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A look back and ahead: North America

Heroes Lydia “lideyuh” Mitrevski

While the game wasn’t “fully” released until June 2015, Heroes of the Storm has been consumable for select players since the Alpha stages in March of 2014. Since then, it has grown exponentially through additional content, growth as an eSport and even the first World Championship tournament at Blizzcon.

And throughout the entire process, North American teams have sprung up fighting hard to show they are a region to be reckoned with. While the competitive Heroes scene is still fairly new, North America has a few teams that have been able to climb up the rankings and take wins in major tournaments, namely the World Championship.

We asked some of the top North American teams how they felt about their performance in 2015 and what their hopes are for 2016:

Derek “Dunktrain” Arabian

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
I think 2015 went excellent for our team. We formed the team with the goal of winning BlizzCon and we achieved it. Being able to accomplish something like that is incredible.

What team or tournament was the toughest compeition for you in 2015?
We faced a lot of strong competition over the year, but our biggest obstacle was and still is ourselves. Throughout the year we knew we had the capacity to be the best, but we kept getting in our own way. We managed to get our heads on straight when it mattered and give our absolute best for regionals and BlizzCon. Hopefully we can keep that composure for 2016's increased global competition.

What are the team goals for 2016?
I'm sure our hope for 2016 is the same as every competitor's; to be the best. We want to face the growing global competition with the best of our abilities. Hopefully that is enough.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
I think it is too early to know what will be different in 2016. The game changes so rapidly that it is impossible to know how it will evolve. The only thing I do know is that global competition will be more fierce, but the rest is a mystery.

Donald “Scylol” Dobbin

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
We were two games away from playing at BlizzCon, and that was the only thing that mattered to any of us. Even though we didn't win any tournaments leading up to regionals, we were confident we would win when it mattered most. We just ended up falling a little short. I'd say overall we performed pretty well through the course of 2015.

What team or tournament was the toughest competition for you in 2015?
Regionals had the highest stakes of anything we ever played in before, so I guess that could make it the toughest obstacle. If you look back on it I guess you could say that since we had to take down the eventual world champs in order to get the BlizzCon.

What are the team goals for 2016?
Same thing as last year, but this time instead of the one big event, our goal is to compete and win the 3 major events.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
The team is going to give everything it has to be a top competitor next year. We're going to put in the work in and outside of the game in order to do so.

Kyle “iKhoN” Murray

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
We did pretty good for being such a new team.  I liked how well the team meshed and was able to compete right out of the gate. It's very easy (from my side) to deal with the guys and everyone gets along so it's an overall awesome experience. Dislikes would have to be that we didn't put up the big numbers, or the top finishes that I would have liked to have seen.

What team or tournament was the toughest competition for you in 2015?
Team Blaze. We'd always go up against them and just barely fall short for this or that reason. It was like, trying to shove 20 hot dogs in my mouth at the same time, it may be delicious, but it hurts like hell.

What are the team goals for 2016?
I don't want to say to much just yet, but we're starting from the ground up on a lot of things, especially on the brand's side of things. Expect us to have some announcements in mid-late January. I'm really stoked for this upcoming year with 2ARC and the HotS team. The team still has a lot of potential, we just need to make sure we're ready for the 2016 grind.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
We're hoping with the recent roster changes and the plans we have for early 2016 will help us get a solid foundation and ready to be a threat in 2016.

Jarrett “Nessper” Jaroslawski

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
I think despite the lack of events to showcase how far our team has come, we've surpassed a lot of expectations thus far. Mostly in Enter the Storm, we were pretty inconsistent when the spotlight was on us during the qualifiers. Thankfully we really hit our stride when playoffs came around and beat a lot of the teams we knew we could beat.

Then would you say Enter the Storm was the toughest competition of 2015?
Absolutely. Our team hadn't formed until around a month after the August Blizzcon Qualifier, and at that point most events were invite only. Since we hadn't yet made a name for ourselves, we weren't invited and had a lot of time to train and prepare for the next big event.

What are the team goals for 2016?
Well before I get carried away, let's start small. We'd like to solidify a spot as one of the recognizable top teams in North America. Right now our goal is to surpass teams like Murloc Geniuses and Team Blaze. We know that for the time being they're a little stronger than us, but personally I'm very confident in our ability as a team to overcome any obstacles in our way and steadily improve. Expect big things from us in the coming months!

