The Mindfreak Heroes of the Storm roster is a resilient one. Having spent the entirety of the past year playing under the Nomia pseudonym, the team quickly became the biggest wildcard outside of the major regions since Taiwan’s Please Buff Arthas broke the mold in 2016.

This is a team with personality—personality forged in the fire of the challenging road this team walked to represent their region. For Mindfreak to compete at the Mid-Season Brawl, they had to win the ANZ premier league (a league adjacent to HGC, with a familiar weekly format) and defeat the best team from LatAm’s Copa America.

Mindfreak flew halfway around the world for these qualifying matches at the Intercontinental Clash, placing these ANZ Heroes in the heart of South America.

Trophy in hand, these players return home for a few short weeks before gearing up for the final leg of their mid-year journey to Sweden. Meeting the singular objective you’ve set out to achieve as a collective in a far off and unfamiliar land absolutely pays off with the reward of euphoria. You don’t get to make memories like the ones Mindfreak made in Rio every day.  

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After losing Robert "robadobah" Purling to Diamond Skin and Liam "Arcaner" Simpson to Method after the Mid-Season Brawl concluded last year, Nomia found themselves in dire straits—rebuilding a roster from the core of Benjamin "Fat94" Vinante-Davies, Jack "John" Rees, and Matthew "Vanilla" Dang. The time to congeal came at a cost, as regional rival—Dark Sided—won over Nomia to attend the HGC Finals at BlizzCon 2017.

“Missing out on BlizzCon was a huge blow,” said John, Mindfreak’s ranged Assassin player. “It was the most important match of our year and weren't able to play to our best on the day. The loss was fuel for us. We’ve had more time to mesh since then and devoted more effort towards structuring our practice.”

Last year the roster was the first from ANZ to make it out of the group stage at a true international event. However, 2018 means the stakes have been raised—as has the average level of skill. With the ‘buddy pass’ system granting extra spots to regions that won the Eastern and Western Clashes, climbing out of Group A will require a mammoth upset.

Will this upset come to fruition? According to John, “We just need to ensure we keep up the pressure on ourselves and don't get complacent.”