Whattup nerds! This is going to be a quick article since I’ve got like 30 minutes free and hadn’t written anything in a little while. Essentially what I’m going to do today is predict some roster changes. I’m going to do a little tirade later, maybe just in a reddit post or something, about the importance of roster changes, and why I love this season so much. For a portion of those thoughts, here’s something I did last free agency season. Enjoy.
Again, since my time is short, I’m not going to do a super hardcore prediction analysis. Plus, I actually know some of the roster changes that haven’t happened yet, so I could either betray the trust of a friend, or make fake guesses to not reveal my source, both of which feel kinda gross. So, rather than analyze specifically which players will go where, I’m going to just predict how many moves each team will make, and discuss why. It’s entirely possible this will not be interesting or valuable, but I’m bored and want to do it, so there!
See my previous tweets and whatnot about how everyone in NA has giant egos and hates each other. Anyone who actually thinks that…..you’re just wrong. I’m tired of spending time on it, but someone will probably trigger me in the Reddit comments and we’ll rant about it again. However, the following is based on pure analysis of results, team synergy, and what I would do if I were managing/coaching each team. We’ll start from the top since that will have the biggest impact.
Roll20 Esports –2 Changes
We’ve already seen Prismaticism announce his free agency, so this is a bit of a hedge on my part. This team got too good too quickly to stay together. Every person on this roster is a top 3 player in their position within the region. Glaurung is one of the genuine stars of the league, Justing is easily the best tank in NA, Buds is an elite support, and Goku may actually be the best player we’ve got, or certainly has the potential to reach that status. Every one of these players will get offers, and it is highly likely that one of those players will take it.
Team Freedom–3 Changes
Similar to Roll20, this is a small organization that suddenly has a team of playmakers. Every player showed up at Blizzcon and proved themselves valuable. As high profile teams lose players, this will be one of the first places they look for replacements. That said, I don’t think this roster is actually particularly elite, when compared to the top 4-5 potential rosters going into 2018. It will be in the best interest of any member of this team to trade themselves up to a Tempo, Roll20, or Gale Force roster if they can. I expect TF has at least one change they’d like to make, and two others who will accept offers from other, higher profile squads.
Gale Force Esports–4 changes
I should quickly mention that most of this hinges on my belief that Blizzard has changed their roster restriction rules based on the new ownership changes. In 2017, four players leaving the roster would have meant that GFE lost their spot in the league just like B-Step did. However, now that the spot in the league is actually owned by GFE, and not a majority share of their roster, I expect teams will be allowed more leniency. It would be a bad look for Blizzard to have grandfathered GFE into the league, and then have them need to make three roster moves due to MichaelUdall retiring. If they can make three, why not blow up the whole thing? I expect we will see the team rebuilt around one remaining player, with pieces drawn from several teams to fill out the squad.
Tempo Storm–1 Change
It’s possible this team needs to make more than a single change, but I also think Tempo likes how long they’ve kept the same roster. They also have several spots that would be difficult to upgrade, particularly at warrior and support–you aren’t going to find much better than Fury and Jun. That said, it’s basically been proven at this point that the current roster cannot compete with the elite teams of the world. They’ve tried everything at this point, including some really stupid role swaps, and none of it worked to elevate the team past their plateau. It’s far past time for a change, and this will be the time to make it happen.
Spacestation Gaming–2 Changes
We already know about these two changes–TigerJK and TalkingTrees announced their free agency. Unless Spacestation empties their wallets for Justing, I don’t see them making any other moves. Equinox is really good and I think Jason still hasn’t reached his final form. With 2 changes, SSG will remain good enough to avoid the cruicible in Phase 1 of 2018, and will have time to evaluate this new roster to possibly make other moves leading into Phase 2.
This team had a disappointing season. You don’t have a disappointing season and not make some changes, it’s just not practical. That said, I just don’t think this team can attract many upgrades. They still don’t have a sponsor, so all the big free agents are going to get better offers. It’s possible there’s more interpersonal issues here and we see the team fracture, leading to two or three changes, but ultimately I just don’t think they’re going to get the opportunity to make many upgrades.
Lag Force–2 Changes
Similar to Superstars, it will be tough for Lag Force to attract big names to upgrade the roster. However, this team absolutely has to make moves. If I were in charge, I would get rid of three players, and build around the remaining Zuna and Tomster (moving Tomster back to Melee where he belongs). However, the squad has proven really bad at making organizational decisions that I think are really smart, so I doubt that will happen. However, with all the changes happening above, there will be a few options available from other squads that may trickle down to Lag Force.
Heroes Hearth–I don’t think they’re allowed to.
Even if they were, I doubt we’d see any. However, in Phase 2 I predict this team will be picked apart by other squads with more resources.
So, there you go. Do with these predictions what you will. If people want, I’ll do an EU version as well, but I wanted to try and at least get this out before more changes were announced. Hope you enjoyed, and have a great offseasn! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!