer Regional.

Key points: TalkingTrees has earned rave reviews from both teammates and opponents for his recent Assassin play. Should he continue to improve beyond what he has already demonstrated, Astral Authority could easily find themselves in the playoffs.

Team Naventic

Roster: Fan "Fan" Yang (Bruiser) Sammuel "bigempct" Hua (Assassin), Thomas "Tomster" Maguire (Assassin), Kenneth "Kenma" Buechter (Support), Christopher "Zuna" Buechter (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Invited to tournament due to exceptional past results.

Previous finishes: 5th, DreamHack All-Stars - Summer 2016; 2nd, 2016 ESL North America Summer Regional Championship; 1st, DreamHack All-Stars - Austin 2016; 7th, 2016 Heroes of the Storm Spring Global Championship

Key points: The current kings of NA need no introduction. Team Naventic have the most wins, experience, and longest time played together out of all of the teams represented at the Fall Regional. All that being said, the recent replacement of Stafford "McIntyre" McIntyre by Tomster has cast some doubt over Team Naventic's reign in North America. All eyes will be focused squarely on Tomster come August 5.

Gale Force eSports

Roster: Michael "MichaelUdall" Udall (Flex), David "Roflcopter" Young (Flex), Khalif "Khroen" Hashim (Assassin), Stefen "akaface" Anderson (Support), Josh "bkid" Choi (Warrior).

Path to NAFR: Invited to tournament due to exceptional past results.

Previous finishes: 9th, DreamHack All-Stars - Summer 2016; 1st, 2016 ESL North America Summer Regional Championship; 3rd, DreamHack All-Stars - Austin 2016

Key points: In just under a year, GFE have racked up a count of former players that's more than double the number on its active lineup (11 vs. 5); given their history of roster upheaval, all eyes will be on recent addition Josh "bkid" Choi as the main tank. With so many great tanks to choose from, we'll find out if he was the right pick.

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