SK Gaming have set major milestones since they formed in 1997. For years, they were powerhouses in the biggest shooter titles in the scene—Quake and Counter-Strike. In 2003, they wrote up the first FPS player contract. And just this year, one of its players, Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago, claimed he was making one of the biggest salaries in eSports history.
However, on the competitive side, things aren’t looking so hot. Earlier today, the club announced that the captain of its Leage of Legends team, Patrick “Nyph” Funke, would be leaving for its upstart rivals, Alliance. That makes him the sixth player (including Rodriquez) to leave the League of Legends team since its second place finish in 2012.
Those roster shakeups have sent SK Gaming tumbling to a second-to-last place finish for 2013. And just a few weekends ago, they almost lost their spot to a ladder team—an amateur squad that only plays together online—named Supa Hot Crew XD. That’s not something you’d ever want to put on your gaming resume.
The League season begins in just a couple weeks, and with one player down, SK Gaming will have to scramble to gain some stability in their lineup. Any more losses may mean the team could exit at the end of the Spring split.
Funke’s future, however, looks bright. He’s being picked up by Alliance, who formed just earlier this month from the remains of Evil Geniuses. Alliance’s performance at the Battle of the Atlantic leaves no questions about it—they are strong contenders for not only the European title, but are aiming at a crown at the World Championships as well. Alliance is quickly making a name for themselves. Their Dota 2 team took home the gold at the International this year, developer Valve’s $2.87 million invitational. The addition of Funke can only further their ambitions, even as it undermines SK Gaming’s.