Mike ‘Glaurung’ Fisk is the North American shotcaller with the Heroes of the Storm world at his feet

Mike ‘Glaurung’ Fisk is someone to keep an eye on. The 20 year old is well regarded as one of NA’s best shotcallers, and in his role as a flex player for NA team Roll20, is playing for one of the region’s best teams, too.

We spoke to Fisk directly after his team’s loss in the Mid-Season Brawl. Roll20 beat fellow American’s Tempo Storm, crashing from the tournament at the next stage, falling at the lower bracket semi-finals to Korean juggernaut MVP Black.

Roll20 may be one of the best teams in North America, but the whole NA region is lagging behind Korea and Europe competitively. For Fisk, the Mid-Season Brawl was a chance to show that NA wasn’t a slouch, and could play ball with the bigger regions.

“I think we didn’t reach our full potential at this event.” said Fisk. “I think the Mid-Season Brawl, in hindsight, is a great learning experience for us to move forward. However, I am disappointed in our 5th/6th placing. I think that, given time, as long as we head back to the United States and approach things with the correct mentality, we can continue to improve and hopefully by BlizzCon we can represent North America and catch up to the other regions.”

Fisk is positive about the experience, and particularly enthusiastic about the boot camp in Europe that lets the team play against European teams. It’s difficult for NA teams to face off against the European teams and their own unique meta for timezone and geography reasons.

“The teams in Europe are a lot more punishing, and I think have a higher work ethic than in North America. So yeah, I do think that practice will not be as effective and efficient, but the goal is to try and pave the way, and lead by example so other teams can work a little bit harder, be more motivated, and spend a little bit more time practising. Because I feel like North America has potential and talent, but it’s under-utilised. The work ethic in Europe is way more solidified. Players play so much better with the right mentality. I think that’s what sets us apart, mostly.”

“I definitely do feel a lot of pressure, and a lot of stress at times.” said Fisk. “It can be pretty tough, but at the same time, I love the pressure. I feel like I thrive off it.”

Fisk is softly spoken and thoughtful, quite a distance from the confident manner and absolute statements offered by many young esports athletes. When he gets stressed, Fisk says, he likes to go rock climbing as a way to relax.

“I definitely do feel a lot of pressure, and a lot of stress at times.” said Fisk. “It can be pretty tough, but at the same time, I love the pressure. I feel like I thrive off it.”

“There are certain situations where the pressure can be pretty overwhelming, but for the most part I think it just motivates me to do better. And I love playing on stage.”

Fisk shouldered a lot of the burden at the Mid-season brawl, with his Zeratul play and strategic decisions forming the center of Roll20’s MSB strategies. While he says that it’s not the team’s ideology to “put everything on his back”, he thinks that with the team failing to realise their potential it meant a lot of pressure in the draft and game stages fell onto him.

“I think at this event it was probably the case that a lot of it was on my performance, in draft and in game, but I don’t think that’ll be the case leading into BlizzCon. I think Mid-Season Brawl will be a great opportunity for us to reflect and move forward.Hopefully we can give a better showing at the Western Clash in BlizzCon.

Fisk is enthusiastic about the future, and admits that it’s largely due to the sponsorship from Roll20, which led to the team adopting the company’s name.

“I’m really grateful for Roll20 to have picked us up. I think that, for me personally, having extra financial support, and support in other areas as well with Roll20, relieves a lot of the out of game stress, and allows me to focus entirely on the game and the gameplay itself.

“Boot camp was like the best thing that’s ever happened to our team. We learned so much and improved a lot. So, a huge shout out to Roll20 for doing that for us. But I definitely think Roll20 supporting us makes it easier for us to focus on our gameplay, and by doing so we can lead and motivate North America to become a stronger region.”

It’s a time of great flux in the Heroes of the Storm meta, with Korea recently releasing their stranglehold on the game and Europe emerging as the region to beat. The finals of the MSB pitched Dignitas against Fnatic, and the Korean teams felt strong, but never strong enough to topple one of the European juggernauts.

From here, Fisk says the goal now is self-improvement for himself and for Roll20 as a team. “I think that given the proper work ethic and mentality we can work hard to reach our full potential, and I’d like to see us prove to people that we can be better, that we’re a world class team. And I hope to place higher than 5th/6th at BlizzCon this year.”

Outside of tournaments, Fisk says the game is in an “interesting state”, with many powerful characters meaning the draft stage has never been more important.

“It’s like the draft is in a really interesting place right now. I don’t think the game is decided in draft, at the same time I think you can win just by outrotating and outplaying your opponents. But there’s a big emphasis on draft and I like that balance right now.

“There’s a lot of outplay potential and ways to show how good you are as an individual as well as as a team. So for Fnatic, their team execution is the best in the world, if you were to ask me, and it’s really fun to watch them take a draft that would beat any other team and just take it apart. Similarly, I love watching a good draft back a team into a corner.

We turn our attentions to Genji and Uther, two characters who are contentious mainstays in the meta right now, with players divided over whether they are valuable picks that are strong in the current game or, in fact, too powerful.

“I definitely think that they are very, very strong,” said Fisk. “if not slightly overtuned, but at the same time, I’d rather other heroes just become more powerful than those heroes getting toned down, because right now the game is really explosive with those heroes in the game, and I’d like to see it stay that way. So, instead of big nerfs, if other heroes were to be brought up to that same level, up to par, than I think it would be really cool for Heroes of the Storm.”

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