On Saturday, March 18, while other students were looking forward to their spring break festivities, the Miami University Hearthstone team in King Library thought only of the round of 64. Gathered in the newly finished E-Sports arena, each player knew their hours of preparation and hard work led up to this moment.
The Tespa League regional playoffs are an entire day of back-to-back competition. Each team qualified by having at least a record of 5-2 during regular season play and would play six matches. If a team ended the regional playoffs with five wins, they would advance to the round of 64. Coming off a seasonal record of 6-1, the ‘Hawks had a strong chance to move on.
The day started with a match against the Rochester College Warriors and for the first time in team history, the ‘Hawks were swept in the best-of-five round. Coming off their only allowed loss however, Miami went on a five-game winning streak to solidify their spot in the round of 64.
“It was definitely a big blow to get swept in the first round of regional playoffs,” said captain Adam “Schmigly” Darwiche. “However, moving on we just kept focused on our play match by match. We played each game the best we could and, in the end, that carried us to go undefeated for the rest of the regional playoffs and finish 5-1.”
The Miami Hearthstone Team will compete in the round of 64 this Saturday April 8. Only two days prior, a new expansion, “Journey to Un’Goro,” is going to be released for Hearthstone. At the same time, three older expansions — “Blackrock Mountain,” “League of Explorers,” and “The Grand Tournament” — are being taken out of standard tournament play. In effect, many of the cards and strategies used in current play will be outdated, and the ‘Hawks have only two days to come up with new deck lists and tactics.
If Miami makes it past the single elimination regional championship bracket, they will be flown out to California to compete live, in-person for the National Championship on April 22. Miami’s games will be streamed and casted on Twitch.tv/MiamiUniversityOH.
On Saturday, April 1, the Miami University Overwatch Team started their Tespa League competition. Unlike the Fall tournament, the competition was broken into two different sections: skirmish and arena. The top 16 teams were placed in arena and the other teams were in skirmish.
Every other week, the teams in skirmish and arena compete in a single elimination bracket, and the bottom four teams in arena and top four teams in skirmish are matched the next week to determine who advances to arena and who is knocked down to skirmish. This is called the Promotion Series. For the last week of the tournament, the teams in arena compete to determine final places.
Since the Fall, a few roster changes and the addition of a new hero has allowed Miami to take their competition to a new level.
“Our combination of characters we can play fit very well into the meta right now,” said team captain Jarod “Jirryus” Haney. “We can do a lot right now with our current roster, and the flexibility of our characters has increased so we can more easily transition between compositions.”
One of the main roster changes was Gavin “Rairai” Wooley’s decision to transition from playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive to Overwatch. With this addition to the roster, Wooley will bring his superior aiming skills to the ‘Hawks lineup.
“I just got tired of CS as a whole. Overall, it’s just not as creative where you get down to a meta and you just keep on playing the same meta every single time,” Wooley said.
For their competition on Saturday, the Hawks’ swept each competitor from the round of 128 to the quarterfinals, where they lost 0-2 to the University of California, Santa Barbara Gauchos. Just missing a spot in the Promotional Series, Miami will play next on Saturday, April 18.