I just wanted to throw out a quick thought in my continued effort to properly equip the community for the impending Rosterpocalypse. Bakery’s retirement throws a massive wrench into the works that will have resonating impact for literally every team in EU.
One thing that’s important to understand is how risk-averse most teams will always be in a format like the HGC. If your team struggles in a single split, you could literally end your professional career. Through the Crucible your organization could be relegated from the league, and your time as a player could be over. This makes it very difficult for teams to gamble on unproven players from the Open Division. Teams have to win right now just to keep their jobs.
With that said, let’s run through a hypothetical scenario. Take note, most roster decisions (if not all) were locked in before this announcement. In this specific instance, Bakery’s retirement announcement likely changed very little about the actual roster moves happening. However, I think it serves as a solid example of just how many small factors can have enormous consequences in an offseason. Let’s say that no teams planned to make any roster moves whatsoever. Everyone loves each other, all the teams just want to focus on improving their synergy and skip through fields of daisies while looking fondly into one another’s eyes. Suddenly, Bakery is all “nah, I’m out.” Dignitas now is forced to find a new support player. This is a team and an organization that expects to not only attend every international event, but aims to win them. They cannot grab some young rookie support and train him up for a season–they need a veteran. So, they have to go attract a player from another HGC team.
Since the rumors are all leaning this way, let’s say they grab Granpkt. Again, everything else is intending to stay the same. Now Zealots have to get a new support. They’re in an even more tenuous situation than Dignitas, they cannot afford to take a risk either–they need a proven player to earn them wins not only to secure their spot, but to attract a sponsor. The process would, in theory, continue until every team has just traded their support player.
Except, Bakery isn’t moving to another team, he’s left the pool of support candidates. What do you do? If your team doesn’t want to take a risk on a rookie, suddenly you now have to roleswap one of your existing players to support to fill that hole. However, now you have a hole at flex, and you still don’t want to take a risk on a rookie, so the process begins anew. Eventually someone has to take an Open Division player to stop the cycle, but until someone does, this process of shuffling and swapping would continue in perpetuity.
Now add that in to all the planned roster changes teams already intended to make before Bakery threw this boulder into the stream. As you can see, every single move within an off-season creates its own hurricane of changes. The shakeup this season is going to be intense, and I cannot wait to see the next change to add more ripples to the pond.