I am reviving my weekly HGC-NA Streamcast 323 Weekly alongside LiquidGG. It will start next at 7p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 27, at twitch.tv/dbsmiley.
World Elo Ratings
I am working on getting a methodology post up on gfe.gg but in the meantime, see my Reddit preview of South Korea for methodology. Some updates from before, however, regional games are now k=30 (down from 40), Clash event and semi-global events are k=45 (down from 50), and Blizzcon and Brawl events are now k=55 (down from k=60). These adjustments were made to reduce the impact of single “bad matches” at regional events, while maintaining the emphasis of international events in setting a region’s average accurately. The methodology will be more fleshed out in a later post.
The following teams saw the largest INCREASE in their ratings during Week 7 (Week 4 for HGC China):
Team Freedom (North America) - Current Elo: 1450, +89 - Team Freedom had a huge weekend, going 6-1 against on maps against former NA giants B Step and Team Naventic. These wins couldn’t come at a better time, as Team Freedom was struggling to get out of Crucible range. They aren’t safe yet, but they are playing the best HOTS we’ve seen from them so far.
No Tomorrow (North America) - Current Elo: 1431, +53 - This series was the biggest Elo upset of the second leg so far. No Tomorrow managed to outplay their standings tremendously. No Tomorrow still finds themselves on the hot seat after a dismal first half of Phase 1 but if they are going to escape the Crucible, upsets like these have to be par for the course.
- Tricked eSports (Europe) - Current Elo: 1530, +41 - Tricked actually had a bad start to the week, needing game 5 to get past Synergy. The series resulted in a slight net ratings drop for Tricked. However, beating then #8 in the world Team Expert 3-1 resulted in a huge boost that more than made up for it. Tricked will still likely finish in the 5th/6th tier but they are building confidence heading towards the playoff and Phase 2.
The following teams saw the largest DECREASE in their ratings during Week 7 (Week 4 for HGC China):
(tie) Team Naventic (North America) - Current Elo: 1388, -45 - If I said back in Week 1 that Naventic would be going to the Crucible after phase 1, many would have asked if I confused the Crucible for the Brawl. Yet here we are, with Naventic now sitting at +98% odds going to the Crucible. With the 0-3 loss to Team Freedom, Naventic now will lose any triangle tiebreaker scenario involving No Tomorrow and Team Freedom.
(tie) Team Expert (Europe) - Current Elo: 1556, -45 - Team Expert only had one set this week, but this set marked the first standings upset we’ve seen yet in Europe, as they lost 1-3 to Tricked eSports. Team Expert had a sub for that game which was explained by bLaDe as more or a less a tryout for his position. Team Expert has thus far failed to take down any of Europe’s top 3, but are still comfortable in 4th place in the EU, and still globally a top 10 team.
- Raven (Korea) - Current Elo: 1293, -40 - Oh dear. Things have gone from bad to worse for Raven. Raven is now a mathematical certainty to go to the Crucible and is now 2-30. The 2 wins came against MVP Miracle in the first leg. MVP Miracle didn’t let up this time, shellacking Raven 3-0. Add in the 0-3 loss to Mighty, and even Raven’s low rating gets lower.going to Game 5 against such lower rated competition necessitated a drop. Given their play, I agree with this drop. It’s still good for 7th place globally.
HGC North America
Obviously the story of the week is going to be No Tomorrow’s upset of Gale Force eSports. This created chaos in the bottom and middle rankings. The Elo scores are just completely out of wack. Before the Team Freedom vs. Team Naventic game, all bottom 6 teams in NA were with 21 Elo points of each other, meaning all games were effectively toss-up. This, of course, changed following Team Freedom dropping a 3-0 on Naventic, but there is still chaos. It seems anyone can beat anyone, with only Tempo Storm thus far avoiding the upset bug that has claimed Team 8’s and Gale Force’s favorite status.
