The G2 eSports ongoing soap opera reached full tilt last week, with roster changes impacting numerous contenders.
Read on for details on that as well as other leading headlines from League of Legends.
Turmoil in the North American LCS
In an unprecedented move, Riot banned three teams from competing in the League of Legends Championship Series or the Challenger Series, forcing all three teams to either sell their respective spots or to completely give them up.
Riot is notoriously known to rule its competitive scene with an iron fist, a style that is drastically different from other well-known esports entities.
Transparency into Riot’s business operations is like trying to stare through two feet of steel. Riot has publicly stated that esports is a revenue loser for the game developer.
But if Riot isn’t making any money from its competitive events, then why are they opening up two new, state of the art studios in North America and Europe? Why are its grand tours for playoff events and tournaments in world class arenas and stadiums?
The simple answer is Riot doesn’t want the players or teams that fall under its umbrella to know the true value of esports. If your profits are unknown, they can’t be used as leverage in negotiations.
We just saw before MSI that three shoutcasters, MonteCristo, DoA, and PapaSmithy, boycotted the tournament because they found out they were being paid 40-70 percent under market value.
Financial transparency isn’t the only murky area that Riot treads through.
It wouldn’t be unfair to compare Riot’s position of strength to that of the NFL’s Roger Goodell. Both are judge, jury, and executioner with very little oversight. They see themselves as the only party able to steer their respective organizations through tough issues, a guiding light that will establish decades of profitability.
Furthermore, there are no established processes or punishment proceedings in the LCS rulebook. There is no appeal process.
It’s not that Riot banned TDK and Renegades for rule violations that has everyone upset, but the way Riot went about it. Very little information was provided officially by Riot, with most of the information coming via social media.
Far more alarming is the fact that the players and team owners who were affected knew about as much information as everyone else.
Riot is coming up fast to a crossroads where eSports is becoming tremendously more profitable, and the teams and players that have paved the way are going to want their share of the proceeds as well as disciplinary restructuring.
Whether Riot chooses to provide financial and structural insight to these companies (more and more, these teams are being purchased by companies) or continues to strong arm them will leave a rippling effect throughout the industry for years to come.
G2 eSports makes two surprising roster changes
Following the conclusion of G2 eSports’ disappointing finish at the Mid-Season Invitational, rumors immediately began to rumble through social media that Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre would leave Origen for G2.
While many discounted the rumors as pure speculation, Origen confirmed the changes.
Origen posted an official announcement regarding its bot lane leaving, with part of the statement explaining why:
During that time we could not make any comments, since nothing was set in stone. Upon discussion with the mentioned players to try to keep them with us and then ratify their intentions of playing for team, we began negotiations with the club that was interested in them.
These negotiations were long and very challenging but last night we finally reached an agreement. Despite our best efforts to keep the team together, we can now announce that Mithy and Zven will no longer be with us.
Origen’s bottom lane was considered one of the strongest in the European LCS. It seemed Origen tried its hardest to keep its bottom lane duo, but the two stars had already made their minds up.
How does G2 play into all of this?
Well it seems to be the team that was whispering in Zven and Mithy’s ear.
Less than a day after Origen posted its official statement, G2 released a YouTube video through their channel with the phrase #vacationisover.
At the end of the video, both Mithy and Zven are featured in the G2 eSports house.
The addition of Zven and Mithy are marginal upgrades over Kim “Emperor” Jin-hyun and Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal. We’ll also have to see how the other G2 players adapt to these changes.
For European fans, it’s tough to see G2 essentially being rewarded for going 2-8 during MSI.
Origen finds quality replacements
For about 12 hours, it looked really disparaging for Origen fans. You know what I say to that? Trust in xPeke!
Replacing Smithy and Zven in the bottom lane for Origen will be Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal and Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou.
Both players released official statements on Origen’s website.
“I’m really happy to be part of Origen. I believe that if the team mashes well together, we will win this split and do really well at Worlds. I’m super excited to move into the gaming house and start practicing hard for the summer split!”
Essentially the teams have traded support players, with Mithy being the more polished of the two.
FORG1VEN is a slight upgrade over Zven, and will provide a more aggressive playstyle from the position. He’s had difficulty adjusting to new teams though, and he stated this will be a huge challenge for him.
“I am looking forward to play AD for Origen in the upcoming summer split which i consider the greatest challenge of my career. I will put my maximum effort to assist OG on achieving its goals,” he said.
EnVyUs joins League of Legends
One of the most respected esports organizations in the world finally has a team in the League of Legends Championship Series. Team EnVyUs has received Riot Games’ approval to compete in the league and purchase the Renegades’ spot.
The team has retained three former Renegades players, top laner Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong, mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo and support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent.
Two former staff members will also be retained, Matt “Matt” Akhavan, who will serve as general manager, and head coach David “Hermes” Tu.
Now the uphill battle begins. The team must officially announce its roster before the start of the Summer Split and then hope it can field enough talent to avoid relegations. Knowing Team EnVyUs and its mentality of being the best, it’ll pour the necessary resources into the team to make that happen.
Team SoloMid announces new support
Following the release of support player YellOwStaR so he could return to Europe and Fnatic, TSM has announced its new support player. TSM had previously held tryouts in both North America and Korea before deciding on Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.
TSM made the official announcement via Facebook, explaining its choice:
Over the last two weeks, we were extremely impressed by Biofrost’s performance, even in comparison to all the other candidates. He has made a lot of progress as a player during the short time we have known him, demonstrating to us that he’s a young player with the potential to the one of the best.
He has excellent mechanics across multiple champions, and most importantly he synergizes quite well with Doublelift’s playstyle. To top it all off, he fits in with our goal of having a full English speaking roster.
After being burned by veteran supports the last two splits, TSM is looking to now groom a rookie to fit into its team composition. He’ll have to quickly adapt to Doublelift’s demanding playstyle, and it’ll be one of the interesting headlines to follow through the Summer Split.