Team Canada enters this year's World Cup on a far different note than what their subpar performance of 2016 would suggest. Rather than packing streamers and community members, the northern nation draws from some of the strongest professionals that North America has to offer. According to committee member and flex player Mangachu, this selection of players was entirely based on bringing the best competitive results.
In Mangachu's mind, the roster started with the essentials. "Surefour, Agilities, and Roolf were our must-haves. They are easily the three best players in Canada and one of the best in their respective roles." The rest of the roster was filled out in a more unusual manner: Team Canada participated in a series of scrims against Contenders Season One participant Kungarna to find the most suitable and synergistic team possible.
Those scrims have continued to improve and mold Canada into a true contender, according to Mangachu. "I'm pretty confident entering groups. Scrims have been going very well, and I'm happy with the progress we've made. We can even tell that scrims have been getting better and better after every single night."
Canada is not the only nation that expects greatness out of the roster; even notable Koreans suspect that the team will be the other nation to qualify for BlizzCon, especially when it includes notable talent such as Surefour and Roolf. Mangachu says that the expectations both add confidence and an extra burden to perform: "On paper, I do agree that we are one of the better teams in the entire World Cup. But in this game, that doesn't matter. We'll just have to see how we perform on LAN."
Group stage performance means the world to every team in Canada's group, and every team will gun for the top spot to avoid the presumed first seed out of Group E: Team Korea.
The route to BlizzCon will certainly not be an easy one. Team Russia looks incredibly competent in their own right, featuring a new dive core of Mistakes, ShaDowBurn, and Sharyk after their previous roster fell to visa issues only a week before. If Canada can take advantage of the lack of preparation on Russia's part, they will prime themselves for a shot at the top 8, as Netherlands, Poland, and Austria all are a far cry from the Korean overlords.
The rest of Group F features Singapore and Turkey. While neither team is a powerhouse, Canada cannot afford to underrate them entering Katowice. One small slip in the group stage is all it takes to shatter BlizzCon dreams and replace them with an exit in groups.
Team Canada features the following Canucks:
- Brady "Agilities" Girardi (DPS)
- Lane "Surefour" Roberts (DPS)
- Liam "Mangachu" Campbell (Flex)
- Félix "xQc" Lengyel (Tank)
- Randal "Roolf" Stark (Support)
- Joe "Joemeister" Gramano (Support)