The end of a tumultuous past two months in Heroes of the Storm saw big names such as Cloud9, Team Blaze and Tempo Storm disband or leave the scene entirely. But the turnover has paved the way for new teams to take their place in North America, rising from the ashes to qualify for the Fall Regional. One such team, perhaps the most underrated team in the entire tournament, managed to persevere and emerge as a global force to be reckoned with.
Day 1 of the Fall Regional started out fast paced with a lot of exciting gameplay. Team Naventic looked like the team to beat as it demolished team after team en route to the playoffs. After beating down Astral Authority, Naventic took out Murloc Geniuses not once, but twice in a row to secure prime seeding in the playoffs on Day 3. Team Naventic was the clear winner of the day, but could it maintain the momentum?
On the other hand, Denial eSports seemed to struggle during Day 1. Murloc Geniuses seemed to have its number. After losing to Murloc Geniuses in its opening matchup of the tournament, Denial eSports managed to beat Astral Authority in the lower bracket before falling to Murloc Geniuses once again, thanks to exceptional play by both Harrison "psalm" Chang and Rori "CauthonLuck" Bryant-Raible.
Day 2 was highlighted by an unheralded team, Vox Nihili. It started off by defeating GulDans Game, led by the world-renowned Team Naventic player, Stafford "McIntyre" McIntyre. While the surprising victory was an accomplishment in itself, Vox Nihili was determined to one-up itself by also taking down Gale Force eSports, putting up an amazing best-of-five series with players who, up until this weekend, were predominantly unknown.
While Vox Nihili made a name for itself on Day 2, GulDans Game managed to do the exact opposite. The team's first series of the tournament featured a rout at the hands of Vox Nihili as it continuously made bad calls, throwing away leads that could have led to easy victories. To make matters worse, the squad lost to Team Name Change after dropping to the loser's bracket. That pushed them to last place in the tournament, finishing as one of just two teams to not win a single series.
But it was the action on Day 3 that had Heroes of the Storm fans giddy for the future.
In the first playoff series of Day 3, Team Naventic took on Gale Force eSports in a best-of-five rematch of the last North American Summer Regional Championships. In yet another excellent series, Team Naventic found itself staring elimination in the face thanks to what appeared to be an ego-driven first pick Illidan. However, Naventic pulled it together to tie the series at two games apeice, but ultimately fell to some ridiculously good Tracer play by Khalif "Khroen" Hashim and a surprise Leoric pick out of Josh "bkid" Choi in Round 5. Their efforts skyrocketed Gale Force eSports into the finals to play the winner of the next best-of-five.
In the second semifinal series of the day, Vox Nihili squared off against Murloc Geniuses. With both teams new and untested, it was virtually anyone's game. But Murloc Geniuses brought everything it had in perhaps the most one-sided match of the entire tournament, winning 3-0.
With both Gale Force eSports and Murloc Geniuses in the finals, it would be irresponsible to ignore the main tank for Murloc Geniuses, Manny "Fury" Medina, the same player who just one month ago was removed from Gale Force eSports in favor of Josh "bkid" Choi. While this not only gave Murloc Geniuses some insight into the drafting strategies that Gale Force eSports would likely employ, it gave Fury and the rest of Murloc Geniuses a bit of added motivation heading into the pivotal matchup.
Gale Force eSports started out strong with a Tracer/Greymane/Thrall combo that focused on obliterating Murloc Geniuses' support in every team fight. The early 1-0 start didn't phase Murloc Geniuses as it took it to Game 5 and ultimately beat the reigning North American champions 3-2. There were many reasons why Murloc Geniuses came out victorious, but chief among them was the team's excellent rotational play and lack of mistakes during pivotal moments. In addition to bragging rights and the lion's share of a $100,000 prize pool, Murloc Geniuses earned itself an invitation to the Fall Championship in November.