Interview w/ Platinum Heroes: Supporting the semi-pro scene and reaching WTL playoffs

Platinum Heroes’ run to the playoffs was one of the biggest surprises of the World Team League regular season, as the underdog squad beat out both PSISTORM and Shopify Rebellion to clinch the final postseason slot. Ahead of the playoffs (Aug 11-13), TL.net’s World Team League expert Nakajin chatted with the Heroes’ manager Tassad about growing a grassroots community of literal Platinum players into an organization that’s in the WTL playoffs.

[This interview was conducted via text chat. It has been edited for grammar and formatting.]

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Nakajin: Can you introduce yourself briefly? What is your role and history with Platinum Heroes?

Tassad: Platinum Heroes was founded in February 2019 as a Discord community to help players in Platinum and below to enjoy and get better at the game. I became an admin back then and we also founded a community clan. This clan slowly did grow in numbers and MMR and divisions. I am the main admin in charge of the clan and the main sponsor along with many others for the fully community-funded pro division.

Platinum Heroes are well-known for their tournament and grassroots community, but your professional squad is more recent. How did the idea of creating a professional roster come to be?

The idea came mostly from me because I thought sponsoring some semi-pros would draw attention to an often overlooked group in the SC2 community: the amateur scene and its players, which we were a very big part of by organizing and participating in multiple tournaments. It would be a great thing to build a team which has players of truly every level and is open to everyone.

On the history of the team and its players: In 2020 we recruited multiple players around 5k MMR which formed the foundation of our academy. In that year I also took charge in actively leading these divisions.

In 2021 then we expanded further with (Wiki)iba, (Wiki)MonstR and later in the year (Wiki)Rodzyn, (Wiki)PAPI and (Wiki)FightingFrog joining. This came mostly because instead of funding just grassroots tournaments, I wanted to see what we could do by supporting some up and coming pro players. Then, we signed (Wiki)HateMe in early 2022 and qualified for the World Team League for the first time (Summer 2022). From there, we slowly got much more support and publicity which allowed us to expand the team more.

There was a lot of change in the squad this season with the addition of DnS, Goblin, ShaDoWn and Vindicta, which turned out great. Were those additions made with the WTL in mind?

Going back to my last question, after we narrowly missed qualifying back into WTL for the 2022 Winter Season, and after some of our players retired that year ((Wiki)Botvinnik and FightingFrog), we decided to go ahead with recruiting players to try and get back into WTL. First we signed (Wiki)goblin, and then we had the opportunities on (Wiki)DnS and (Wiki)ShaDoWn, and then picked up (Wiki)Vindicta in early 2023.

Do you think the addition of more established pros like DnS and ShaDoWn was straying from the original mission of Platinum Heroes in a way, or has there been a change/broadening of purpose for the team?

When we first started recruiting players around 5k MMR, people already thought this would be straying from the original mission of Platinum Heroes. Maybe it is. I just always felt, that if you just stick to only taking a certain level of players you would run into a big problem at one point: your players would choose between the team/clan that they became friends with and the team that might be better for their next step. While there is always a next step, my vision for the team is to be open and inclusive for all levels, no matter if you are a Bronze player, a GM looking for an entry point, or an established (semi)pro. Its all about enjoying SC2 or RTS in general in the future maybe with StormGate on the horizon.

So yes this might be a broadening but also a commitment to all of our 300+ members.

It’s safe to say you were considered a darkhorse compared to teams like Shopify and PSISTORM who you beat for a playoff spot. What were your expectations coming into the season? Did you think you’d make it into the top seven (playoffs)? How far do you see the team going now?

Well in the qualifiers we did beat Mystery Gaming, who fielded DRG, Classic, and Strange against us. In many people’s eyes we were not the favorites back then.

I actually wrote a prediction article before the season, and I felt with our roster we had a chance to make top 7 if we won vs the teams we were supposed to beat cleanly and score an upset or two. So, the team achieved the highest expectations I had for them, and maybe even more. Also it probably helped that I always have a vast amount of replays and VODs to help our players prepare, while I knew this was something few would do against us. The same with our players helping each other and making use of our vast roster. I think in the playoffs we are favored vs SSLT. After that beating ABYDOS will be an uphill battle, but maybe we will surpass expectations again

Watch VOD

Platinum Heroes shocked the league by beating Shopify in the final week, clinching a playoff spot and eliminating the Rebellion at the same time.

I imagine there were a lot of highlight moments, but if you had to choose one, what was the highlight of the Platinum Heroes season?

There’s so many it’s so hard to pick a single moment. The qualifiers vs Mystery Gaming showed our potential, but in my opinion the biggest highlight was beating Shopify 4-2 in the final match of the regular season.

The pressure was on all of our players to play their best StarCraft with the playoff dream on the line, but each of them performed, especially goblin going 1-1 vs a top five Aligulac.com player in ByuN, and DnS not only beating Scarlett 2-0 but also playing some of the best SC2 of his career recently.

How does the team feel going into the playoff match against SSLT? Any plan to deal with Firefly?

Well, we did beat SSLT clean in the regular season by a 5-1 score, and goblin went 1-1 vs him back then, so we should be the favorites. In my opinion it’s about beating Firefly twice, which we have plenty of capable players for and it will be on him to beat them all. Also it won’t just be Protoss he has to deal with.

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The Heroes now face a difficult playoff gauntlet

Any shoutouts, final comments, plugs you want to get in?

Thank you for the interview. I would like to shoutout our Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/teamph (Note: TL.net does not directly endorse the crowdfunding of any teams or individuals. Users may seek crowdfunding information and support teams or individuals at their own discretion). We recently lost a big sponsor and are looking to be completely funded again. Any donations and pledges go to the players salaries and our tournaments. You also receive exclusive content and replays.

If you are looking for merch of Platinum Heroes we have two shops: https://playmakerswanted.com/store/PlatinumHeroes (NA)
https://teams.spized.com/en/ph (EU)

If you are looking for an SC2 team/clan you can join our Discord: https://discord.gg/FYukMRwgYH (member only)

Otherwise follow us on Twitter and YouTube. And finally I would like to thank our players and members. We wouldn’t be here without them!

Source: https://tl.net/forum/starcraft-2/615029-interview-w-platinum-heroes-supporting-the-semi-pro-scene-and-reaching-wtl-playoffs

Source: https://webfulnet.com/

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