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
The biggest change for us has been the acquisition of our coach, Bron "theSource" Mitchell. Now that he's finally (officially) our coach, he's informed me that he has big plans for us in the coming weeks. He keeps us focused during practice and offers an unbiased perspective on any disagreements. On top of that, he has an extensive coaching background in eSports, as he was formerly the coach of Team Coast in League of Legends. As far as new strategies go, I'm in charge of our drafting and anything related to team compositions/off-meta heroes. There are a few things I'm eager to try to implement into our team's bag of tricks, but it'll have to stay a secret for just a little bit longer.

Jon "Equinox" Peterson

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
Our performance in 2015 was pretty rocky, we started off as a decent team but didn't really do anything up until WCA started and that's kind of where the story began- we didn't do a whole lot until then. I don't think anyone expected up to do well, but we beat compLexity and almost 2-0'd Tempo Storm but obviously threw the 2nd game and lost the series. After WCA, we were disappointed but determined to get to BlizzCon so we just kept practicing. We've always been able to do really well in scrims but could never transfer it to tournaments until somewhat recently (around August).

After we qualified for Vegas we practiced hard and came into the tournament pretty prepared even though we had the hardest group (both Cloud9 and Tempo Storm). I thought we did pretty well considering it was our first LAN but we definitely should have beat Tempo Storm at least. Overall our 2015 performance was ok, we had a lot of consistency issues for a long time but we ended up patching them a little bit late into the year.

What team or tournament was the toughest competition for you in 2015?
I thought the competition in 2015 was very stale. There wasn't really any teams outside of the top 5 who could contest each other until after BlizzCon. There were very few good teams but those few good teams were all capable of playing and doing well at BlizzCon in their top form. Namely Cloud9 and Tempo Storm of course, but COG, Complexity, and us were all capable of beating the best we just didn't close out games properly or ended up throwing. After BlizzCon the competition in NA has gotten a lot stronger, there's more teams than ther ever has been and we have a pretty solid top 8.

The hardest team match-up for us has always been Cloud 9, they play and draft in a way that's good against us and even when we had the in game advantage over them we always managed to mess it up. I think going into 2016 we've widened our play/draft a lot and we can beat them if we play at our best.​

What are the team goals for 2016?
In 2016 we hope to attend every event possible, especially in the circuit held by Blizzard. Our big goal is to win Blizzcon and win a lot of tournaments a long way, but our goal for now is to just become a consistent top 3 team that is capable of being #1.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
How we're approaching the new year is a lot more strict, more practice hours and more non-scrim practice hours. We're required to play with each other a lot cause we really want to go into this new year with the mindset that we want to be the best. Also it helps us widen our hero pool which has been a problem for me for awhile now so that's nice then I won't be frequently reminded by our trashcan coach Rami that I need to learn Sylvanas.

Marty "Batterry" Nivinski & David "Roflcopter" Young

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
The team was formed in April, then had a full roster in May, we swapped a few people around until June when our current roster was formed. The team had a lot to prove that summer but since then we've become a force to be reckoned with. The recent scaling changes threw us off guard but we've adapted.

What team or tournament was the toughest competition for you in 2015?
The biggest competition of the year for us was the HTC Heroes Brawl. We originally weren't invited and ended up being a team that attended to fill a slot. Taking out compLexity and the now Panda Global was more than anyone expected. And while we only finished 3rd, knocking out Tempo Storm was far more important to us than winning HTC at that time.

What are the team goals for 2016?
Our goal is to solidify ourselves as one of, if not the top, teams in NA. Also to attend and win the any international events coming up.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
Coming into 2016 we are now using an analyst. We know this will tighten up our play and help us identify other team's strategies. We know this will identify our strengths and weaknesses to become a better team. The team has not stopped growing since its formation and I'm worried it's going to grow too large, and form a literal black hole. Cheer for Team Blaze in 2016!

Sam "bigempct" Hua

How do you feel about the team's general performance in 2015?
I feel the teams performance overall has been improving since we swapped a couple roles around.

What team or tournament was the toughest competition for you in 2015?
The biggest competition in 2015 was getting a solid roster together and improving. In my opinion once we found the perfect five with no personality clashes it has been positive and great.

What are the team goals for 2016?
The teams goals for 2016 is to be consistently top 3 if not top 1 and compete at the top level as best as we can.

How will the team approach the new year? What will be done differently?
We will approach 2016 to meet these goals by practicing hard and stay strong together.

Follow us on Twitter @GosuGamersHotS for more Heroes of the Storm Esports news.

QUICKPOLL

Will North America be the strongest region in 2016?

Yes. They are right now and will continue to be.
Thank you for voting!
No. Other regions are much stronger.
Thank you for voting!
Lydia “lideyuh” Mitrevski
HotS enthusiast. Paladins n00b. Trophy hunter 4lyfe. Esports and gaming journalist. Freshest twitter memes @lideyuuh.

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