After weeks of exhausting competition among hundreds of schools and teams, the Heroes of the Dorm Heroic Four: LSU, Kentucky, UT Arlington, and UC Irvine met at Cox Theater at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for a chance to earn their college tuition and a shot a professional exposure. The first matchup was between LSU and Kentucky.
LSU has been a strong contender and was the favorite going into the semi-final. Kentucky was made up of a team of three pairs of brothers that had relied on their synergy and straight brawling ability to get to the finals over stronger teams in the past.
UC Irvine’s roster synergy has been unstoppable throughout the tournament so far leading them to several out drafts of their opponents. UT Arlington made it to the Grand Finals last year and had a lot of time to practice their teamwork. This made them able to dictate the pacing of the matches they’ve been in, relying on strong engages and rotations to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents. They were definitely the favorite for the tournament this year.
LSU vs Kentucky: Game 1 Infernal Shrines
The draft stated with LSU banning out Sonya and Gul’dan (a well-known Kentucky favorite) before picking Arthas, Malfurion, Greymane, Lunara, and Muradin.
Kentucky responded by first removing Tassadar and then Zeratul before taking ETC, Tychus, Dehaka, Rehgar, and Kael’thas. Kentucky focused on getting their team’s comfort picks and picking up several global oriented heroes that focused on playing the long-term macro game against LSU’s much heavier team fight comp.
Early game started with both teams creating a rotation between mid and bottom lanes, but LSU was not content to sit on their laurels and aggressively rotated into Kentucky’s backline, getting early kills and forcing them to be more timid going into the first shrine. Using both Dehaka and ETC’s stun, Kentucky was able to pick up a kill on Arthas and Lunara before getting the first punisher.
As the punisher was taken, LSU picked up a kill as a trade which prevented Kentucky from capitalizing on the punisher. By the second shrine, both teams were knocking on the door of level ten, but Kentucky over extended into the shrine minions as LSU picked up level ten, which turned the fight in the favor of LSU. This secured the shrine and allowed them to aggressively pursue Kentucky with their combination of stuns, poke, and lockdown.
By the midgame, LSU’s lead had extended by seven kills and nearly a level and a half, which kept Kentucky constantly split pushing in an attempt to catch up in soak. A perfect Mosh Pit and Ancestral Heal by Kentucky turned the fight on the third shrine and secured them the punisher, though their confidence was perhaps a little too high as they over extended and were baited into a team fight that resulted in a complete team wipe.
By the late game. LSU regained momentum and were moving from forts to camps without any fear of interference from Kentucky.
At the fourth shrine, Kentucky was unable to engage on LSU properly and were poked down very quickly from the Lunara damage and the staggering damage from cocktail build Greymane. The sheer damage shredded the front line of Kentucky’s team and they road that momentum to the end of the first game. LSU went up 1-0.
Analyst Comment: LSU’s ability to disrupt the team fights by throwing Muradin into the backline, while simultaneously poking down the front line, forced the Kentucky Rehgar to choose between saving his Kael’thas or his frontline. This hesitation led to several crucially missed Ancestral Heals during team fights and left them constantly down in team fights. Relying on Dehaka as a secondary engage proved to be a mistake as he as very few ways for him to easily engage LSU without them first over extending. Their primary engage from ETC proved to be insufficient in the face of a Cursed Bullet Greymane and Lunara damage.
LSU vs Kentucky: Game 2 Tomb of the Spider Queen
In round two, LSU wasted no time removing Gul’dan and Johanna from the board before taking Malfurion, ETC, Greymane, Leoric, and Chromie. Kentucky removed Tassadar and Ragnoros from the draft again in the second round before taking Tychus, Arthas, Lucio, Muradin, and Medivh.
LSU continued to focus on teamfight by bringing in tanks that could easily lock down their opponents, especially since the draft of Lucio meant that Kentucky was going in without a cleanse. This not only made Kentucky vulnerable to ETC/Malfurion lockdown but Chromie’s Temporal Loop as well. Kentucky attempted to mitigate this damage by last picking Medivh to use Force of Will to counter the LSU ability to focus down a single target.
Early game showcased the inexperience of the Medivh player as his timing was not quite on point and his team took more damage than they should have. Picking up on this, LSU began to aggressively rotate on top of Kentucky in the top and mid lane, giving them the first webweaver wave. This secured the top and bottom fort, which pushed LSU ahead by two levels to get their heroic abilities.
Prowling through the map without fear, LSU secured the third fort on the map and prevented any turn in attempts from Kentucky before getting a second consecutive webweaver wave, which was used to take the first keep at 8:20 into the game.
Kentucky’s lack of waveclear became a major issue as they were unable to save their second and third keep before the ten minute mark. Finally securing their heroics, Kentucky attempted to go for a team fight but walked away with their noses bloodied.
Backs against the wall, Kentucky managed to get their first webweaver wave and went for a second team fight, but it was just as unsuccessful as Chromie’s damage was able to destroy their frontline with casual abandon.
Riding their momentum, LSU went for a quick boss and Kentucky attempted one last time to contest so far behind to no avail. Four unanswered LSU kills snowballed into the end of the match and LSU moved forward to the Grand Finals.
Analyst Comment: Kentucky’s failure to secure a cleanse early in the draft forced them to rely on a hero that was obviously something their team was uncomfortable with. This not only handicapped their team fight ability but forced them to react in every fight. The Medivh player’s inability to complete the Master’s Touch quest at level seven did not help their wave clear or damage issues, and they quickly found themselves overwhelmed by massive minion and webweaver waves.
