by TeamHearthLeague AP
The divisions have been aligned, the rosters filled out, and the anticipation of a new season has the THL community buzzing. As with other sports, week one can be one of the most exciting times of the season as everyone starts off with a clean slate. What happened last season is history. What matters is the present, where every team finds itself on equal footing with everyone else. Will the new acquisitions work out? Will the work put in during the offseason pay off? Only time will tell but this is week one, a week where reality is not welcome and a place where aspirations and expectations have free roam.
After a very successful season one, THL is now on the verge of kicking off its second official season. In season one we saw what started out as a great underdog story culminate into much more as Noob Central claimed the championship over Team Rank Five. Very little has stayed the same since that championship, with every team having at least one player change and five completely new teams being added to the league. With so much change and so many unknown players it makes it difficult to project the strongest teams for season two but why not try anyway?
Xnergy made it to the semifinals last season before falling to the eventual champions and will return three of its five players in Catota, VendiClique, and DiAmonD6610 for season two. Catota has proven himself to be one of THL's finest and captain VendiClique has settled in as a very strong three. The loss of mmikiez hurts but the return of Pacetry to THL softens that blow and will give Xnergy a very formidable lineup 1-3.
2. Team Rank Five
The "frat house of THL" had an impressive season one but saw themselves come up a little short in the championship against Noob Central. One of the teams who saw the least amount of change, TR5 made one move with the replacement of CaptanMurdoc with one of the highest value free agents in Killajive. With the comeback player of season one in Imbolc and a rapidly improving JesusC, it's possible TR5 has yet to peak and that makes for a dangerous team.
A staple of the THL playoffs, Entropy was forced to watch the season one playoffs from the sidelines. Captain and Tavern Talk host Jaxox went about improving his team and it seems Entropy enters season two much stronger. Twizz has found his way back to THL and will man the one seed, allowing another free agent pickup in Arthur Rhodes (Salt) to play in what should be a better fit for him as the two. With Firpo staying on as one of the most underrated threes, Entropy will have a strong shot at getting back to the playoffs.
4. Archon Storm
Perennial stacked team Archon Storm didn't quite live up to the expectations of last season with some members underperforming and an abrupt exit from the playoffs. One bright spot however was Hertzdonut and his complete dominance over the four seed, finishing with a 7-0 record. Entering season two as a three seed, will Hertzdonut see the same level of success? Archon Storm will likely not have the same spotlight on them as they have had previous seasons but is a team that should not be overlooked.
Soupreme, led by DeerJason, entered season one as the new guys and quickly showed how strong of a team they were. The strength of Soupreme was what was widely considered to be the best 1-2 punch in THL with DeerJason and MVParker. With MVParker's departure, will the new guy in Cheesee10 be able to fill his shoes? With two new players to the league it's a little tough to rank them but with a season under his belt DeerJason should have his team ready to compete.
6. The Gosu Casuals
Slimsch cemented himself as one of THL's best players after an undefeated season in the first seed for the casuals and will head into season two as their captain. The team remains largely unchanged aside from losing one of the best five seeds from the previous season in Leumer. Odeffen will have big shoes to fill but the continuity of the team should help them have another good season.
7. Boom Squad
The newly formed Boom Squad features the unholy union of Brunson and Dlineman. While guaranteed to be heard, will this new team see results outside of memes? DannyWu and Asuna are new to the league but are both promising and give the team a lot of potential. Ultimately, Boom Squad's success may come down to whether Dlineman is able to bounce back from a disappointing season one.
8. The Super Heroes
Last season SuperSam proved to be the best free agent pickup after joining the Angry Chicken Fan Club and season two sees SuperSam branching off to captain his own team of heroes. Joining him will be his previous teammate from TACFC, MonkeyWarlod, and manager/owner of Vicious Syndicate, BeastMode. SuperSam's abilities aren't at question but with three THL newcomers the team as a whole is a bit of a question mark.
9. Team Golden Wisp
One of two new teams based around a podcast, Team Golden Wisp is filled with mostly new faces but does have one familiar face in its captain, Alec. Alec spent last season manning the one spot for Noob Central before deciding to strike out on his own. Holding down the five spot will be Chef Sasha who hosts a weekly cooking and Hearthstone stream.
10. Pure Strategy
Known somewhat for featuring four really high PR players and one low PR player, Pure Srategy enters season two with a much more balanced roster. YuruYuri, one of the league's strongest players, returns as the first seed and captain Hambowen will look to build on his outstanding performance in season one. Rounding out the team will be ApplSaucFactory and SergeantHendog99, both having made their way from the now defunct Angry Chicken Fan Club to Pure Strategy.
11. The Hairy Generals
The Hairy Generals will look very different in season two than they did in season one. THL commissioner JediNinja has decided to step back as a player to focus on other aspects of the league, with long-time member and graphics extraordinaire Necrohavoc doing the same. Andyrogers, BoomBoomHall, and Detrucci all return, though BoomBoomHall will move down to the three seed with the addition of a new player in PokeHer. How will PokeHer do as a rookie? Can Andyrogers return to form? Those questions will go a long way to deciding how the generals fare this season.
12. Top Deck Kings
The second of teams centered around a podcast, the Top Deck Kings come into THL with a full team of rookies. As a result it is difficult to project exactly how successful this group will be. I know very little about this team besides Tehl, KremePuff, and JustSteve all being members of the Top Deck Kings podcast and two of those having hit Legend before.
The last of the brand new teams to THL is one with a few not so new faces. After a season with Entropy, Almace has decided to try his hand at leading a team and has recruited two improving players to join him; Craeon, who recently reached Legend for the first time, and winner of the league's most improved player award in Grimm. If these players keep improving and Almace can rebound from the prior season then Continuum will be a tough team to handle.
14. Those Filthy Roleplayers
After a tough season one which prompted a name change from Those Filthy Casuals to Those Filthy Roleplayers, Joshsampson decided to do some housecleaning with himself and Casuallyfoxy the only members left standing afterwards. The roleplaying captain landed one of the more coveted free agents with the signing of Alexstrasza and many are excited to see how well he does in THL. Alexstrasza, along with Joshsampson and Casuallyfoxy sliding down seeds, could mean a much better season for the roleplayers.
15. Noob Central
At first glance it may seem crazy to place Noob Central this low on the preseason rankings after winning it all just a few weeks ago, and perhaps it is, but this is a completely different team with Kutthroat the lone remaining member from the championship run. Part of what made Noob Central so successful a season ago was the strength of Josseroo and Loefster at their respective seeds, both of which have bowed out. Returning to captain the noobs is Nade and replacing the duo of Josseroo of Loefster may be his biggest task.
16. The Dream Team
The Dream Team's first season was a bit of a nightmare and is the reason they conclude this list, but with a new season comes a new opportunity. Team captain RadDreams has vowed a better approach to season two and with the help of the newly acquired Leumer hopes to prove the doubters wrong.
The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or via the THL Help email address: firstname.lastname@example.org