TheSharp0ne’s NA Rosterpocalypse Recommendations

TheSharp0ne is an avid Heroes esports enthusiast, having followed the esport since the inception of the HGC. He currently works with HeroesHype as a Tournament Admin for the North American Open Division, and previously for the EU Open Division. For the purposes of this article, we will only be speaking about the North American region of HGC.

BlizzCon marked the end of the 2018 season for the Heroes Global Championship, and almost immediately the rumors of the impending “Rosterpocalypse” began. For some teams that didn’t qualify for the tournament, the departures came quickly (Jin and Akaface of No Tomorrow both announced their retirements fairly soon after they defeated PSISTORM in the Crucible), though on November 13th the official roster release period begins. Roster changes won’t be finalized until December 6th, giving us slightly more than three weeks for NA to shake up the status quo.

Below, I will outline my personal opinion on what moves I think the teams should make. I reiterate that these are my personal opinions on what I would like to see. I do not claim to be an expert and gladly welcome differing opinions about why you may agree or disagree. My opinions are formed based on observed performances, personalities, and some wild guesses based on rumors I’ve heard floating around. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

*Note: Scythe Esports is omitted from this list, as the recent Crucible winners are roster-locked and cannot make changes.

HeroesHearth Esports

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None

When Arthelon left HeroesHearth in the middle of the HGC season, there was an uncertainty as to how HeroesHearth would fare in the coming weeks and at BlizzCon. Despite this, HeroesHearth finished at the top of North America, their only match loss in the second part coming at the hands of Tempo Storm while Arthelon was still on the team. The team even made it to the BlizzCon tournament proper, losing out 1-2 in Round 1 to Team Liquid, a team that took BlizzCon Champions Gen.G the distance in Round 2. The replacement that HeroesHearth took to BlizzCon with them was Homi, an Open Division player most well known for playing with XD (a roster that, with Scythe Esports’ win in the Crucible, has produced five professional players). Homi impressed many, and while the team perhaps didn’t perform as well as they may have had Arthelon still been a part of the roster, in my eyes Homi won the right to stay with HeroesHearth. With proper time to practice and mesh with the rest of the team in the offseason, HeroesHearth could very well take first seed in North America once again next season.

 

Tempo Storm

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Glaurung

ViN

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Kure

Daneski

The loss of psalm to Tempo Storm’s roster hit a lot harder than Arthelon’s departure of HeroesHearth. Having to replace such an important member of the roster was something Tempo never fully recovered from, and while they had an entire phase to practice with ViN, they still performed worse than HeroesHearth at BlizzCon. A big issue of this I feel comes from Glaurung, a player that has by many been regarded as a major weakness to Tempo Storm’s roster. One of the biggest concerns has been his small hero pool, something that Team Octalysis once stated was a key strategy to target in a victory in Phase 1. Glaurung overall feels awkwardly placed in the offlane role on Tempo Storm’s roster, having once been considered one of the best playmakers in the region.

With the addition of Kure, I feel many of Tempo Storm’s issues when it comes to Glaurung would be solved. Kure brings a wider hero pool, more map awareness, and a more comfortable attitude to the offlane role while also bringing the same kind of hard work ethic that Glaurung puts into the game.

Of course, it seems you can’t have Kure without Daneski coming with. While the pair have stated it’s merely been out of coincidence and opportunity that they’ve jumped rosters together so many times, I feel Tempo Storm would provide the same opportunity once more. I have nothing against ViN as a player; I feel he has incorporated into the team very well, however Daneski offers more experience in the professional scene with as much if not more skill to his role than the rookie.

The only reason I would think these changes would be bad for Tempo Storm is due to the fact that they would no longer be considered an entirely west-server team. Pros have recently brought the issue of optimal ping to the forefront of discussion, so I could very well see Tempo Storm keeping their current roster and building their synergy in favor of sacrificing their five West players.

Team Freedom

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YoDa

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Glaurung

One of Team Freedom’s biggest issues in last part was consistency. Some weeks they would beat teams like Tempo Storm 3-1 or go 2-3 against HeroesHearth, other weeks they would be blown out by Endemic or nearly lose a set to LFM. One player I feel struggled the most with consistent performance was YoDa, who always seemed to shine better in a ranged flex position rather than offlane. Coincidentally, I feel Team Freedom’s smartest move would be to pick up Glaurung to fill the offlane position. While I would like to eventually see Glaurung move back into a ranged flex position, he could transition well into Team Freedom’s current roster, providing more skill and motivation than YoDa offers. Perhaps with the addition of Glaurung, Team Freedom could move from a constant middle-of-the-pack team to a constant contender for top spots.

Team Octalysis

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Prismaticism

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JSchritte

News has already broken that Prismaticism, perhaps Team Octalysis’ most steady form of drama, will be parting ways with the roster. While an excellent analyst and one of the most brilliant minds in the scene when it comes to strategy in Heroes, Octalysis releasing Prismaticism is their best move going forward. I feel the best choice to replace him would be No Tomorrow’s JSchritte, one of the hardest working players in North America. JSchritte would bring the same level of skill to the ranged flex role as Prismaticism, while bringing a no-nonsense, dedicated work ethic to the team. For a team that broke North America’s meta in the later parts of Phase 2, I’d love to see what a player like JSchritte could do in a better team environment.

