HGC Update September 14, 2017
HGC had an interesting week. NA was filled to the brim with upsets. Dignitas has seperated themselves from the rest of the mid-tier traffic jam in EU. Tempest finally got their big upsets in Korea. And China continues to draw pretty much every game.
World Elo Ratings
Gale Force Esports had a disappointing weekend, going a collective 1-6 against Spacestation Gaming and Team Freedom. This drops them from a favorite to earn a Blizzcon auto bid to an underdog. Team Freedom's wins over Superstars and Gale Force Esports rocketed them into the driver seat alongside Roll20. This sets up a big match between Gale Force Esports and Roll20 this weekend. The loser will almost certainly have to earn their spot to Blizzcon through the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Tempo Storm struggled, needing 5 games to beat a Lag Force featuring a sub in the place of Zuna and losing 1-3 to Superstars and their solo support Lucio comps. Spacestation Gaming sits in fifth place behind them, hungry for a chance to improve their playoff seeding. Neither team can likely finish in the top 2 so it's all about seeding to them now.
Superstars managed to snag a huge win over Tempo Storm, giving them more breathing room over Lag Force in the race to escape the Crucible. With Even in Death almost certainly taking one Crucible spot, it will come down to who plays whom. Superstars must play Spacestation Gaming and Gale Force Esports, while Lag Force plays Gale Force Esports and Even in Death. Lag Force need one more win than Superstars and also needs to close the map margin gap, which is currently at 5 games in favor of Superstars. If Superstars can win either of their two remaining matches, it will go a long way towards keeping them safe. Since both teams split the head-to-head matches, game margin is almost certainly going to be the deciding factor if both teams have the same number of wins.
Win out and in - At this point, 3 teams can secure Blizzcon tickets by winning out: Team Freedom, Roll 20, and Gale Force Esports. Gale Force Esports and Roll 20 play this weekend. While the loser isn't explicitly eliminated from the playoffs, it will take some crazy upsets to get them back in. Team Freedom plays Even in Death, Spacestation Gaming, and Tempo Storm. Roll20 plays Gale Force Esports and Spacestation Gaming. Gale Force Esports plays Lag Force, Roll20, and Superstars.
Needs substantial help - Even if Tempo Storm or Spacestation Gaming win out, they both have less than a 5% chance of making Blizzcon. Because of their game deficit, they will want to see as many losses from the top 3 as possible. Tempo Storm plays Even in Death and Team Freedom. Spacestation Gaming plays Superstars, Team Freedom, and Roll20 Esports.
3rd Place - The third place team would only need 1 match win to make the playoffs. The most likely outcome is that whoever finishes 3rd in the top three (GFE, R2E, and TF) would take third place. There's only a 3.3% chance Tempo Storm takes 3rd place, and a less than 0.1% chance that Spacestation Gaming takes it, given the difficulty of their remaining schedule.
4th place - Because their remaining schedule is much easier with a likely win against Even in Death, Tempo Storm is the prohibitive favorite to take 4th place over Spacestation Gaming. There is a small chance that Team Freedom or Gale Force Esports could fall to 4th but both possibilities are remote. Spacestation Gaming only has a 0.6% chance of making it to 4th place.
5th and 6th place - There is no playoff difference between 5th and 6th place. This will likely feature Spacestation Gaming vs. either Superstars or Lag Force, whichever team escapes the Crucible.
Fnatic locked up 1st place in Europe and punched their ticket to Blizzcon in dominate fashion, securing two more 3-0 victories last week. Meanwhile, Dignitas continued to separate themselves from the rest of the mid tier of Europe with a 3-1 victory over Zealots.
Playing Ducks and Team Good Guys continued to struggle, with the latter unfortunately sealing their fate in the Crucible. Playing Ducks will have a chance to pull a big upset as they play Mopsio-less Zealots this weekend. They also face a tough opponent in Team Expert but likely need to win both sets to escape the Crucible, especially with the juggernaut Fnatic looming in Week 10.
Locked - Fnatic has locked both an autobid to Blizzcon and 1st place seed in EU.
Win out and in - Team Dignitas will secure Blizzcon with two more match wins. They play Team Liquid (Week 9) and Tricked Esports (Week 10). Tricked Esports can also win out to secure a Blizzcon ticket but, unlike Dignitas, margin of victory matters. For example, If Tricked wins out with 3-0s, they are completely locked for Blizzcon. However, if they win out with all 3-2s, they would only have about a 5% chance to take an autobid, effectively needing Dignitas to lose to Team Liquid. The math for Tricked is that if they lose 2 games or fewer to other teams and 3-0 Dignitas, OR beat Dignitas 3-1 and 3-0 their other two opponents, then they lock Blizzcon. Otherwise, it will come down to game margin against Team Dignitas, who already has a 5 game advantage.
