Last Week in Esports: Tainted Minds Ruling, Digital Chaos’s New Dota 2 Roster, and CWL Birmingham’s Surprises
Good news, everyone! It’s time for the latest installment of Last Week in Esports, the self-explanatory weekly article that I’m doing from now on because that’s how we roll.
Last week was a pretty big one. A whole lot happened, but there was one scene that really caused a ruckus a whole lot more than the others. The League of Legends competitive scene dominated my attention for the larger portion of last week, so that will be the main focus of this week’s article. Not a League fan? You can find news for Dota 2 and Call of Duty below.
After months of being silent on the matter, Riot Games finally spoke up about the Tainted Minds scandal this last Friday, but fans aren’t exactly releasing a sigh of relief.
If you haven’t been keeping yourself up to date, the short story is that OCE organization Tainted Minds was accused by their players and staff of forcing their team to live in deplorable conditions while refusing to uphold several important clauses in their contract. For more information, I would suggest checking out Rift Herald’s detailed log, but it was an excessively messy controversy that first made headlines back in February. The worst part of the scandal was that Tainted Minds refused to release the team from their organization even after players went public about the situation, and Riot Oceania’s CptStupendous, who has been under suspicion of bias, made it clear that the division would not take matters into their own hands.
Following severe community-wide backlash, Riot Games stepped into the middle of things and announced that they would be launching a formal investigation. Their ruling, posted on Friday, explained that they understood where Riot Oceania went wrong in their investigation and Riot would be implementing a new system to prevent something like this from occurring again. As for the Tainted Minds part of the announcement, which is what the community waited for with bated breath, Riot announced that Tainted Minds would be receiving a 6-month suspension and $7,000 AUD fine.
It’s a rather anticlimactic ending to what has been an enormous scandal that has the community wondering why the organization received the equivalent to a slap on the wrists, arguing that Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles was permanently banned from owning a team for what they feel was significantly less. However, Riot explained their reasoning for a less severe punishment by insisting that Tainted Minds, while completely in the wrong on certain issues such as failing to pay their players, did what they could to settle several matters.
“Due to the fact that Tainted Minds made efforts in good faith to correct ongoing issues based upon player feedback and otherwise fulfilled obligations, we won’t be expelling them from the OPL. … Tainted Minds offered to move the players, coach and manager to different housing (of their choice) as early as January 13, but the team declined the offer … As the house was a rental, many of the failings were on the part of the landlord. We reviewed emails from representatives of Tainted Minds to its landlord’s representatives throughout December, January and February, including multiple emails seeking permission for improvements made to the house at the team’s expense.”
In significantly happier news, because I refuse to end things on a sour note, Cloud9 snagged two end-of-split awards with the closing of the 2017 Spring Split regular season. Hangyu “Reapered” Bok and Juan “Contractz” Garcia took home the Coach of the Split and Rookie of the Split awards, respectively, after paving their way into the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split Finals with a 14-4 record.
Contractz joined Cloud9’s NA LCS team in December when the organization chose to sell their NA CS team to FlyQuest. He closed out the regular season with a 3.7 KDA, second highest in the split, 357 GPM average, and a 67.5% KPAR. While it’s clear that he has plenty of natural-born talent, part of his success can be attributed to Reapered’s excellent coaching, who helped guide last year’s roster into 5th-8th place in the 2016 World Championships.
On April 23rd, C9 will compete against Team SoloMid for the North American seed at MSI 2017, which will be held in Brazil.
In a rather shocking turn of events for the organization, Digital Chaos have announced that they have released their Dota 2 lineup in favor of Team Onyx, the roster formed by Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale, Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho, and Kim “DuBu” Doo-young back at the start of the year. Their reason?
“The current roster and DC have mutually agreed that the time was right for them to go on and do their own thing.”
Not exactly the most detailed explanation given, but the organization did acknowledge the success that the brand has seen thanks to the roster. Digital Chaos made waves in the community for being the underdog that claimed second place at The International 2016, Dota 2’s most prestigious event, knocking out former champions Evil Geniuses and losing to Wings Gaming in the Grand Finals. Since then they have come in 3rd-4th at The Boston Major, 1st at ESL One Genting, and 3rd-4th, at China Top 2016. Granted, they fell short of expectations at Dota Pit League Season 5 and StarLadder i-league StarSeries Season 3, but it wasn’t a consistent string of losses.
While they haven’t had much time together as their own team, the players of Team Onyx have all seen their fair share of success as seasoned veterans. Solo mid/carry player Abed Azel “Abed” Yusup is the only part of the roster that hasn’t competed in The International at some point, but proved his competitive skill in March when he became the first Filipino to reach 9000 MMR.
“We believe in the Onyx squad and what they can do and we will provide them with the best playing environment we can. We believe we will be the right organization for this team as they go into the Kiev Major and make a run at TI7. The team house will remain in Arizona and the DigitalChaos brand will be run by myself and others from Arizona.”
Meanwhile, the former Digital Chaos members have formed their own team, Thunderbird.
Tired of MOBAs? Me, too. So let’s talk about the Call of Duty World League Birmingham Open, which had a handful of surprises for longtime fans regarding team performance.
The big news, of course, is the incredible victory Epsilon Esports claimed when they forced Splyce into second place, the team that is widely regarded as the best in Europe. Splyce initially bumped Epsilon into the Losers Bracket in an intensely competitive 3-2 matchup that had fans biting their nails in anticipation of the teams’ next moves, but began to lose steam through the day. Epsilon suffered no such troubles, as they were there to chew bubblegum and kick ass – and they had just run out of bubblegum. In brutal back-to-back 3-0 sweeps, Epsilon advanced to the semis and shut Fnatic out of the competition before performing a complete shutdown in the Grand Finals and yanking the crown right off of Splyce’s heads. It was a savage last-minute display of talent from everyone on the team, especially slayer David “Dqvee” Davies.
Epsilon wasn’t the only team who showed some guts. While they were no match for Epsilon at the end of the tournament, Fnatic proved themselves to be a major contender in Call of Duty esports after an embarrassing performance at CWL London. The entire roster displayed significant improvements in their gameplay as individuals, and as a team, when they took games off of Red Reserve, Supremacy, and Millenium in fierce 3-2 matchups and 3-0 sweeps.
A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai