In another installment of 3 Up, 3 Down, we take a look at just how well ELEAGUE has been going, the successful formation of the new Echo Fox roster, the SK-Luminosity arbitration and the WESA controversy.
For previous editions in this series, click here
There has been a lot of excitement surrounding ELEAGUE for the past several months, and it has so far lived up to expectations for fans. Staying true to the atmosphere of existing Counter-Strike events with upscaled production and studios has made many fans and critics alike quite happy. Despite occupying the Friday Night Death Slot, ELEAGUE managed higher numbers in its first week than averaged by the NHL and MLS during regular time slots.
The first two weeks of competition have passed and the hype still continues to grow. ELEAGUE executives have picked an incredible format that has allowed everyone to share in the spotlight while also allowing the best teams to rise to the top. ELEAGUE has done what fans wanted without sacrificing anything in return.
Richard “Shox” Papillon
G2 Esports has seen unexpected success in the last several months, and much of that has to do with Shox, one of its stars, playing at the top of his game. Shox has had a long and storied career over the past eight years, with highs and lows unmatched by almost anyone in competitive Counter-strike. Shox has been playing incredible as of late, including a 36-kill performance during an ELEAGUE group stage match against Ninjas in Pyjamas.
In the past month, G2 has been within striking distance of a Premier LAN victory (taking world champion Luminosity to five maps at the ESL Pro League Finals), performing well in online competition and preparing for the ever-important Major qualifier later this week. If Shox and G2 manage to maintain the form they had during the ESL Pro League Finals they should have nothing to worry about headed into this weekend’s matches.
Echo Fox Management
Echo Fox has managed to turn its Tier 3 North American team into a contender for the best roster in the region. Echo Fox recently acquired Daniel “roca” Gustaferri, Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan and Ryan “fREAKAZOiD” Abadir in three separate moves to solidify its roster heading into its ELEAGUE matches at the end of June. While the roster isn’t yet fully tested in competition, many of the players have previously played with each other.
Echo Fox has done everything in its power to assemble the best roster available within the last few months. They have landed a group that contains FlipSid3 Tactics and Mousesports — two teams that are notorious for being inconsistent. If Echo Fox has proper preparation under the leadership of veteran in-game leader Sean “sgares” Gares, they could make the final and reach the Friday night primetime viewing.
The Counter-Strike scene blew up recently when SK Gaming and Luminosity entered a feud over player contracts. SK Gaming had pressured Luminosity players into signing contracts to begin playing with SK, effective July 1. The problems being that the players had signed letters of intent to a two-year contract with Luminosity in December. All of this happened under no guise of legal representation from the players.
Additional concerns arose surrounding SK’s intentions after it became clear that ESL CEO Ralf Reichert still owned shares in SK Gaming. With the introduction of the World Esports Association last month, it raised a few eyebrows. When approached, Reichert said he made an agreement to sell his shares in the company. While the fate of the players still remains unclear, they will for the time being remain with Luminosity.
WESA has been so controversial it gets two spots on this list. The organization officially launched in early May, much to the chagrin of fans, pundits, teams, players and nearly everyone else who wasn’t involved in it. Since its inception, WESA has done a stellar job in not being transparent about what it has planned for the future and what the true purpose of the association is. They are recycling answers from a public relations document that left more questions open than answered.
Many have speculated that this association is the leftovers from an exclusive league that was being planned in April of 2015. If this is true it could be very troublesome for those teams moving forward as future leagues might surpass the production and payment capabilities of leagues produced by ESL and sanctioned by WESA.
So whispers have told me not only did the teams get a fee to join WESA, they become exclusive to the org after two years. #transparency
— Scott Smith (@SirScoots) May 14, 2016
Faze Clan — a founding member of the WESA — has already announced its departure from the association citing transparency issues.
“After the WESA press conference, we raised the same concerns again and it was the first time we saw the external messaging and communication from WESA — and it concerned us,” FaZe said in a news release. “It doesn’t lack big metaphors of what it could be, but it lacks transparency on how to get there and that is the main reason for why we are leaving WESA.”
Thus far teams that are a part of the WESA have not been restricted in any way but moving forward it looks likely that the WESA might clamp down on its members. Time will tell the intentions of the WESA and its founders, but this is surely not the last of the public outrage to come of the situation.