Superleague 2016 S2 Semifinals Winners Bracket: MVP Black vs TNL

Team Lineups

MVP Black:
Sake (Assassin)
KyoCha (Flex)
merryday (Support)
Rich (Warrior/Assassin)
Sign (Warrior)

  • MVP Black qualified for the semifinals winners bracket through beating Tempest. Featured were a Kerrigan pick from Rich, an Abathur vs TLV showdown, a brilliant strategic use of Summon Sindragosa, and simply superb play overall by at least one side in all four games. Read the match report here.
  • Sign has extensively prepared Artanis in Hero League. There is no doubt he will be ready to pull the Hierarch out when the situation allows for it.

Cmoving (Assassin)
sCsC (Warrior/Assassin)
Noblesse (Warrior)
Sniper (Flex)
JaeHyun (Support)

  • TNL qualified for the semifinals winners bracket through beating Mighty: featured were a truly brilliant draft from TNL in Match 3 and probably the best played Stitches in professional HotS history in Match 4. With TNL pulling out new picks literally every game in their determination to become not only a rugged but also flexible team, the whole series in general was quite refreshing. Read the match report here.


Prematch Trashtalk Segment Snippets

  • There was no prematch trashtalk segment for this series.
  • MVP Black have won all of their last sixteen games against TNL.


Match 1: Sky Temple

Pick & Ban Phase
MVP Black | TNL

Ban Phase 1: Falstad / Abathur

  • First pick Abathur has long been a Sky Temple-specific comfort pick for MVP Black. By banning Falstad they are openly threatening TNL to ban Abathur or else.
  • TNL respond accordingly. Illidan is now open; a rare sight in Superleague.

Pick Phase 1: Tassadar / Sonya Illidan / Kael’thas Rehgar

  • A standard Tassadar first pick from MVP Black is worth more than usual as it denies TNL from picking up the Illidan+Tassadar combination.
  • TNL pull out a trump card from the very start, picking Sonya and Illidan together – MVP Black will not have expected this, but will Sonya + Illidan even work with neither of Tassadar and Rehgar? A fascinating question that this match will answer.
  • MVP Black continue to draft optimally, taking Kael’thas and Rehgar.

Ban Phase 2: ETC / Uther

  • TNL ban ETC, signalling they either want to select at least one more melee hero and/or pull out Lt. Morales.
    • The former is very likely to be Arthas for three reasons: 1) Arthas is very strong against Sonya and Illidan, 2) MVP Black have mentioned they consider Arthas to be a very strong pick, and 3) TNL have the original Arthas god in sCsC.
    • The latter can be suspected as TNL have used Lt. Morales to great effect before; with Tassadar, Rehgar, and Uther (as MVP Black will obviously ban it) unavailable, Lt. Morales may be more appealing than Kharazim depending on the number of initiation tools MVP Black have at the end of their draft.
  • Obvious Uther ban from MVP Black.

Pick Phase 2: Arthas Valla / Muradin Thrall / Kharazim

  • TNL select Arthas and Valla. The triple melee is as expected, Arthas is as expected, but Valla is somewhat surprising as a specialist/pseudospecialist pick would have made much more sense here. TNL are making it clear they have Lt. Morales in mind.
  • MVP Black round out with the standard Muradin and Thrall. Both offer self healing and hard crowd control, two things they will need most against TNL’s composition.
  • TNL decide not to risk it and go with JaeHyun’s fresh-off-the-counter Kharazim. Muradin and Thrall provide too much engage for Lt. Morales to be viable.


Key Moments
0:00 Match start. It is surprising to see Noblesse play Illidan instead of Sonya after having shown great Sonya play only two days ago. It may be due to sCsC being a mediocre Illidan.

2:00 The two teams take one temple each peacefully.

5:00 MVP Black take bottom temple but TNL have no desire to contest. MVP Black happily edge ahead in experience.

5:25 TNL attempt a risky and somewhat unnecessary gank on Rich. It fails as expected and TNL lose two members to MVP Black’s backup squad. The experience gap widens.

8:00 TNL secure top temple by sending a lone Sonya, but Arthas is killed near bottom Keep by a confident gank from MVP Black.

8:45 MVP Black catch out Kharazim and further expand the experience gap.

9:05 With a talent tier advantage, MVP Black chain their crowd control perfectly to again catch out Arthas in front of his bottom Keep. At this rate TNL will soon lose all control over the game; they need to either get a series of picks or completely ace a teamfight. Fast.

