The League community is still reeling from Riot’s banning of Renegades and Team Impulse from the League Championship Series, and Team Dragon Knights (TDK) from the Challenger Series. And while few words have been said about Impulse’s ban, Renegades’ is another matter entirely.
Renegades “knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misrepresented their relationship with TDK, and compromised player welfare and safety,” Riot Games said in a statement. Permanent bans were handed to the organization and Chris Badawi, while Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles received a one year prohibition from being involved in the management of a Riot-affiliated team.
Riot divided their ruling into three distinct categories: Team Ownership, Player Welfare, and Independence of Teams and Competitive Integrity.
“Throughout the past split, we have heard testimony regarding various player welfare concerns involving Renegades, primarily around Badawi’s conduct while serving in a non-ownership capacity during his suspension term,” said Riot. “These allegations, corroborated to Riot by multiple sources who have had close contact or affiliation with the team, included confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payment and contract provisions, and failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members.”
The aforementioned Player Welfare section has been received skeptically by the League community, with Renegades management and players categorically denying any issues involved.
“I don’t even know what to say to this. Players unsafe/unsafe environment? I can’t even imagine what they are referring to. A secret deal with Monte? One simply does not exist. Not fulfilling contractual obligations? I’m beyond baffled – none of it is true,” Renegades co-owner Chris Badawi said in a Reddit post. “I’ve spoken with Alex, Alberto, RF, Flarez, Maple and Haku and they don’t have a clue what riot is talking about either. Had no warning, reading it for the first time with you. I’m just floored at the injustice and randomness of this ruling.”
MonteCristo took to Twitter to dispute the ruling, stating that the allegations were baseless, and players such as Alberto “Crumbzz” Rengifo, Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent, and Oleksii “RF Legendary” Kuziuta have come out in support of the Renegades organization.
Even players who weren’t associated with the organization have expressed their concerns about the ruling.
Other community figures such as lawyer Bryce Blum have criticized the process by which the ban was implemented.
Riot have found support in one of the most unlikeliest of places. Veteran esports reporter and investigative journalist Richard Lewis commended the ban, but agreed that the system was poor. Lewis and Riot Games have had a hostile relationship throughout the company’s history.
The organizations all have until May 18 to sell their spots. The fallout of Riot’s decision is still happening and the ramifications are not yet known. One thing is for certain, however; this will be a crucial point in the history of the LCS and in League of Legends as a whole.