UC Irvine vs. UT Arlington Game 1: Sky Temple
UT Arlington banned Zeratul and ETC before taking Arthas, Dehaka, Rehgar, Lucio, and Greymane. UC Irvine Responded by removing Tassadar and Valla from the draft before taking Malfurion, Falstad, Muradin, Lunara, and Sonya.
UT Arlington decided to pick up a double support, double warrior comp to overcome the damage output of UC Irvine’s Lunara. Their reliance on Greymane as the primary damage seemed risky into Muradin’s lockdown against auto attack heroes and Falstad’s Mighty Gust disengage.
The match started with aggressive leverage of UT Arlington’s Dehaka to secure an early kill against the UC Irvine in the bottom lane and another against Malfurion in the middle temple as it became active. This allowed UT Arlington to soak both temples for a short time before gaining a whole level lead before the two-minute mark.
As the second temple began to activate, UC Irvine had caught up in soak and both Falstad and Dehaka stayed in the top lane making the fight a 4v4 in bottom, which eventually went the way of UC Irvine due to a quick rotation by Falstad into the bottom lane. UT Arlington was unable to secure any kills in the fight and despite the heavy frontline and support comp from UT Arlington, they were still buckling under the damage that UC Irvine was bringing to the fights.
Emboldened by their advantage, UC Irvine successfully destroyed the fort in the bottom lane and began to move ahead of UT Arlington. Perhaps a little too bold, UT Arlington secured kills on Lunara and Malfurion just as the third temple phase began, which let UT Arlington get both temples, pushing them way head in the structures race that is so important on Sky Temple.
As the fourth temples began to activate, UC Irvine’s Arthas got caught out and isolated with a mighty gust that gave UT Arlington an opportunity to trade temples, which was really all they had to do to keep their structural lead on the map.
As late game drew ever nearer, both teams traded mercenary camps but were unable to commit to a fight and the growing tension between the two teams became palpable as each team realized that a bad fight would likely end the game quickly.
As the fifth temple -a single one in the middle of the map- activated a team fight was inevitable. An impressive fight ensued with an attempted isolation on Dehaka by Falstad but the tide turned as Lunara stepped too far forward and was consumed by Dehaka’s drag. The rest of the fight snowballed into a triple kill for UT Arlington and they went for the core, ending the game quickly.
Analyst Comment: This was a close match between both teams as the decisive rotations and engages at the beginning of the match turned more cautious by the late game. The UT Arlington team’s resilience in the face of such strong damage ended up prevailing as UC Irvine attempted to isolate and destroy UT Arlington’s frontline members toward the end of the match, which proved unsuccessful in the hands of such a skilled Dehaka player. In such an environment the team that lost was the first one to make a mistake and that ended up being the Lunara player from UC Irvine who stepped a little too far forward and was burnt down, resulting in a team fight that snowballed into UT Arlington’s favor quickly.
UC Irvine vs. UT Arlington Game 2: Tomb of the Spider Queen
Once again UT Arlington removed Zeratul and Leoric from the draft before drafting Arthas, ETC, Greymane, Auriel, and Valla. UC Irvine again banned Tassadar and Lucio before drafting Gul’dan, Malfurion, Muradin, Nazeebo, and Johanna.
After support choking UT Arlington, the team from Texas fell back on Auriel as a healer with Valla as an energy battery. UT Arlington banned Leoric in an effort to prevent them from drafting a counter to Arthas in the solo lane, which Kentucky struggled against earlier in the day on the same map. UC Irvine would have to keep pace with UT Arlington in order to best capitalize on Nazeebo’s late game strength.
Early game started with an explosive lockdown against Muradin resulting in an early pick for UT Arlington. UT Arlington began a 3-2 rotation between top, mid, and bottom while UC Irvine just tried to react to the constant pressure. They carried that pressure into the first webweaver wave, which pushed them further ahead despite UC Irvine successfully gaining a kill on the UT Arlington Greymane.
This lead and aggressive stance continued from UT Arlington and prevented UC Irvine from being able to turn in for a webweaver wave of their own. Arlington was able to prevent Irvine from turning for so long that they actually got the second consecutive webweaver wave, which they followed up with a successful Sindragosa push from Arthas and a four man Mosh Pit from ETC that just continued to push UT Arlington further and further ahead.
Irvine finally secured their first webweaver wave three levels down, but were unable to significantly push with their well-earned turn in. However, it did give Irvine’s tier two structures some much needed relief. Said relief was short lived, as UT Arlington summoned their third web weaver wave, which was compounded by a Sindragosa from Arlington’s Arthas. This wave cost them both top and bottom keeps, and UT Arlington immediately went for boss. Unable to interrupt the boss capture, the boss marched to the core and finished the game and the series on UT Arlington’s favor 2-0.
Analyst Comment: UT Arlington dominated this match by controlling the turn-in alters with aggressive rotations between lanes. Irvine’s inability to keep up or successfully engage on UT Arlington resulted in their defeat here, as they went for two heroes -Gul’dan and Nazeebo- that required the game to get to late game before becoming strong. UT Arlington successfully leveraged Sindragosa from Arthas to get further ahead by securing structures and engaging on the UC Irvine to set up victorious team fights. In short: UT Arlington dictated the pacing of the match and unyielding stance shut UC Irvine out. This concluded the Heroes of the Dorm Heroic Four 2017 match ups.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, eSports, Heroes of the Dorm, Heroes of the Storm, MOBA