UPDATE (June 7): Due to visa issues, CE is unable to compete at the Mid Season Brawl and have been replaced by Super Perfect Team. The odds in the Group A table have been updated.

It’s time for the Midseason Brawl. I’ve written a simulator for the group stages that I’m going to go over here. I will leave the actual playoff simulator until after group phase. But, as always, let’s start with Elo.

World Elo Rankings

It’s been a while since I posted Elo standings. Here’s where we are after both Week 10 and the playoffs. Some notes here:

  • Team 8 was picked up by Roll20 eSports. I will be using that name going forward
  • While beGenius and Synergy have been replaced by Team Zealot and Team Gangang, I still have beGenius and Synergy listed here. Consider this a wrap-up of the season. Team Zealot and Team Gangang will be added in Phase 2.
  • b-Step has disbanded but is still listed for the same reason beGeniuus and Synergy are listed. Even in Death will become the 8th NA team.
  • Crucible games had no impact on a team’s Elo.
  • Minor regions are notoriously hard to rate. The only time we see inter-regional play is at the top of competition, meaning teams like Nomia only play the best of each region. As such, I think upsets are more likely than are stated here in this simulator and I think their Elo should be higher relative to lower quality teams in major regions.
  • Start Over Again and Keep It Simple are relegated to China’s Open Division and will have to win that to get back into HGC China. China did not have a Crucible like other regions.
  • Teams in the Mid-Season Brawl are bolded.

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Heading Towards Phase 2

I will be recalibrating my model at the start of Phase 2. Here are the ways I will do this:

  • I will first remove all teams no longer in place.
  • I will then shift every team that has made a substitution closer to 1500 at 20% per player change. For instance, because Gale Force eSports is replacing two players, they will have their Elo change from 1566 to 1540 (40% closer to 1500).
  • I will then shift every team uniformly downwards such that the average of all remaining teams is back at 1500.
  • To add uncertainty, all teams will then be “dampened” an additional 20% towards 1500 (up or down) to add uncertainty to preseason models. I figure this will balance out in the long run.

Expect the new Elo scores with this balancing to be posted AFTER the mid-season Brawl.

Mid-Season-Brawl Group Stage Predictions

The Mid-Season-Brawl is broken into two phases:

  • The Group Stage - Two 6-team groups will play a round-robin set of 15 matches of 2 games, where each team in the group plays every other team. Each win is worth 1 point with a bonus point for winning a series 2-0.
  • Playoff - The top 8 teams advance to a double elimination playoff bracket but with the bottom 4 teams already on one loss. The top two teams in each group advance to the winners bracket and the middle two teams in each group advance to the losers bracket. The bottom two teams in each group are eliminated.

In this article, I will be focusing exclusively on the group stage. I use my Elo ratings to project the results of all 30 games. I simulate 100,000 times and use the results of the simulations to deduce probabilities for each team to finish either top 2, middle 2, or bottom 2 in their group stage.

Group A Predictions

Group A features Fnatic (EU #1), ce (China #1), MVP Black (Korea #2), Roll20 Esports (NA #2 - formerly Team 8), Nomia (AU/NZ Champion), and Deadly Kittens (SEA Champion).

Despite coming in as the #2 seed, MVP Black is the favorite in this division. However, Fnatic beat MVP Black at Blizzcon. In any situation, it seems likely those two will be the top 2. ce could surprise as they have looked very strong in the Chinese scene. Roll20 eSports will look to continue to raise NA’s profile. They took a game off Dignitas at the Western Brawl and would like to become the first North American team in over a year to take a series off another major region. That said, the division is strong and it will be difficult.

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MVP Black and Fnatic are very strong favorites but ce or Roll20 esports could move up if they can pull off what would look to be a monumental upset. Still, Fnatic and MVP Black both have been very strong of late.

Still, the expectations here are fairly vanilla. Europe and Korea just appear leagues ahead of North America and China at the moment so these odds don’t seem particularly unusual. Roll20 should make sure they prep well for Nomia, however. This is a team that took a game off Team Liquid at the Western Clash so don’t count them out.

Group B Predictions

Group B Features the reigning world champion and #1 Elo team L-5 (#1 Korea) and longtime North American champion Tempo Storm (#1 NA). Additionally in this stacked group is Team Dignitas (#2 Europe) and E-Star Gaming (#2 China). All four of these teams have significant international experience. Joining them are the minor region champions RED Canids (Latin American) and Soul Torturers (Taiwan).

L-5 is obviously the favorite in this region. This team did lose to MVP Black in the Eastern Clash but has otherwise been simply dominant this year, including two wins over MVP Black in the regular season. If anyone is going to beat L-5 in this division, it would almost certainly be Team Dignitas. This team has been on an absolute tear lately and the European scene may have caught up to Korea. L-5 vs. Dignitas is the most interesting match to watch here. Tempo Storm will look to break their long tradition of struggling in international events. They have proven to be the best team in NA online and NA LAN events. It’s time for them to translate that to LAN events abroad.

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Phase 1 Part 2 Retrospective

As a bonus, let’s look back at how we got here for each region.

North America

Coming into the season, Team 8 was on a high horse coming off their win over Tempo Storm at the Western Clash, as well as taking a game off of Dignitas. However, their season got off to a rocky start with an 0-6 map record to Tempo Storm and Gale Force eSports in Week 1. Tempo Storm continued to dominate, ultimately going 7-0 in Phase 2. Gale Force once again struggled with consistency, losing to No Tomorrow before falling 1-3 to Team 8 in the playoffs. The big story has to be the rise of Team Freedom. Team Freedom had to fight to avoid the Crucible but has now positioned itself to become a top 4 NA team. Here are how the Elo Ratings changed over time.

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Europe

Part 2 saw dominance from Dignitas and Fnatic but it also saw the rise and fall of Team Expert and Team Liquid, respectively. Team Liquid went from 10-0 to 10-3 over a 3 week span with back-to-back-to-back losses to Dignitas, Fnatic, and Team Expert before ultimately losing in the playoffs. Tricked eSports was all over the place, getting a big win over Team Expert and then losing to Playing Ducks and beGenius. They will need to step up their play as with the two new teams joining EU, Tricked and Playing Ducks could find themselves in the Crucible come the year’s end. We say goodbye to Synergy and beGenius as we welcome in two new teams to Europe for Phase 2.

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Korea

Korea was... wow. Okay, so Phase 1 Part 2 was upset city. The top 2 (L-5 and MVP Black) were clearly the best two. The bottom two (Team BlossoM and Raven) were clearly the worst two. But in the middle? Utter chaos. Tempest, long thought just outside the range of MVP Black and L-5, collapsed late in the phase losing to Mighty and Raven in their last two games. MVP Miracle, after a dismal part 1, really looks like the third best team in Korea now as they had a strong season. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to move up, especially with merryday retiring from MVP Black.

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China

A note on why the following graph looks weird. In China, 3 teams had nearly zero prior experience in HGC. As such, I didn’t record their Elo until China’s Week 4. The biggest story in China is of course the rise of ce, dethroning long standing giant E-Star Gaming from the top of China. Start Over Again and Keep it Simple were just outclassed this season and will have to win China’s open division to get back into the league. X-Team hoped to step up into China’s Top 3 with Zero Panda disbanding but struggled and was unable to rise up. RPG and Hots Lady had reasonably strong showings in their first go around, and will look to build on that in Phase 2.

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