Inside Heroes Rising

After a grueling series of flights from Santa Ana to Vancouver, then Vancouver to Calgary, then Calgary to Kelowna, I’ve finally made it home to tell you all about my experience at the eSports Arena’s biggest event so far this year: Heroes Rising.

I arrived at LAX on Thursday, January 7th, and immediately downloaded Uber for my California-style transportation needs. When I arrived at the venue, located at 120 W 5th St., Santa Ana, I wasn’t entirely sure what to think. From it outside it appeared to be a nondescript, rundown building. Upon entering the venue, however, my mind was blown.

Immediately I was greeted by a brilliant young fellow with the most dapper mustache you could possibly imagine. The staff was vibrant and eager to assist me with basically everything I could want or need. The inside of the venue was perfect: a giant open foyer where the main seating took place, with the main-stage at the far back wall. Blue Team is situated on the left, the Red Team on the right — all LED color coordinated of course. The stairs at the entrance of the venue lead up to the “caster’s loft”, which is where Zoia and Gillyweed worked their casting magic.

My only gripe about the tournament’s setup would have to be the “Side Stage”. It basically consisted of two tables tucked into a quiet corner, isolated by a vinyl banner. In comparison to the main stage, it was the equivalent to playing on one of the regular LAN setups that any customer is able to play on. While I understand the necessity for a side-stage, I think they could have done a little bit of a better job making it feel more professional for the teams competing off the main stage.

All in all, though, the setup was very nice for this sort of a tournament. I’m really excited to see how the eSports Arena grows and adapts to the game, and what things will look like a few tournaments from now. Alright, enough about the look of the venue – lets get into the Final.

Inside Heroes Rising | HotSShot

Cloud9 VS Bob Ross Fan Club

Where do I even begin with this series…
C9 VS BRFC was probably the most intense Heroes of the Storm Bo5 I’ve ever watched. It had incredibly interesting and intelligent drafting and had some of the best late-game team fighting a person could ask for. The energy in the arena was at its peak, and the players were fighting for the top of the $12,000 prize pool. Not to mention the slight drama now that Fan, an ex-C9 player, is on BRFC’s roster. One also needs to understand that Cloud 9 came into the series with a one game advantage due to their success in the Winner’s bracket. So starting off, it was 1:0 C9.

Game 1: Battlefield of Eternity

C9’s draft on Game 1 was indomitable. BRFC picked up Zeratul with the hopes to catch C9 in their rotational play throughout the map, but C9 nabbed Falstad, who can simply sit in a lane and rotate to objectives or teamfights without the fear of getting caught out by Zeratul. While I was a fan of BRFC’s choice to go with a double mage composition (KT + Jaina) in terms of teamfighting potential, when it came to sustained DPS in the Immortal phase they simply couldn’t match Sonya, Raynor, and Falstad. C9’s draft overpowered BRFC quite early, leading to a definitive victory.

C9 2:0 BRFC

Game 2: Internal Shrines

This is where we began to see the mystical McIntyre on his flying dwarf. This guy is an absolute monster on Falstad, and he proved it in every single game he played the hero in this series. C9 picked a very traditional teamfight-oriented composition, while BRFC drafted a similar team but had a bit more flexibility when it came to picking their fights. With Morales healing Zeratul, they had a lot more sustained healing on a Hero that typically favors a guerrilla-style gameplay. This game was incredibly close, but BRFC stole the victory in a late-game teamfight.
C9 2:1 BRFC

Game 3: Blackheart’s Bay

Game 3 was my favorite to watch because it demonstrated the intelligence behind the BRFC’s draft strategy. For one, I love how BRFC picks solo-tank Leoric. It’s a trend that has been rising quite a bit recently, but hasn’t completely gained momentum yet — although I suspect it will after this series.

While sitting in the crowd, I was repeating this mantra: “If you let Fan get Abathur, you guys are going to lose.” Sure enough — voila. Basically, all BRFC wanted to do (because C9 had another teamfight composition) was allow Fan to split push lanes with Abathur while the rest of the team disengaged from teamfights with Mighty Gust and soaked experience

. They forced C9 to send someone to deal with Abathur’s push, then they cloned Falstad and picked fights they knew they could win. They knew they could collect coins all game and PvE their way to victory. There was absolutely nothing that C9 could do here, because the draft simply screwed them. If for some reason you one could only watch one game, I would recommend this one.

