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Photo by: Team Liquid

On Friday, Team Liquid released its Heroes of the Storm team. The move came as the logical follow-up to Blizzard’s decision to discontinue the Heroes Global Championship circuit (HGC) — an announcement that caught many teams, players and talent by surprise.

Led by veteran Dennis “HasuObs” Schneider, the last iteration of Team Liquid Heroes also included Nils “Nurok” Gehardt, Aleksandar “ethernal” Milanov, Ivan “SportBilly” Koturic and Liam “Arcaner” Simpson. Although the team trailed behind Europe’s best like Team Dignitas, they did surprise at the 2018 World Championship. Liquid finished top 4, losing to eventual champions Gen.G.

HasuObs, Nurok and SportBilly will remain contracted with Team Liquid as streamer, Liquid CEO Victor “Nazgul” Goosens confirmed. In the disbandment post, Goosens also issued criticism about how the discontinuation of HGC was handled.

“This isn’t the same as buying a Super Bowl commercial spot,” Goosens wrote. “This is a full ecosystem with hundreds of young adults relying on its existence. To just pull the plug on it overnight is entirely irresponsible. There should be long term commitments from publishers to the leagues they run and a decision about discontinuing should be made well in advance. I understand the league may suffer a bit if everyone knows early on that it is going to end, but the human benefits here far outweighs the downside.”

“To just pull the plug on it overnight is entirely irresponsible.”

This point by Goosens was echoed by everyone involved in HGC in some capacity. The circuit was cancelled Dec. 14, on the eve of the Christmas holidays, left many professionals wondering what will happen with their careers and gifted them the present of holiday stress.

Goosens further disclosed that Liquid’s future in Heroes of the Storm was “under review […] regardless”. The CEO pointed to the lack of financial support as the reason.

“This was mostly caused by the fact that any impactful monetization for organizations continued to be absent from HGC and our Blizzard relationship,” Goosens said. “I am honestly really disappointed with the lack of commercial development around HGC. We believe it had potential to attract sponsors, do media deals, and create unique digital items, but none of this came to fruition. I believe that because of the lack of monetization, Blizzard solely saw HGC as a marketing expense for the game, which explains the abrupt ending.”

“Because of the lack of monetization, Blizzard solely saw HGC as a marketing expense for the game, which explains the abrupt ending.”

HGC’s discontinuation, in combination with Blizzard shifting Heroes developers to other projects, came as another low point for the company, which just a month earlier wrapped up a disappointing BlizzCon. Between Mike Morhaime’s departure and the PR disaster of Diablo: Immortal, the tail end of 2018 was a difficult one for Blizzard, and its woes only continued in 2019.

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