A pro League of Legends team in the thick of a playoff race just lost its star player to the solo queue scourge: toxicity.
Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou, AD carry for Gambit Gaming, is suspended his next four games after a competitive ruling by League developer Riot Games due to a “pattern of negative in-game behaviour and toxicity.”
LCS officials learned that Tzortziou used “discriminatory language” directed at other players on July 9, prompting an investigation into his recent activity. Over the past 30 days, Tzortziou was reported in over 70 percent of his games, the vast majority of those cases due to verbal abuse including “offensive language” and “negative attitude.” That put him in the most toxic 1.5 percent of players during that period.
On April 12, 2014, Tzortziou was fined $1,000 for similar behavior, prompting a harsher punishment for continued poor behavior.
“We expect pro players to lead the way as role models and set good examples of in-game behaviour,” the ruling reads. “No player should be made to feel singled out, harassed or discriminated against in game, and Forg1ven’s recent behaviour is unacceptable.”
Tzortziou won the League Championship Series (LCS) MVP award in the Spring Split as a member of SK Gaming, wowing fans with his impressive ability to carry games on bullies like Lucian and Graves while putting up record numbers. He joined up with Gambit heading into the Summer season, and the team’s put together and up-and-down season that’s drawn them to a 7-9 record and a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots in the EU LCS.
But now Gambit will be without their star player for their final two games of the season and two future matches—whether they be in the playoffs or in relegations. And a relegation series may be where the team is heading if they lose their final two games against Elements and H2k Gaming. Elements is one game behind Gambit in the standings, and should Elements win out and Gambit lose out, Gambit will fall to relegations.
As such, the ruling not only puts the playoff run of Gambit Gaming in jeopardy, but also their future as an LCS team. Riot Games kept that in mind during the investigation, notifying the team that a suspension may be coming on July 12, giving them time to prepare.
At the time, it seemed like an innocent move when Gambit Gaming signed AD carry Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi to the roster as a backup along with two other players. But considering the July 15 date, it could have been a proactive move to prepare for a potential Tzortziou suspension. That signing gives Gambit a stable of potential fill-ins: Medjaldi, AD Carry of Fnatic during the Spring and a player who was set to try out for Gambit before they signed Tzortziou, and two former Gambit starters, Kristoffer “P1noy” Pedersen, and Evgeny “Genja” Andryushin. Medjaldi sounds like the likely replacement, but whoever enters the lineup it’s clear they’ll have big shoes to fill.
Still, Gambit are teetering on the line between playoffs and relegation. And today they’ve suffered a blow that could send them falling. While it may come as no surprise to some that the reigning MVP, Tzortziou, who has cultivated a reputation for a negative attitude, suffered a suspension for toxic behavior, it certainly couldn’t have come at a worse time for his team.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr