by TeamHearthLeague AP
Season Proliferation was an appropriate name for Team Hearth League's second season as the league expanded to 16 teams and the concept of four divisions was introduced for the first time. Along with the usual upsets and closely fought matches, divisions also allowed for rivalries to develop, leading to intense playoff races filled with drama and tension up until the final game was played. It was the Hairy Generals who emerged victorious over the team of Continuum to forever lay claim to the title of season two champions.
Much has changed since the Hairy Generals celebrated that win. With the introduction of standard and The Old Gods set, we now enter a new era of unprecedented upheaval for Hearthstone. THL has also changed, as each division now welcomes a fifth team among its ranks, with a total of seven new teams joining the league.
Entering its third season, THL fields 20 championship hopefuls—100 starting players of all skill levels jumping into the fray every week. That's not even taking into account the deep benches found in the sparring league this year.
All in all, it's as competitive a landscape as THL has ever seen. It's Season Corruption, and right now, it's anyone's game.
1. Team Rank Five
Following an impressive regular season where they finished with the most points of any team, Team Rank Five looked to get back to the title game for the second straight season, but were stopped short in the semi-finals by Continuum. Returning for season three will be MVP JesusC and Imbolc who both dominated at their seeds. They will be joined by the talented MVParker.
Some changes had to be made though as TR5 finished well above the salary cap. As a result Mainge and Cassity will not return as players for season three. Joining the team to replace them will be Moxie, currently the highest ranked THL member on HeroProgress, and Iamplanb who previously played as the fifth seed for the Super Heroes. Team Rank Five looks to continue their tradition of having a strong middle of the roster, but if Moxie is able to finally give them a true threat at the one seed then they will be one of the strongest teams yet again.
After spending two seasons as a deckhand Arthur Rhodes (Salt) will try his hand steering the ship, and so far seems to be doing well. Playing in the one seed will be HotAsianGirl who finished 22nd on ladder in February and will head into the Spring Championship ranked 66th. Salt himself will play in the two seed after a nice outing in that role this past season. Next is TonyMontana who is a rookie but comes in with one of the higher personal ratings for a third seed. A real steal in free agency is Craeon who packed an 8-2 record last season. Drudded will close out the team after getting his feet wet as a substitute.
Detrucci wrapped up a great season with a championship as a member of the Hairy Generals and will now look to repeat that success with a team of his own. Of particular interest is the pair of top seeds making their THL debut. DotDark finished No. 1 on the ladder for November and Tophatdemon has had great tournament results with a recent win in the Plantronics Cup Finals. We've seen that ladder and even tournament success doesn't necessarily translate to THL but it certainly doesn't hurt. FollowDurden and Furocia will look to compliment those players and make their own mark on the league.
After dominating the Blue-Green conference along with the Hairy Generals it seemed inevitable the two would meet to decide who advanced to the championship—and that's exactly what happened, with Soupreme falling to the Generals. As of writing this the only listed member for Soupreme is captain DeerJason.
Will Soupreme continue its history of trotting out two really strong one seeds? If so, will Moo and Prometheus return for their third season with Soupreme? Maybe Brainiac33 comes back as the fifth seed? It's being speculated Soupreme may try for three really strong players at the expense of their other seeds and if that happens it won't be possible to bring back Moo or Prometheus. But if there's any team that has earned the benefit of the doubt—even with this much ambiguity surrounding its roster—it's Soupreme.
5. The Gosu Casuals
The Gosu Casuals have been a model of consistency, retaining much of the same roster from season to season and making the playoffs for seasons one and two but failing to advance past the first round. Once again the Casuals will keep Slimsch, Jingbudda, Mykel19XX, and ADKT, and have brought in tomberry as the newest Casual. We have seen the core of the Gosu Casuals do well and with one of THL's best players as a captain in Slimsch, the Casuals should always be a contender.
6. Noob Central
Champions of THL's inaugural season, Noob Central returned to the playoffs but were unsuccessful repeating after falling to Team Rank Five in the first round. The Noobs underwent a lot of change from season one to two but going into season three they retained much of the same team from the prior season. All-Stars stiLLer3k and Kuthroat will hold down the top two seeds with captain Nade set to be the third seed. Last season Gemini bowed out after week six and Hamboning came on as a replacement for the Noob's final two weeks. Hamboning will now be a permanent member and joining him will be none other than JoshSampson, who after captaining for two seasons has stepped down from that role and instead will hope to be the piece that pushes Noob Central over the top.
Determined to get back to the playoffs after a disappointing season one, Jaxox put together a solid team that was able to get the playoffs in season two but exited the first round thanks to Continuum. It originally looked like much of the same crew would be back together--LoadedLux, Firpo, Xaether, Jaxox--and the one change would be All-Star SmokedSalmon taking over the two seed after Arthur Rhodes left to captain his own team. If this was the case they would be a strong team yet again, unfortunately LoadedLux is unable to play and Jaxox now has to figure out what the top of the Entropy roster will look like for the new season.
8. The Hairy Generals
Once Markshire enlisted in the second week of last season, the Hairy Generals and they never looked back, going undefeated and culminating with a championship victory over Contnuum. As with most accomplished teams, finishing well over the salary cap necessitated changes, and in season three we will see a different set of Generals. Gone are PokeHer and Detrucci, replaced by ArcaneFu and Vicarious. Not much is known about Vicarious but ArcaneFu is a recognizable name thanks to Discord and THL tournaments. Staying on the team will be AndyRogers, Markshire, and GernBlanston with JediNinja and Necrohavoc continuing to work behind the front lines and using their talents to improve the league. The loss of the very talented PokeHer hurts as not only did he win a lot of games but his absence changes the seeding for the Generals, making repeating difficult but not impossible.
9. Pure Strategy
Coming up short of the playoffs for season two was probably disappointing for Pure Strategy but it is a new season and also a new Pure Strategy team. One of the true titans of THL, YuruYuri has stepped away and replacing him will be Alexstrasza, who is coming off a nice season with Those Filthy Roleplayers. Hambowen, ApplSaucFactory, and SergeantHendog99 will stay together and there will be somewhat of an Angry Chicken Fan Club reunion as MonkeyWarlord joins up with his old teammates ApplSaucFactory and SergeantHendog99.
10. Yogg Champs
A last minute team vacancy meant a team needed to be filled and quickly. Adidas5482 stepped up and will now be a captain for season three after having a very impressive record as Continuum's top seed last season. Joining him will be Dunamis who will be a THL rookie but has been active within the community already, along with the less familiar faces of TheRealDrWho and LightW8. Lordforehead, last seen playing as a Filthy Casual in season one, joins Yogg Champs for their first season. Although this team was put together somewhat last minute they shouldn't be overlooked.
11. Dream Team
The Dream Team was in the unenviable position as one of last year's most overlooked teams, starting off last in the preseason rankings. But they didn't let that get them down, opening with a major upset of Team Rank Five. They were unable to continue with that momentum, and aside from a lopsided loss to Entropy, many of their matches were very close. Bookends c0mp and RadDreams return and will be joined with arbitraryarmor and Yamakiller, both finding their way to the Dream Team after being teammates on Those Filthy Roleplayers. Sandwiched in-between those players will be rookie PinkSamus.
12. Archon Storm
A team usually synonymous with success, Archon Storm showed they could even excel at mediocrity, as the decision to take a more relaxed approach towards season two was reflected in their results. Will a new format and a new season respark Archon's pilot light? Or has this once great house of THL gone cold?
If their competitive fire returns, it is very possible they can become a threat again as they still have Viridae, ClarkKent, Hertzdonut, and n00basaurus--the core of Archon Storm for the past two seasons. The new face is KillaJive, who previously captained the Angry Chicken Fan Club and briefly played for Team Rank Five in season two.
