We're at the halfway mark of the Hero season which means it's time to revisit our preseason analysis to see how everyone is trending. Which teams have surprised and which have fallen short of expectations? For comparison, you can visit the earlier blog post HERE. I will be reviewing the teams in the same order as they were discussed in the previous article. The main purpose here is to compare how everyone is performing both individually and as a team against the preseason statistical expectation.
Tan Pam's Surf Slam - 55 Points - (1-4) - 10th place
This team was lauded for being one of the most consistent threats to win the Hero championship. They had phenomenal experience across the board and were tied for the most average wins per player. So what happened? As has been discussed multiple times, the competition in Hero is very dense this season between teams and within individual seeds. Variance can be cruel and even the best teams can fall prey. ItsMeMikeV is living up to the hype with a solid 3-2 start but the rest of his team has 4 wins combined heading into week 6. The good news is of the remaining four teams on the schedule, only 1 (Dad Legend) is currently in the top 4. Could be an outside shot to turn it around but anything short of 4 straight winning weeks will probably end their looks at a playoff bid.
DSM Five - 65 Points - (2-3) - T-8th Place
DSM Five was the other team tied with TPSS for highest average win per player and they too have had a rough opening half of the season. I did say that I expected there to be some regression out of sophomores Snake and S4nguine after they posted 7 win opening campaigns. Snake has remained on a good pace but S4nguine has struggled to a 1-4 start. Itachi has posted a solid record but isn't his usual bulletproof-self. Quirky is already above her career average and SuperMurloc are is right there, just one win off with 4 to go. The gap to the playoff teams is much smaller here than for TPSS but they'll be playing two of the current top 4 teams to close out the season. Wins over THL and Dad Legend would go a long way and DSM has been rounding into shape these last few weeks. The lineup is too good to count out entirely and they could be a dark horse to slide into a dangerous 4 seed.
ATL - 73 Points - (3-2) - 4th Place
Your current cutoff to make the playoffs is ATL's 73 points, just 8 points ahead of DSM who are 4 ranks lower. This is the first team that has essentially lived up to the preseason expectations. Paced by the only undefeated player remaining in Hero (BlueSpartan), even when they lose it is close. That can be enough to get you to the postseason. Omsie has taken a step back from his break out 7 win opening season and AlienSanta has fallen far short of where he'd like to be. Force and Shunsui have been steady contributors on the back end of the lineup. If they hold the line and even one of Omsie/AlienSanta can kick into gear this will be a playoff team no doubt. Their two toughest matchups are this and next week. If we see ATL in the top 4 after that, you can feel free to write them into your bracket in permanent ink.
Force of Will 2-3
Teen Hearth Legends - 74 Points - (3-2) - 3rd Place
THL and ATL are for all intents and purposes the same team right now. A single point separates them and both are 3-2. Shoebacca replaced Diamond (still captaining) and has started out 1-1. Avi, Catman and LiquidOx were expected to be a lot to handle at the top half of the lineup and they've done exactly that accruing 11 wins combined. Coppertalon is on pace to finish right on average which means that no one should be surprised this team is doing so well. The numbers said they would, the players have delivered and sometimes it's just that simple. ATL is their big remaining match and barring a massive collapse they are playoff bound. Diamond captained teams have never collapsed down the stretch before in Hero, right? (Now I've made myself sad again.)
Dad Legend - 91 Points - (5-0) - 1st Place
Even in a stacked field this team of gentlemen wearing their finest pairs of jorts and New Balances stand alone. They currently hold a 10 point lead over the closest team and have sat in pole position since Week 2. No player in this lineup sports a losing record. Although Icicles won't hit the lofty reaches of his Legacy rookie season, he's still on pace for either 5 or 6 wins. Starlax and YellowDart are on pace to surpass they're averages while Hockey and Sage have already crushed theirs. What's more impressive is their schedule has already included THL and ATL. With NPH left on tap week 7, we could be looking at a 9-0 finish. Not much more to say, this team is a beast.
