BlizzCon is on the horizon, but before someone could stake their claim on a world championship title, Blizzard decided to host a tournament, called Nexus Games, that took place over the last several weeks for both the NA and EU regions.
The goal of the tournament was to help players prepare for the changes being implemented in the Nexus--like the changes to mount speed, new heroes, and new maps. More specifically, it helped the members of Astral Authority (formerly known as Murloc Geniuses) and Denial eSports--the two teams representing NA at BlizzCon this year. And, of course, those two teams further solidified their positions as the top two teams in the region as Astral Authority won the whole thing, and Denial finished second.
Denial was able to battle their way through the bracket without dropping a single set, until they faced Astral Authority in the semi finals. Mike “Glaurung” Fisk was visiting family that weekend, and was not able to play during the semi final round, but fortunately the team’s analyst, HandleBars, was able to fill in for him. Denial wasn’t able to win, but KingCaffeine mentioned that he “didn’t expect to win [without Glaurung], but got to try some drafts.” If you watch Denial play often, you’ll notice that drafting unique comps is something that they exceed at, so the series was surely still beneficial for them.
After getting beat, Denial faced Gust or Bust (the old Astral Authority members) in the loser bracket. Denial almost swept Gust or Bust, but Gust was able to win game 3. Other than that hiccup, it was a very clean series for the Wolfpack that put them right back into the grand finals against none other than Astral Authority.
With Glaurung back in the mix of things, Denial looked sharper than they did in the first series vs Astral, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Denial convincingly took game 1, but after that, they were unable to beat Astral in a single game, earning second place for the tournament.
While Denial surely would have liked to win, you can imagine this tournament was a learning experience for them--which, ultimately, is what it was meant to be. The meta is definitely changing: Malfurion, ETC, Valla, and Zarya were the top 4 picked/banned heroes of the tournament--Malf having a 100% popularity. As far as normality goes, Muradin and Brightwing were still the top two picked heroes for Denial, but we did see them run The Lost Vikings a couple of times, and it was Glaurung of all people who played them. I’m not sure how much of the viking trio we’ll see at BlizzCon, since they’re 0-3 when using them, but it was definitely interesting to see them trying them out. Medivh was MIA for the Nexus Games, but the team played him with great success during the second NA regional, so maybe we’ll see a bit more of him at BlizzCon. As far as things we can be sure of at the global tournament, the team has a 65% winrate when playing Muradin, 60% with Brightwing, 73% with Falstad, and an 88% winrate when Glaurung is on Zeratul, so look for those heroes to continue to be some of the staples of their drafts.
You can catch Denial in the group stages of BlizzCon next Wednesday, the 26th. Where they will inevitably face the ever dominant MVP Black.
And, of course, if you haven’t already, be sure to give the team members a follow on twitter and wish them luck: @callmecaff, @c9k1pro, @Glaurung_tv, @apmgod, @Prismaticismism and @HandleBarsHots.