10:25 Desperate for a turnaround, TNL start Boss without hesitation. Their recklessness pays off as Boss lands a two-man stun on and dishes out hilarious amounts of damage to only MVP Black in the ensuing teamfight. The foolhardy call ends up being the right call, and TNL explode back into the game!

12:00 MVP Black take down Sonya as TNL retreat but are unable to do much more. Both teams take a temple each. TNL have managed to fully catch up in experience.

14:30 MVP Black successfully ambush Arthas and burst him down before TNL can react; Kharazim does manage to land Divine Palm on short notice but the damage is already done. TNL take a heavy loss and lose their top Keep.

18:30 MVP Black take a free temple with their level 20 advantage and the lasers destroy both of TNL’s remaining Keeps. Knowing time is against them, TNL keep fishing for an engage but MVP Black maintain distance in perfect safety.

20:20 MVP Black send three to secure top temple while Thrall and Muradin go on a suicide mission to soften up TNL’s Core. MVP Black win the game off their perfect execution.



Match 2: Battlefield of Eternity

Pick & Ban Phase
MVP Black | TNL

Ban Phase 1: Tassadar / Illidan

  • Standard Tassadar ban from TNL.
  • Standard Illidan ban from MVP Black. It doubles to force a Sonya pick from TNL.

Pick Phase 1: Sonya / Greymane Rehgar / Abathur Li-Ming

  • TNL first pick Sonya but probably are unsure if this is a good sign.
  • MVP Black are happy to take Greymane and deny Rehgar.
  • TNL pick Abathur and Li-Ming. Abathur makes perfect sense, Li-Ming does not. Their third pick had to be Uther. Allowing MVP Black to ban Uther in exchange for something as unimpressive as Li-Ming is a categorically terrible draft decision.

Ban Phase 2: Uther / Sylvanas

  • Obvious Uther ban from MVP Black.
  • TNL ban Sylvanas, showing that they clearly want KyoCha to play Falstad.

Pick Phase 2: Muradin Tyrael / Kharazim Arthas / Thrall

  • MVP Black take the standard Muradin then throw in a Tyrael. It is unsure if KyoCha or Rich will be playing Tyrael as the grounds still look fertile for a Falstad last pick.
  • TNL lock in Kharazim and Arthas. They may be decent picks on this map, but picking them together in this situation is far from optimal. TNL clearly did not prepare for the double tank Tyrael. Their severe lack of damage will likely cost them the game.
  • MVP Black last pick Thrall and confirm positions. KyoCha’s last game with Tyrael was Match 2 of the recent GHL finals against eStar. MVP Black won that match.


Key Moments
0:00 Match start.

0:45 MVP Black destroy two outer towers while TNL destroy only one in return, acquiring a slight but meaningful experience advantage. Very disadvantageous trade for TNL.

3:00 TNL continue to maintain a 5v4 standoff while Abathur soaks and successfully bridges the experience gap. So far the early game for TNL has been decent.

3:35 MVP Black take the Immortal but TNL have managed to inflict enough damange on its shield. The Immortal falls after taking only two outer towers, but it returns the experience lead to MVP Black.

7:10 MVP Black take down Sonya, forcing TNL to retreat from their allied Immortal. This robs TNL of the chance to extend a standoff and reclaim the experience lead.

8:05 After focusing fire on Tyrael and successfully forcing him to retreat, TNL rush to the enemy Immortal and try to burst it down. Undoubtedly the correct call, but Greymane’s insane sustained damage against Immortals has already sealed the deal. TNL are infuriated as MVP Black yet again take the Immortal by a slim margin.

9:00 MVP Black advance to TNL’s bottom Keep alongside their Immortal. Perhaps in fear of the incoming talent tier advantage for MVP Black, TNL try to force open a teamfight through an Arthas flank but fail to execute properly. MVP Black take down two members of TNL and destroy the bottom Keep before retreating.

10:25 Desperate to do something before MVP Black hit level 13, TNL rush to MVP Black’s bottom Fort and hammer on the outer towers. They successfully burst down Tyrael while Thrall is yet to arrive but again end up losing four members.

11:40 MVP Black confidently engage on TNL with their talent tier advantage and take away a clean ace, even catching out poor Pajamathur frantically wiggling back to his base. Clean and swift victory for MVP Black.