We’ve got a series now, boys — C9 2:2 BRFC

Game 4: Dragon Shire

The story of game 4 wasn’t entirely draft related, but hero picks certainly lent to the game’s result. The fact that BRFC had Tassadar allowed them to play the ‘ebb and flow’ of lategame teamfights almost indefinitely. He gave them the capability wall off targets or completely disengage from virtually any teamfight without much blowback — and that’s exactly what BRFC did.

They didn’t gun for any Keeps during the game, they just stalled. They waited until the late-game Dragon Knight, and eventually found the teamfight they needed by disengaging with Tassadar repeatedly. They got 2 kills, secured a Dragon Knight, and walked to the core and ended the game. Simple, yet brilliant. They truly deserved to win this series, and I’m very proud of them as an “amateur” team.
C9 2:3 BRFC
An enormous congratulations is due to Bob Ross Fan Club. Each player showed that they can compete at the highest caliber in the North American setting, and they were definitely the best-performing team at the event. While some of the attitudes of the team certainly needs some adjusting (don’t even get me started), I’m hoping that this is the start to a long, successful road for the boys in the Club. GG.

Inside Heroes Rising Stage | HotSShot

Top 3 Player Picks

I’ve chosen these 3 players for a short shout-out because I feel like they played above and beyond what was expected of them. For their own individual reasons, each player I’ve chosen showed incredible mechanical ability, positional awareness and teamfighting prowess.

3. Tempo Storm’s So1dier

With Tempo Storm’s recent roster changes, we’ve seen Srey take the reigns as their main Warrior player, with So1dier stepping back into the Ranged Assassin role. I’ve always known So1dier to be an extremely solid player when it comes to mechanics, but watching him play Valla in this tournament has completely changed my mind on him has a player. He’s an absolute beast!

His positioning was spot on, and there were mulitple times throughout this tournament where he was able to defend crucial structures in a solo capacity without dying. This sort of feat is difficult to accomplish unless you truly understand the power and limits of your Heroes. Bravo to you So1dier, and I hope you stick on this role — it looks great on you.

2. Murloc Geniuses’ Faye

Faye was always in the right place at the right time. She was the power-house of every single composition that Murloc Geniuses drafted, and the consistency in her play allows me to pick her out as one of the best up-and-coming professional players in the scene.

Watching Faye play Jaina in some of these games was a huge breath of fresh air, because she plays Jaina differently than most players. Her stutter-stepping is mesmerizing, and her Frostbolts seemed to hit at the very extent of their range every single time, allowing for optimal kiting and kill seizing. You truly killed it this tournament, Faye. Keep up the gnarly work.

1. Bob Ross Fan Club’s McIntyre

While I may be extremely biased on this one, I think McIntyre is the best player in North America. He puts in more time than any other player that I’ve studied, and his Auto-Attack mechanics are very reminiscent of watching Piglet from League of Legends.

It’s fairly common knowledge that BRFC’s roster plays host to some pretty hot tempers, and while that may have been a trend McIntyre was used to in the past, it certainly doesn’t coincide with his attitude in this tournament. His Falstad play throughout the series against Cloud 9 almost single-handedly won them some games. His Mighty Gusts were perfect, his target selection was spot-on and his rotations kept his team in games where they would have otherwise fallen behind.

I don’t think I can count the amount of solo-kills McIntyre got during this tournament on two of my hands, which is more than I can say about most of the players that played at Heroes Rising. On top of the incredible performance, McIntyre is a genuinly beautiful man to speak with. He’s down to earth, personable, and actually seems interested when you spark up a conversation with him. We need more players like you, Mc. Thanks for your dedication, and keep up the effort on your stream.


In Conclusion

Heroes Rising went over very smoothly, boasting an incredibly competent staff and production team. The tournament played itself out with a couple of upsets, which provided nothing but entertainment and excitement for future tournaments, such as a Regional Qualifiers in the Spring and the new Enter The Storm tournament that commences on January 16th.

This is exceptionally exciting for us as community members, because this means that the eSports Arena also garnered success from this event, and of course that means they’ll continue to put on more and more events – which does nothing but help grow Heroes of the Storm as a game and a competitive scene.
In conclusion, I would love to say a huge thank-you to everyone at the eSports Arena for all of their hard work. It’s tournaments like this that allow our community to thrive into the self-sustaining organism we want it to become. Here’s to the future of Heroes!