Origen ends Week 4 of the EU LCS 1-1, maintaining their standing in the middle of the pack. Following their match against GIANTS! Gaming, Origen's owner Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez took the time to talk to Marcel "Dexter" Feldkamp about the team's current struggles, returning to professional play and the potential for expanding the organization to other games.
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xPeke to start as ADC for Origen in Week 8 match against Fnatic
Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez is starting as Origen's AD carry in their Week 8 match against Fnatic.
xPeke starts in place of recently signed ADC Augustas "Toaster" Ruplys, who was meant to replace the mid laner in the starting ADC role. Toaster started in Origen's Week 7 matches, as well as in their first Week 8 match against Giants.
Origen have commented on reports that a number of staff members left their employ due to issues ranging from poor management to an alleged lack of payment. According to the team, those who left were not employees but non-contractual collaborators.
"Currently, not a single member of Origen’s staff has resigned, left their position or stopped working with us," Origen said in the statement. "Origen counted on, and still counts on, the collaboration of some people that, because of their loyalty to the team, voluntarily and altruistically assist online with some tasks, mainly communication and design."
The internal disputes became public last week with a flurry of tweets from former Origen staffers announcing their break from the organization, citing stress and drama as inciting reasons.
According to Dot Esports' Josh Raven, tensions were rising within the organization for some time with volunteers allegedly not being given the gear they were offered in lieu of payment, a lack of communication from management, and delayed payment for a freelancer and Tadayoshi "Hermit" Littleton, the team's former head coach.
Origen's statement does not address the accusations of poor workplace culture, but refutes the delayed payment accusation, saying "Origen has always paid, completely legally, any of its players, “coaches”, “analysts” and rest of employees. If someone feels that this is not the case, we invite them to make a legal claim for the debt."
Despite a focus on collaborators in Origen's statement, the exodus included several high-ranking members of the organization, including their general manager, Marck "PapaB3ar" Hernandez, as well as their chief content editor Ioana Popa.
The statement calls the reports on the situation "a clear campaign to discredit Origen" and are reviewing legal actions to take against media and individuals involved.
Former Fnatic mid laner Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez founded Origen in December 2014 at the age of 22. While the team came in second at the 2015 EU LCS Spring Playoffs, they've suffered in the 2016 summer split with roster shakeups and are currently ninth in the league standings.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.
Sugar, Splyce and everything nice: EU LCS Week 8 staff picks
theScore esports Staff
theScore esports' League of Legends experts have tapped into their inner oracle for the eighth week of the European LCS Summer Split and offer up predictions for each of the games.
Rand: I picked this as a split set since I find it impossible to ever truly count Fnatic out, but if it goes with one team over the other, Splyce will likely take it. Since their first meeting in Week 3 — a 2-0 victory for Fnatic — Splyce have been one of Europe's more consistent teams, gelling in time to make a strong playoff push, and have yet to be swept since that Fnatic set.
Moser: Fnatic have managed to exert a great deal more pressure in the early game since adding Kikis to the roster. This happens, allegedly, due to increased communication flow creating more opportunities for the team to make plays through Teleports or other moves, avoiding a stagnant early game. This is important given the tight ability to close on a lead Splyce have demonstrated. The previous Fnatic roster, unable to exert early pressure and get a lead, would not fare well against Splyce, but in this scenario, I think Splyce make enough mistakes setting up their mid game lane assignments that Fnatic can get the lead in at least one game.
Sevenhuysen: Splyce is on a tear, only dropping a single game in their last five series. Their schedule has been relatively soft, though, aside from their 1-1 split with G2 Esports. Fnatic is their next real challenge, and to have a chance in the series, Trashy will need to bottle up Spirit, no small challenge. Fnatic takes 54.3 percent of the jungle CS in their games, on average, best in Europe, and Splyce is just fifth at 50.5 percent. The jungle should be a key area of advantage for Fnatic, which is why I’m calling for them to win 2-0.
G2 Esports vs. Unicorns of Love
Rand: Again, my Unicorns of Love curse will probably rear its ugly head here — when I pick them to win, they lose, and when I pick them to lose, they win — but I'm still going with Europe's top team, G2, over UOL.
Moser: Unicorns of Love reacted extremely well to some of Giants' weaknesses last week, but G2 don't have the same problems. They aren't easily set back by reckless and proactive moves, and could instead punish a lot of what the Unicorns like to do. I still get the sense that G2 are taking a more relaxed approach to their Game 1s, so Unicorns getting a first win isn't out of the question, but I must predict based on my assessment of the teams overall, and I see a 2-0 for G2.
Sevenhuysen: The Unicorns deserve credit for being 6-2 over their last four best-of- twos, but the only really noteworthy win was the one game they took off Fnatic, and that was before Kikis arrived. G2 is a different beast, and I don’t see the Unicorns standing up to the challenge. I’ve been impressed by Hylissang’s play, but Zven and mithy are the best duo lane in Europe. For G2, I want to see continued improvement from Perkz as we approach the playoffs. He still hasn’t gotten back to the form he displayed in the spring split.
H2K-Gaming vs. Splyce
Rand: For me, this series is a question of momentum. I don't doubt that H2K have the talent and wherewithal not only to split this set but to win it outright, yet their continued struggles and lack of coordination hint at internal confidence issues. Meanwhile, Splyce is on the rise, and even if they lose outright to Fnatic on Day 1, I think they'll be able to overcome H2K.
Moser: H2K-Gaming have lost pep in their step. Splyce have managed to take their 1-3-1 to another level that relies less on the jungle to work independently and have up and down agency. Splyce feel more like a unit when they play, and though their drafts may be less conventional than H2K's, I believe this will be the most important factor.
Sevenhuysen: It’s worth noting that H2K’s 2-0 losses last week came against G2 and Fnatic, the two best teams in the league. There are some signs of frustration showing through, possibly because they’ve shown minimal progress in fixing their long-standing teamfighting issues. That said, H2K still has enough going to take a game off Splyce, if they can keep their discipline and punish Splyce’s relatively weak early game.
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Report: Departure of Origen staffers linked to lack of communication, payment
The departure of a group of Origen staff members from the organization earlier this week is allegedly linked to a number of management issues that allegedly include a lack of or delayed payment, poor management and a lack of communication between team managers and other staff, according to a report by The Daily Dot's Josh Raven.
The report states that sources close to the situation have made accusations that include "volunteers never [receiving] gear they were promised in return for work and that the organization almost never brought up possibility of regular payment." It is also alleged that a freelancer who was waiting on two months wages that remain unpaid.
The report goes on to say that staff "accused management of stifling their ideas and refusing to listen to or consider feedback," and when team management made changes, Origen's public relations staff found out when the posts went up on the team's website.
Though former head coach Tadayoshi "Hermit" Littleton is not quoted in the article, the report says that he "reportedly claims to still be owed money for his time with the team at the World Championships, according to people familiar with Hermit's situation."
Origen's LCS team are struggling this split. They have only won a single series this season, and have tied seven while losing five.
After a split match against Fnatic, Origen will be unable to gain the points needed to reach the playoffs of the EU LCS 2016 summer split. With 14 points, it will be impossible for them to get past seventh place even if they won all their remaining matches.
Origen was able to dominate Fnatic in the first game of the match with 21-8 kills and a 10k gold lead. However, Fnatic turned the tables in the second round with 15-8 kills and a 8k gold lead.
Ranked second last in the league with two wins, eight ties, and six losses, the Spanish org have fallen far since their second place finish in the 2016 spring split's post-season tournament.