13. The Super Heroes
Last season the Super Heroes came out strong with two straight wins but then dropped four of their final five games, costing them a shot at the postseason. Captain SuperSam will return, not as a player, but as team manager, and every member of the Heroes will actually be a THL rookie. Bocharenai and Kraxximus have both been talked up a great deal and will be the top seeds, with Kraxximus having top 100 finishes for both February and March. MLGAnakin, also known as Darby, will open as the three seed while the less known Crono will be the four. Interestingly enough SuperSam's dad MightyMatty will round out the roster for the Super Heroes. As of press time, it's still unknown whether or not SuperSam gives MightyMatty a coaching discount.
No stranger to THL, Twizz spent half of season two playing for Entropy before stepping away and will now head a new team named Netherstorm. Rookie SirSpamsalot will open the season as the top seed with Twizz playing right under him. After winning two huge playoff games as a substitute for second place Continuum, SuperExplosiveSheep was a highly coveted free agent, and a major coup for this upstart squad. Crovan has played in Wicked Wednesday, and follows closely behind in the four spot. A determined Gemini returns to THL as Netherstorm's final seed.
15. The Damaged Ones
The Orange division will welcome a new team for season three: The Damaged Ones. The leader of the Damaged Ones is no stranger to the division however, as JerryDamage spent season two with the Super Heroes. Robsaurusrex is relatively new to THL but not unfamiliar as he has played in THL tournaments and been active within the community. Much less is known about Soulcrusher and returning to THL will be Takuah who last saw action in season Beta. The one seed for the Damaged Ones is currently unfilled after Dunamis left to join the new team Yogg Champs, but once filled we will have a better idea of the strength of the Damaged Ones.
16. Boom Squad
Season two started off a little rocky for Boom Squad but they quickly found their way and started pulling in the wins before ultimately coming up a little short for a playoff bid. One of only two teams to see no changes from the previous season, Boom Squad will return all five players for season three. This means that DannyWu, Asuna, and TinyHippo are no longer rookies and will have a season's worth of experience to build off. No description of the Squad can leave out captain Dlineman and Brunson, and they will man the second and third seeds respectively.
One of the biggest surprises of last season, Xnergy had finished in the semi-finals in season one and looked like a strong team for season two. Looks were deceiving and the going was rough for Xnergy, who finished with the second fewest points in THL. DiAmonD6610 will work to make that a distant memory as he becomes captain of Xnergy once again. Staying on with the team will be TheSacredJew and Catota, who had an uncharacteristic season for himself but is always dangerous. New to the Xnergy crew will be RedMarsh and longtime Hairy General BoomBoomHall.
18. Danger Zone
Last season while much of Archon Storm was taking it easy, Gideoneko apparently didn't get the memo and recorded only one loss. He's now riding a highway to a new team, as captain of Danger Zone. While it is a new team the names certainly aren't. V.Clique and Pacetry have made their way over from Xnergy, with b0rck also coming from another Green division team in Pure Strategy. Of course we can't forget their final member, the grim gamer himself. Some of the Danger Zone will be playing at different seeds than what they did the season before and we'll have to see what effect that has on them.
19. Team Golden Wisp
Team Golden Wisp made their debut last season led by AlecGWPodcast, who was joined by four newcomers to THL. They were immediately welcomed to a division with two of THL's top teams.
This same lineup will stay intact for season three and is only one of two teams to return all five players. While last season was tough at times due to inexperience and a difficult schedule, keeping the same team intact and having a season's worth of experience should pay off. On the team with AlecGWPodcast is his podcast co-host Hupnar, along with DrewbixQube and Vtiioma. Last but not least is Cooking with Sasha star, Chef Sasha himself, who had a nice rookie season that culminated with a spot on the all-star team.
20. Team Avatar
Leumer played as a member of the Dream Team in season two and has assembled his own squad for season three. Team Avatar comes in as the lowest team in terms of total PR but that is of no concern for their captain who sees the team as a group which can prosper now, grow together for the future, and na'vigate the dicey path to THL glory. At the top of their roster, Leumer drew two top seeds with Gnetz and YGOadam, a pair of proficient Yu-Gi-Oh players ready to duel in another game. PumbaasBFF has participated in many THL tournaments and will play in the three seed. Odeffen has found his way to Team Avatar after playing as a Gosu Casual the season prior, and along with Leumer look to improve upon their season two performance.
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