Welcome to the OctaTHLon! The first four tournaments are now underway with BG happening this Saturday. Everyone loves hot takes and predictions right? Let's take a look at each bracket and make some wild guesses at who are the favorites to snag their team a medal.
Please click on each image below to see a normal, definitely not Zoolander-esque ant size rendition.
Starting with conquest, the most common competitive format in Hearthstone and the one more players are familiar with than any other. I think that makes this format the least likely to be subject to upsets as we may have new decks and a meta, but understanding lineup building and queuing is still key.
CaelesLuna has to be favored in Quad1 though I can see Fsorace1 making a run.
RonMexico is the pick for Quad2, even securing himself a bye in the process.
Quad3 should be fun as Aviously vs Enthralimund is a powerful round 1 matchup and then the winner takes on Rizen. I think the final 4 member comes from this trio but I'll take Avi as he's been a model of consistency for several seasons.
Quad4 is another banger with several elite players sitting here. Hard to vote against MrPython based on last season's performance but I'm sure Snake and Nails will have something to say about that.
CaelesLuna, RonMexico, Aviously, MrPython
Dark Horse: Fsorace1
On to LHS, one of the most highly competitive series in THL over the last year. Not everyone enjoys last hero standing but let's just say those that do REALLY love it.
Quad 1 has some intriguing options. LotusKnight has historically been a very strong player in THL though was only around .500 in Hero last season. Meanwhile BOOZASAURUS was a dominant 6-1. Chronic struggled last season but is an LHS specialist. Oh by the way, Sundy subbed in and went 2-0 (6-1) so there is no shortage of potential here. But we must pick! We're going with the relative upset here of Sundy.
Quad 2 is busted. Icicles v MrPython in round 1 features the two highest rated 1 seeds in LHS last season and could be a finals in and of itself. nineeyebrows will try to #shinebright against Diamond in round 1 as well. I can make a case for all 6 of these players. Ice vs MrP is such a tossup but I'm still going to take a risk that my pick is eliminated in round 1 and go with MrPython.
Quad 3 features HeatShock and the human cheat code in Robocats/Buny. GKick vs Robo in round 1 is a sleeper awesome match with Jester lying in wait as well. Still have to go with HeatShock but this is a part of the bracket to watch.
Quad 4 - Please note that MartyB was subbed out for DragonRider.
Rizen gets the bye here and brings himself one step closer to a final four appearance. Yours truly will have to get through AstralFrog and Jimphilos if he wants a date with the elite 8. Do we see a matchup of AEON teammates vying for a top 4 spot? Possibly! Rizen is the favorite here.
Sundy, MrPython, HeatShock, Rizen
Dark Horse: Chronic
Wild is bursting at the seams with high level players. Several teams took their recruitment of wild players very seriously and it's going to make for an extremely competitive field.
To quote Mattatarms "cool, nineyebrows or 6j, cool cool cool...". Matt gets the winner of this matchup but hey maybe they'll be tired after duking it out with one another? Is that not how HS works? No? Sorry bud. For real though, between SLAAD, 6J and RiceBowl we have 30% of the All Wild team from last season. Gonna give the edge to SLAAD as they secured the bye and will have fewer matches enroute to a final 4 appearance.
Down in Quad 2, I like Hazer to get to the elite 8 but who exactly will he face? ForChrist is a newcomer to THL with solid Wild credentials. Bonemasher went 3-0 (9-1) in limited time last season and SnakeFawdz is a 6 win 1 seed. He who survives the bottom left might just be final 4 participant here. SnakeFawdz again plays fewer matches, so I give them the nod.
Quad 3 is a little more wide open. Feesh is coming off a strong season but didn't play Wild. SKItLLeZ and Ghost didn't either but are proven winners in other THL series. Peanuts is the only player in this quad that played in Wild last season and finished 5-4. Call this one a gut pick, but I'm going with Ghost to sneak out of this quad.
Quad 4 brings a bunch more heavy hitters. Billsnyder did not play Wild last season but is coming off a championship and dominant performance just one season prior. Sleight and Sundy both racked up wins and Turtle is just strong across the board. Will I predict Sundy to make two top 4s in the first three brackets? No, if only "Sleight-ly". Sleight makes it out of this group.
SLAAD, SnakeFawdz, Ghost, Sleight
Dark horse: Bonemasher
A brand new format! This goes back to a time before even THL existed so it's hard to prognosticate beyond what I know of the players themselves. No stats, just feels!
Quad 1 - Please note again, that DragonRider is subbed in for MartyB. GermanShep has to be the outright favorite here based on historical performance in Pro series though Wild9/DragonRider are fun "underdog" stories. Still going with GShep though.
Quad 2 contains one of the most storied players in THL history in Slimsch. Has he been playing much recently? Some players just don't need the reps though. Cmac, SnakeFawdz and Amaj10 have all been getting the reps and will have to fight through their own little mini-tourney to see who gets an elite 8 bid. Cmac didn't play specialist (gasp!) so you know he's gonna be focused here. I've got CmaccompH emerging from this group.
Quad 3 has one of the players who we had to put on hype-overload watch as I thought he might explode before classic launched (that's Leumer by the way). Will that focus be enough to maneuver through? Anfal is a good sleeper pick and has a history of performing well in offseason tourneys (though if you wanna pick it up during the Legacy/Hero regular season I won't complain there bud. JK, much love). Koroden vs Peanuts should be an underrated good first round match too! I like Koroden here to move through and be in medal contention.
