Cloud 9 Maelstrom and COGnitive Advance. Tempo Storm Can’t Lose

Two qualifying spots at the Americas Regional Championship were up for grabs at the North American July Open and the teams were ready to battle it out to show their worth. Tempo Storm had already secured their spot by winning the June Open, but they were back again to remind the field who’s really in charge, and to seize the cool $8,500 prize for first place in the process. Displaying dynamic team compositions, including double-Warrior and several Azmodan picks, Tempo Storm ripped through the bracket and finished without losing a game.

Despite the record, Tempo Storm was probably looking for a stronger start than their first match against Pool Plato Some Tangos, who came out showing some very aggressive tactics that quickly netted them several kills per game. However, Tempo Storm was able to stay composed defensively and soak enough experience from the lanes to keep them in the games. It was this ability to hold on long enough to turn the tables with stellar team engagements that led to Tempo Storm’s victories. They met their familiar opponents Cloud9 Maelstrom in the upper bracket finals and then showed what they are really capable of, dispatching them without ceremony. Like we saw in the June Open, Cloud9 Maelstrom then made their way back to the grand finals only to lose to Tempo Storm again.

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Since Tempo Storm had already claimed their spot at the Americas Regional Championship by winning the June Open, a repeat performance would mean that the second and third place teams in the July Open would receive the qualification honors. This led to an interesting scenario where the two teams making it to the lower bracket finals would qualify for the regional championship. Cloud9 Maelstrom was the first to make it in, dropping down from the upper bracket after losing to Tempo Storm. With a shot at the Americas Championship suddenly on the line in round 3 of the lower bracket, compLexity and COGnitive met for the second time in the tournament in what ended up as the most compelling match of the weekend. COGnitive was originally sent to the lower bracket by compLexity in the first round, but they were clearly ready for some revenge with their quick win in Game 1. In a thrilling Game 2, compLexity was poised to push the series to a third game until an attempted boss steal went awry, leaving a lone Hero unable to defend against the final attack on the core and giving COGnitive tickets to the Americas Championship.

COGnitive was perhaps the most entertaining team to watch, not only for their impressive run, but for their unique team compositions. They showcased some strong Butcher play in seven of their ten games, while the rest of the teams in the July Open Round of 8 only picked him twice combined. COGnitive also picked Johanna nine times, only missing out in one game when she was picked by compLexity first. It will be exciting to see if others try to duplicate COGnitive’s success with the Butcher when many of these teams reconvene in August’s North American Open.

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Even though Tempo Storm and Cloud9 Maelstrom have convincingly set themselves apart as the top  teams in North America, there’s plenty of spotlight left for other teams to step up and show their mettle. Cloud9 Maelstrom and COGnitive Gaming join Tempo Storm in preparing for the regional championship, but who will be joining them? Two more spots are still available for aspiring teams, but the pressure to claim a berth in the North America August Open will be intense. Teams that have already qualified for the regional championship can still participate in the August Open, so look for Tempo Storm, Cloud9 Maelstrom, and COGnitive Gaming to make their collective presences felt as they look to claim some prize money, establish a North American pecking order, and send some strong messages to every other team on the Road to BlizzCon.

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