Race for 1st Place
Despite their loss, Gale Force is still alive. However, the loss gave Tempo Storm breathing room at the top. Even if they lose to Gale Force in Week 4, they will still claim first place by winning their other games. Gale Force needs to win out and have Tempo Storm lose a second set beyond Gale Force. Tempo still has to play, outside of GFE, Team Freedom, Team Naventic, and B-Step. Of those three, Team Freedom seems to be the only one trending upwards at the moment. But Tempo Storm needs to only win 3 of 4 series now to lock up first place.
GFE will look to recover next week against Team Naventic, before facing the daunting task of playing both B-Step and Tempo Storm in Week 9, closing out their season against Team Freedom in Week 10.
Naventic has dug a hole a buried themselves in it. After a very poor first half, Naventic looked like they could come back in Week 6, opening up a 3-0 win over B-Step. Since then, however, Naventic has gone 1-6 on maps against No Tomorrow and Team Freedom, teams they HAD to beat to escape the Crucible. While there is still a narrow window of escape, Naventic is almost certainly headed to the Crucible at this point. If you go back to Week 1, where Naventic was picked 3 in the Power Poll and expected to challenge for seats at global events, this would be unthinkable. And yet, here we are.
No Tomorrow and Team Freedom both had big wins this weekend. No Tomorrow pulled off a huge upset beating Gale Force eSports in Game 5 despite a disconnect in the closing minutes. Team Freedom ousted both B-Step and Naventic, going 6-1 on maps. Both teams are doing what they need to in order to get out of the Crucible. While it is still most likely 1 of these two teams ends up in the Crucible, the climb has to make Superstars and B-Step extremely nervous, who now find themselves on increasingly warm seats. No Tomorrow could make a big move next week if they beat both B-Step and Superstars to improve to 5-7. Team Freedom faces a tough week against Tempo Storm.
Step Ladder Playoff
Heading into the Step Ladder playoff, seeding is a big deal. Getting a 2-seed means you only need to win one series to get to the summer Brawl. Getting a 3-seed means you only need 2. 4-Seeds will have to win three, and 5 and 6 will have to make dark horse runs of 4 straight match wins to get to international play.
Right now, the second seed will almost certainly be Gale Force eSports or Tempo Storm (the latter only if Gale Force passes them for first). Only 5% of simulations feature another team in the top 2 (though even No Tomorrow got into the top 2 in one simulation). Similarly, the three seed heavily favors Team 8, with about a 12% chance of having a currently lower ranked team claiming the spot.
The 4-seed is where it gets interesting. Assume Tempo Storm, GFE, and Team 8, are the top 3. In this situation, there are three teams with a better than 10% chance of claiming the fourth seed: B-Step, Superstars, and Team Freedom. Even No Tomorrow currently stands at about and 8.5% chance. Given that the 4 seed has to win one fewer game, and given that NA is apparently now the upset capitol of the Nexus, getting to this 4th seed could have implications on who goes to global. Right now, B-Step is the odds-on favorite at about 50%, with Superstars at about 29%. Team Freedom has about a 1 in 8 chance of claiming this spot currently.
Looking ahead - Week 8:
- No Tomorrow vs. B-Step - Elo projects B-Step win (50.6%)
- Team Freedom vs. Tempo Storm - Elo projects Tempo Storm win (78.2%)
- Superstars vs. Team 8 - Elo projects Team 8 win (58.1%)
- Team Naventic vs. Gale Force eSports - Elo projects Gale Force eSports win (86.6%)
- Team Naventic vs. Tempo Storm - Elo projects Tempo Storm win (88.0%)
- No Tomorrow vs. Superstars - Elo projects No Tomorrow wins (57.9%)
HGC Europe saw its first standings upset of the season this week as Tricked eSports beat Team Expert. This upset creates some opportunities for movement in the middle of the pack of Europe while the top and bottom continue to solidify.
Race for 1st Place
HGC Europe continues to be all about the big 3 up top. Liquid, Fnatic, and Dignitas all went undefeated this weekend, setting us up for an epic week 8. In Week 1, Team Liquid, as Misfits, managed to beat Fnatic and Dignitas back to back. We will see if they can repeat this feat, as they play Fnatic on Saturday and Dignitas on Sunday. Fnatic and Dignitas will, in turn, play Sunday Week 9.
