For those of you that weren’t aware, Patch 2.9 came out since the last time teams played for the regular season with some venturing out to Las Vegas for Mobile Masters. New patch means new meta, but this time around it meant a new hero as the Churnwalker was released. Many were wondering if he was going to find a place on the Fold, but critics were questioning the power of the new hero. No one even thought he would be seen outside of some outliers here and there. Little did they know, TSM had other plans as FlashX had been getting practice in on him for the NA VG8 in his spare time.
NA VG8 – Upsets and Surprises
If it isn’t already thought of, Tribe Gaming is the most unpredictable team in the VG8. They either barely beat someone like Hollywood Hammers or Gankstars, or they crush a team sitting at the top of the standings. This week was definitely the latter. In the defense of C9, they went to Mobile Masters, which meant that they were practicing on patch 2.8 instead of gaining the extra week that Tribe was able to on 2.9. But still, Tribe looked confident and this was with MaxGreen being subbed out for Xelciar.
The biggest shock from this week’s day one wasn’t just C9 losing to Tribe, but the drafts themselves. Saw finally got to be brought back, but over the course of the week, Ozo, Alpha, Reza, and Churnwalker were all picked up by players to strangely amazing success. If people doubted the power that a simple patch can have on a meta, they need to reevaluate life after seeing what just happened this past weekend. Also, might want to avoid solo queue for a bit.
But stopping short of all of this has to be the performance out of Hollywood Hammers. On the verge of relegation, Hammers were able to get all the way to the finals to take on TSM this week. Of course, they started the week easy with Tempo Storm, but their achievement of beating Nova was nothing to scoff at. After some incredibly close matches with Nova that involved a few risky base rushes that ultimately let Hammers to taking the series 2-1.
Out of everything that did happen this weekend, the most important was FlashX on Churnwalker. If you want to learn how to properly play and build Churn, I suggest watching the VODs. Honestly, the most amazing pair was Alpha with Churnwalker from TSM against Tribe that allowed them to get an incredible early lead from the massive damage output of Alpha that then spread to the rest of Tribe.
In fact, the Churnwalker ended up being so scary that Hammers banned it in the second ban phase of the first game to try and get Flash onto something else. While it might have looked like the best strategy at first, TSM was purely the better team. It was almost surprising that there weren’t any first picks on Churn from TSM or first bans with how important it was for TSM over the weekend.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is how teams will have to look at TSM next week. The new top team off of the back of the new hero. Do they ban it or do they try to steal it away from FlashX. I would love to see more teams trying to take it away instead of purely banning it, all while adding their own flair to it. Continued adaptation means the possibility of the closest playoffs to date, with any team having a possibility of claiming a Worlds spot.