The Status of EU Heroes of the Storm
Since the end of the Heroes of the Storm World Championships at BlizzCon 2015, many European teams, including Na`Vi, have already gone through roster swaps and trades. While only Tempo Storm of the North American region announced any dramatic roster changes, several top European teams such as Team Liquid, Na`Vi and Dignitas have made sudden roster swaps, seemingly due to lack of performance after HWC 2015.
Shortly after HWC 2015, Team Liquid announced the departure of three of their players: Victor Sánchez «Falcon» López, Franciso Antonio «GranPkt» Núñez Sorribas and Cristofer «Blackscorp» Embareck, leaving only the Moreno-Duran brothers left in the starting roster. That same day, Fnatic announced that three of their players would also be departing: Jonathan «Wubby» Gunnarsson, Riccardo «Kesil» Archetti and Joaquim «Lowell» Fitas. (Lowell would join Team Liquid).myInsanity.eu also announced that they would be joining the professional Heroes of the Storm scene with their acquisition of the former Team ALTERNATE/Team Spartanien roster.
Earlier this week was the busiest in roster changes for Na`Vi and Dignitas, Europe’s top two teams at HWC 2015. Na`Vi swapped Jerome «JayPL» Trinh and Simon «scHwimpi» Svensson for Matic «Zarmony» Mikec from Dignitas, while Adrian «adrd» Wojcik departed from Dignitas and is currently teamless. Team Liquid and Fnatic would also complete their rosters, with Team Liquid bringing in former ROCCAT flex, Christoph «Cris» Gowitzke and former Spartanien support, Raoul «GerdamHerd» Saurbier, thus rounding up the EU HotS Rostermania before Dreamhack All-Stars.
With all these roster swaps, results have changed dramatically since HWC 2015. We saw Na`Vi and Dignitas as the top representatives for Europe, while former champions Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, and G2 eSports were forced to watch from home. As of late, we have seen the former top teams from Season 2 and 3 rise up from their ashes, and seeing how well the newer rosters can hold up.
Photo by ESLGaming
At Fragbite Masters, we saw Team Liquid and Fnatic in the finals, with this being the first time Team Liquid has been in the finals since late August. In the European Open Qualifier for World Cyber Arena, Fnatic was part of the grand finals again, but this time against G2 eSports. G2 would rise 2-0 against Fnatic after taking out Virtus.pro 2-1 in the semi-finals. This would be Fnatic’s second-2nd place finish.
DreamHack Winter All-Stars showed the performances of the top-tier team’s new rosters, with teams such as Virtus.pro, Liquid, Dignitas, G2, Fnatic and the newly acquired myInsanity trying to prove their worth for the start of the brand new season.
With much of the meta being similar to that of HWC 2015, the only thing in the players’ way was their own personal skill. myInsanity would surprisingly make it out of group stage, after defeating ROCCAT in the group’s deciding match. They then faced Fnatic, who had just come out of Group B after emphatic wins against Team Liquid and Virtus.pro.
Team Liquid and Fnatic would both defeat their opponents 3-1 in the semi-finals and face each other, once again, in the grand finals. With both teams playing with seemingly brand new rosters, Fnatic’s win in the group stage seemed to be the only reason they looked like the favorites to take home 1st place. While Team Liquid would take map one on Cursed Hollow, Fnatic would go on to take home their very first 1st place victory since February and first ever in a Major tournament.
It was a surprising end to DreamHack and a performance test for every team that participated. Dignitas would take home another 3rd/4th place finish, even after their 2nd place finish at HWC 2015 and their roster swaps. With many questions being asking about the changes to Dignitas, the most commonly asked one seems to be, “What’s happening?” After a 2nd place finish at HWC 2015, and taking out some of the best teams in the World, many fans expected a top performance from Dignitas. But it seems like the newcomers in Fnatic are hungry to make their stand in the European scene of Heroes of the Storm.
Photo by Sebastian Ekman/DreamHack