A2Battleship is excited for the THL March Madness off-season tourney and you should be too! He takes a look at who he thinks will fill out the field of 64.
Greetings, THL! A2Battleship is coming right at ya, as the new Duo Series champ, veteran Tespa player, and long-time Hearthstone fan. My fairly recent introduction into THL has been a joy, as it was an intersection of 3 of my hobbies: Hearthstone, competition, and statistical overabundance. Thankfully, the announcement of the next off-season spectacular, THL March Madness, has given me the slightest of reasons to jump into the sea of information built into this organization. So, I will, and you can’t stop me. Let’s take a look at the most plausible inclusions of the tournament and see who stands out as shoe-ins and who could slide in with an at-large bid.
Firstly, let’s recap the basics of the invitation process THL March Madness was announced at the beginning of the year with a style and logo reminiscent of (if not blatantly stolen from) the invitational collegiate basketball tournament of the same nickname, and just like in the college championship, there are automatic invitations and at-large bids.
The main difference is, the NCAA needs to fit 299 schools into the 68 possible slots. There are 141 total players registered into the THL series, including subs. This list might not include some other THL staples, like captains, bloggers, and other content and community members who might get an invite, but it also includes anyone who was or signed up to become a substitute, and, let’s face it, anyone whose only claim is playing 2 matches in a series with 9+ weeks isn’t exactly going to be a strong contender in the race. So, nearly half the population is vying for spots in a tournament with nearly the same number of invitations, allowing a lot more personality to come through.
But how will these invitations be handed out? And who are the most likely candidates?
Thanks, May I Have Another?
Up to 15 participants gain invitations by being a seeded player on a team that wins the Pro, Legacy, or Hero series championships. Every seed is accounted for, so you’ll see them evenly spread from 1 to 16 in March.
Beard Boys (HonestZaib, Mayanadon, HockeyBoyz3, Lezzemos, BOOZASAURUS)
They’re the highest point total, highest record team in the series. There’s no reason to assume that a team made up of players you’d lose against in a qualifier won’t take a playoff berth, with a championship soon to follow.
Bad to the Bone (Aviously, Eggowaffle, Pasca, A2Battleship, MannySkull)
They’ve played every team in the current top 4, and those make up all 3 of their losses, which they lost by an average of about 3 points. If they can be 1 point out of top 4 without having played the lowest scoring team in the series (which everyone above them has played), they’ll probably be able to make it out alright.
Dad Legend (Icicles, YellowDart, Starlax, HockeyBoyz3, Sage)
They’re untouchable. They have the second highest AOE in the entire series, and that’s hard to do when your team is the one that raises everyone else’s.
Team NoProsHere (SKItLLeZ, AgentPWE, Disco, Pasca, Electabuzz)
You know what’s good? Winning. You know who wins? Well, Dad Legend, obviously, but who else? Team NoProsHere. They’re 5-1. They’re literally the only other team with a winning record. That’s a good sign.
4th and Inches (Itachi, RonMexico, urmumked, SuperMurloc, RageDopple)
They have the most points BY FAR. The only team anywhere close to them isn’t in their conference. They’re getting a playoff berth, no questions asked.
HOT ZILFS (Kols, Rebobson, Donde, Anfal, Jimphilos)
What makes a good team? Being undefeated? Having the most points? Having the highest AOS in the top 3? Beating anyone else that has a higher AOS than them? Those are all qualities of this team. This might change when they play the 2nd best team in the conference, but it’s gonna be hard to dethrone them.
Had A Beast In Their Sight
The two Big Game Hunters, one from Hero and one from Legacy, will get an automatic invite. In essence, Big Game Hunters are those who had the biggest PR upsets in their respective series. They tend to be low seeds in their respective series, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them in the 10-16 seeds in the tournament.
Quaz is currently in the lead, beating Sage with a 223 PR differential in week 5.
QuirkyTurtle is close behind, with a win against Electabuzz, an opponent with 169 more PR, in week 5. She also got runner up in this spot in Legacy last season, so she’s used to taking this title.
KidEternity is most likely to win the title, with a 229-PR win in week 6 vs SnakeFawdz.
The next two biggest-differential wins this series have gone to TerdHerder (207 PR) and Shoebacca (208 PR), showing they’re very capable of taking the title as well.
They Like Me! They Really Like Me!
Up to 20 spots are set aside for those who make All-Star. All-Stars are chosen through democratic voting between people of each seed who had a 50% win rate or better. These will most likely be 2 people per seed in each of the non-Pro Series. I’m guessing these will go to one from each conference in the case of Legacy.
BlueSpartan (6-0, Advanced Tactical Lackeys): Yes, I would like an undefeated player on my All-Star roster. What’s that? He has more match wins than game losses? You didn’t have to sweeten the deal, but okay.
TrippyToad (5-1, NAS-Dormu): Hey, it’s the next highest win rate player in the 1 seed! What’s their loss? Aviously, obviously, a max-PR player. I would put Aviously here instead, but people would call me out if I put my duo partner in every category that can remotely be described as “best player”, so I think this is the best I can do.
AgentPWE (5-1, Team NoProsHere): Team NoProsHere is good. AgentPWE is good. He plays against players who are, on average, in the positives, and he beats them. We also got Top 8 in the same Masters Qualifier. That was cool.
lilhearthie (5-1, The Burninators): There are 3 people in this seed that are 5-1 in matches and 16-8 in games. One of them is AgentPWE, one is lilhearthie, and one is Catman1950. Only difference? Opponent Game Win Rate is about 9% lower for Catman1950 than for the other two. I mean, it’ll be close between the three, but at least Catman1950 won an All-Star spot at a better seed in Legacy last season. He can wait it out again.
The_bigted (5-1, The Cult): He’s the only person on his team with a strictly winning record. Hopefully an All-Star trophy will buy him a new backpack, since it looks like he does a lot of carrying.
Disco (5-1, Team NoProsHere): Other than The_bigted, the next best record at this seed is 3-3. It’s not a long shot to win the vote when everyone else is struggling just to get on the ballot.
Shunsui21 (4-2, Advanced Tactical Lackeys): Apparently ATL’s strategy is to have their 6-0 1-seed BlueSpartan get a free win, have Shunsui21 beat his opponent, then have the rest of the team scrape together enough points to pull out a win. It’s worked okay for them at least.
Hockeyboyz3 (5-1, Dad Legend): Hey! Mecha’thun boy! Your team’s already so far ahead in the ranks in this series, you don’t need another March Madness invite! Scram!
Sage (5-1, Dad Legend): I see you too Sage! Run along with Hockeyboyz3 and stop stealing those All-Star invites!
Electabuzz (4-2, Team NoProsHere): He has 2 losses, sure, but they were both 3-2 losses, and in his wins, he averages .5 game losses per match. That’s definitely enough to put him above the sea of 3-3’s and 2-4’s in the 5 seed.
LiquidOx (4-1, Wet Whoa-men): He may not be undefeated like HonestZaib, but it’s pretty telling that LiquidOx has less game losses than HonestZaib despite playing 1 more loss, which accounts for 3 of the 4 game losses.
Kols (5-0, HOT ZILFS): Also undefeated. To get a player with a better Weighted GW, you’d have to pick of the two subs who won three games in a row and checked out. There are two of them, and that’s it.
S4nguine (4-2, A Sssssuh Dude): Highest Weighted GW? Check. Only games losses were in match losses? Check. Not on the team ahead by 24 points? Check. Probably a good standalone player, then.
Catman1950 (3-2, Good Luck Albatrosses): The person in front of him in the Red Conference 2 Seed Standings is Rebobson, who is there from a DQ Win, not to mention that Rebobson has the Opponent GW in the red, too.
Lemons (4-0, Not-YJs): They average half a game loss every match. That’s insane. 4 matches. 12 wins, 2 losses. Give them the trophy already.
