I often see people asking “Why is a team important in a solo game like Hearthstone?”. The most common answer is “practice partners for tournaments”, however, teams accomplish much more than this on a wide scale. Teams are a big part of the community, from the best known to the struggling that you only hear about once. New teams are joining the scene all the time, from startups like ManaLight to those dipping their toes into the Hearthstone pool like Team SoloMid. These days, it often isn’t enough to put forth impressive results in tournaments, because of this many teams have branched out to include things like streaming, or making YouTube videos in their contracts. Other teams hold open tournaments that any player can sign up for, and possibly win a cash prize. It’s all about getting the team name out there, and establishing a brand in this age of digital media consumption.
It seems like a new team crops up every month, a sure sign that Hearthstone is growing as an esport. One of the new teams is ManaLight, put together by Hearthstonely’s very own Editor-in-Chief, Birdlepop. They pack a powerful roster, with well known ladder players such as Powder, and Frezzer. Sometimes an established multi-game esports team, such as Na’Vi will make the decision to branch out to Hearthstone, and build a division from teamless professionals. A few teams even maintain a presence in Hearthstone, even though they really don’t do much in the tournament scene. A prime example of this is Team SoloMid, who signed Trump, and Kripp.
The range of roles that teams fill within the overall scope of the Hearthstone scene is vast. A few teams, such as ROOT Gaming, fill the very important role of helping members to get started playing at a professional level. Up-and-coming players tend to find a home in these organizations, and use them as a bit of a stepping stone, before moving onto one of the more high profile teams. Well known teams, such as Nihilum, and Cloud9 that stake their reputation on tournament wins, and hold rosters of pros that play at the highest levels consistently.
Producing content for the everyday player to consume is another important function that teams perform. Organizations like Team Archon, and TempoStorm state in their contract that players must stream on Twitch for a certain number of hours every month, or put out YouTube videos on a regular basis. Speaking of ways that teams help to pull the community together, a number of them have set up Open Tournaments that any player can join, regardless of skill. Vicious Syndicate hosts the popular Tuesday Night Hype on a weekly basis; it has done so well that Blizzard even sanctioned it as a qualifying event for Hearthstone World Cup qualifier points.
In closing, the next time someone tries to convince you that teams are a silly thing to have in a single player game, such as Hearthstone, bring up a few of the aforementioned points. Next on the horizon, there needs to be an all girl team, to shine some light on the fact that not only boys have skill when it comes to gaming!