Big article this week. HGC China’s roster changes were finally published, allowing me to properly balance the Phase 2 Elo ratings. As such, these Elo ratings are accurate to where I want them but don’t directly extend from last week’s post.

As a major caveat in this article: this is still very very early in the season. New teams and new rosters make the Elo scores especially unstable. These ratings will change throughout the season. This goes double for new HGC teams Even in Death (NA), Zealots, Team Good Guys(EU), Rrr (Korea), W.K. Gaming, and Kudos Top (China). These teams will have drastically unstable ratings for the first few weeks, and predictions will be potentially inaccurate until they settle.


World Elo Ratings


Note that teams with “-NEW” in their team name are new to HGC. They started at a rating of 1500, and their rating should be unstable for now. worldtop10.png


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North America


In NA, we see some familiar faces at the top. The trio of Gale Force eSports, Roll 20, and Tempo Storm are working to solidify themselves as an NA “big three”, and are all within 40 point of each other in the ratings. Gale Force reasserted that they are an NA contender with a big 3-1 victory over Roll 20 eSports. Meanwhile, Even in Death has had a very shaky start to HGC. All the while Team Freedom and No Tomorrow battled to try to become NA’s new top 4 team, with No Tomorrow winning this round.

As a note, this season, I will be combing all postseason simulation results into a single table for convenience.

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Again note that Even in Death is a new team, and their elo rating hasn’t stabilized yet. I expect both their elo and their postseason odds to trend towards the lesser end.


Reading this Table


Team - pretty self explanatory. This is the name of the team.

Elo - the team’s current elo rating. A larger number suggests a better team.

Match W-L - The match record of the team. How many best of 5’s they won and how many they lost.

Map +/- - new to Phase 2, the next highest priority tiebreaker after head-to-head is Map +/-, that is, the number of GAMES (not matches) you won minus the number of games you lost. A negative number means a team lost more games than they won. This is a change made by Blizzard to make the standings and tiebreakers easier to understand.

3-[0,1,2] - While there is a higher priority tiebreaker, there are still tiebreaker conditions for number of 3-0s and then number of 3-1s if both head to head and Map +/- can’t break the tie. In this tuple, it’s [3-0 victories, 3-1 victories, 3-2 victories]. Example, No Tomorrow won a best of 5 3-1 and 3-2, but have no 3-0 wins. Therefore, their tuple is [0,1,1].

Clash % - This is the team’s current simulation odds of making it to the Western Clash. To get there, a team must finish top 3 in the first half of the phase. This means only the first 28 games of each phase are relevant. Note that “0.0” doesn’t mean eliminated. When a team is eliminated, I will use a red “X” to denote eliminated. Similarly, 100.0 doesn’t mean guaranteed. When the spot is guaranteed, I will use a green checkmark. (????)

Blizzcon % (autobid) - This is the team’s current simulation odds of getting an automatic bid to Blizzcon. Because each major region will have 3 teams this season, the top 2 from each region get an automatic bid. Teams that place 3rd-6th will play in a stepladder playoff (6 vs 5, winner of that vs. 4, winner of that vs. 3) to determine who goes to Blizzcon. Note that match record in Part 1 (pre Clash) carries over to Part 2 (post Clash). So all 56 games this phase are relevant for Blizzcon. Note that “0.0” doesn’t mean eliminated. When a team is eliminated, I will use a red “X” to denote eliminated. Similarly, 100.0 doesn’t mean guaranteed. When the spot is guaranteed, I will use a green checkmark.

Crucible % - This is the team’s current simulation odds of finishing 7th or 8th place at the end of the Phase. Teams that finish this low must face the Crucible to remain in HGC. All 56 games in the phase are relevant here. Note that “0.0” doesn’t mean safe from the Crucible. When a team is safe, I will use a green “X” to denote eliminated. Similarly, 100.0 doesn’t mean guaranteed. When the spot is guaranteed, I will use a red checkmark.


Analysis


We didn’t get to see much of Tempo Storm or Roll20. Tempo Storm did look strong against Even in Death, but given that Even in Death looks like the worst team in the region, this may not mean anything. We’ll find out much more next week against GFE and No Tomorrow.

