After recently benching Ismail “refrezh” Ali, Heroic have announced the signing of Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard as his replacement.
The biggest revelations of the online era, Heroic made it to the HLTV top 2 with two different rosters. The Refrezh-Sjuush lineup was the greater of the two, but on LAN, they struggled to pick up must-win playoffs series. Heroic has now signed Jabbi to replace Refrezh. Will the move finally allow them to lift a trophy?
Refrezh: Struggling on LAN
When Refrezh came into the roster alongside Rasmus "sjuush" Beck, it was a massive upgrade over the outgoing Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen and Johannes "b0RUP" Borup. And the results came in immediately as Heroic won ESL Pro League Season 13.
But with the HUNDEN controversy, the team started their offline campaigns on the wrong foot. And even when that dark cloud blew past, the team struggled. Failing to get over the hill and gaining a reputation as chokers. This was apparent at the PGL Major Stockholm where the team was favored to make the Grand Finals over G2. But a rejuvenated Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, sent them packing. The phenomena repeated in later events like Blast Premier Fall Finals 2021 and ESL Pro League Season 15 2022.
A common factor in these losses was the underperformance from Refrezh. And these weren't an overall dip from the player, but rather an effect of LAN. A 0.82 disaster at Cologne was followed up by a 1.22 at EPL S14. The Major misstep with a 1.0 rating was preceded by another 1.22 at Blast Showdown. The trend continued all the way into 2022.
Jabbi: A Major revelation
Jabbi's transition to LAN has been quite the opposite. Coming into IEM Fall RMR 2021, Copenhagen Flames was on nobody's list to make it to the Major. But with massive performances coming in from the team, they sneaked their way into the Major.
Jabbi was key in their IEM Fall run, putting up a strong 1.12 rating in his first big LAN. But as a 17-year-old, him dropping off would've been reasonable. Instead, he showed up with the same rating in the Major top 16, almost taking the team to the top 8 of the Major.
At the Antwerp Major, the team finally broke through making it all the way to the top 8. And despite playing his first on-stage game, he had a +0.2 rating over refrezh's top 8 finish. The difference between Jabbi and refresh on LAN has consistently been massive.
Will Heroic finally break through?
After so many floundered opportunities, Heroic have bit the bullet as they now sign Jabbi to right the ship. The new lineup has a second consistent piece to stand behind stavn, helping the superstar in his efforts to carry Heroic. With FaZe's shaky form, NaVi's stand-in and no dominant number one in the scene currently, Heroic need to be targeting at least one trophy by the end of the year.
Many people will probably question making a change on a team that has been performing consistently in the top 10, but at Heroic we are willing to risk something very good at the chance to become the very best.
If they fail to break through as Cloud9 has recently done, it will be a sign that Heroic must seriously ponder the cadiaN conundrum, as the Jabbi move has failed again. The leader has been a key piece in the creation of Heroic, but his AWP underperformance might be the piece holding the team back.
In any case, Heroic has made a solid upgrade, that will make them incredibly exciting to watch, even for fans that had given up hope for a tournament win. The team will make its debut at IEM Cologne.
Featured Image Courtesy: Heroic