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"We lost a lot of frag power": Heroic seek to continue 2022 form with nudl at Invitational despite Benjamaster exit

How hard will the Benjamaster exit hit them?

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Banner image: Ubisoft / @itsmeERROR

Like many other teams, Heroic's 2022 season started in superb fashion. After only having lost one game in Stage 1, Heroic sat atop of the EUL standings with eight regulation victories and 24 points.

That dominance was well reflected in the player statistics, with Jake "Sloth" Brown, Benjamin "Benjamaster" Dereli, and Georgi "GorgoNa" Stoyanov ranked among the top 10 players in the league with SiegeGG Ratings of 1.28, 1.18, and 1.17, respectively.

At the Charlotte Major, though, their performance was heavily affected by travel issues. Heroic, who had only lost once in the European League Stage 1, conceded four defeats in the first Six Major alone.

Throughout Stage 2, Heroic's momentum came to a grinding halt. Two regulation losses in the last three games saw G2 Esports climb to fourth place on the final play day of the stage, pushing Heroic down to fifth place. Five days later, GorgoNa parted ways with the roster, with Sloth benched shortly after.

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Heading into Stage 3, Heroic added the tier-two talents Maxime "Meloo" Cahagnet and Marc "Jume" Steinmann for an immediate impact. But, while they qualified for the Jönköping Major, they could only finish in third place in their group despite defeating TSM twice and SANDBOX Gaming twice.

Eliminated at the EUL Finals in the first round as well, Heroic underwent two more changes: Sloth was moved back to the active roster after Benjamaster's departure to G2 Esports, with Adam "nudl" Hryceniak completing the lineup after Meloo was benched instead.

"The way we see the changes we have done, it has been necessary to fit five people together that work towards the same goal and to remove those who weren't motivated enough to continue," explained Murat "MrOfficer" Motevalli in an interview with SiegeGG. "Obviously, it is always difficult to create consistency when you do changes, but sometimes it's just how it is."

As such, though Heroic's roster has now one-and-a-half new names on it, with Sloth not a complete stranger to the team and the community in general, it was not entirely in their own hands after Benjamaster left for G2.

According to MrOfficer, the team was hit hard with Benjamaster's departure. The Dane's entry record in the EUL in 2022 had been at an impressive 58-26 (+32) -- one of the best in the region.

"We lost a lot of frag power and felt therefore it was also necessary to change out Meloo, since we wanted to go into a deeper structural change within the team, and at that point, Meloo didn't fit in that direction. Meloo is still a good player and a person that would deserve to play at the top league in another team," explained MrOfficer.

However, all is not lost as Jume's Stage 3 balance was 20-16 (+4) in the same category.

MrOfficer praised Jume's work for Heroic, who has been excellent so far with SiegeGG Ratings of 1.09 and 1.33 in Stage 3 of the EUL and at the Jönköping Major, respectively.

"Jume might seem a bit quiet and introverted, but the guy does not get impacted by much. He is a young man trapped in an "old school" mentality where hard work, and no feeling, and 'gg go next' applies," he continued.

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Meanwhile, nudl joins the team after competing in the Campeonato Mexicano for Skull Crackers, where he finished as the fourth-best player in the competition with a SiegeGG Rating of 1.18.

"[Nudl] brings a lot of passion and commitment to the team. He is both mechanically strong, and also a good shot-caller. He also brings consistency in his work, but also helps UUNO out when it comes to 'steering the rounds' a bit," shared MrOfficer.

When talking about how the changes to the team may affect the roster's performance, though, the coach shied away from dwelling on the topic too much. According to him, Aleksi "UUNO" Työppönen's experience "helps him to drive the ship forward in a more confident way."

The players "rely on the IGL to be at his best", said MrOfficer, though he thinks the game is "suiting more and more the youngsters coming in, being able to disturb the meta and also apply unpredictability."

It is a fine balance to strike, however, with UUNO being supported in leading the team by Nathan "Grizzly" Harding's experience to settle nerves and relieve pressure as it builds.

"Pressure is often what gets to the boys that are without experience, but we are working hard on that part and have a lot of conversations about the topic, so we get them all calm and collected," said MrOfficer, ardent in his desire to foster a good environment inside the team.

Vital to Heroic's long term goals is "building a culture where we talk about mistakes without getting mad at each other" and "still being able to perform even when we struggle and keeping the mood and energy up regardless."

That will come to a test when Heroic's Six Invitational 2023 run begins tomorrow, as the team will face DarkZero Esports to kick off their campaign.

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