H1Z1 Pro League: Changes for Split 2

Earlier this year, we entered H1Z1 Pro League as one of fifteen inaugural teams. The League adopted a new scoring system that our team had some difficulty adapting to, doing well in week 1 but dropping to nearly the bottom of standings by the middle of Split 1.

CEO PwntByUkrainian temporarily took over coaching and management of the team, changing up the starting lineup and flying to Vegas frequently to coach and observe in-person. Finding a team house a few weeks into Split 1 was also of big help in terms of reliable internet speed, comfort, and mindset. Little by little, the team adapted to the new meta and worked on synergy. During the last 3 out of 10 weeks of Split 1, we averaged 8.8 points per game - higher than the team that finished 3rd overall. Check out the latest episode of 2-Tap Stars that details week 10:

As homage to Buffalo, we wanted to feature him on our last Split 1 video thumbnail.

Alas, it was too little too late. At 127 total points, we were only able to climb back up to 9th place, within 1 point of 8th. That said, the bulk of this season's prize pool, a whopping $225,000, is still up for grabs.

 Split 1 final standings - middle of the pack

Split 1 final standings - middle of the pack

Split 2 Goal: Better than 1st Place

For Split 2 we set a clear goal: not just take 1st place, but be ahead enough of all the teams that we finish 1st overall for the entire season as far as points. With a goal this lofty, we went back to the drawing board to see what can be done to build the best possible team.

The obvious missing element was a coach - someone to track stats, analyze VODs with players, and, let's be frank, help the team stick to a proper sleep and training schedule. Dedicated coaches are not a common occurrence in H1Z1 just yet, so we saw an opportunity to be a step ahead of the competition. We quickly settled on RunOnFlat: a well-respected, long-time member of the community who knows both the game and the players on a deep level. After a short trial run, it was clear just how much value he can bring to the team, and we are excited to be seeing him in Vegas soon!

Our new coach, RunOnFlat (Danny), is seen here dressing up for his Tinder profile picture shoot.

Next, we had to ask ourselves the hardest question of all: from the available pool, do we have the absolute best combination of top 5 H1Z1 players? All of our players were good; as mentioned above, the team would have finished 3rd overall had it been playing the same way during the first 7 weeks of the split as it did during the last 3. We were on a strong upward trend. However, we needed to not just get to 1st in Split 2, but to make up for the ground lost in Split 1. And that is just one hell of a goal.

Roster Updates: Hard Decisions

At first, we didn't know how many players we wanted to bring onboard. A team is a puzzle more so than a collection of players; the pieces have to not just be good by themselves, but fit well with each other. Eventually we settled on two players that felt like amazing additions to the team*: Callii and Hedman. As part of EOH, they had been dominating the EU scene for awhile. After dozens of scrim games, it was clear that Callii and Hedman both compliment the team in unique, valuable ways. If we really cared to build the best roster, we had to bring both of them onboard.

And that meant making the hard decision - letting go of one of the existing players. After a lot of thought, we decided to release Buffalo. The fact that he is such a skilled player frankly made the decision less painful - we knew he wouldn't have any problem landing on another team. With multiple teams making roster changes for Split 2, it was very likely that one of them would pick Buffy right up and he wouldn't miss a beat.

Buffy, we'll miss you. You're a great shot, a good teammate, and a friend. You represented Gankstars well. Thank you for everything and good luck on the next leg of your esports adventure. 

 Buffalo - one of the best players on the team during Split 1 and owner of the best pair of black & gold shoes in the world

Buffalo - one of the best players on the team during Split 1 and owner of the best pair of black & gold shoes in the world

As hard as roster decisions are to make sometimes, we believe that in the end this will be a win-win for all parties involved. Flankxr will move back into the role he was originally brought on for - to be the team's substitute player. He's done a phenomenal job filling in as a starter when we needed him the most, and we have no doubt that he'll be able to do it again as needed.

Please Welcome Callii and Hedman

As for us, Callii and Hedman seem to complete the team in a way that makes them a beauty to watch. Hailing from Denmark and Sweden respectively, the duo brings to the table the coveted EU experience. Their communication and combat style fix some of our weaknesses and add to our strengths: it seems to be a truly good fit. Fingers crossed that we can build on that after they arrive in Las Vegas. 

At the end of the day, nobody has a crystal ball; if predicting the future were that easy, all teams would be exactly even. Releasing a player who has top stats on the team seems counter-intuitive and we're not blind to that. It's also very hard - friendships have been built and many good memories shared... As with any large decision, we expect our fair share of vocal critics. We feel confident in these changes and are excited for you to see the updated roster in action during Split 2 on facebook.com/h1z1ProLeague!

Let's claim that 1st place that we came to Las Vegas for! #GSWIN