JayPL • Zaelia • Wubby • POILK • Snitch
Mene leaves and is replaced by POILK, a well-regarded dps in the scene, whilst Wubby comes in and Zaelia moves to support with Bakery’s retirement. Bakery leaving is a loss but I think the additions will more than make up for this.
Wubby is one of the best off-laners in the world, with most discussion revolving around how close he is to Rich, which is a very favourable comparison. POILK is a rising star, performing well on Zealots and showing great plays at GCWC; his Gul’dan play is horrifyingly good (sorry). I was sceptical of the argument that Zaelia used to heal in WoW so he’ll make an easy transition to support in heroes as it’s quite a different game, but he certainly didn’t embarrass himself, looking crisp throughout GCWC.
I’d thought that Dig would grow to be the strongest Phase 1 team in EU, but they showed at GCWC they are already very strong, and the best in the West. I think that Dignitas are the team to beat this phase.
Quackniix • Breez • SmX • BadBenny • Ménè
Fnatic is the team that has, I think, mostly gone for those who fit in well rather than just picking the best players. There’s a hint at this with Quackniix’s tweet here
Sharing my thoughts regarding rosterchanges etc
— QuackNiix (@FnaticQuack) November 18, 2017
The two people that left, Schwimpi and Wubby, could not be described easily as leaving because Fnatic wanted mechanically gifted players as both’s mechanics are great. Skillwise they will be missed but the hope for Fnatic is for an improved team dynamic. The concept of building a team that will play and work well together over looking for individual skill.
Addition wise, BadBenny is a solid Swede with recent international experience and Ménè is a world class mage that gets along with the Fnatic boys. The two released players are both solid, top EU players, but I think they have been let go with the intention of building a different team atmosphere.
They are going to have to do a lot of reorganisation, working on new heroes and roles. BadBenny swaps to off-laner and there is some overlap in Quackniix and Ménè’s hero pools. I think it will take a bit for Fnatic to become the world beaters they were in 2017 and I don’t think it will happen in Phase 1; if the team gels and they can work out hero pools then I think they’ll be able to challenge for top spots.
GCWC wasn’t great for Fnatic but it was an experimental time for them with both BadBenny and Ménè playing a wide range of heroes.
Atheroangel • Cursen • Nic • ScHwimpi • Arcaner
BadBenny and adrd both joined other teams with the loss of their tank meaning that
Atheroangel goes back to tank; ScHwimpi and Arcaner come in as well regarded ranged flexes. It’s an interesting roster because you have a solid, if not flashy core of 3, and then ScHwimpi and Arcaner as the high risk high reward ranged flexes. BadBenny leaving is a loss, but I think ScHwimpi and Arcaner make up for that as both are real playmakers.
I think Expert have the makings of a top 3 team, perhaps even top 2 if the team gels well, at the expense of Fnatic, but I can also see them fall apart if things go wrong. I am going to predict a good first split of Phase 1, top 2 or 3 dependent on whether ScHwimpi and Arcaner adapt to Expert.
HasuObs • Nurok • Splendour • SportBilly • ethernal
After a very good Phase 1, Liquid had a poor Phase 2, with the second split of Phase 2 being especially bad. They have tried coaches and boot camps with no success. It’s been clear for some time they have needed to make changes and they have done so, cutting Darkmok and Blumbi (which was not unexpected) and bringing in SportBilly and Ethernal.
SportBilly is a good tank and his shot-calling was especially needed, whilst Ethernal is a journeyman, someone that has played for a bit and is not spectacular but solid and reliable.
I’d say the changes were very needed and will make Liquid a better team, though it might take them some time to settle. Liquid has reliable, if unspectacular players and will eke out wins with coordination but will be some distance off top 3. Their chance at qualifying for an international event is for Mid-Season Brawl, getting 4th, and an EU team winning the Western Clash I think. They will need to put away Zealots and Tricked this season.
Mopsio • adrd • Cris • Shad • Zarmony
Zealots pick up adrd and Cris, losing POILK to Dignitas and GranPkt to Tricked, Shad moving to the support role to make up for that. POILK and GranPkT leaving are big misses. They have gone for a team of well-known personalities with individual flair and skill, and I think their team, especially with adrd, will be flashy and exciting, but perhaps unpredictable.
They have a lot to rebuild and I think it will take a while to mesh. With some great players and big personalities, they may mesh and do very well, or fail to mesh and do very badly. I think Liquid will be better than them to start off with but Zealots have the skill to threaten for a qualifying spot in the manner I’ve suggested Liquid might.
AlexTheProG • Crozzby • Remmerballer • Makke • GrandPkt
Tricked made the least changes of all of the teams that could make changes, with Gnappe being released and GrandPkt being picked up. This is perhaps a little surprising as Tricked, after a good start to Phase 2, fell off towards the end of split with a 2-5 record and were well beaten by Zealots in the playoffs. They likely feel that keeping a stable roster, just switching supports will be the change they need to be a top 4 team in 2018.
I am not so sure though they will be a top 4 team. Other teams have recruited, and teams around them have improved, I’d argue.
WolfJoe • nande • robodobah • Roskmeg • Darkmok
Diamond Skin’s roster was gutted with players looking for other challenges, Cris to Zealots, SportBilly and Ethernal to Liquid. From Diamond’s own tweets they had to replace players at short notice and have ended up taking a motley bunch.
the time from crucible to now was pretty rough - going from not knowing if we'll make any roster changes at all, waiting for post-blizzcon rosterapocalypse to happen, to then having to replace 3 players.— Rainer Wöß (@nandeHotS) November 22, 2017
I'm excited for Diamond Skin in #HGC 2018 -
Announcement in the next days 😘
Darkmok from Liquid, robodobah from Australia and Roskmeg who played in the now defunct Open Division team .
It’s hard to tell how they will do having had to replace most of their team and gambling on 2 non-HGC players. I can’t help but imagine they’ll struggle, having to bond at short notice and get whoever they could. Still, they will likely be hungry as they have a lot to prove. Crucible probably, but a team that can shine if its hunger translates into results.
Lauber • Linked • PotiBoss • Bl3kitny • Deeaybe
As an open team they have to stay with the 5 players they qualified with. I can’t see them doing too much being the new team in a very competitive league, but teams will pay if they underestimate them. I’m glad for them they have this chance and they are deserved HGC competitors having repeatedly shown their worth in the open division.