Team captain Michael "MichaelUdall" Udall was very clear in his message to fans: Gale Force eSports is showing up to win.
"Second place would be considered a disaster," said Udall. "The only place is first place, and right now we are the team to beat."
After a disappointing run at the Summer Global Championship in which Gale Force eSports failed to make it out of the group stage, putting together a 1-2 record, the relatively fresh and untested roster was at a loss. While Udall made no excuses for his team's performance on stage, it was hard to imagine the team faring much better given its odd travel situation, in which half of the team showed up in Sweden just hours before their first match. However with the addition of main tank Josh "bkid" Choi, it's clear the team's ceiling has risen to new heights, with Gale Force eSports faring well in recent scrimmages against a handful of other top teams in North America.
"This guy is a winner and that's what we all love about him," beamed an invigorated Udall, excited to talk up what he surmised as one of the best things to happen to Gale Force eSports since he signed with the team on July 5th.
While the addition of their newest weapon is certainly seen as a huge boon to the team, the recent "roster-pocalypse" seemed to present a lost opportunity for Gale Force eSports, as the team may have had the opportunity to add a few more of North America's finest players to an already stacked roster if not for an official ruling from Blizzard. That ruling dictates that the top two team's which represented their given region at the Global competition must keep 80 percent of their roster intact heading into the upcoming regional, lest they lose their automatic invite to the aforementioned regional next season.
The interesting ruling seemingly has not fazed Udall, who stressed that he has absolute faith in his team. Of course issues such as injuries, or potential setbacks within a player's personal life could have a drastic effect on the roster, which Udall concedes would, "hang us out to dry due to technicalities."
While Udall remains confident in his roster, it's clear that the "roster-pocalypse" has created a new team to gameplan for, Denial eSports. After adding two former World Champions, John Paul "KingCaffeine" Lopez and Keiwan "k1pro" Itakura, as well as Michael "Glaurung" Fisk, arguably one of the greatest melee assassins in the game, to an already potent roster, Denial eSports has launched itself into the "best team in North America" conversation despite only playing in a few qualifying matches. While Denial eSports must prove first that they are not just a championship roster on paper, Udall plainly noted that if any roster were to beat his team at the first Fall Regional, it could be Denial.
The recent roster turmoil that gripped the Heroes of the Storm scene did not escape former North American great, Team Naventic, who opted to remove its seemingly best player, Stafford "McIntyre" McIntyre for Thomas "Tomster" Maguire, a move that Udall suggested bumped them down a peg on the North America circuit.
By Udall's own account, Tomster is "an outstanding player with a lot of talent, just not nearly as good as McIntyre."
It would appear that with the recent shifts in team rosters and the addition of a high-profile new team, North America is poised to undergo a large shift within the superpowers of the game, with the king's crown now squarely up for grabs.
Of course, if you ask Udall, it's clear who will walk away as the winners of the Fall Regional.
"Us of course, who else could it be?"