When the Western Clash began it was almost a foregone conclusion that the finals would be an all European affair. Although Team Dignitas had long been a fixture at the top of the EU scene, recent results had most people predicting that it would be Fnatic and Misfits squaring off in the finals. With both teams advanced to the Winners Final this appeared to be correct. After Fnatic defeated Misfits 3-1 in the Winners Finals attention shifted to the Losers Bracket.
Team Dignitas began their unexpected trip to the Grand Final by facing off against Team 8. Although Team 8 showed potential, Dignitas completed a 3-0 sweep to advance to face Misfits in the Loser’s Final. The stage appeared to be set for a Fnatic versus Misfits Grand Final after Misfits claimed the first two games. Dignitas had other plans however, and proceeded to win the next three games to take the win in an epic series.
Fnatic vs. Team Dignitas
The Grand Final began on Tomb of the Spider Queen, a popular choice for Fnatic. Dignitas opted for an old school comp featuring Stitches, Tyrande, and Kael’thas. Fnatic chose to go with their trademark Spider Queen combo of Chromie and Johanna.
Early play went in favor of Dig thanks to the Stitches Hook into Tyrande Lunar Flare combo. Three minutes into the game Dignitas had already secured four kills and a level advantage. Dignitas slowly extended their lead into the mid-game despite missing several combo attempts. By the time the game reached the 15 minute mark Dignitas had an almost three level advantage. Moments later Dignitas put this advantage to use by capturing the Boss and decisively pushing to victory.
Game 2 saw the teams head to Towers of Doom. Mene continued his one man quest to bring Kael’thas back into the Meta as Dignitas elected to once again go with Stitches, Ragnaros, and KT. This time however it was Fnatic that picked the Tyrande. Aggressive play from both sides was the early story of the game. Core health was even at 32 apiece after the first two rounds of Alters. Shortly before the third Alter phase Dignitas captured the Fort in the bottom lane, which proved to be quite advantageous when the next Alter also spawned in the bottom lane. Fnatic had nowhere to run after the fight turned in favor of Dignitas and lost several Heroes as a result. After trading shots on the fourth Alter phase Dignitas had a 28 to 17 advantage in Core health and a one level experience lead. A wild team fight ensued as both teams battled over the final Alter in the fifth phase, which Dignitas eventually got the better of. The next Alter phase featured another epic team fight. JayPL managed to survive what appeared to be certain death and helped propel Dignitas to victory in the fight, allowing them to get the last 8 shots necessary to take down the Fnatic Core.
Infernal Shrines was the destination for Game 3. Dignitas once again went with the Stitches, Tyrande, Kael’thas combo. Despite Dig’s stun potential, Fnatic decided to forgo Cleanse by picking Lucio as their Support. For the first time in the series Fnatic was able to take a slight lead after securing the first Punisher. They extended this lead to a full level by winning the second Punisher as well. The double Warrior/double Support comp from Dignitas appeared to lack the damage necessary to secure a kill and Fnatic was able to repeatedly survive combo attempts and come out on top in team fights. Fnatic continued to play aggressively and were able to advance a Punisher to close out the game at the 15 minute mark.
— ESL Heroes (@ESLHeroes) March 5, 2017
Game 4 took place on Sky Temple. The game was even as both teams reached Level 10. Dignitas made it to the Grand Final as a result of aggressive Boss play in their earlier games, but it came back to haunt them in this game. With Fnatic nearby, Dig decided to attempt the Boss only to have it stolen from them. The resulting team fight and push led to a level lead for Fnatic. Undeterred by their earlier failure, Dignitas once again went for the Boss as the game reached the 15 minute mark. This allowed them to close the gap a bit, but Fnatic was still a level ahead when they reached Level 20. A short time later Fnatic was able to get a four man kill and march to victory, forcing a Game 5.
Dignitas decided to take map pick on the final game and opted for Dragon Shire. They continued to focus on blow up comps, this time pairing Tyrande with Chromie. Dig was able to grab the first Dragon Knight just before the 5 minute mark and used it to propel themselves to Level 10 with a one level lead. Dignitas was able to pick up several kills in the mid-game, allowing them to capture another Dragon Knight and take down a Keep. Momentum was clearly on the side of Dignitas as they hit Level 20 with a two level lead and all of their Structure still standing. They proceeded to paint the map red by capturing several Mercenary Camps. At the 20 minute mark Dignitas was able to control the Dragon Knight and immediately used it to secure two kills and pushed towards the Core. Fnatic desperately tried to defend, but Dignitas simply had too much damage and were able to successfully burn down the Core and claim the title.
— ESL Heroes (@ESLHeroes) March 5, 2017
With their victory, Team Dignitas proved once again that they are the best team in Europe and the best team in the west. They used aggressive shot calling and decisive play to win three best of five series on the final day of play.
GG to Team Dignitas for claiming the Western Clash title and to all of the people responsible for making such an incredible event a reality. It was an amazing three days of Heroes action. If you missed any of the matches, you can find all of the VODs on the official HGC site.