I did have some initial thoughts that perhaps Goku should make a bid to replace Glaurung on Tempo Storm, but the more I thought about it the more I favored the idea of maintaining the current core group rather than having to look for a new offlaner. Offlaners seem to be in short supply when it comes to professionals, and with a lot of retirements going on (and perhaps yet to take place; more on that later) teams may need to look to the Open Division to fill spots. While I think some teams most certainly will need to do this, Octalysis doesn’t strike me as a team willing to take that risk just yet.


Endemic

Release

Kure

Daneski

MichaelUdall

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Liam

Hosty

ViN

Endemic was perhaps one of the most disappointing teams this season, finishing 5th despite having a rather star-studded roster and high expectations. It makes sense that changes will be needed, and with my previous idea that Kure and Daneski should seek greener pastures on Tempo Storm, that leaves some holes to fill. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion on my list of departures may be MichaelUdall. This comes from the fact that Udall has been pushing his streaming rather hard lately and that, coupled with Endemic’s disappointing performance, leads me to think he may be looking to retire once more (and perhaps that is the best choice for him, from a business standpoint).

Udall and Daneski both fill similar roles on Endemic, and if they’re looking to replace them with similarly high caliber players, ViN and Hosty would be good choices to restart their roster. ViN has grown immensely in his time on Tempo Storm, picking up LAN experience and learning from some of the best that North America has to offer. Hosty, while his team was relegated out of HGC after losing to Scythe, was perhaps Simplicity’s most outstanding and hard working players and an easy choice to add to the Endemic roster.

Liam may be a name that not many recognize unless you follow the Open Division, but he was a standout player on Divination and one of the best amateur offlaners. While currently a part of the Rage Emoji roster, Liam would be one of Endemic’s best choices to fill the offlane role in the event Kure goes to Tempo Storm.

LFM Esports

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None

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None

LFM showed a lot of improvement over the last phase of HGC, just barely overcoming Simplicity to avoid the Crucible. While you might expect a roster like that to make the most changes, LFM seemed to hit their stride towards the end of the season with the addition of DarkChimera to their roster. The team also puts a lot of emphasis on not just raw skill but also player personality and team building. With such a heavy focus on synergy between their players and several months to work on building it, LFM could tap into the well of potential that their roster holds. While perhaps not a LAN-qualifying team just yet, I feel their roster as-is will only go up from here.

No Tomorrow

Release

Jin (retired)

Akaface (retired)

JSchritte

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YoDa

ElhayM

Diesel

It’s fair to say that No Tomorrow was the most troubled team heading out of the 2018 season. So much so, Scythe Esports was initially criticized for picking Simplicity as their opponents in the Crucible over No Tomorrow, a team that many were confident was a guaranteed win for the Open Division Playoff winners, given the internal strife some of their players showcased on social media. The changes they will need to make are drastic if they have a hope of avoiding the Crucible again next season, and it’s hard to imagine any current professional would want to join their roster unless they had no other choice to stay in the HGC.

YoDa, I feel, is one of these players. After a release by Team Freedom, the aging professional would find a nice spot on No Tomorrow, moving back to the ranged flex role rather than the offlane. While you might expect him to pick up the offlane to replace Jin, having an experienced assassin player would serve No Tomorrow better in the long run.

The offlane role I would like to see be taken up by Casanova, No Tomorrow’s current tank player. This wouldn’t be too much of an unfamiliar shift for him, and would open up the tank role to be filled by Diesel, an Open Division player most recently associated with Freebirds, who placed #2 in the Open Division by points (they had almost 250 more points than the 3rd place team, while only 200 less than Crucible winners Scythe Esports). Diesel was also previously on King’s Gambit, the Open Division team that nearly swept No Tomorrow in Phase 1’s Crucible before No Tomorrow reversed it. He is a highly skilled and accomplished amateur, and would be one of their best pickups if Casanova was willing to transition to the offlane.

Finally, to fill in the support role would be PSISTORM’s ElhayM. Shortly after their Crucible loss, PSISTORM released ElhayM. Similarly, No Tomorrow’s support role opened up with the retirement of Akaface. Now you may ask me where my tin foil hat is, but PSISTORM is largely made up of former minor region professionals and their performance against No Tomorrow was impressive despite the loss. ElhayM himself stood out despite the usually passive support role, so it was surprising to me that PSISTORM was willing to let him go so quickly. Perhaps with the retirement of Akaface, the choice was made by ElhayM in order to pursue an opportunity on No Tomorrow? Regardless, I feel ElhayM would be the most convenient and best choice to fill an empty support position on their roster.

 

To say that this rosterpocalypse may be interesting is an understatement. There’s been talk of quite a few shake ups in the North American region, and this is my take on what I feel might be the best decisions each team could make. I may be wrong in my predictions, or I may be right, but it will be a very interesting couple of weeks for the teams. The pressure and expectations for North America to finally rise to the level of Europe and Korea on the international stage is higher than ever, but come December 6th we will see if the teams make the right adjustments to give themselves the tools to do just that.