Last Saturday marked a turning point for HGC Europe, as Team Dignitas and Fnatic—two titans of the region—clashed for first place. On paper, this looked to be the marquee match of the weekend, but Team Dignitas made a commanding statement—defeating Fnatic in a quick 3-0 series.

Team Dignitas has only dropped one Battleground so far in Phase 1 (to Team Liquid). They have already locked up a spot in the Western Clash, and have just one series against Zealots remaining during Week 5. Their roster’s versatility and flexible Hero pools showcases why Team Dignitas is such a formidable opponent in 2018.

The 2018 Roster Settles In

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The end of 2017 marked roster changes for Team Dignitas, with Thomas “Ménè” Cailleux moving to Fnatic and former team captain James “Bakery” Baker stepping down from the active roster. The team welcomed Vilhelm ‘POILK’ Flennmark and Jonathan ‘Wubby’ Gunnarsson prior to Gold Club World Championship (GCWC) at the end of 2017.  

“Becoming the captain hasn't been too wild a transition for me,” Joshua “Snitch” Bennett explains. “I'm blessed to have a team that are all very driven and have a strong mindset to improve, so most of it just flows on its own through our shared goals.”

This drive for improvement could be seen right away as the revamped roster for Team Dignitas placed second at GCWC behind KSV Black. Kenn “Zaelia” Rasmussen had swapped to the Support role to fill Bakery’s shoes, and four weeks into HGC 2018 everything seems to have clicked into place.

“I think a massive strength of our roster compared to all previous teams is our constant yearning to improve and innovate,” Snitch added. “We're constantly looking for new ways we can play the map, [make] smarter rotations and harder to expect plays.”

Flexible Hero Pools = A Moving Target

Team Dignitas has played 33 different Heroes so far this year, making it difficult for opposing teams to draft against them as target bans aren’t nearly as effective. “We have no problem stepping outside of our comfort zones, and this shows in our drafts,” Snitch says.

Each player is excelling at their given role, creating a balanced force to be reckoned with. Jerome “JayPL” Trinh’s rotations serve as a great example for Warrior players looking to improve their game. He has played eight Warriors so far in Phase 1. While Zaelia has played six different Heroes, he gravitates towards Malfurion and Uther.  

POILK is devastatingly efficient at killing targets with a variety of ranged Assassins (seven different Heroes so far), but he simply can’t be ignored while zipping around as Tracer. Wubby consistently outmatches his opponents in the solo lane with six Heroes played, giving his team a leg up by soaking multiple lanes and serving as a constant threat. Living up to the name of the ranged flex role, Snitch has used 12 different Heroes in the 19 games the team has played so far in Phase 1.

“We've already done things like solo Support Abathur, triple Warrior, and solo Support Tracer, far before anyone else—and I believe a lot of what we do is dictating the meta,” Snitch explains. “It helps that we have the mechanics and flexibility to backup these strategies for sure!”

Week 5 will set the stage for the Western Clash, with each team playing their final match. Be on the lookout for Team Dignitas as they kick off HGC Europe’s matches on Friday against Zealots.   

Other Notable Highlights from Week 4

  • Although Tyrael saw a dramatic rise in picks last week, his win rate plummeted from 51% in Week 3 to 31% in Week 4 across all three regions.
  • Both Tempest and Ballistix will be attending the Eastern Clash beginning March 16 after qualifying during Week 4.