I’ll admit that I don’t watch many Chinese tournaments. Because of the time zone difference sometimes it’s just not possible, but watching the Chinese qualifiers for the Boston Major was my long overdue return to one of the most established scenes in the game. If you were like me and just started watching Chinese teams play recently, you might be a little confused about which team is which.
Chinese organizations have, for the last two years, slowly acquired more and more of the top players in China by creating multiple sister teams. This is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, creating multiple teams playing under the same organization means that the “main” squad always has a team with which to practice against regularly. This would be beneficial because back in 2014, Team DK’s members complained that no one in China wanted to scrim against them. This new abundance of sister teams eliminates any such problems. Mutual improvement through constant practice also stands to benefit both teams. Second, if players want a change of pace but are unable to leave an organization due to their contract, creating a second team around them provides a different environment without making it so that the organization has to relinquish that player to another organization. Third, “youth squads” allow Chinese organizations to develop talent from within, allowing them to move players onto their main squads as they improve. Finally, creating another team under the same organization gives Vici Gaming, for example, an opportunity to form a partnership with Jeremy Lin in his recent deal to become the honorary captain of Vici Gaming J.
And so when the Boston Major qualifier rolled around LGD fielded two teams, EHOME had two – plus their main squad, which was invited directly – invictus Gaming had two, and Vici Gaming also had two. Only two teams in the main qualifiers – CDEC and FTD Club A – were not owned by one of these four organizations. Even CDEC used to be owned by LGD until they split from the organization in 2014. The true genius of the rush to acquire seemingly every top player in China is that it increases their overall chance of getting a team into a Valve event. After all, having three or four teams playing under the same organization means that the likelihood of one of those teams breaking through the qualifiers is higher than putting all their hopes into one team which might be eliminated prematurely. Remembering which players play on which team might be a little difficult, but this is the genius of the new approach to organization structure in China.