In an attempt to strengthen the cohesion of their roster and inject a stronger calling structure, NRG have decided to sign numlocked and clockwork to replace Pookz and Gods. The addition of numlocked to the team will see him move away from his former tank role to play Lucio and maincall, while clockwork will fill in the hitscan dps role previously held by Gods.
numlocked and clockwork were previously playing for Dignitas and Splyce respectively. numlocked was removed from Dignitas two weeks ago as the team made roster shifts, with reports that the team atmosphere had been deteriorating in their slump of form. NRG engaged with Splyce to arrange a buyout for clockwork as they rebuilt major parts of their roster.
Gods and Pookz flew home with the rest of their team in the break of OGN APEX Season 1. NRG won their only game so far in APEX against MVP Space, after a Semi-Finals finish at APAC Premier where they beat a range of Chinese competition but lost to Lunatic-Hai.
The rest of the team has also returned home to the United States, where Seagull and Gods are busy playing in Team USA at Blizzcon until November 6th. NRG will have no time to practice with their full new roster, as their next game in OGN APEX Season 1 is then on November 9th. Factoring in travel time, the team will be playing almost as soon as they arrive, and will have to adjust on the fly.
NRG's result in the APAC Premier showed their the ability to dominate the Chinese teams, but the competition was not particularly stacked against them and they fell to Lunatic-Hai in the Semis. NRG reached the NA Semi-Finals of the Overwatch Open just before that; they lost to Liquid, defeated Splyce, and then got revenge on Liquid to get out of groups. They were then knocked out of the competition with a 0-3 loss to Fnatic. Prior to that they had failed to qualify for the Atlantic Showdown.
When discussing their issues, NRG had identified a lack of decisive calling as a problem within the team. The addition of numlocked is their first step to solving the leadership deficit, while clockwork has been brought into the team as a source of major firepower and for his high teamplay and motivation. Every player on the new roster has extensive history playing with or against each other for years in TF2 at the highest level.
enigma spoke to us about the new additions, and started by giving us his thoughts on bringing long-time adversary clockwork into NRG:
I’ve played against clockwork at so many TF2 LAN events that I’ve lost count. He's always been the standout player on all of his teams and really steps it up on LAN. I feel like the versatility and consistency he brings on DPS is going to let us play a whole new style of game.
numlocked brings to the table what our team has been missing: assertive calling. He's also a legendary TF2 player who we all have an immense amount of respect for. We have no doubt he'll fit in well with our team given our shared competitive history.
We all took TF2 seriously for years despite playing for nothing more than pride and peanuts. Now the stakes are real so you can imagine how easily the motivation comes for us.
The biggest change will be for UK player numlocked. He is changing from tank to hard support, moving from Europe to North America, and transforming from a freshly kicked tier two teammate to a crucial part of the NRG machine.
numlocked spoke about leaving Dignitas and the move:
It wasn't really me leaving, it wasn't through choice, but I think it's working out favourably for me. [Dignitas] were in a bit of a rut the past couple of months and struggling to make anything work, with atmosphere getting worse and worse. Since being cut I'd just been playing lots of soloq and streaming. I had a lot of offers for different roles but wasn't in a rush, and glad I didn't, because the NRG guys approached me and overall it just sounded really exciting.
Moving to US has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and the house setup that is planned sounds really sweet. As for Korea, anyone that knows me knows how much I love competing at LANs and it doesn't get any better or bigger than OGN to me, especially coming from LoL. I can't wait.
While Gods was playing at a good level during the Asian run for NRG, the addition of clockwork into the roster should create a formidable dps duo for the team. The real test for this team will be whether they can transform the great individual talents into a world-class team. numlocked’s calling and clockwork’s experience with the players will be relied on to bring them together into a stronger unit. NRG have been the best all-American team for the last few months; despite losing that claim by contaminating their roster with a European player, they will now be looking for tournament titles.
The new NRG roster is:
- Brandon "Seagull" Larned (DPS)
- Matthew "clockwork" Dias (DPS)
- Carl "enigma" Yangsheng (Flex)
- Yomar "milo" Toledo (Tank)
- Sebastian "numlocked" Barton (Support)
- Tim "dummy" Olson (Support)
Josh "Sideshow" Wilkinson Overwatch analyst, writer, and caster. Former TF2 expert. Shed occupant. Find me on twitter at @SideshowGaming