The qualifiers for the European League Challenger Series took place at the end of May. These are the first step on the road towards LCS glory, and with only three qualification spots open, competition was fierce both on and off the server. One team in particular has gone to spectacular lengths to ensure its placement.
Ex Nihilo narrowly missed out on qualifying after losing the third/fourth place playoff to Mousesports. The roster, which included former Supa Hot Crew and Team Coast jungler Matthew “Impaler” Taylor, had made a significant investment to qualify. But after falling at the last hurdle, it started to look at other options to ensure their Challenger status.
After a review of the rules, the organization realised that, as the fourth place team, it could qualify in place of a team already in the division if they had to drop out. The team’s representative, Ali “Alicus” Saba, then approached Copenhagen Wolves Academy and inquired about purchasing the bulk of their roster. Under Riot’s rules, if the team loses three of their players, then it forfeits its spot which would then go to the next highest qualifying team.
Copenhagen Wolves, which has a long history of selling upcoming talent, were open to the sale of the players, especially given that they already have an LCS slot. The players, for their part, were keen to agree following some incidents that had left them disgruntled with the organization. These included the organization allegedly failing to provide playing gear before their key matches against Origen and ROCCAT during their failed LCS promotion bid, as well as a failure to deliver team apparel.
Ex Nihilo agreed to terms with top-laner Bram “Morsu” Knol, support player Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal, jungler Thomas “Kirei” Yuen and AD Carry Rytis “ritix” Lekstutis. The fifth player, Saulius ”Saulius” Hoo, has been paid a compensation fee but his plans are not clear, and it’s understood he has not signed a contract with the organization. There is also a clause in Doornenbal’s contract that he has to be allowed to join Elements if a trial with the LCS organization is successful following poor performances from their newly acquired support player, Hampus “PromisQ” Abrahamsson. The jungler, Yuen, has also been paid a sizable compensation fee and is unlikely to play due to the team wanting to retain Taylor’s services.
Behind the scenes, several staff and players have been critical of the cynical nature of the sale. Riot staff have confirmed to the involved parties, however that no rules have been broken and that the sale will be honored.
Ex Nihilo did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.