After the sudden announcement yesterday that Talespin was stepping down from EnVyUs, sources in Korea have reported that EnVyUs have brought in a flex player from Team Thailand and sWeedTime, Mickie. According to comments from the team, he joins EnVyUs for OGN APEX as a temporary substitute on flex, with INTERNETHULK moving to support as HarryHook takes the dps role.
EnVyUs announced to the world yesterday that Talespin would not be playing for the team in the future, stating that he left "to pursue opportunities outside of gaming". That was contradicted by Talespin himself who released a number of tweets indicating that he was having disagreements with specific players, Taimou particularly, and was not happy playing with the team. He stated that he intended to continue in Overwatch.
Taimou on his stream indicated that EnVyUs had been given very little time to find a replacement, claiming that he and the majority of the team had only been told on the 14th November while the management and captain had known a day or two before. Talespin has been criticised on social media for leaving the team just as they entered OGN APEX Season 1 playoffs, but maintained that a "good way to leave involved too much of a time commitment to a shitty situation and I had enough".
Interestingly, Rogue revealed their knowledge of the situation during the APEX playoff group draw. aKm directly picked a Quarter Finals match against EnVyUs and, when questioned, said that this was because EnVyUs were having practice and visa issues currently. They are scheduled to play on Monday 21st November, with the winner facing either Lunatic-Hai or KongDoo Uncia.
พร้อมจะบินแล้วววววววววววววววววววววววววววว— Mickie (@Mickie_PP) 16 November 2016
HarryHook told Dot Esports that the team had found a replacement but would need to shift roles around to make it work; Taimou revealed later that two existing players were switching roles, with HarryHook moving to dps to fill Talespin's previous role and INTERNETHULK moving to hard support. This leaves the sub, Mickie, to his usual role of flex.
Mickie is the flex player for Thai team sWeedTime and played alongside all five of his current teammates in Team Thailand at the Overwatch World Cup. At BlizzCon, the EnVy players met and developed a friendship with players on Team Thailand. The full extent of the logistical issues or rules that EnVyUs had to navigate are not known; we can only speculate about who was available for the team as a sub for APEX. Mickie's team are scheduled to play in the SEA Overwatch Invitationals on the 19th November, and presumably are playing with a stand-in of their own.
Reportedly Mickie has serviceable English skills for playing Overwatch with the team and the EnVyUs squad are getting on well with him on a personal level. It is likely that he will be allowed to play mostly Zarya, his favoured hero in recent months, while the rest of the team adapts around him and the new patch.
HarryHook moving to dps will allow him to play Soldier76, both one of his best heroes and a strong dps choice for this patch. INTERNETHULK has dabbled with Lucio before as the team historically ran HarryHook as part of their triple dps strategy or solo support comp in the past. These moves should not shake EnVyUs completely but still constitute a fairly large departure from their norm. The new patch could aid them though, as it helps put nV on more of a level with Rogue and other teams who are scrambling to adapt themselves.
I just found a photo with Thailand at the Bizzcon, love this guys. pic.twitter.com/KEdLIxQ2YV— Jonathan Tejedor Rua (@EnVy_HarryHook) 10 November 2016
Moving forward, EnVyUs stated that they are looking for a long-term replacement from a range of angles. Mickie is not expected to continue with the team after their run in OGN APEX Season 1 unless he and the team outperform expectations. The possibilities for them are larger than ever currently, with free agents such as Grego, iddqd, Pookz, Gods, Mangachu, cypher, COOLLER, and possibly even Kryw on the market. They will have a lot to think about following APEX, but for now their priorities are much more short-term.
The reality of the situation is that Mickie's tale of rags to riches may end in a single disappointing match. EnVyUs will be significant underdogs moving into their match on Monday against Rogue; despite the firepower provided by HarryHook and the destabilising effect of the new patch, the likelihood is that Rogue will continue to uproot them as the best team in the world and will dispatch a weakened EnVyUs just as they were looking for revenge.
On another point entirely, there is now no North American player on the roster for this top team based in the USA. While APAC Premier considered them a European team even before this roster switch, the team has been invited to the NA-only tournament MLG Vegas next month. It remains to be seen how regional rules are introduced to Overwatch and what effect they will have on 'NA' teams like EnVyUs, Cloud9, and Luminosity who are majority or at least half European.
The OGN APEX roster for Team EnVyUs is:
- Jonathan "HarryHook" Tejedor Rua (dps)
- Timo "Taimou" Kettunen (dps)
- Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangohod (flex)
- Christian "cocco" Jonsson (tank)
- Sebastian "chipshajen" Widlund (support)
- Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka (support)