Team Liquid continues to hold strong at the top with their undefeated 10-0 record. However, Fnatic can wrest away first place with a win next week. Team Dignitas finds itself needing to both win out and see Team Liquid drop a second game. From there, they will need to win in tiebreakers. Since every team, in this situation, would be 1-1 against each other, it would come down to 3-0 sets. Both Team Liquid and Team Dignitas currently have 5, with Fnatic sitting at 4. If the 3-0 win counts are equal, it will go to 3-1 sets. Currently, Fnatic leads with 3, Dignitas at 2, and Team Liquid at 1. If those tiebreakers can’t solve the deadlock, then we will see a sudden death match between the tied teams. What happens, you may ask, if all three are tied and tie breakers can’t break any of them. I assume there would be some three way sudden death, but...well...I don’t know. The rules haven’t really accounted for such an off chance occurrence.
It isn’t yet a mathematical certainty that beGenius is going to the Crucible, but in all 100,000 simulations that factor in Elo, they did. For all intents and purposes, assume they aren’t going anywhere. Synergy has the narrowest of outs, nearly all of which involve beating Playing Ducks and Team Expert. Even then, some help would be needed. Team Expert and Tricked are effectively safe, even if they aren’t mathematically safe.
Step Ladder Playoff
In Europe, there is now a very interesting fight for 4th place. There is effectively no difference between 5th and 6th place in playoff seeding, so the competition for 4th place will be fierce, as it puts you one match closer to a Cinderella-style Brawl run. Team Expert had 4th place locked up until this weekend, when Tricked eSports pulled the upset to make the race interesting. However, Team Expert has the advantage that they only have to play 1 of the big 3 in the remaining 3 weeks of Phase 1. Tricked has to play 2. Playing Ducks has a shot at making a run if they can win some games. It could set up a very impactful final Sunday, as all three teams vying for third place play on Week 10’s final day.
Current 4th place odds:
- Team Expert - 91.2%
- Tricked eSports - 4.4%
- Playing Ducks - 4.3%
Looking ahead - Week 8:
- Playing Ducks vs. Tricked eSports - Elo projects Tricked eSports win (70.0%)
- Synergy vs. Team Dignitas - Elo projects Team Dignitas win (99.2%)
- beGenius vs. Team Expert - Elo projects Team Expert win (95.1%)
- Team Liquid vs. Fnatic - Elo projects Fnatic (73.9%)
- Team Liquid vs. Team Dignitas - Elo projects Team Dignitas win (74.0%)
- Playing Ducks vs. beGenius - Elo projects Playing Ducks wins (84.22%)
HGC South Korea Korea
What little uncertainty existed last week has been swept away with the results in Week 7, as we now have a much clearer picture of how the postseason will shake out.
Race for 1st Place
Every eye is on the May 7th matchup between L5 and MVP Black. These two are not just the top two Korean teams, but the top two teams in the world. With the results last week, only those two teams can mathematically take 1st place. MVP Black needs to both beat L5 in Week 9 and in tiebreakers (going to most 3-0 wins, then 3-1 wins). Currently, L5 has 7 3-0 wins to MVP Black’s 6. If they can tie up the number of 3-0s, MVP Black has 3 3-1 victories to L5’s 2. If tiebreakers don’t do it, we’ll see a Sudden Death match. Currently the percentage chance of a sudden death match between L5 and MVP Black is 4.67 %. Put me on the list of people hoping for a 3rd series between these two goliaths.
It is mathematically impossible for Raven to avoid the Crucible. While it is mathematically possible for Team BlossoM to escape the Crucible, when considering Elo in my simulations, it never happened over even 1 million simulations, 10 times more than I usually do. This is because, due to head to head and tiebreakers, Team BlossoM would likely need to win out all 4 games, beating Raven, Mighty, MVP Black, and L5. Two of those in particular are pretty obviously unlikely to happen; even beating Mighty would be a big upset.
