Blizzard loves cross-pollinating their games. Online hero brawler Heroes of the Storm is the literal example of combining all of their game franchises. Popular online hero shooter Overwatch is gaining more ground,…
It was the year of absolution for UT Arlington. After a close loss to Arizona State in the Heroes of the Dorm Grand Finals last year, UT Arlington coasted to an astonishing 29-0 record to take the championship title on April 8. The UT Arlington “HOTD” defeated LSU “Pick Rick” by winning three matches in the final Best of Five. All six team members (five players plus an alternate) will win free college tuition.
“Congratulations to the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm, UT Arlington, for an awesome run through this year’s tournament,” says Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard. “The teams competing represent the future of competitive gaming, and it’s been a thrill seeing them in action. We appreciate all the students and college sports fans who participated in this year’s competition, and we’re looking forward to even more Heroes of the Storm esports leading up to BlizzCon this November.”
UT Arlington maintained their unprecedented undefeated run all the way to the finals. Early takedowns would bolster their attacks and keep their foes constantly reeling. The University tweeted out their support:
— UT Arlington (@utarlington) April 9, 2017
Team captain Yusuf “Kure” Sunka mentioned that they want to move forward as a team into professional esports, like many members of last year’s winning ASU team. “All of us want to continue going forward as a team and see what we can do off the momentum of this win,” says Sunka. “We’re looking to keep maturing as a team, and this is only a first step for us.”
Heroes of the Dorm is a fun competition based on one of my favorite games of the last few years. But this year’s Heroic Four and Grand Finals fell a bit flat. Nearly every match was a decisive, one-sided victory. Both matches in the Heroic Four ended 2-0 (Best of Three), and the Grand Finals ended 3-0 (Best of Five). UT Arlington was the clear favorite from the very beginning. I’m glad they got their win, but I hope next year’s tournament is a bit more competitive.
This Saturday, April 8, the four best teams from the North American collegiate tournament Heroes of the Dorm will face off in the championship. The four teams will travel to the University of Nevada and play live in front of a crowd of hundreds of fans. If you’re not jetting out to Las Vegas, you can watch the action live via Facebook. The Heroic Four begins at 1 pm Pacific/4 pm Eastern.
From the initial pool of 200, then a giant 64-team bracket, four teams have emerged. UT Arlington is favored to win it all as the best college team in the country. They made it all the way to the championship last year, only to lose to Arizona State. They are the only team in the Heroic Four still undefeated in qualifying matches and the tournament.
The other three teams are new to the Heroic Four: LSU, UC Irvine, and Kentucky. UC Irvine and LSU are number 1 and 2 seeds from their groups respectively. The University of California at Irvine was one of the first colleges to build a scholarship program around esports. Kentucky is the plucky underdog as a #13 seed, with only 1.69% of brackets predicting the team to win the championship.
Fun fact: The Kentucky team is made up entirely of two families, two sets of three brothers!
The Heroic Four will pit LSU against Kentucky, and UTA against UCI. The Heroic Four matches will continue the Best of 3 tournament style. The Grand Finals will air directly afterward between the last two remaining teams and will be a Best of 5 match.
I may be slightly biased as UTA is my wife’s alma mater but GO UTA!