Since the NA version is doing well, lets fan this fire and make some even wilder speculations about Europe! I know far less concrete information about EU, so this will be more based off instinct rather than super cool secret sources and announced changes. Let the speculation begin!!
Fnatic is in a weird spot where roster changes are dramatically harder. Making a roster change means using English in their comms, something they have not done for all of 2017 to my knowledge. Oh yea, they also took second at Blizzcon, so unless someone retires or gets a crazy offer from another team, I don’t see them making any changes.
This was a disappointing year for Dignitas. Not in any way that a normal human would consider “disappointment”, mind you, but this team expects to contend for championships. They had the easiest path to the semifinals and were upset by a team in their own region. I’m not sure how Dig would go about upgrading from their current roster, but based on what I know about esports as a whole, a team like this ending their season as they did absolutely makes a change.
Note: so the whole bit about “the easiest path to the next round vs expert” thing is just wrong. For some reason I had my rounds mixed up and thought that was the next round where everyone had to fight Korea or fnatic. It’s incorrect and just a mixup in my brain while writing, but I didn’t catch it until several people commented on Reddit, so removing it feels gross. Disregard that point, the rest stands
Team Expert–2 Changes
This is based on the ripple effect of other changes I have above and below. Expert showed a ton of promise at Blizzcon. They have a great core. However, other teams will be very interested in trying to acquire the players who performed best at Blizzcon. Even if the team intends to stay together, what if Dignitas drops Mene or Zaelia? Expert will be forced to at least examine options from the available pool of free agents, and I expect two players will either accept offers from other teams, or get replaced as better options become available.
Tricked esport–1 Change
I don’t really have any insight to provide here save for the fact that other big teams will be making moves, and that will require a team with promising pieces like Tricked to evaluate the existing roster, or potentially lose a piece to another team.
Team Liquid–2 Changes
Similar to Tempo Storm, this roster has been together forever. However, they have not been able to pierce the top of the international level, and even missed Blizzcon this year. I love this roster, but in its current form, Team Liquid appears to have plateaued. To make a bold prediction, I expect Dignitas, Expert, and Liquid to shuffle a few players between them. Early in League of Legends there was a 3-way trade that completely transformed North America, we could potentially see something similar with the EU HGC this season.
This is probably my boldest call, but I’m going to stand by it until someone shows me, like, a tweet from three days ago of one of these guys announcing their free agency. Team Wish made a crazy run through the “playoffs”. POILK shows a ton of promise as a carry, but I think there will be enough other options available to keep the top teams from trying to take him away from Zealots. Other than that, I just don’t see Zealots getting a chance to grab any of the other high profile free agents–especially without a sponsor.
Diamond Skin–2 Changes
You don’t go to the Crucible and keep your roster together. You just don’t. Similar to Zealots, it will be tough for Diamond Skin to make upgrades from higher profile teams, but the EU Open Division is far stronger than the one in NA by all accounts. I could see Diamond Skin using Phase 1 to rebuild and groom a few rookies with potential, or some veteran like BKB who got relegated in the Crucible.
Again, I don’t think they’re allowed to.
So, there you have it. If I’m right, this will be one of the most volatile offseasons we’ve seen from EU, which would be just the best for bloggers such as myself. Granted, I could be wildly wrong as well. That’s why this time of year is so much fun!!