This is the forth and final installment of our Year in Review series that takes a look at how competitive Heroes of the Storm in each region has fared in 2017. Catch up on Latin America here, Southeast Asia here and Australia and New Zealand here.
Taiwan is known as one of the few minor regions to have truly struck fear into the hearts of major region teams. In 2016, Please Buff Arthas became known as the gatekeepers in North America when they defeated Gale Force Esports at Dreamhack Summer, as well as Astral Authority at BlizzCon.
Although these results may seem strange to some, PBA stated in the past that their ability to practice with Korean teams and not suffer a ping disadvantage has helped give them the edge over North America.
After a year spent shocking Heroes of the Storm fans everywhere, Please Buff Arthas had one more upset up their sleeves. Following BlizzCon 2016, the team announced they would be disbanding – a huge loss in the eyes of many who could see the potential they had left unreached.
Zeys, who has since joined former PBA members in Soul Torturers, has stated the team disbanded mainly due to “different views and approaches to the game”. On top of this, “GoDDoG had to serve his mandatory military duties,” whilst “ZoLa had school commitments and decided to take a step back”. So whilst it is sad that Taiwan lost such a distinguished team, it was unfortunately unavoidable.
That means 2017 was a more low-key year for Taiwan. Missing a few of their most skilled players, they were unable to reach the heights Please Buff Arthas had achieved the year before. However, it did allow for Team Facecheck, a team sick of coming second, to finally receive some international attention. Competing as the first seed team from Taiwan in both the first and second Eastern Clashes, their hard work and perseverance finally paid off.
Following the first Eastern Clash, former Please Buff Arthas members GoDDog, Scroll, and ZoLa returned to the Nexus under the team name Soul Torturers. It wasn’t as smooth as anticipated though, with Team Facecheck taking them all the way to a game 5 in the season 2 grand finals. In the end, Soul Torturers’ experience paid off, earning themselves a ticket to the Midseason Brawl where they took maps off Tempo Storm, eStar, and Red Canids.
In season 3, Team Facecheck and Soul Torturers met again once more in the grand finals. However, this time things were different. Team Facecheck, in a decisive 3-1 series, were finally able to earn victory against a team whose players had always been just one step ahead of them. Little did they know though that Soul Torturers were to join them anyway in the next Eastern Clash, replacing Chinese representatives, eStar. In a situation becoming commonplace amongst Chinese teams, eStar was unable to obtain visas in time for the tournament, ultimately losing them their spot.
This event was as entertaining as it was perplexing. Not only did we witness Soul Torturers take a map off MVP Black, but it truly showcased the wonder of Asia’s wacky drafting style. Keeping analysts on their toes, Super Perfect Team brought out a Nova pick on Braxis Holdout, compelling Team Facecheck to show their own crazy strategies with a Cho’Gall.
After season 3, the Soul Torturers roster changed quite dramatically when they lost booy005 and ZoLa. To fill these positions, Soul Torturers turned to old friends; Zeys and Mirr, former Southeast Asian representatives from Deadly Kittens.
Feeling disgruntled with the Southeast Asian Heroes of the Storm scene, the two Singaporeans decided to make the move to Taiwan and turn long-time opponents into allies. “We shared the same consensus that there was a lack of talented players in our regions so the idea of teaming up came across,” said Zeys, reflecting on this decision. He also believed the move was beneficial financially, stating that SEA’s prize pool was the lowest of all minor regions.
After some issues getting the two Singaporeans to the Taiwan BlizzCon qualifier, they were able to secure a very clean 3-0 victory over Team Facecheck – a feat the team had no doubt been looking to do all year long. Although adding another BlizzCon to each member’s repertoire of international experience, the event proved to be their toughest challenge to date. Unable to take a single map off of Ballistix or Super Perfect Team, it might be that the brand new roster was simply lacking the synergy of their opponents.
Looking to the Future
Regarding his predictions for 2018, Zeys has stated, “It’s definitely gonna be our team to look out for as we better ourselves for the next split”. Adding to this, he says Soul Torturers, “will be doing some roster changes which will be announced once Blizzard releases their plans for 2018. As for the remainder of the other Taiwanese teams, they will be making roster changes as well.” Zeys also noted that, although not yet confirmed, ZoLa might be returning to the Nexus again this year, so keep an eye out for him!
Taiwan will be the only minor region attending an Eastern or Western Clash this year, with theirqualifiers taking place on 4th, 10th, and 11th of February. They will also be participating in the Horizon Clash prior to the Midseason Brawl, going head-to-head with Southeast Asia’s finest to determine which team is worthy of the global stage.
Although this may be the conclusion to our Year in Review series, it’s only the beginning of minor region coverage at ANZ Heroes. Keep your eyes peeled for more Minor Region Madness as we prepare to give you all the latest in event analysis, team updates, and player stories throughout 2018!