DIGHeroes Gold Club World Championship Recap
Sat 16th Dec 2017 - 8:35pm
Gold Club World Championship - a yearly event held in China that hosts some of the best Heroes of the Storm teams to compete in a two-week long tournament. The format is a favourite of both players and fans alike, with a round-robin Group Stage and a double-elimination Bo5 Playoffs. With a fresh new roster, featuring the return of Jonathan “Wubby” Gunnarsson to the team as the Solo Laner, the acquisition of HGC star player Vilhelm “POILK” Flennmark on Ranged Assassin, and a role change from Solo Lane Flex to Support for Kenn “Zaelia” Rasmussen, the team did not expect big wins going into the tournament.
For them, GCWC was going to be a learning experience, like a bootcamp where they could practice their synergy and new roles. Newly appointed captain Joshua “Snitch” Bennett wanted to keep the atmosphere positive and to treat each game as a means to improve. As the tournament progressed, Tank player Jérôme “JayPL” Trinh became more convinced that they could actually place well. Last year the team wound up with a 5th-6th place finish, losing to Chinese team ZeroPanda. Without getting their hopes up and going into the tournament with a calm demeanour and facing relatively no pressure from expectations, Team Dignitas wound up with a very impressive 2nd place finish overall, earning a lot of respect for the newly formed roster going into 2018. Let’s have a look at their GCWC tournament progression.
In the Group Stages, Team Dignitas were expected to come out of their first games with a dominant win over CE, but it seemed that the first-LAN jitters caught up with POILK as he made uncharacteristic plays on his Tracer in the first game. They ended that series against CE with a 1-1 tie. Not letting the results of the first series define them, Team Dignitas progressed through the rest of the Group Stage with some dominant 2-0 victories against teams such as Roll 20, Super Perfect Team, and Beyond the Game. They also managed to take a surprising 2-0 victory against an unsuspecting Ballistix. With only one loss to KSV Black and two ties, Team Dignitas earned themselves great seeding into the upper bracket of the Playoffs.
The first team Team Dignitas faced in the upper bracket was Ballistix. With more knowledge of the Team Dignitas playstyle, Ballistix was able to clutch out the victory in a very close 3-2 series. Although Team Dignitas dropped to the lower bracket, each game they played added experience and seemed to strengthen the team overall. They faced off against CE once again and came out of the series with a super impressive 3-0. Next up was Fnatic. The two rival teams faced off earlier in the Group Stages with a tied 1-1 score, but Team Dignitas were coming into this series with minimal worries and momentum behind them.
Team Dignitas brought out their secret weapon against Fnatic with a Stitches pick in Game 1. Perhaps bringing back nightmares of the numerous times Fnatic faced up against JayPL’s Stitches in the past, Fnatic floundered as Team Dignitas picked up the first game. In Game 2, Team Dignitas drafted Stitches once again and backed it up with Chromie for POILK and Genji for Snitch. During a pivotal teamfight, Wubby on Arthas landed a clutch Howling Blast and immediately both POILK and Snitch followed up, taking down 2 members of Fnatic in a split second. Going into Game 3, Team Dignitas had the confidence to close it out. The team drafted two globals and were able to heavily pressure Fnatic with them. Team Dignitas succeeded in taking down Fnatic 3-0 and moved on to face Ballistix in the match that decided who would join KSV Black in the Grand Finals.
The second series against Ballistix was truly a nail-biter. With Ballistix dominantly taking the first two games, it looked like things were over for Team Dignitas. But the team was able to do the near impossible: they took out Ballistix in a reverse sweep, 3-2. The switch clicked in Game 3 for Team Dignitas. The amazing Tassadar and Tracer play from Snitch and POILK secured the win and the team went on to Game 4. Team Dignitas continued the push of the momentum swing, drafting Garrosh, Gul’dan, Arthas, Greymane, and Uther. Garrosh made easy work of Ballistix, catching them off guard, and Gul’dan chunked away at their heroes.
With a win on Game 4, Team Dignitas faced the most difficult odds in a very even Game 5 on Cursed Hollow against Ballistix. Both teams played extremely well and the entire game was very back and forth. That was, until, Team Dignitas baited the top boss on Ballistix’s side of the map. It was a wild shotcall to make, as Ballistix had Tyrael, the ultimate in boss security. But a misplay from Ballistix with Tyrael using Sanctification too early and not completely on the boss point allowed Team Dignitas to chunk the Tyrael down in mere seconds with POILK’s Gul’dan damage, gaining the upper hand in the 4v5 fight. The team swiftly took down the rest of Ballistix and headed for the core, moving on to the Grand Finals.
Going into a tournament and not expecting to place highly seemed to relieve a lot of pressure on the new Dignitas roster. But ending up in the Grand Finals against the team that won BlizzCon 2017 definitely brought out some nervous energy. KSV Black really showed their prowess in their games against Team Dignitas. Even with decent drafts and some even fights, Team Dignitas could not take down the Korean giant and fell to them 3-0. A sad loss, but more importantly, an unbelievable feat for Team Dignitas to make it to the Grand Finals with such a fresh roster.
What is truly amazing about this newly formed roster is that each player had their moment to shine, where they had an outstanding play that altered the fate of their games. Zaelia on Lucio had some daring escapes and completely clutch Sound Barriers. Snitch let loose his fury on Genji, providing lane pressure and constant poking harassment against opposing teams, waiting for the perfect moment to go in and unleash the resets with multiple kills from Swift Strike. JayPL proved his skills on Garrosh, putting many teams out of their comfort zones with a perfect Wrecking Ball toss into Team Dignitas’ awaiting follow-up damage.
Wubby played to his limits, proving once again his mastery of the solo lane and his ability to time his rotations with the rest of the team to maximize their advantages and keep up with experience. His Dehaka and Arthas play throughout the tournament enabled some turn-around team fights. POILK, perhaps the new star player on the team, improved every single day. He excelled on Tracer, he made outstanding plays on Gul’dan, he was able to carry the damage role with Valla - it seemed like there wasn’t a hero POILK couldn’t play and make an impact on. The new squad showed their improvement throughout the tournament, not just with outstanding plays individually, but also through their shotcalling and in-sync communications.
With HGC 2018 just around the corner, the success of Team Dignitas at GCWC gives fans a lot of hope for their domination of Europe. If the team continues on this strong trajectory, they will be even stronger going into the weekly play of HGC. With the constant competition of the league structure, Team Dignitas will be able to improve each week.
Much of their success will come from the support of their fans, who were watching from all over the world while they played in GCWC. We hope you will continue to support the team by rooting for them on Twitter, in Twitch chat, and on Facebook. Keep your eyes peeled for our weekly previews of EU HGC which will be happening when the league starts up again mid-January. Thanks for all the support!