A Challenger team has admitted to using a ringer last week in important matches with Challenger Series implications on the line.
A player for Escalate Legion Gaming, currently seventh seed in the North American Challenger Ranked 5’s ladder, shared an account over a two-day period as the team attempted to enter the North American Challenger Series Summer Qualifier Tournament. To be eligible for the spot, which would put them one step away from the League Challenger Series, the team needed a top 10 placement in the ladder. But they ran into a snag thanks to conflicts with marksman Samuel “Moonway” Oh’s schedule. So the team brought in the AD carry for Elomingle, Phil “Jynthe” Vu, through Oh’s account on May 17 to 18.
Riot Games previously punished another Challenger side for a similar violation. During the 2015 Challenger Series Spring Finals, Cloud9 Tempest used the team’s coach, Tim “Timokiro” Cho in place of support Ritchie “Fade” Ngo. Riot responded by hitting the team with an indefinite suspension from all competitions, causing the squad to lose its spot in the North American Challenger Series. The ban was not lifted until May 11.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, team owner Austin “Obama” Melanson admitted to the account sharing, but suggested the team had no other choice after two of his players moved to Team Coast.
Three days prior to the ladder lock, Coast had taken two of our players. Due to this, the ELG management was in a scramble to replace these two players and achieve top 10 on the ladder in time for the lock. With insufficient time to tryout two new players in scrims while climbing the ladder, we resorted to having them play Ranked 5s so we could achieve both goals within the time constraints. Unfortunately, there are limited invites to a team after it places, so it became unrealistic to add each tryout to the Ranked 5s team. Most competitive teams have broken the TOS at one point or another. This is unfortunately relatively common in the challenger scene due to stresses placed on teams prior to ladder lock.
I had a decision to make: Either we give up after losing two of our players, or we tryout players while doing Ranked 5s. Everyone on ELG deserves a chance at the LCS level and I wasn’t going to let Coast hold them back from that. We spent months upon months developing ELG, and I wasn’t going to let Coast ruin it for the players. I’m the one that made the decision to do it and any punishment should be casted on myself and myself only.
Update July 10, 2:50pm CT: Riot Games released a ruling on July 2 regarding Escalate Legion Gaming, banning all players and management from being affiliated with Challenger and LCS teams for the remainder of the 2015 calendar year.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr | Remix by Jacob Wolf