It is that time of year once again: theHGC Western Clash – Phase 2 is upon us, bringing some of the best professional Heroes of the Storm eSports teams together to clash for the weekend.
For those who are just jumping into the world of HotS eSports — or really any eSport in general — it may seem overwhelming. You may be wondering who the best (and worst) teams are, what is the importance of this tournament, or what the tournament actually is.
Luckily, we are here to give you all the information you need to understand all the action happening this weekend.
What is HGC Western Clash?
The HGC Western Clash pins the top four HotS teams from North America and Europe in a bracketed tournament (more on that shortly). The winner of the tournament will win the Western Clash trophy, the $30,000 cash prize, and an additional spot at the HGC Finals, which will be held between October 25th – November 4th of this year.
Where to Watch
If you just so happen to be in Los Angeles, you can catch the HGC Western Clash live at the Blizzard Arena, the arena that is frequently used for Overwatch League and other tournaments featuring Blizzard Entertainment’s many games. If you are home for the weekend, you’ll be able to stream the tournament live via the official Heroes of the Storm Twitch channel. The schedule is as follows:
- Friday, August 10 at 9:00 am PST
- Saturday, August 11 at 9:00 am PST
- Sunday, August 12 at 9:00 am PST
Additionally, the first round of the upper bracket has been detailed. Here is the full schedule so far for this Friday:
- Team Dignitas vs. Team Octalysis – 9:00 am PST
- Tempo Storm vs. Method – 11:00 am PST
- HeroesHearth Esports vs. Leftovers – 1:00 pm PST
- Team Liquid vs. Team Freedom – 3:00 pm PST
The lower bracket will be established after these four matches conclude: these matches will occur at 5:00 pm PST and 7:00 pm PST.
Those spectating the games on Twitch at home during those days will be rewarded for watching along: anyone who watches the HGC Western Clash throughout the week for a total of at least three hours will garner a Loot Chest in Heroes of the Storm. Additionally, 500 Common Loot Chests will be randomly distributed every hour during the course of the show.
If that wasn’t enough, three Heroic Account Unlock codes will be given away on each day. These codes will give you access to every Hero in the game, excluding Whitemane. To be eligible to win, you’ll need to watch at least one hour on any of the given days. After the day’s action is over, the Heroic Account Unlock codes will be distributed.
If you’re planning on watching every single second of the HGC Western Clash, this should be no problem. According to the bracket (which I’ll discuss in a few moments), the last game on Friday will begin at 7:00 PM PST.
Additionally, here are all the casters that will be analyzing the matches throughout the week. Anyone familiar with HGC will recognize a lot of these names as they’ve become synonymous with the HotS eSports:
- Josh “Jhow” Howard
- Jaycie “Gillyweed” Gluck
- Thomas “Khaldor” Killian
- Tim “Trikslyr” Frazier
- Christopher “Tetcher” Ivermee
- Albert “Halorin” Haley III
- Kurtis “Kala” Lloyd
Where Everyone Stands
Before getting into the real nitty-gritty of the HGC Western Clash, let’s look at the current standings so far for this season.
Each table is broken down into five categories: Rank, Team, Win-Loss, Game W-L, and G +/-. Rank is simply where the team sits on the standings, with the number one team being the best, and the number eight team being the worst. The Team section is simply which team holds that rank. Win-Loss is the team’s current record, with the first number indicating how many matches that team has won, and the second number indicating how many matches the team has lost.
Each match in the regular season is the best of 5 games. Essentially, the first team to win three games wins the match. Game W-L is indicative of a team’s game record, which explains the larger numbers. G +/- is the number of wins minus the number of losses. This will produce a positive or negative number depending on the team’s Game W-L.
So, what is the importance of Game W-L and G +/-? These statistics determine where a team is ranked in the standings if two or more teams’ match record is tied. For example, in the HGC North America Standings, Team Octalysis and ENDEMIC are tied for 4th place. However, since Team Octalysis has the better game record, they get the 4th place spot. In the case that both the match and game records are at a tie, the team with the higher G +/- score gets the higher spot in the standings.
Now that it has all been explained, here are the current standings so far: to note, teams in the darker hue indicate that they qualified for the HGC Western Clash.
HGC North America Standings
HGC Europe Standings
The HGC Western Clash is a bracketed double-elimination tournament. This allows teams that lose in the first round a second chance; this also means that there are two brackets. When a team gets eliminated from the upper bracket, they are sent down to the lower bracket. If a team loses in the lower bracket, they are eliminated. However, the team that makes its way through the lower bracket will see themselves at the Grand Final.
Round 1 of both the upper and lower brackets will be best of three; every round after that, save for the Grand Final, will be the best of five matches. The Grand Final is a best of seven match and will determine who will win the cash, trophy, and that spot at the HGC Finals. If you want to see what the bracket looks like, you can check it on the HGC website.
Who is Playing?
HeroesHearth Esports (NA) vs. Leftovers (EU)
A favorite to win this year’s Phase 2 Western Clash, HeroesHearth Esports has been dominant this season as one of two undefeated teams. Additionally, they have only lost three of the 21 games they’ve played so far. The team has really made a name for themselves, even though they were drafted from the Open Division just last year.
They will be facing EU’s Leftovers, a team that has been struggling throughout the 2018 season. The team has added a new tank player to the roster with Mopsio, but it is still unclear whether he will be a differentiating factor for the team.
As far as the first round is concerned, things look good for HeroesHearth Esports.
Tempo Storm (NA) vs. Method (EU)
Tempo Storm has proven that they are one of the top teams by getting 1st during Phase 1 of the NA Pro League. However, they fell short during the Western Clash – Phase 1 and HGC Mid-Season Brawl by placing in 3rd and 4th, respectively. They definitely have the potential to win: with the addition of ViN in the lineup, maybe they can turn that around.
Tempo Storm will be facing Method, who struggled during the Mid-Season Brawl and Western Clash – Phase 1. However, they definitely have the ability to perform, as they placed 3rd at the this year’s EU Pro League. Things look favorable for Tempo Storm in the first round, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Method to show up and get the upper bracket win.
Team Liquid (EU) vs. Team Freedom (NA)
Team Freedom had just beaten out Team Octalysis for the 3rd seed spot and giving themselves a slight advantage; by that, I mean they won’t have to go against Team Dignitas in the first round. They have had an okay season thus far with a 5-2 record and qualifying for the Western Clash – Phase 1 earlier this year. Team Freedom will be facing the EU 2nd seed, Team Liquid. Although they’ve done well throughout the season with a 6-1 record, they have yet to really make any significant moves so far.
Team Dignitas (EU) vs. Team Octalysis (NA)
Earlier in this article, I said that HeroesHearth Esports was a favorite to win. However, by most accounts Team Dignitas is the favorite to win the Western Clash this weekend. Just this year, they grabbed 2nd at Mid-Season Brawl, 1st at the HGC – Phase 1 EU Pro League, and 1st and Phase 1’s Western Clash. They have yet to lose a match this phase, and I don’t see them deviating from that dominating path.
On the other side is Team Octalysis, a team that has struggled throughout the season. They did place 3rd at the HGC – Phase 1 NA Pro League this year, but with Team Dignitas as its first opponent, I don’t see them staying on the upper bracket for long.
That is everything you need to know about HGC Western Clash – Phase 2. If you’re feeling inspired by all the pro play this weekend, you can pick up Heroes of the Storm on PC for free.