The Hontour World Finals 2017 have blasted off and right from the very first minute, we were blessed with amazing HoN action and great matches. Right after the grand opening of the event, two of the top teams in the world were set to play against each other, followed by another great duel and the Winners Bracket Finals to round out this exciting HoN-filled day. Let's take a quick look at how the games went before we get ready for the second day of matches and the conclusion of the event in the Grand Finals.
Fnatic vs [MiXs] Phoenix MiXs
The first game between these two powerhouses was a relatively one sided affair. Perhaps Fnatic nerves played a factor or maybe they were not expecting their opponents to be as dominant as they were with their favourite heroes in hand, but in the end, MiXs showed their prowess with Klanx and Circe and made minced meat out of the Magebane and Monkey King of Fnatic. With a commanding sweep of their hand MiXs took an early 1:0 lead.
The following game was a more balanced affair. Fnatic found their stride in their draft and managed to gather a solid team with Gladiator and Sir Benzington as their standout heroes. On the other side of the map MiXs put their faith in Madman and once more Bombardier. The game went slightly in favour of Fnatic in the early stage and then remained an even bout up until the late game, when Fnatic finally took over, slowly pushing MiXs to defeat. There was one amazing teamfight around the 50 minute mark and while it initially looked good for MiXS, Fnatic turned it around with some big plays, which led to them closing the game out and evening the score.
It all came down to the deciding third game where a rather unorthodox cast of heroes rose to the spotlight. Pestilence and Swiftblade wound up on side MiXs while Fnatic drafted Hellbringer and Electrician. From the get go Fnatic's draft countered their opponent's picks pretty well and made this game different from even before the first minute. Here, Fnatic was able to get payback for the disgrace from their first game. They exerted a strong arm from the beginning which had MiXs on their heels seeming quite lost several times. With no safe place to go, not even their own towers, the slaughter continued for 24 minutes until Fnatic hit the final nail in the coffin. With this, Fnatic moved on to the Winners Bracket Finals, while MiXs were dropped to the deadly Losers Bracket and now have to fight for their life on Sunday.
Aghanim vs [eNeo] Neolution eSports
It was now time for the almost all asian duel, with only Zlapped for eNeo standing out and giving the match a swedish note. Interesting picks in this game were Gauntlet and Blitz on Aghanims side, while eNeo picked a pretty physical team with Silhouette and Moraxis, as well as a surprise Tempest for Zlapped. Also Bombardier was picked again, making him the most picked hero so far, appearing in every game so far. eNeo went for Aghanims throat right away, putting a lot of pressure on their opponents. Aghanim did not seem able to come up with a counter for it, which led to a huge lead for eNeo after 15 minutes, and after about 22 minutes and several decisive teamfights for eNeo, the game was won, giving eNeo the advantage in every way.
The second game followed quickly and it had eNeo go for Chipper, Nomad, and a Zlapped controlled Ophelia against a reasonable selection of heroes for Aghanim, including Bubbles, Behemoth and Parasite. And here it looked promising for Aghanim at first, making a roaming Behemoth work, giving them the advantage early on. But a series of ganks and a big teamfight led to eNeo taking back the lead and slaughtering their opponents hero with insane Nomad plays. This continued for a while and by minute 30, eNeo were clearly ahead in the game, looking to close it and moving on to the Winners Bracket Finals. And indeed that happened, a big teamfight marked the drop of Aghanim to the Losers Bracket and decided the second team for the Winners Bracket finals.
Match 3 - Winners Bracket Finals
Fnatic vs [eNeo] Neolution eSports
After a little break for both teams involved, the action was on again and this particular team featured Sir Benzington and Puppet Master on Fnatic’s side again, while eNeo picked the unusual Wild Soul and Skrap. eNeo were able to get ahead quickly in the game, ganking their opponents on several occasions and putting immense pressure on Fnatic. Fnatic were quick to recover however, turning around a gank and making maximum use of Sir Benzington’s hero skills in these early fights. The game stayed fast paced and several teamfights followed, with no clear winner in those. This ended when eNeo went on to siege Fnatics base and another big team fight happened, with a clear winner this time, as Fnatic took out most of their opponents heroes and getting a counter attack on eNeos base. And it was this counter that decided the game, as eNeo were simply not ready to defend after losing several heroes and only putting up mild resistance due to their team not being fully alive.
eNeo needed to make things work now and they chose Vindicator and were allowed to pick up Klanx and Draconis for their lineup, while Fnatic got their Sir Benzington once more and had the old school Slither + Swiftblade combo as well. Fnatic had eNeos number right from the beginning in this game, getting several hero kills in a very short time and establishing total dominance in a matter of minutes. And there was no comeback from this situation, no matter what eNeo tried, Fnatic were one step ahead of them and even though the kill count was not as impressing as it was in the last game of their first match, Fnatic were way ahead of their opponents the whole time. A big teamfight at eNeos base finally brought the decision and with this, Fnatic moved on to the Grand Finals tomorrow, while eNeo will have a to go to the Losers Bracket Finals tomorrow, where they have to face the winner of the first match of the day on Sunday.
Looking ahead, this Sunday will be a tough day for all the teams involved, but the three teams in the Losers Bracket will certainly be under much more pressure, as it is now BO1 matches until the Grand Finals. The first match of the day will be played by MiXs and Aghanim, who both are probably pretty unhappy with their games so far. Both got dominated in their match and then had to watch the others play for the rest of Saturday. Now the spotlight is back on them and only one team will go on, the other will be out and have to be satisfied with being 4th place out of 4 in the World Finals.
The winner of that match will then play against eNeo, who showed amazing performance in their first match, but then drove into a wall, also known as Fnatic. eNeo might be in a good position, as they have already defeated one of the two possible teams, but still it is BO1 and every mistake can decide their fate, and since they lost as badly as the other teams in their respective matches, they might be a little off their game. Their biggest advantage is that they get to watch their opponent's play before they have to play themselves, which will allow them to gain some intel for that match and a possible edge for advancement.
And after those two games and the showmatch that will follow after that, it is finally time for the Grand Finals, the one big match, where the winner of the Losers Bracket faces Fnatic dominance in a BO5 with Fnatic being ahead one game because of them winning the WB. Truly a colossal task for the team that makes it here, but all of the teams are extremely capable and mistakes happen, so anything is possible here.
The games will resume on Sunday at 10:30 pm EDT* | 4:30 CEST | 9:30 ICT, so make sure to tune in to Honcast on time, BreakyCPK and Ragroste will be waiting for you with the continued full coverage of the event. Good luck to all teams!
After many years writing about esports in HoN and especially Hontour, BlahC is still not having any kind of life outside of this, so he writes about the esports lives of other people in 2017 as well. Shoutout to Inklin, Ace, Breaky, Beef, Jeremy, and twitch chat.
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