Midmatch Interview

  • MVP Black pointed to their calm rotations following the huge turnaround at Boss as the reason they won Match 1.
  • The TNL booth apparently was in utter despair. Their only comment was that they would try to do better next game.


Match 3: Infernal Shrines

Pick & Ban Phase
MVP Black | TNL

Ban Phase 1: Tassadar / Illidan

  • Standard bans from both sides.

Pick Phase 1: Xul / Sonya Rehgar / Greymane Thrall

  • It has to be either Xul or Sonya. TNL decide on Xul.
  • MVP Black obviously take Sonya + Rehgar.
  • TNL add Greymane and Thrall despite there being literally no reason for TNL to take Thrall at this point in the draft. Uther, maybe, but Thrall? Not taking Kael’thas here may have already sealed their doom.

Ban Phase 2: Uther / ETC

  • Obvious Uther ban from MVP Black.
  • Having already drafted three primarily melee heroes, TNL ban ETC.

Pick Phase 2: Kael’thas Muradin / Tyrael Kharazim / Sylvanas

  • MVP Black joyfully take Kael’thas and add the standard Muradin. By picking Muradin they can again threaten another last pick Tyrael.
  • Fearing another potential Tyrael last pick from MVP Black, TNL are forced into taking away Tyrael which then leaves Kharazim as the only available support option. Instead of trying to actively apply pressure through the draft as they had in Matches 1 and 2, TNL are picking and banning in complete submission. Had TNL stayed confident they would likely have taken Diablo + Tyrande instead of Tyrael + Kharazim. Depressing.
  • MVP Black round out their composition with Sylvanas to safely answer Xul.


Key Moments
0:00 Match start.

0:50 Xul falls to an extremely telegraphed gank. Worst possible start to the match for TNL.

2:40 MVP Black take the first Punisher with ease and smash TNL’s bottom outer towers alongside it. Muradin arrogantly overstays his welcome and gifts TNL a free kill, but not much comes out of his death.

5:45 What looked to be a kill on Sonya for TNL is turned on its head as Muradin and Rehgar pull off a clutch save then turn to kill Greymane. Second Punisher goes to MVP Black and with it they take TNL’s center Fort.

8:10 A full 5v5 erupts with both teams contesting the 6’o clock Siege Camp. Both teams take away a kill each but the mercenaries go to MVP Black.

9:50 With their talent tier advantage, MVP Black are left alone to summon their third consecutive Punisher. With it they destroy TNL’s top Fort and two more outer towers.

12:30 MVP Black go and destroy TNL’s bottom Fort. Being a talent tier down, TNL decide to back off and just watch their structures fall.

13:00 Knowing they cannot afford to hand over yet another Punisher for free, TNL head to contest the shrine despite still being at a talent tier disadvantage. Their desperation shows as Tyrael’s foolhardy engage backfires. MVP Black easily take down two heroes to summon their fourth consecutive Punisher and with it end the series.



Postmatch Interview Tidbits with MVP Black Sake

  • Our experiences in China against eStar helped us take our play to a whole new level. Other Korean teams no longer have a chance against us.
  • We have attained our current success by deciding to drown in sweat, not tears, after failing to qualify for last year’s Blizzcon. We will remain focused and aim to continue winning every set we play until our hands are on the World Championship trophy.
  • My diet is going well so far but my teammates are not helping at all. Rich and I drown in envy every night holding back hunger pangs while the other three enjoy delivery food. Guys, please at least order and eat together so you torture us once, not thrice.
  • eStar XingC heavily altered how I use Greymane; his style of play on Greymane was very effective against us in scrims. I repetitively mimicked his style in Hero League and eventually picked it up.
  • Rich is naturally talented at Thrall, there is no other way to explain it. He is the only player in the world that can utilize Thrall to such a degree.
  • TNL was foolish to pick Sonya + Illidan together in Match 1. eStar did use that duo once in GHL but the draft circumstances were different. Wrong decision from TNL.
  • We still acknowledge TNL as one of the four best teams in the world and do not expect other Korean teams to take them down.
  • I think Chromie is undertuned.
  • Many players are tired of waiting for new viable heroes in their role. Blizzard should slow down with the ranged assassins and spread the love a bit.
  • I expect TNL to come up for a rematch through the losers bracket but then lose to us again in the finals :^) We will not let our guard down lest last year repeat itself.

2 thoughts on “Superleague 2016 S2 Semifinals Winners Bracket: MVP Black vs TNL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s