Jumping for joy, tackling each other and putting confetti in each other’s hair at the end of the Eastern Clash, it was not L5, far and away the favorites to win. No, it was MVP Black, who made the impossible possible, ending L5’s six month winning streak in convincing fashion to claim the HGC’s second major trophy.
“It’s such an honor to get to the grand finals and win.” said Jung Hyuk ‘Sake’ Lee in the post-match winners interview. “We’re happy we’ve finally become champions after such a long time.”
The last time MVP Black won a major event was in Spring of 2016 when they won both the Spring Championship and the Gold Series. “We felt like our luck was running out and that we weren’t going to make it after the Spring Championship, but we’re feeling good for the rest of 2017.”
To kick off Sunday, MVP Black beat L5 3-2 in a five-game series to win the upper bracket of the tournament. To close out the day, they did it again, only this time the score was 3-1. “I’ve been a fan for forever, it’s great to see them back,” said Gillyweed as the Eastern Clash broadcast began to wrap up. “Three members had lost so much motivation after losing SuperLeague. To see them now come back reinvigorated by adding Ttst and Reset to their roster…the growth potential for this team is huge.”
Oon Sung ‘Ttsst’ Kang and Jin Woo ‘Reset’ Im were added to the roster after MVP Black’s semifinal loss against Fnatic at BlizzCon. This loss at the Fall Championship was a low point for the team, and a catalyst for the roster change.
“We knew we had a problem, and in the middle of the tournament we think we found a bit of a solution.” added Sake. This was not a mechanical breakthrough; this was a breakthrough in the mental game. MVP Black changed their shot calling mid-tournament.
Generally, in competitive Heroes of the Storm, you want to invite favorable fights by applying pressure on objectives and structures. MVP Black saw the negative space in this approach and capitalized. By giving up a few objectives, structures, and deaths it’s possible to influence and maybe dictate your opponent’s Battleground Itinerary.
MVP Black surrendered advantages time and time again, making their opponents feel comfortable about their positioning and decision making, but it was a calculated illusion. Knowing their death timers, and where L5 would go given a little slack, they repeatedly struck just when the time was right.
MVP Black won the Eastern Clash by knowing their own limitations and the limitations of their Heroes in the Nexus. It’s this quality that sets them apart from the rest as we look forward to the Mid-Season Brawl in June.