Heroic built an amazing roster, but can they make it work till fall?

Heroic made the group stages of IEM Cologne 2022, but were quickly consigned to the lower bracket from their group. For a team aspiring to be the pack leaders in the CS: GO scene, this wasn’t the kind of result they would’ve envisaged.

Let’s be clear. They have been extremely competitive, but their inability to take that “final step” has led to a slew of changes. The cut-throat nature of the competitive scene, where performances and results are one’s currency, has now forced them to try and course-correct.

Heroic cadiaN

Heroic goes in with the new

One of the big decisions they have taken in recent times is the signing of Jakob “jabbi” Nygaard to their roster. The 18-year-old, who made a mark for Copenhagen Flames as a rifler, replaced refrezh, who was pulled out of their active roster last month, citing their inability to win a big title since the competition returned to LAN last year. While he remains on contract for the moment, he will actively pursue opportunities elsewhere.

This decision to sign jabbi is a massive decision, not least because Heroic is hedging their bets on a young player, but also because they are “willing to risk something very good at the chance to become the very best.” In many ways, this signing panned out the way it did because Flames had for long been looking to sell their successful roster owing to lack of resources to match the squad’s stature – essentially opportunities they couldn’t offer, such as franchise slots and big salaries.

Invariably, when you’re a shining light at a team that is on a downswing – not so much in terms of results, but in terms of what they can offer – you have nothing to lose. Even as the financial upheaval threatens to disintegrate a competent unit, jabbi has been key to some creditable performances for the outfit in recent times, ever since they broke through at IEM Fall last year.

They’ve posted wins and top placings at tier-two events such as Malta Vibes and Pinnacle Series. They carried that confidence to make an inspired run to the top eight at PGL Major Antwerp and IEM Katowice, but haven’t been able to reach the heights they did while winning the ESL Pro League Season 13 in the online era. What works, though, is jabbi now has the experience and is a battle-hardened youngster who just has to find a way to adapt to Heroic ultra-aggressive play style.

heroic IEM Cologne

Creating the next Heroic super-team

Things came to a pause when refrezh ended PGL Major Antwerp on a downswing. He had been the team’s lowest-rated player on LAN at 0.96. He recorded a poor 0.82 at Antwerp. Ultimately, he paid the price for a series of underwhelming performances.

The new signing gives them a chance to reboot, and identify new patterns of play. If nothing, signing a younger who comes with no baggage is sure to give them a fresh perspective and give opponents something to chew on. Among Jabbi’s biggest strengths is he can be unpredictable – not in a mercurial way – at the best of times. His versatility being his biggest asset.

Throw in all these qualities along with Jabbi’s hunger and you will likely stir up plenty of promise. Playing for a third team in three years can only mean two things. You’ve been so good that teams are queuing up to sign you, or you haven’t yet lived up to full potential and are in search of a team with whom you can blend in nicely. This is exactly the situation jabbi finds himself in.

Two years ago, he had an experience of just 34 maps while joining Singularity. His exposure to top level competitions were limited, but during his tenure with the team, they reached a peak of No. 67 in the HLTV rankings, and were placed 11th in consecutive ESEA MDL seasons. Jabbi didn’t particularly stand out – he was only average with a rating of 0.93 – but they saw several attributes in him – attitude and work ethic being among them – that stood him in good stead.

These are characteristics likely to stand the test of time anywhere he plays. At Heroic is an opportunity to finally carve a niche and bring his early experience to firmly leave his imprint as the team charts their roadmap for the next two years.

Moving forward, Heroic are guaranteed a spot at BLAST Fall Groups but their attendance at ESL Pro League S16 is uncertain. Either way, they are almost guaranteed to have enough matches against premier level teams come September.

In terms of re-building cohesion, the team has long ways to go. Over at IEM Cologne they looked utterly underwhelming and couldn’t even challenge MOUZ nor NiP in a straight up series.

The team has plenty of building up to do, especially for the type of squad Heroic is set up to be. They can the highs of FaZe Clan in terms of squad potential, and the individual carry potential of S1mple/electronic in CadiaN and stavn. Heroic has an insane roster on paper, but they need to work hard on realizing it’s full potential.

Hopefully while everyone goes on a summer break, Heroic go bootcamping.

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