The highly anticipated HoN Tour Season 4 playoffs are finally upon us and the last ticket for Thailand is up for grabs. Sync eSports have already reserved their five seats on the plane to Bangkok – but who will seize the opportunity to join them? Eight elite HoN pro teams are making their bid, only one can walk away victorious claiming the once-in-a-lifetime shot to travel to the place where Heroes of Newerth reigns supreme – Thailand. Without a doubt the stakes are high for this last remaining World Finals spot.

Among the eight teams vying for the position, one team is the favorite after this weekend’s results. Fresh is coming, pun intended, fresh off the title win in the DeadEye Bounty League Season 2, ousting none other than Sync eSports in the Grand Finals. The team centered around the Danish veteran probusk finished the HoN Tour season ranked fifth overall, but recent events suggest they’re the front runner when it comes to filling the last spot in the World Championship event. Throughout the entire DeadEye Bounty League Fresh was on the heels of Sync eSports, solidifying their spot as the second best team in the western world. With a group stage without a loss and ties only against elite teams like Sync, compLexity Gaming, Evil Corporation and Bad Monkey Gaming – the Peppermint boys have displayed a near flawless showing.

All that was only the precursor though, as their tenacity and endurance in long and drawn out matches surfaced in the playoffs. Two three game series against WOP DASH and Sync eSports in the finals showed the guts, talent and determination of the Fresh squad. They seem to take nothing for granted, playing crisp HoN and gathering success off their hardwork. Will they follow up the DBL2 Championship with a HoN Tour playoff run straight to Bangkok?

One of the teams that will definitely have a say in it and will try to prevent Fresh from just running the table is the North American hope of compLexity Gaming. Throughout the HoN Tour season the boys from coL have been near the top of the mountain – being the first compLexity roster to accomplish that Diamond division win. They are the one thing that stands between two European teams representing the NA/EU region in Thailand, as they are hellbent to not let that happen. In order to prevent it, they have to step up their game though, as the DeadEye Bounty League surfaced some weaknesses of the roster. Especially in the group stage compLexity turned into draWplexity, unable to get more than two wins on the board. On top of that they conceded victories to Sync eSports and Team Druidz. A team of the caliber and experience of coL can obviously come back stronger and better for the postseason but that is exactly what they need to do. If they don’t, their consistently good performance throughout the long Season 4 of HoN Tour didn't get them more than a small chunk of change and a front row seat to watch the World Finals stream at home.

Those two teams are the favorites on all accounts, with a group of potential dark horses and upset candidates following them ever so closely. As a matter of fact this might be one of the most exciting and open tournaments in HoN history, when everything can happen and some teams seem to be on and off on any given night. No Al Pacino speech here, but Team Druidz, Bad Monkey Gaming, Evil Corporation and WOP DASH are contenders that might be a motivational boost away from Thailand.

That group of teams couldn't be more different either. On one side you have the two veteran teams BMG and Evil Corporation that have played on the biggest stages that HoN has to offer. These teams have fought through international competition and have been on the map for years and years. This opportunity is especially important for Bad Monkey Gaming as they are the current reigning World Champion and if they do not perform, their World title is gone without them really being able to put up a fight on LAN.

That pressure is not with Evil Corporation, yet the lights are shining on them as well. The runner-up of the most recent DreamHack competition still has an axe to grind with Neolution eSports.MRR, who shattered the dream of Tankafett, ImbaBoy, Z4NE, Nir and OwnedMe on the mainstage in Jönköping. Not making the playoffs in the DBL Season 2 is a slump for sure, but Evil Corporation is experienced enough to get over the hump and be a success story again come playoff time. Motivation for them might be the fact that they only lost two series in the DBL after all. Only Druidz and BMG were able to defeat them – at the beginning of March. Since then the squad has rallied back and fought hard and tough battles with everyone else in the elite group of HoN. Five ties show they are competitive still, ready to pounce at the opportunity to go to Thailand.

Those two veteran teams are in the same group as the two “hotshots” with a chance. Team Druidz is a known name in the HoN community, but not with these players. Yet they've been able to wreak havoc every once in a while in the DeadEye Bounty League group stage, getting wins over coL, Evil Corporation and Reason Gaming. Fresh and Sync were the only squads to defeat them in groups, even though WOP DASH cruised past them in Round 1 of the playoffs. Still, the young squad has the ability to go toe-to-toe with the big teams, making them a dangerous foe for anyone in the playoffs. Just like WOP DASH is, who had their “crowning” moment in the limelight by making it into the Top 4 of the DBL competition. Ultimately Fresh and compLexity Gaming were a little bit too much too handle for them when the bright lights were on, a successful run nonetheless. It's something the five can build on come playoff time, when the pressure is really on and every game matters. Pushing Fresh to three games should also be a confidence boost for the squad, showing them that nothing is impossible in the Forests of Caldavar.

Six teams down, two to go – sadly with only narrow chances. Both Polymorph and Reason Gaming haven't really shown up at all in the past two month during the DeadEye Bounty League competition. Both went winless throughout the group stage with a 0/4/4 and 0/3/5 record respectively. Brightest spot for Reason Gaming in the past few weeks was the draw against compLexity Gaming in Week 1 of the competition, while Polymorph tied with BMG, Evil Corporation and Druidz. In the spirit of Any Given Sunday both obviously have a chance, as they had a lot of time to prepare “in the shadows” and away from the real big spotlight of competition, so pocket strategies or highly advanced exploits of an expected opponents are well within their reach – especially for Reason Gaming having the veteran presence of players like ArchiTiger to fall back on. With the experience of those and the craftiness, it might be possible to do the unthinkable and push someone into the Lower Bracket right away.

Anything is possible in HoN, welcome to the HoN Tour Season 4 playoffs!

Starting off the playoffs are:
• compLexity Gaming vs. Polymorph
• Fresh vs. Team Druidz
• Evil Corporation vs. WOP DASH
• Bad Monkey Gaming vs. Reason Gaming

Check out the HTS4 Playoffs page and tune into Honcast starting Saturday, May 7th 2016 at 12:00 EDT | 18:00 CEST!




About The Author: Fantasy
Fantasy is a journalist with four years of experience working in various eSports. He is currently the HoN Tour correspondent for the CIS and SEA regions, as well as an editor for both ESL Gaming and compLexity Gaming. In addition to his online endeavors, he studies Publicity and Communication, plays American football, and loves movies.