Beating the Best
Ask anyone who the best European teams were a few months ago and they probably would have said it was a toss-up between Natus Vincere, Dignitas, and Fnatic (maybe Team Liquid)—no mYinsanity on that list. For the Heroes team, it has been an uphill battle to reveal their true strength by beating their rivals and claiming the gold, especially after getting swatted down by Dignitas in consecutive finals. They came into 2016 as the “underdogs” of Europe but have shown constant improvement and surprised many spectators. Just on the cusp of greatness, they fell every time to big names in premier tournaments, and Heroes fans still had difficulty accepting them as a top team.
This time, however, the tables were turned.
mYi beat rivals Dignitas right off the bat with two resounding victories in the Group Stage of DreamHack Tours. This isn’t the first time they’ve beat Dignitas in the Group Stage, but mYi’s drafting, teamwork, and decision making looked on point and set the tone for the entire tournament. The Heroes team went on to face former Na`Vi roster, Teh89, in the winners’ match, where they glossed over the powerhouse without a problem. In the semifinals, the Heroes team kept up the momentum against Team Liquid with another 3-0 victory before cruising into the finals against Fnatic. Fnatic has stopped mYi at every turn during qualifiers, but the Heroes team was prepared this time. In the end, mYi stood victors with a flawless score—the European Champions.
mYi was not given an easy bracket, nor did they get lucky in their achievement. They bulldozed the tournament against every disputed top team without dropping a single game, a fact that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
A Touch of Insanity
While the skill level is incredibly high across the board on our Heroes team, what sets them apart—what has always set them apart—is their brilliant drafting. Simply put: they are the best team around when it comes to developing unique compositions and executing them. It gives them an edge, but it also makes their drafts look insane compared to other teams.
In this tournament, the Heroes team showed a huge range of compositions, from hyper aggressive to very passive. Most notably, their comfort with Lunara and Diablo/Xul compositions led to a lot of straightforward wins. Darkmok’s Illidan was completely unstoppable the few times he managed to slip through the first bans. Even The Lost Vikings were pulled out of mYi’s arsenal a few times. It looked impossible to draft against them: smart teams like Dignitas and Fnatic would shut down one composition mid-draft with smart picks and bans only to find themselves facing another equally threatening lineup. With such extreme flexibility and deep understanding of the meta, the Heroes team looks completely untouchable sometimes as they cruise through tournaments.
Looking Ahead to Globals
Don’t let the score fool you, though. The Heroes team played with an apparent clarity and decisiveness that was a cut above the rest, but they weren’t without some close calls. Game 2 against Team Liquid on Infernal Shrines proved an incredible challenge as mYi struggled against the unique Murky/Arthas composition from Liquid. The constant chaos of teamfights and surprising auto attack burst from Kael’thas disrupted mYi’s normal teamfighting rhythm and caused a lot of back and forth action as both teams wrestled for control of the shrines. mYi managed a solid team wipe in the super late game to take the game, but they still faced quite a bit of frustration getting there.
The team also had an incredibly close call against Fnatic on Cursed Hollow in probably the most exciting moment of the whole tournament. With the keep down and a full health boss pushing onto Core at level 20, things looked grim for mYi. Nonetheless, they kept their composure and stood their ground, pushing Fnatic off of the Core for long enough to whittle the boss’s health down. On instinct, Fnatic made the call to all-in the Core, which mYi barely defended with only 1% left. One auto attack would have been the difference between winning and losing that game!
In the end, it’s these close calls that still threaten their title and reputation. Their record at Tours was flawless and their gameplay was above average, but the Global Championship in Sweden next month will be far more competitive, featuring the best teams from all over the world. This week they were the best team, but any hint of weakness is still an important factor going into Globals. No doubt Splendour is already rewriting the draft book and the team is poring over replays trying to pinpoint and fix every single play gone wrong. It’s going to take more work, more of that steady improvement, to become legends. But this team has what it takes.