AWC Spotlight: Hoolibang

The World of Warcraft 2024 Esports Season has officially begun! Last weekend kicked things off with the Arena World Championship (AWC), where we saw teams from North America and Europe battle for Region supremacy in 3v3 Arena. With Cup 1 of the AWC officially in the books, everyone is now turning to Cup 2 in order to qualify for the Mid-Season Clash.

If you had a chance to watch Cup 1 last weekend, you may have seen an incredible story unfold over on the European side. The Grand Finals matchup took place on Sunday between two teams that are brand new to the AWC - Lava Lava and Hoolibang…and incredibly enough, both teams had to defeat Echo in order to make it to the Championship match. Echo are the reigning AWC Champions, who won every single Cup last season as well as the Grand Championship. Prior to signing with Echo, the main roster had not lost since Cup 1 of Dragonflight Season 1, so to say they are an AWC powerhouse is a bit of an understatement.

For two teams to beat Echo this past weekend is in and of itself an accomplishment, but for both of those teams to be brand new players to the AWC is something else entirely. We got a chance to speak with the Team Captains of both Lava Lava and Hoolibang to learn a bit more about what their expectations were going into Cup 1, and what was going through their heads as they found themselves in the Grand Finals!

Read on to learn more about Hoolibang, your AWC Europe Cup 1 CHAMPIONS…and be sure to tune in this weekend to cheer them on in Cup 2, starting at 10am PST on Friday, February 9th over on the Official Warcraft Twitch and YouTube Channels!

Table of Contents

Q-1: Hello Hoolibang! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about the Arena World Championship! Can you start off with introducing yourselves and your team please?

Jayti: Of course. Our team consisted of 3 Players for Cup 1: Howton, Eradas and myself, Jayti. For Cup 2 there will be another good friend joining us, Elswave. We are all just enjoying playing our main classes and having a good time.

Q-2: You are a new team who has already made big waves during this past AWC Cup. How did you meet and prepare for this tournament?

Jayti: We didn't prepare much for this tournament. We played Ladder like once or twice and just went into it as friends having fun. I think a major reason it worked out so well is that we are all super comfortable on our main classes and the Team environment was extremely chill.

Q-3: What role do you think Solo Shuffle has had in changing the overall PvP landscape, and more specifically the AWC?

Jayti: I think Solo Shuffle is a great way to get into PvP and learn some fundamentals of Arena PvP. While it did take away some focus from the 3v3 bracket, I think with some slight tweaks and updates to the Solo Shuffle format it can become something really good and most likely even competitive.

“We didn't sign up to win in all honesty, it was way more of a ‘3 friends just coming together’ thing. We were all on our main classes and just having a blast while doing our best.” - Jayti

Q-4: During Cup 1, you were the only team with a roster of 3 players, and you played the exact same composition for every single game. Obviously it worked out for you, but did you go into the AWC planning on having this “ride or die" approach, or were there plans to try out other compositions?

Jayti: It was definitely a ride or die approach. We didn't sign up to win in all honesty, it was way more of a “3 friends just coming together” thing. We were all on our main classes and just having a blast while doing our best.

Q-5: As your team did not make any composition swaps throughout Cup 1, how much strategy and discussion took place in between matches to counter your opponents? What goes into deciding which maps to pick when it’s your turn or how to approach each game, and how do you adapt to come from behind when you lose the blind pick game?

Jayti: We actually ended up losing the blind pick game more often than winning it… it almost felt like we needed some warmup into the enemy team and to just come out with the full force for the 2nd game. After the games we talk a little about what went right or wrong in the game but at the end of the day, all of us know and agree how we should win the game and there isn't much discussion as we are on the same page most of the time.

Did you miss it? Check out the EU Cup 1 Bracket to see all of last weekend’s matchups, including wins/losses, rosters, and timestamped VoDs of each game!

Q-6: You beat the powerhouse team – and reigning AWC EU Champs – Echo, during your journey to the Grand Finals. For many viewers, this was surprising and unexpected. Were you nervous before the series started? What was your strategy to beat them, and what was going through your heads leading into that intense Game 5?

Jayti: I wouldn't say nervous, we went into that series knowing we can win against them and also knowing that they didn't have a counter comp prepared for us. They didn't have practice into our comp which also works in our favor. Game 5 was arguably the least nerve-wracking game of all just because we felt super confident in the matchup after the first 4 Games.

Q-7: What were your expectations for this past Cup as you started the Open Bracket? Did you go in expecting to win it all? Did you scout out any of your competition beforehand?

Jayti: We didn't sign up to win; we expected to do decently knowing ourselves but the goal was never to win, and considering we didn't practice much either, it was way more for fun.

Q-8: What are your goals for Cup 2 this weekend, and what do you envision for your team at the end of this full AWC Season (ending with the Grand Finals in Season 4)?

Jayti: There's no real goals for Cup 2, it would be great to do decently again obviously for the Mid Season Tournament but we aren't stressed about that at all.

Stay in the action! Check out the EU Cup 2 Bracket to see all of this coming weekend’s matchups, including wins/losses, rosters, and timestamped VoDs of each game!


About the Authors

Hulahoops is the General Manager of Raider.IO and has been playing WoW since Vanilla. She has recently shelved Retail to go back and re-experience WotLK in all its glory, but will one day make her way back to the Dragon Isles. In her hey-day, Hulahoops could be found raid-leading in Mythic Progression, or competing in the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for 7 years. Judgment isn't just a spell! Hulahoops decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for gaming and esports by joining the team at Raider.IO. In her capacity as General Manager, Hulahoops oversees events, content, and more!

Picco is an old-fashioned WoW gamer that started back in Vanilla and has played ever since. She is a healer by heart and is currently maining Restoration Druid. She loves Mythic+ and has a great passion for events like the MDI and TGP. Picco is part of the KeystoneMasters team and enjoys jiggling around with ideas for fun new formats of community tournaments. She is also a Mod for several streamers and guilds, particularly during the RWF. Outside of WoW, Picco is a Sprout in FF14, where she explores with her Lala Summoner.