The thing that intrigues me the most about this first season of Division S is the parity amongst the teams. This league has the feeling of unpredictability that HGC honestly never produced. One thing that Heroes of the Storm esports has always struggled with is having a sense of true competition between all the teams.
It seems like we could always reliably predict the winners and losers during each week of play. We knew the best teams, and those teams were the ones we always saw in the big tournaments and international invitationals. Of course, each season produced a few surprises. But I never felt like there were dark horses or surprise teams that could punch through the playoffs and win it all.
Division S feels different.
I had predictions about the strong teams coming into the qualifiers. I knew the Lost Boys and Looking for Work would be strong. I felt like Multiple Smiles and Order of the Sleeping Dragon would be formidable as well. What I didn’t expect was so many other teams pushing them. I didn’t foresee Comanche Power Train (now called Team Good Guys) plowing through top teams. I didn’t see Close to Death coming out of nowhere to almost win week 4.
The most compelling entertainment to watch is the type that balances the traditional storylines with a dash of unpredictability. We don’t want to watch something that is completely random. There needs to be a hierarchy of power in this league.
But we also want to see underdogs. We want to see people challenging for the throne. That’s what makes competition fun to watch. It’s the king-of-the-hill archetype, where one juggernaut tries to defend the crown from formidable challengers.
I think this season of HeroesLounge comes closer to that than HGC did.
Granted, several teams made slight changes to their rosters or roles as the qualifiers progressed. There were several teams that also hid strategies or played conservatively to avoid showing their plans. These variables will make it more difficult to make accurate evaluations until we get a few weeks into league play. But I’m excited to see how the food-chain of power develops in this league. Which teams will be the juggernauts, and who is going to challenge them?
Therefore, without further ado, I present NexusDefender‘s premier (and probably inaccurate) Season 1 of Division S Power Rankings.
- Lost Boys: This was the consensus #1 amongst most of the community going into the first matches, and remain there now after winning their first and only qualifier. Made up of a roster of former pros (many of whom competed in international tournaments frequently), this team is one to be reckoned with. Their only moment of vulnerability came when they lost a map to Comanche Power Train (now Team Good Guys). Assuming the rust from not needing to play in the last month doesn’t hurt them, this is the juggernaut to watch out for.
- Team Good Guys: Led by the European transfer bkb, Good Guys are the surprise of the qualifiers. When they had a solid first week, I questioned whether they could maintain their success. Not only did they do it, they dominated in week 2. Other teams have been put on notice. It’s up to Good Guys to establish their dominance for real.
- Multiple Smiles: Smiles won the third qualifier, and looked really strong in the others. They only lost series to the previous two winners, and follow them both in the rankings.
- Looking for Work: This is probably the hardest team to evaluate for me. On paper, they are really strong. Made up of former pro players, I thought they would be competing for the number 1 spot. Now, to be fair, there are a lot of variables that could have affected their play. I know they left one qualifier early to compete in the Toasty and Gladman Invitational tournament, and maybe they were hiding strats in the others. I just want to see some of those vulnerabilities resolved before I move them up further.
- Order of the Sleeping Dragon: Currently ranked fifth, this team could be much higher. The team is made up with some talented players, many of whom are former pros and high-level streamers. According to the team, they were very conservative during the qualifiers, trying not to give too much away. We’ll have to wait and see if their hidden strategies pay off.
- Celeb Gaming: Celeb is one team I think will be very strong, but not necessarily right up front. They have some fantastic players and have experience playing together. Time will tell if they can live up to their potential and exceed expectations.
- Close to Death: I was very surprised by Close to Death’s performance in the final weekend. They were one game away from winning the finals, before getting overtaken by LFW. Most of these players are less-known names. But if they can build on their play in the last qualifier, this will be a team you’ll be hearing more about.
- Revive Esports: This team is young and less-experienced than probably anyone else here. But they have had some good showings. They played Wrong Orc (a.k.a. Scythe Esports) and performed well against them during the HeroesHearth Fight Night. I doubt they’ll contend during this first season, but I expect them to show fight each series. If they improve enough, teams will need to look out in the future.