With their win over Roll 20, Gale Force is very very probably to finish in the top 2 for Phase 1. A win over Tempo Storm next weekend would make it very very unlikely they don’t go to the clash.

No Tomorrow had a good showing in the first weekend, but given one of their wins was over Even in Death, they still have much to prove. That said, the win over Team Freedom seems to put No Tomorrow in the top 4 in the region, just one upset away from potentially stealing 3rd place for the clash.

Superstars in particular looked like they have fallen off a bit in their set against Team Freedom. This puts them in a potential race for 6th place with Naventic to avoid the Crucible unless they step it up and snag some upsets.

Elo Projections for next week’s games is as follows:

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Again, Even in Death’s Rating is not yet stable, so I would actually favor Superstars against them rather heavily. I would personally predict a 3-0 in favor of Superstars. A 3-1 would surprise me, and would say more about Superstars than Even in Death in my opinion.

Gale Force vs. Tempo Storm is the game to watch next week. Gale Force looked strong against Roll 20, and this is a chance for Gale Force to claim the driver’s seat in North America for the first time since Week 1 of Phase 1. Tempo Storm, meanwhile, wants to prove they are still the kings of NA.

Another game worth watching is Team Freedom vs. Naventic. If Naventic wants to get out of NA’s basement, this is a must win. With their first two matches against top 3 NA teams, it will be excusable to be 1-2 at the end of this weekend. That said, being 0-3 would be a disaster. Team Freedom, meanwhile, will look to prove that adding Kure was the right choice. Losses to both Naventic and No Tomorrow in Phase 1 would make it very difficult to move up the standings beyond 6th place.

Finally, No Tomorrow will look to show that Week 1 wasn’t a fluke against Tempo Storm. No Tomorrow has improved dramatically, but the question remains if they are top 4 material now that they have a proven winner in Equinox calling shots. While they don’t need to win this series to improve their NA stature, they should look to avoid an 0-3 if they want to prove they belong in the Top 4 conversation.


Europe


The reigning champions Fnatic return to a region that seems to only be getting deeper and stronger. Team Liquid once again started strong with a dominant 3-0 win over MSB runner-up Team Dignitas, while the sexy new HGC participants Zealots were dominated by Fnatic. Even crazier, week 1 featured two reverse sweeps, both involving Tricked eSports. It will be interesting to see how Europe shakes out, as, right now, I honestly have no clue how 4th through 8th place will look like at the end this season.

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I should of course add the usual caveats in regards to these predictions. It’s early in the season, so it’s unclear how much Playing Ducks have improved (or fallen off), or how good Zealots and Good Guys are. I expect these numbers to change rapidly for the first couple weeks while teams find their place.


Analysis


The big three in Europe once again seem to be far ahead of the field. With Team Expert’s loss to Tricked Esports, it suggests that the race for 4th place is going to be very interesting. While PD is currently a “favorite” to finish last, I don’t believe they will stay such a “favorite” for long. I think the bottom 5 in Europe is very deep, and seeing teams in nearly any order wouldn’t surprise me. All told, I’m very convinced top to bottom, Europe is the best division of HGC right now.

Elo projects for next week’s games:

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Right out of the gate, we have a huge game on Friday, as Fnatic faces resurgent Team Liquid. Fnatic will want to defend their #1 spot in the world rankings, but Team Liquid looks like a team on a mission after dismantling Dignitas 0-3. The pecking order of Europe’s big 3 could be decided in this game. If Team Liquid wins this, they will almost certainly take the #1 seed at the Western Clash.

Two other games this week are also particularly intriguing. Team Expert vs. Zealots and Playing Ducks vs. Good Guys will tell us a lot about the two new teams in Europe. These games will go a long way towards determining not just the pecking order from 4th place down, but also who could potentially be Crucible teams come the end of Phase 2.

Dignitas will look to rebound with two games they should win. 3-0s will be important to boosting their tie-breaker status, as it seems probable the Big 3 will have a triangle head-to-head tie once again.


