The Heroes of the Storm competitive scene has begun to see the rise of a unique phenomenon: players who swap from one role to another within their team's roster.
Currently the support for rising European team Bob Question Mark, James "Bakery" Baker started off as an assassin player. After picking up Adrian "adrd" Wojcik, the team had four skilled assassin players but no support. Bakery opted to change for the good of the team.
In North America, Cloud9 has recently started to utilize Kun "iDream" Fang as their melee player, moving Fan "Fan" Yang to a ranged assassin role despite Fan's long association with the melee assassin role.
Panda Global has recently made a similar switch, but one that is perhaps more bizarre than any of the above examples. Long "Daihuu" Wang, formerly the team's warrior player, has swapped roles with support player Todd "LexUther" Stevenson.
In an interview with theScore eSports, Daihuu explained the idea behind the swap, the team's results so far, and how the switch has affected the squad's playstyle.
How did the idea to switch roles come about?
The idea behind the role swap personally came from me. There was an overlining issue we had where Lex would constantly want to go in when I personally didn’t see opportunities to initiate. And as such Lex would position in a way that wasn’t support-esque. He played all his supports like a warrior.
So after a pretty rough night of scrims, I privately discussed with Lex the possibility of us role swapping. This wouldn’t have been a new thing for either of us. Sure, we have tons of experience with the roles we played prior to the swap, but when both of us started I actually tried to enter the scene as a support main, and Lex as a warrior main.
So far it’s been great, this also worked because Lex is our primary shotcaller. Now if he wants to go in, we just listen. No hesitation because he’s the one steadying the charge now.
Have you already changed over for competition (i.e. if you compete today, are you playing your new roles)?
Yes, in my opinion it’s better to head straight into competitive play/scrims in a new role. It gets you adapted to the role quicker and lets you learn faster as you play against players that are very serious about winning.
How difficult was it to change roles? Were you already playing them extensively in Quick Match/Hero League?
It’s funny. The day after the first day of scrims, Evandrinde, our ranged assassin player, was like “yo, why do you guys look more comfortable on those roles than the roles you’ve been playing for months?”
It honestly wasn’t difficult at all, though. I must admit it was daunting playing Uther for the first time in months and going full actives build. Having four skills and four actives reminded me of my first time playing WoW Arena as my Paladin. I literally forgot where all my skills were. But other than that it was pretty straightforward, our roles fit like a glove and it’s just been great moving forward.
How are you each finding the change so far?
Well for one, I’m glad Lex doesn’t get caught anymore (laughs). At least when he goes to get face check a bush he doesn’t immediately get one-shotted like he used to (laughs). Nah, it’s been great. Lex is very comfortable telling us to go in and how to go in. Before we put the leader in the backlines, dragging him along with us. Now he leads the way and orders us in his proper position.
How differently does the team as a whole play as a result of the swap? Does it let you do anything that you wouldn’t have done before?
Well a positive change that came from this is my vocal ability. I’m a very vocal player in team fights, communicating cc, who has what, and who doesn’t. So by moving to the support role it just got even better. Since I don’t have to deal any damage I can watch how the fights are flowing and tell people exactly everything.
If I have a heal on cooldown, if I have my actives up, if my ults up, who I’m next to so I can heal them, who I can’t reach, who I’m looking at so the team knows who exactly I’m focusing my healing on. It just works out great. It really lets the rest of the team focus on doing the most damage possible now.
How is the team keeping busy during this period of time? Will you be entering amateur events?
Just doing what we usually do. Practice as much and as hard as we can, learn what we can and just putting in the time. I don’t think we have the opportunity to enter any amateur events, since most of the amateur events has this grip about teams entering the event who reached Top 8 at Blizzcon. But we’ll try and enter tournaments for sure if the opportunity presents itself.
Anything else to add about the situation?
Other than Lex being a dirty feeder, not at all (laughs)! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain the situation. Shoutouts to Pandaglobal which you can follow on twitter at PandaglobalPG, shoutouts to my team, and shoutouts to me!! Follow me on twitter! @PG_Daihuu!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Josh Bury was permanently banned from Blackheart's Bay after complaining about the exchange rate for Canadian dollars to doubloons. You can follow him on Twitter.