Blizzard's Zeratul ban adds to Liquid's struggles
Team Liquid's Heroes of the Storm World Championship qualification campaign has hit another bump in the road, with a last-minute hero ban and a bad draw knocking them out in the second round of the first EU Open.
Just a few hours before the first EU Open for the Heroes World Championships, Blizzard updated the rules for the ESL-run tournament: It was banning Zeratul.
The ban could have a serious effect on some teams' play, especially Team Liquid, widely considered the best in Europe. As SK Gaming's James Baker put it:Liquid's most common strategy revolves around playing one of either Zeratul, Illidan, or the Lost Vikings. With just hours to go before the tournament, however, Blizzard issued its Zeratul ban. With that hero no longer an option, teams could easily ban the other two heroes and effectively kill Liquid's strategy.
Though there are two further EU Opens, Liquid may be unable to attend the third as it clashes with the $50,000 Masters Gaming Arena 2015 tournament at PAX Prime. Despite Liquid registering their concerns over the clash on Twitter, Blizzard has not announced any plans to reschedule it. That leaves the current best team in Europe with potentially just one more chance to make it to the World Championships.
While most players take the Void Prison ability—an area of effect freezing spell—at level 10, in the Shenzen final MVP Black's "Lockdown" took the less favored Shadow Assault which allows players to charge at an enemy at speed. However, by changing what enemy was being targeted multiple times without ever hitting one of them, he was able to move across the map far more rapidly than with normal movement speed. After the match was discussed on Reddit, footage emerged of the team using the exploit in a previous tournament.
Some, including popular caster Thomas "Khaldor" Kilian, believed that the exploit should be allowed to stay due to the skill level required to pull it off and the relative unpopularity of the ability. Blizzard clearly disagrees.
Image via Blizzard