Korea


A quick note: last season, HGC Korea operated on slightly different rules from NA and EU when it came to tiebreakers. To the best of my knowledge, NA/EU are now on the same rules with the same tiebreakers as Korea. So I use the same simulation model. If I end up being wrong later? Mehh. I’ll fix it.

Unlike EU and NA, the Korean 1 and 2 seeds had byes this week. Therefore, we still haven’t seen MVP Black or L-5’s new rosters in action. However, we did get to see each of the remaining 6 teams play twice, giving us quite a bit to work with.

Mighty and MVP Miracle had a fantastic best of 5 where Mighty barely edged out Miracle. This gives Mighty a critical head-to-head tiebreaker over MVP Miracle, giving this win significant eastern clash implications.

Tempest jumped out to 2-0, albeit by beating last season’s Crucible teams, Team BlossoM and Raven. Still, L-5 did lose to Raven in the last week of Phase 1, so this is a good win to get. Tempest has a tough week ahead with games against MVP Miracle and L-5.

Rrr had a dismal 0-6 start. The expectations for this team are low, as they fail to take a single game against Team BlossoM in the HGC Crucible.

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As noted, Rrr is a new team, so their Elo is still likely far too high. I saw this because they looked out of their league in Korea’s Crucible against BlossoM, and nothing I saw last week changed that. I think we will see them in the Crucible by the end of the season.


Analysis


The big thing to watch for this season is what Mighty and MVP Miracle do in games against Korea’s old guard of MVP Black, L-5, and Tempest. Both have had success against Tempest of late, but have yet to challenge L-5 or MVP Black. L-5 had two roster swaps, which could make them vulnerable. I think there is chance for some major upheaval in Korea this Phase. I think each team in Korea’s current Top 5 elo ratings could make the clash, so this will be an interesting region to watch.

Meanwhile, I would still expect Raven and Rrr to find themselves at the bottom come season’s end. Team BlossoM does look somewhat improved from Phase 1 and made some very interesting roster changes, bringing in ModernLife from Tempest and Gondar, a player not previously on an HGC major team. With already a 3-0 win over Raven, they at least look on pace to avoid the Crucible. That said, I don’t expect them to rise above 6th place.

This weeks Elo projections:

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As with Even in Death, I think Rrr odds are dramatically overestimated simply due to a lack of data so far. I would expect a 3-0 or 3-1 here in favor of BlossoM.

Tempest is involved in two massive games this weekend. If L-5 indeed is weakened by the roster swaps, this is Tempest’s chance to prove it. However, Tempest also has to prepare for an MVP Miracle set the very next day. Will they have too much on their plate? Tempest needs to go at least 1-1 this weekend. An 0-2 would make it very difficult for them to reach the Clash. A 2-0, on the other hand, would almost ascertain it.

But of course, Sunday is the big game as MVP Black and L-5 face off once again. This will be the first time they meet in the regular season where they aren’t #1 and #2 in the world in the Elo ratings. However, you can expect the same fire to be there. Wake up early Sunday, folks, it will be worth it.


China


HGC China, managed once again by Netease Gold League, is going back to the format they used pre-HGC. Rather than best of 5’s, China is doing a double round robin “best of 2’s”, where each team will play every other team in a total of 4 games. Like the MSB, 2-0 wins are worth 3 points. 1-1 draws are worth 1 point to both teams. This format will run until the Eastern Clash. The top 3 teams will go to the Clash, while the bottom two teams will be relegated and will have to play back into Gold League in an online league run in the interim. There will be no playoff, except as best of 1 sudden death matches to resolve ties after the league finishes. Due to this format, HGC China’s prediction table will look very different.

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In China, we still see a familiar three at the top in ce, Super Perfect Team, and E-Star. However, this isn’t the E-Star from the Mid Season Brawl, as it more closely matches X-Team from last season. The bottom 5 is still a jumble, but it appears W.K. Gaming is out of their element in HGC China, having already lost twice to Start Over Again and Kudos Top. Overall, it’s still early, and with so many new faces, anything could happen, but I expect the Top 3 to be maintained. Watch the race 4th through 7th, however, as teams fight to avoid relegation.


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