Step Ladder Playoff
Mathematically, the second seed will be either L5 or MVP Black (whoever doesn’t finish 1st). This means this team will only have to win one postseason best of 5 to go to the summer Brawl.
Tempest has not yet locked up the 3rd place seed, but it is a +99% likelihood. I’ll go forward assuming they lock it up until a crazy enough upset happens to change that.
Just like in North America and Europe, the fourth seed is where the interesting standings race is, now. This is currently a race between three teams: Mighty, GG, and MVP Miracle. Yes, it’s possible that Tempest also finishes 4th (or 5th even), but it’s >1% of the time, so I’m ignoring it for now.
What’s interesting is that none of these three have played each other in the second leg. GG plays both Mighty and MVP Miracle in week 8, and MVP Miracle plays Mighty week 9. These games will go a long way to deciding 4th place. Mighty has the inside track by virtue of beating the other two in the first half of Phase 1. However, MVP Miracle has made a significant Elo climb lately, and is looking much better in this half. The current 4th place odds:
- Mighty - 66.4%
- GG - 17.0%
- MVP Miracle - 11.2%
With about a 5% chance of Sudden Death to decide the position.
Looking ahead - Week 8:
- Raven vs. L5 - Elo projects L5 win (99.9%)
- Team BlossoM vs. MVP Black - Elo projects MVP Black win (99.8%)
- MVP Miracle vs. Tempest - Elo projects Tempest win (85.7%)
- GG vs. Mighty - Elo projects Mighty win (54.7%)
- Raven vs. Team BlossoM - Elo project Team Blossom win (78.5%)
- GG vs. MVP Miracle - Elo projects MVP Miracle wins (60.7%)
This marks the first week where I feel confidence in HGC China’s simulation results. Because every team starts at the average of 1500, and China had 3 new teams, but an overall region average below 1500, it threw off all simulation results significantly. With time for the three teams to accommodate and find their place in the standings, I feel the results are mature enough now for simulation. That said, because China is only doing a single round robin (compared to the double round robin of other regions), their results are intrinsically less predictable even with mature Elo scores.
Race for 1st Place
This season has done nothing to assuage the notion that E Star Gaming is the best team in China. E Star has already beat SPT and X-Team, with ce being seemingly the only losable game on the horizon. Even then, a ce win would be a significant upset. It looks like Estar will once again represent China at globals.
Start Over Again isn’t at the bottom of the list as they were previously, but they aren’t much better. Given their play against the other Chinese teams, I fully expect this ordering to hold out and for both Start Over Again and Keep it Simple. RPG has already defeated both teams, so they will win out on tiebreakers, so the only out is for SoA and KiS to start pulling upsets now.
Step Ladder Playoff
Unlike the other regions, China is still very unclear past the number 1 position. If we assume E-Star gets first place, the second place race is between primarily Super Perfect Team, ce, X-Team, and Hots Lady, all with at least a 5% chance of claiming the spot. SPT has the best chance, at 66%, with ce at about 20. Now, ce has lost to SPT already this season in a dramatic 5 game series. So SPT has the inside track. With only three games left, SPT plays Start Over Again, Hots Lady, and X-Team. If they can win all of those, they will finish second. If they drop any game, ce can take 2nd place off most 3 way tie scenarios, thanks to their earlier 3-0 wins over X-Team and Hots Lady.
The most likely top 3 at this point is E-Star, SPT, and ce. X-Team is next up with only about a 19% chance of finishing in the top 3. So, once again, there is a bit of a melee for 4th place and the better playoff seeding. X-Team has about a 68% chance of finishing 4th or better, while Hots Lady, who lost to X-Team earlier this year, is only at about 27%.
Basically, if trends continue and upsets are few, we will likely see SPT in the 2 seed, ce in the 3 seed, X-Team in the 4, and Hots Lady and RPG in the 5/6 matchup. But, because this is a single round robin, any standings upset will result in potentially significant changes.