The Burninators - 68 Points - (1-4) - T-5th Place
This may be the hardest team to make heads or tails of. They're 1-4 which doesn't sound great, but they don't get blown out which is evident in the fact that they are still in striking distance of the top 4. Just a mere 5 points away from 4th, they could very well get there THIS week. RonMexico has already matched his average win total. I was always taking the over on the reigning crossover player of the season. Lilhearthie may prove to be one of the best pickups of the offseason. This pure rookie is on pace to get at least 6 or 7 wins and capture some individual hardware. ShinyPants has taken a step back from a superb opening season and SilverTFox can still get to his average if he puts together a strong second half. Meduzas is off to a slow start and will need to get going. With ATL and THL on tap in weeks 8 and 9, these next two weeks are critical. The Burninators will need to post back to back big weeks and then try to hold on for dear life against some of the current Hero elites. If we look at the standings in two weeks and the Burninators aren't in at least 3rd place, I think they'll be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
The Cult - 65 Points - (2-3) - T-8th Place
Much like DSM this is a team with a pedigree of Hero success and is not where they'd like to be right now. Also like DSM they have a more than realistic show of still making the playoffs. Unlike some of their topheavy brethren, the real work has been done in the bottom half of this lineup with The_Bigted and Quaz both swinging for the fences. Ted is on pace to beat his very high 5.5 win average, an average that has impressively held for multiple seasons and Quaz is having a bit of a breakout season. The rest of the team, nineeyebrows, thelastchamp and Boozasaurus are all hanging right around their average which is to say that this team isn't disappoint but average just isn't cutting it through this dense landscape. They do have a favorable run in these next few weeks and could influence the seeds of the teams right around them in head to head competition. A week 9 matchup vs ATL looms large however.
Team Annoy-O-Team - 66 Points - (2-3) - 7th Place
These guys have taken a few licks in the early going this season. With two rookies on the roster the stats had them placed about here but both rookies have looked quite solid. Dan0 and enthralimund are both 3-2. Dusharmo is right on pace to hit his average of 5 wins. Mattatarms and Jimphilos too will likely find their averages attainable. It's the same story for these guys as The Cult. A really strong field has depressed an otherwise great team. They might have the hardest remaining schedule with Dad Legend, THL and NPH all coming up.
Team No Pros Here - 81 Points - (4-1) - 2nd Place
It turns out these NPH guys are just really good at HS. A bit of a wild card without much THL experience, they are proving that is not a factor. They've done all this with SKItLLeZ struggling out of the gate. AgentPWE is having a phenomenal season, doubling his previous effort and Disco is already at his previous output. Electabuzz's three wins should equate out to an average improvement and Pasca is looking to put together a solid second half to bounce back in the 4 seed. ATL this week and Dad Legend next. If they're still standing they should be in fine position to make a post season run.
NAS-Dormu - 68 Points - (2-3) - 5th Place
The defending champs looked like one of the weaker teams on paper but have managed to hang tough. This despite Donde struggling massively to the tune of only 1 win this season. TrippyToad has come in and put together a rookie of the season caliber effort. Anfal, TwoStarMako and Saku are all on pace to meet their averages. If Donde can get back on track this team could still be playoff bound as the remaining schedule is somewhat favorable. NPH is a big match in week 8 but for a team that doesn't get blown out this could be a sneaky 3 or 4 seed.
We looked at the 6 rookies in the preseason and let's rank 'em right now:
TrippyToad 4-1 (14-6)
lilhearthie 4-1 (13-7)
If you're a viewer of HearthCenter you may have noticed that these two are not only frontrunners for Rookie of the Season but in the hunt for MVP. Both are having tremendous seasons.
Icicles 3-2 (13-10)
enthralimund 3-2 (12-8)
Dan0 3-2 (11-10)
By any measure these three are all playing very well and if the top two stumble any one of this group could easily slide back into the top spot. Icicles and Dan0 were both considered the preseason favorites and have shown exactly why that was the case.
Nineeyebrows 1-4 (8-14)
He's struggling a bit to open the season but Nineeyebrows has plenty of time to turn it around.
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