JRJuggerLaw (3-2, Wet Whoa-Men): It looks really bad to put him side-by-side with his Red Conference counterpart, but I swear this is the best Gold has to offer at this seed. I had a choice of 4 3-2 players and everyone else, who wouldn’t make the ballot if the vote was cast today. He also has the highest game win rate for a 3 seed in the Gold Conference. It’s very sad.
Darkseid (5-0, Saronite Pain Gang): Undefeated player with the best Weighted and Unweighted GW? But their team is last in the conference? He deserves this, if not just for the consolation.
Lefty2111 (4-2, Dirty Mike and the Boys): He’s the only person on his winless team with a winning record. Fsorace1 has a slightly better record on a much better team, but Lefty2111 somehow has less game losses than Fsorace1 after playing 1 more match.
RageDopple (5-1, 4th and Inches): I’d try not to give this award to the team with the highest chance of winning it all, but RageDopple’s closest opponent in the Gold Conference is 3-2. Don’t make me pick another 3-2 player for All-Star
Masters Qualifier Tryhards
10 Players are allowed into THL March Madness through the All-Pro team, which is a collection of the best performing players in the Pro Series.
HonestZaib (5-0, Beard Boys)
urmumked (5-1, Taste The Rainbow)
basedinc (5-1, The Menagerie)
Mayanadon (5-1, Beard Boys)
RidiculousHat (5-1, AEON)
Snake (5-1, FTL)
BZRK (5-1, FTL)
Tyfoon (2-0, AEON)
CmaccompH (4-1, Tap Last)
Aviously (4-2, Bad to the Bone)
This is probably the most straightforward way to get a ticket to the off-season championship, so I really don’t have much input. Maybe Tyfoon got lucky with his first 2 games? I doubt that idea, though.
Shine Under The Spotlight
They just LOVE the camera! The 8 people that have the most stream appearances who haven’t already scored an invite. No, casters and stream operators don’t count. Saku is just too powerful.
Currently, there are 10 people who have multiple stream appearances:
RonMexico has 4 appearances. SKItLLeZ, Lefty2111, and ItsMeMikeV each have 3. Dusharmo, SuperMurloc, YellowDart, Electabuzz, Mattyebs, and ForceofWill each have 2.
Half of this list are in the running for other playoff invites, and the list of everyone who has appeared on stream is too long for this article, so this is the hardest qualification to predict. Anyone could sneak an invitation through here if they had the time for it.
Anything is Possible!
If you’ve been counting, there are 55 open tickets, which is less than a full 64-player roster. If you were also paying attention, you’d see that multiple invitation spots could be held by the same person, such as:
What a Pro! (Pro Championship and All-Pro): Could be held by Mayanadon, Honest Zaib, or Aviously
Not Dead Weight (Championship and BGH): Could be held by QuirkyTurtle
Specialist in the Format (Championship and All-Star): Could be held by AgentPWE, RageDopple, Disco, or Kols
Team Player (Multiple Championships): Could be held by Pasca
Here is where the at-large bids come into play: The 9 guaranteed at-large bids, along with any others caused by overlapping invitations, will be given to those decided by the committee, made up of Donde, Markshire, BOOZASAURUS, Mayanadon, and TwoStarMako. The only known merits known to be within judging at-large bids is that “Good performance across all series or… outstanding performance in a single or two series will be considered”. I wouldn’t be surprised if multiple qualities do bring players into the tournament, including a handful of people who met some of these characteristics:
Exactly what they implied (good players in all 3 series), Exactly what they implied part 2 (outstanding players in 1 or 2 series that were snubbed), Medium Game Hunters (BGH runners-up), Don’t Shoot the Messenger (content creators/operators that were snubbed), Not Corrupt At All (Board/Committee members that were snubbed), Winter Soldiers (good players in off-season tournaments), This Time For Sure! (2nd place team members from Championships) and Allowed Under Threat of Pushups (coaches of high-performance teams).
THL on its own is a special place where tons of smaller players of the Hearthstone community come together to create a story of rivalries, big shots, underdogs, close matches, and clean sweeps. It’ll be a blast to see these stories come to life in a time-tested format like March Madness.
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