And on to Quad 4 where we see some of the longest tenured names in THL history with Markshire, Stephieee and Mattatarms. Only one can advance! But will it be one of these three? Because SLAAD, wyfair and Goose will have their own opinions on the matter. I think Markshire gets there.
GermanShep, CmaccompH, Koroden, Markshire
Dark Horse: Anfal
For those not familiar with the BG tournament format, it's going to be one lobby (the three starting groups above). Top 4 from each will advance into two groups of 6. IF there is a tie in round 1 with simultaneous players being knocked out in 4th place, then all tied players will advance to round 2. So it is more accurate to say the round 2 lobbies will be "6+" players depending on round 1 results. Standard THL tiebreakers (highest previous finish, highest average finish) will be used from round 2 forward.
This one is tough to predict because we don't know the round 2 pairings and that can derail everything. So let's look at each individual lobby. Lobby 1 looks to be possibly the strongest. Lulnenko, Kols and Itachi are all very high ranked BG players with the 4th spot up for grabs. I know Jammies has been putting in work.
Lobby 2 has Koroden and Rebobson likely as frontrunners though the remaining players are all strong in their own right. I'm going to go with Ricebowl and Buny to join them.
Lobby 3 has a lot of players I know more for their non-BG competitive chops. Wild9 is one of the higher ranked players here and sway_bae is too I believe. I'll go with Billsnyder and urmumked to join them.
Top 4: lulnenko, Kols, Koroden, Wild9
Dark Horse: urmumked
Specialist had its brief moment in the sun in competitive HS a few years ago. Then it spiraled out of control and crashed into said sun and was promptly never heard from again. But like a necromancer in Diablo 2 #blizzard #notanad we have resurrected it for a limited time! Yet again, no relevant stats here, just player caliber.
Quad 1 - Icicles returns to face Boolian in round 1 here. I didn't pick him last time so I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't pick him here. He and Pasca are the most consistent of this group but yes Icicles, I will stick with you here.
Quad 2 is FIRE. I can literally make a case for any of these players from Bonemasher and ForChrist in the underdog role to HeatShock, Basedinc, Booz and NiceJewishOwl. Not gonna lie though, the possibility of a based vs HeatShock elite 8 is hype-central. Based to the top 4!
Quad 3 has another wealth of possibilities. Ronald J Mexico obtained another bye somehow but will face tough competition from 6J and AgentPWE. There are a lot of sleepers here though. Ronny Medals makes it through though.
Quad 4 might be the biggest toss up in the field. I honestly don't know much about most of the players but Diamond has been playing at a very high level lately and coming off a championship so we'll see if he can cut through the field.
Icicles, Basedinc, RonMexico, Diamond
Dark horse: Roadrunner
Someone get RDU on the line, it's happening! Strike is one of the more unique formats in HS. I deign to say competitive HS because I'm not sure if it has actually been featured beyond show matches/proof of concept but here it is!
Quad 1 - I need this against Rebobson. Former teammates in Conquest going at it? Well vmprnighthawk beat me in pro last season so let's not get ahead of ourselves. Plus I'm a notorious choker in these offseason events. And on ladder. And in THL. Really just HS in general. urmumked also looking to make a run here and don't sleep on Totinos! If you bite too quickly you'll definitely get burned. I begrudgingly pick Rebob here.
Quad 2 - Goose and LotusKnight appear to be the leaders here but Hickit could play the disruptor role. Goose has the bye and therefore the easier path to the final 4.
Quad 3 - Markshire when Strike was announced - :D Markshire when seeing he was playing CaelesLuna round 1 - D: Oh by the way, the other first round match up is Xyrellaa vs Nejiboston. What even is this quad? Neji is the two time reigning crossover player in THL. Can he play strike? Uh, yeah probably. Gotta go with Neji here.
Quad 4 - Strike be loaded y'all. These are 6 high powered players, four of whom (Kols, GShep, Cmac, based) I've already picked for final fours in their other events. Gonna go with GermanShep to make his second final four.
Rebobson, Goose, Nejiboston, GermanShep
Dark horse: Hickit
And lastly we come to Speedstone. In true Noz fashion I will only be posting my predictions in one sentence with no spaces.
Quad 1 - Itachi is the original speedstone player, before it was vogue. He plays fast and wins games already so why would I not expect him to be favored here? Nails and Valdus will be strong opponents as well but Itachi gets the nod.
Quad 2 - This one is pretty open but I see Shoe, Agent, Lefty and Hazer as the favorites. Hazer only has to face one of them so I like Hazer to slide into the final four's DMs.
Quad 3 - We gave Avi a bye? Who made this bracket? Um...nevermind. Dabs is lurking in the top corner as well and will be a tough first round opponent for Chronic. I can see Dabs being the one to upset Avi here and get through to the final four.
Quad 4 - Normally we'd operate on "see a Neji, pick a Neji" but this is another busted group of six. A bunch of strong players, especially that Turtle/Snake/Neji trio. Do snakes eat turtles? *googles* They do not thanks to the shell! Although a turtle is not usually conducive to moving quickly, I'm going with Turtle here.
Itachi, Hazer, Dabs, Turtle
Dark horse: Xyrellaa
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