A group of “10 to 15” European League of Legends Championship Series players may significantly affect roster changes among the top teams of Europe, according to an LCS player who wished to remain anonymous.
According to the player, the secret group formed over Skype and contains members of Fnatic, G2 Esports, H2K, Schalke, Origen, and Vitality. It started out as a group of friends simply keeping in contact while playing on various teams, but the topics have changed to trash talking other players, possibly influencing roster acquisitions and working to get players removed from certain teams.
Facilitating roster changes may not be as far as the group’s influence extends. This LCS player claims that the group has participated in tampering, most notably in the transfer of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre from Origen to G2 Esports, a claim that has been corroborated by other sources close to the situation. Luka “Perkz” Perkovic of G2 allegedly contacted the pair through this group and convinced them to push for a transfer before Origen had been contacted. This has seemingly been addressed in Riot Games’ penalty tracker, as both Zven and Mithy received warnings in May for “attempted tampering under mitigating circumstances,” though they were not publicly announced. Perkz was not acknowledged by Riot as having been involved in the incident.
“We can not comment on any such Skype group or the people suggested to be involved as we did not participate in any such suggested group chat,” G2 founder and CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez said when reached for comment Thursday.
Members from newer or lesser known organizations are generally not represented in the Skype group, and there is no mention of Splyce, Giants, Unicorns of Love, or ROCCAT members in the conversation. It is unclear how much influence the group has, but according to a source, most roster changes among teams with players involved in the group are at the very least discussed — and in some cases have been suggested — by members of other teams and then come to fruition.
The claims call into question the integrity of many transfers that have occurred between the teams. Changes that were brought up as specifically being mentioned within the group were the aforementioned Zven/Mithy transfer, Jeremy “Eika” Valdenaire being removed from Elements/Schalke, and Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou being removed from Origen.
Several current and former members of the LCS confirmed the existence of the group, with most going as far as to say it’s “extremely likely” that they have influenced teams to drop certain players in the past. One former LCS player described the process as targeting a player the group didn’t like and then repeatedly criticizing him to fellow teammates and coaching staff, hoping to eventually convince the team to drop him.
Riot has repeatedly stated tampering/poaching is against the rules and offenders can face severe punishment. Although Mithy and Zven were handed only warnings, other teams/players have had competitive rulings levied against them in the past. Team Dragon Knights was fined $10,000 for poaching Lee “Fury” Jin-yong from Samsung, and Fury was suspended for a month, while Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo was suspended for two months for starting the discussion. Infamous former Renegades owner Chris Badawi also came under scrutiny and lost his spot as an LCS owner when he allegedly attempted to poach Yuri “Keith” Jew and Diego “Quas” Ruiz from Team Liquid last year.
Riot Games did not respond to request for comment.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games