With Stage One of the Global Pro League just around the corner, pro teams have launched into rostermania, the EU region seeing some of the most notable changes. Matt “Mr. X” Morello, Clint “Maven” Evans, Jack “CouRage” Dunlop and Chris Puckett gave their thoughts on some of the most recent swaps and drops across the pond.
Matt: From what all I've heard Joshh decided to leave Splyce. It was not the team's decision, it was his own decision to go play with those players on Epsilon, but regardless, Splyce brings in Zero… I think towards the end of last year we would have said this would have been the super team you would have put together in the EU region. I do worry though where the leadership comes from in this team and the communication. MadCat is not a real big contributor to those, neither is Jurd, so I don't know who is going to be the clear-cut leader of this squad.
Clint: I mirror his concerns. I mean, I thought when you saw the original Splyce team on paper they were going to be incredible. They haven't really been what we expected, and I don't see that this is the change that was needed. Even though Zero is one of my favorite players in Europe and, like Matt said, last year was just a god. He was absolutely incredible. The team struggles at Hardpoints where you think they would be good, like Breakout Hardpoints where it takes a lot of teamwork. It doesn't seem to be there and I think it comes back to communication like Matt said, I don't know if this will be the solve.
Jack: At the start of this year I thought there was no way we would see Splyce or the Orbit – then Red Reserve team – breaking up. I thought those would be the two powerhouses throughout the whole year that always battles up to the top in Europe and really draw the fire of the top North American teams, and for the most part that didn't wind up being the case.
I mean we talked a little bit about Splyce and now Joshh being gone, but that also trickled down to Red Reserve with Rated going on over to Elevate. That is a squad too, with Rated and Reedy now on that team, I think they are arguably one of the best in mind games and a lot of trash talk coming from that line-up... I have high expectations for the team, so far we haven't seen anything crazy from them in the online 2K pro point series, but going into this weekend I'm wondering what kind of practice they got in, what the roles are going to be with this squad and how they will wind up panning on out.
Thoughts on Rated going to Elevate?
Clint: I made a comment during our pool play reveal show that I had some concerns with Rated and Reedy – they’re hot headed, in the past they have bumped heads, but shortly after I saw some tweets from @Bricetacular saying ‘don't worry man, these guys haven't had that issue for a long time, they've teamed together recently and haven't had issues.’ That kind of turned me around a little bit! When you have two passionate guys leading a team like this - I'm really excited to see what the combo can do and I've got high hopes.
Chris: Elevate hasn't been able to do anything in the online 2K's I don't expect them to do much in their pool either.
Jack: Opposite Elevate though in online 2K performances: Red Reserve, who I thought was actually going to get worse with these changes in regards to now having Niall and Seany on this team, have actually performed better in the 2K's. Now the question is, can they transition this over to LAN? Who is the leadership going to be?
They are now in a pool with OpTic Gaming, with Envy, a lot of pressure on this new line-up. Can Niall and Seany, I think it is Seany’s second time ever competing in North America, or third time now, he has got a lot going up against him here. I'm wondering how the pressure is going to stack up against these guys.
Matt: For me it is more about the rosters that have stayed the same. Fnatic, they are clearly one of the teams in Europe that is getting better a bit by a bit, 2K by 2K, and then Infused, they've been very consistent in international competition. They have not beaten anybody really of high quality, but still their placements are good. You are expecting Infused to continue that with MarkyB at the helm.
Chris: I think we should go back to Red Reserve and take a look at this team. This is a squad that has beaten Splyce recently to win a 2K. This is a team that has gone to game five against Fnatic and has beaten Infused. They proved that they can hang with Europe's best, they have proved that they can beat Europe's best, but that is kind of what Orbit always was and what Red Reserve became, is the squad that can win matches against their own countrymen.
I think this is the first time we're seeing this four-man squad playing together and they could make a big statement in Dallas – this could be one of the biggest threats, if not THE biggest threat in Europe.
Matt: I do get concerned when a new team forms out of players who are playing a little bit out of spite from their teammates that have kind of left them and whatnot, that there is a little bit of a honeymoon phase where everyone is like ‘Rah Rah’, cheering up each other, everyone is feeling great. We haven't really seen them kind of fall yet. When they do I don't know how they are going to react and you could potentially see that at Dallas.
Clint: The counterpoint to that, that we've seen in other sports - the chip on your shoulder can go a long way, right? When you feel like that leftover… Really interesting. Back to what you said with Fnatic and Infused man… I love Fnatic! Their Search and Destroy is unreal! They lost what, one in the ESWC was it? The entire time? One Search and Destroy. Wuskin is my new favorite player in Europe and I'm not ashamed to say it.
Jack: With EU having so much rostermania and NA basically having none, I mean, I would be safe to say I would think that this favors North America going into this event. We are back on NA soil, and these guys have been teaming together for months while a lot of these European squads - the majority of them - have only been teaming together for a little under two weeks. So on a greater scale, I worry about how EU will place at this event compared to the likes of the CWL Paris Open and the CWL Atlanta Open.
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