Need substantial help - Team Expert needs to win out to have a chance at a Blizzcon auto bid. Even if they do, however, they would need Team Dignitas to lose out and Tricked Esports to only win 1 game (against Dignitas). From there, it would come down to map margin among the three 8 win teams. Because of all of these factors, even if Expert wins out 3-0s, they have a less than 1% chance of taking an automatic bid to Blizzcon.
If Team Liquid could win out with 3-0s on all remaining games (TGG, Dig, and Expert), they would still only have about a 12% chance of getting an automatic bid to Blizzcon. Similar to Expert, they would need Dignitas to lose to Tricked and Tricked to lose to either Expert or Playing Ducks.
3rd Place - With Fnatic locked and Dignitas most likely to take 2nd place on match victories, the race for third place likely comes down to the winner of Team Expert vs. Tricked Esports this weekend, with only a very small chance of Liquid or Zealots crashing the party.
4th Place - The loser of Team Expert vs. Tricked Esports will likely wind up 4th place, with about a 10% chance of Zealots taking the spot and a 5% chance of Team Liquid taking it. Keep in mind that my simulation model cannot account for the absence of Mopsio this coming weekend.
5th Place and 6th Place - Most likely Team Liquid and Zealots fill the bottom rung of the playoff ladder, with a small chance for Expert or Tricked to fall this far and also a slight chance of Playing Ducks passing one of the teams above them to claim 6th place.
Tempest managed to upset L5 in five games last weekend. While this still leaves them in 3rd place, it's a positive step for the team who was once world champions. They've long been the third wheel in the Korean Top 3 but this win should give them momentum heading towards Blizzcon. The other big upset in Korea was Team BlossoM beating long time 4th place team Mighty. This was after Team BlossoM was derailed 0-3 by MVP Miracle on Friday.
Meanwhile, the bottom of Korea remains unchanged. Raven and Rrr are almost certainly going to face the Crucible. This will be the second trip for both teams: Raven faced Cluster Unbalance as a defending HGC team in the Phase 1 Crucible, while Rrr lost 0-4 challenging Team BlossoM for their spot.
Locked - MVP Black is locked for Blizzcon. Even if they lose their 3 remaining games, giving L5 first place, they would still take second place over Tempest in head-to-head.
Doesn't need to win out - L5 Needs to likely find two wins to secure Blizzcon. L5 plays Mighty, MVP Black, and Raven. If L5 can win 3-0 against Mighty and Raven then it doesn't matter if they beat MVP Black. However, if they drop a single map against either team and lose to MVP Black, it could come down to map score between them and Tempest, making the MVP Black series very relevant.
Needs substantial help - Tempest needs to both win out against MVP Miracle and Team BlossoM and hope for an L5 loss. A single L5 loss would take second place down to map margins, however, and L5 currently has a substantial lead. Mighty is also technically possible but would require both Tempest and L-5 to lose out. Even then, they would still need 3-0s with L-5 and Tempest losing 0-3s.
3rd place - Most likely Tempest will take 3rd unless they move up and take 2nd from L5. If that happens, L5 will amost certainly take 3rd place. There is an incredibly small window for Mighty to take 3rd place but it only seems possible mathematically,and never appeared in Elo biased simulations.
4th place - Mighty will end up in 4th place barring some set of miracles moving them up. Again, however, in Elo biased simulations, this never happened. No team below Mighty can move up to 4th place.
5th place and 6th place - This match will likely pit MVP Miracle against Team BlossoM with a very very small chance of Raven sneaking past MVP Miracle. That said, I wouldn't count on that happening.
Every single match in China that didn't involve Super Perfect Team was a draw. SPT managed to win both their sets which is why they have separated from the rest of the field. Newcomers TheOne and Beyond the Game continue to show they belong while RPG and Hots Lady have definitely fallen off from their mid-tier rank before the Eastern Clash. Each team has 6 sets remaining but it's very likely they are playing for third place, as CE and SPT continue to be the standard bearers. Note that while CE is tied with Beyond the Game, they have already played SPT twice, while BtG hasn't and must play SPT again.
Because of China's unique setup, it's hard to predict how the region will turn out beyond the odds presented here. Each team will play 12 more games across six 2-game series, meaning each team could potentially earn up to 18 points.
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