At last we have the Pro Series! 12 teams will be fighting it out this season in Bo5 conquest (RIP shielded conquest). The lists are open, the field is prepped and the menagerie is for guests only. Since the format of Pro has changed dramatically each season we've played, ongoing stats are scarce. As last season was the official first season of Pro and the format was somewhat close, we'll only be using stats from last season to take a look at the teams. Also those are the only stats available on the website so yeah. What you'll see below is the aggregate record of all players on the team last season. Let's go!
The Unknown - Season 1 Player Record 22-9
Catman1950 - 4-4
The Unknown return almost their entire lineup with the addition of captain Dusharmo now playing. (Ed note: This initially indicated that The Unknown had won the Season 1 championship. The author greatly regrets this error but appreciates that it fuels his blood feud with Itachi). It's hard to see a world where they're not favored to repeat. With the adjustment of the format to standard conquest and not shielded conquest it might ruffle a few feathers but none of these players had a losing record against Pro competition. I imagine they'll be just fine and a team that everyone is circling on their calendar.
FTL - Season 1 Player Record 12-13
FTL struggled to open season 1, turned it on down the stretch and proved that you're never truly out of it in THL by making the playoffs and a run to the finals. While Itachi's record was certainly below his own lofty standards, he'll be helped out by the addition of two fantastic rookies. Rebobson is not new to THL and BZRK is coming off a top 25 ladder finish in December. They should once again be in the hunt for the title.
AEON - Season 1 Player Record 13-11
This (almost) all board team is ready to bring the lumber to Pro series. Will Markshire be rusty coming off a full season of no THL/HS? Regardless, this is a team full of experienced players which looks to be competitive against any lineup.
Top-Hatted Titans - Season 1 Player Record 11-5
All Pro TophatDemon steps away from the Pro-Pain Gang to captain what appears to be a fairly formidable roster. Icer looked good in what slightly less than a full season. Much like FTL, the team features two Rookies, one of whom has THL experience in Starlax. I think there are a few more questions here in the lineup in regards to how some members will fare against a full season of Pro competition, but the previous results paint a picture of a team that should win some games.
The Other Guys - Season 1 Player Record 10-18
The Other Guys narrowly missed the playoffs last season and return almost their entire roster swapping out their best individual record (Donde) for JRJuggerlaw. The team as a whole will need to pick up the pace as the arms race in pro has heated up. They don't lack for experience but might struggle to make the playoffs based on last season's performance.
Bad to the Bone - Season 1 Player Record 9-14
Eggowaffle (Rookie) 0-2
A2Battleship (Rookie) 1-0
Speaking of last season's performance, this was a down year for the champs just 2 seasons removed. The pedigree of all the players on this team is unquestioned and might have the most raw talent. I expect this team to bounce back despite the lack of a winning record of any full time player from last season's squad.
The Beard Boys - Season 1 Player Record 9-7
Of the 3 rookies here only 1 doesn't have any THL experience (Lezzemos). I know nothing about him but Mayanadon speaks highly. Outside of that the addition of Zaib and Hockey will round this team out in solid fashion. There are a lot of loaded teams in Pro this season and this is certainly one that appears to qualify.
Tap Last - Season 1 Player Record 8-7
2 more big rookies with some strong credentials. Valdus to my research has Tespa experience and HeatShock has placed well at Dreamhack when that was still a thing. Cmac has more tournament conquest experience than most and although this Tap Last team might not have the hype, I think they could be sneaky competitive.
Taste the Rainbow - Season 1 Player Record 5-2
Br1ck (Rookie) 1-0
SKItLLeZ will lead this largely pro series inexperienced roster and he has performed well. Inzi is yet another Tespa addition to THL who also has some experience in Aspirant League (format series?). I'm not sure the complete roster will stand up to some of the challenges posed by the loaded top end of the division.
The Menagerie - Season 1 Player Record 3-5
Nineeyebrows (Rookie) 1-1
We start to enter the realm of heavy rookie based teams with The Menagerie. At this point it would be easier to list the players who don't have Tespa experience as Nineeyebrows is another pseudo-Rookie making his full season debut. Tris struggled in Season 1 but is certainly a capable player and Dexter returns after a substantial THL absence. I think this team could make some noise but might struggle to find consistency.
Pro-Pain Gang - Season 1 Player Record 0-8
Last season's runner up had to reinvent themselves with the departure of 4 of the 5 players. Unfortunately the only player remaining (also the captain) did not manage to secure a win in season 1. MikeV has flashed success in other series and I think will be in line for a solid season of his own but this will be an uphill climb to return to prominence for the PPG.
Defias Protherhood - Season 1 Player Record 0-0
This is the full rookie squad of the bunch with essentially no expectations. They can just let it fly and see what happens. c0mp and Icicles have THL experience and Icicles recently has been very good in other series. The odds are long but we know that in HS anything is possible.
There are so many good rookies in this preview that it will be hard to spotlight just a few. We'll try to do just that as I think these players have a great chance to succeed this season:
Dusharmo - A strong player every time he steps into the tavern. He steps out of the shadows as a captain and into the spotlight.
BZRK - Recent ladder success doesn't always equal THL success but he has to be one of the more hyped rookies. A possible Derivus replay?
Kols - Don't make me say nice things about him but he's pretty good at conquest.
A2Battleship - He and teammate Avi have been stomping the Duos tourney.
HonestZaib - As I said before, one of the most underrated players in THL.
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