Alex Ich & Crumbzz to form Challenger team

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Thumbnail image courtesy of LoLesports

Veteran players Alexey "Alex Ich" Ichetovkin and Alberto "Crumbzz" Rengifo will be joining forces to form a new Challenger team. The team will be owned and financed by Chris Badawi - a former lawyer who was formerly in the running to pick up Curse Academy.

Rengifo and Ichetovkin will be joined by Maria "Yuno" Creveling in the support position. Creveling previously played for Team Roar’s bottom lane alongside Shan "Chaox" Huang.

The AD Carry and Top lane positions have yet to be finalized, but the team is currently scrimming with Ritchie "Intense" Ngo (AD Carry) and Oleksii "RF Legendary" Kuziuta (Top lane). Badawi states that the scrims so far have been going great but that the team is still considering all available options and accepting applications.

The team’s name is still to be determined, but Badawi states that they’re happy to accept name suggestions via this email:  helpusnameourteam@yahoo.com.

The Score had a mini Q&A with Chris Badawi.

Q. Greetings Chris, so first off - what was the inspiration behind forming the challenger team?

I was a lawyer in New York doing patent litigation and one day I got run over by a car and almost died. Facing the end of your life is the best way to see where you want your future to go and I realised that I really didn’t want to do patent law anymore. I’ve always been a gamer at heart - not a very good one - but it has always been in my heart. So when I saw that there was a massive opportunity to create real business in this industry, I figured that I owed it to myself to try.

Q. So how did you get in touch with Crumbzz and Alex?

So initially, I was in the running to purchase Curse Academy from Steve Arhancet. I got outbid but I formed a relationship with Steve and during that process he invited me to work with Liquid for a couple of weeks and see what it is that I wanted to get out of the scene. Steve opened a lot of doors for me and really welcomed me into the scene. I made a lot of great connections and met a lot of good people. After my experience with Liquid, I decided to create my own team and we parted on good terms. Steve was really wonderful throughout the whole process.

I saw Crumbzz left Dignitas, had drinks with him and talked about what we wanted out of the future. We wanted to create something that was really player centric - less of a company and more a family, something like the early Cloud 9 - a bunch of guys doing something that they loved. The scene is so competitive and there is so much money involved that there is a lot of pressure on these guys and a lot of the times their love of the game diminishes. Overall I think it is possible for players to play this game for a living and have fun doing it.

I decided I wanted to create an atmosphere and a team where they felt like they were part of an organization - something they were proud of and were personally invested in the outcome of how the organization does and Crumbzz really liked the philosophy. So he and I together started talking about what kind of team we wanted and what kind of roster we wanted. Crumbzz suggested Alex and I talked with Alex to see if he was contracted to any team. He said he wasn’t and so we ended up getting Alex. Crumbzz and Alex are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. Any team with these two kind, professional and distinguished personalities at its core will be an absolute pleasure for all involved - not to mention Alex is a legend and Crumbzz has been in the scene from the start.

So with this philosophy in mind, I started to search for other players and found Yuno. All three of us agreed that she was a diamond in the rough. We’re now three strong and still looking to solidify the rest of the roster. We have plenty of time until the Challenger Series qualifiers.

Q. What are you looking for in those roles?

Again, with this philosophy in mind, it’s of paramount importance that they’re not just a player who talks - they’re somebody who would be your friend and you’d want to wake up and see everyday. Somebody that creates an atmosphere of joy and not tension.  Obviously, pure mechanical skill and game knowledge is a requisite.

Q. You stated that that you saw an opportunity to create real business but then you stated you wanted to create a family, do these two not clash stylistically? How do you aim to be a family and a real business?

When I was working within the LCS I noticed that there was a lot of pressure and expectations on the players and that personality seemed to be taking a backseat to skill alone. I wanted to create an environment where players felt more a part of the organization and less like an employee. My goal is to create a team where players feel valued and appreciated and I believe that the organization can be profitable with that mentality.

That isn’t to say that we won’t bench people for underperforming, but we won’t ignore their feelings either. It’s rather a place where players feel heard and have a personal stake in the success of their business. I’m planning to implement a profit sharing model.

Q. You mentioned in your previous answer that you were planning to implement a profit sharing model - could you elaborate a bit more on this and how do you plan to avoid the pitfalls that ex-Alternate had in 2013?

Its tentative and a work in progress. But ultimately I can envision a system where the players compensation grows as the organization grows.  What I believe that perhaps some in the scene do not, is that the players essentially are the organization.  I just think they should be treated as such.

In terms of avoiding pitfalls, the profit share would belong to the spot, not the player. For example. each player on the active roster is entitled to a base salary + X percent of org profits (however we decide to calculate that). So a player would have to be on the active roster to obtain a profit share

Q. Lets move on to infrastructure. What infrastructure do you plan on implementing?

Regarding staff - we’re looking at a number of different coaches. We’ve been working with different people and seeing who we work the best with. There is still a lot of time left and we believe that there are a lot of great people out there - many who are committed to other things that may become available, so we haven’t committed to any staff at the present.

In terms of facilities, we’ll get a gaming house near the Los Angeles area once we get into the Challenger Series.

Q. What is the team’s name?

We haven’t decided on a team name yet. It’s important to me that the members feel that the team is theirs - as well as the staff. Once the roster is finalized, we’ll see what the community has come up with and decide together. Alex was particularly excited about NA 5.

Q. Thanks for answering all these questions - is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to express my gratitude to Steve Arhancet for opening all these doors for me and that I couldn’t be happier to work with the people I’m working with. These are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. It’s exciting and all very fun.

Crumbzz will not be part of the NA LCS broadcast 'until further notice'

by 16h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Steve Cachero / theScore esports

Alberto "Crumbzz" Rengifo will not be part of the official NA LCS broadcast team, the analyst announced Friday.

On both Twitter and his Facebook page, Crumbzz stated that he would not participate in the upcoming NA LCS broadcasts.

In a response to the Reddit thread discussing his Facebook post, Crumbzz said that he "wanted to clarify that this has nothing to do with either party wanting to discontinue the relationship and it is in fact quite the opposite. There are other factors in play that are causing this and will have to be waited out."

The former Renegades jungler was a guest analyst for the 2015 World Championship and then, after Renegades was forced to sell their LCS seed by Riot in May 2016, he became an assistant coach of Apex Gaming while also appearing on Riot's NA LCS broadcasts during the summer season.

Crumbzz's post did not specify why he would be absent from NA LCS broadcasts.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

Riot to hold international tournament in July

by 12h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Riot Games

Riot Games will host an international League of Legends tournament in July, separate from the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds, according to sections of a Chinese press conference translated by Yahoo Esports' Kelsey Moster.

According to the translation, Riot employee Ye Qiang said that instead of shortening the spring split in order to allow for more international competition, Riot will be hosting an international event in July, which would put it in the middle of the summer split.

“We are still considering what kind of event would be the most interesting for everyone," Qiang said. "For example, can we do a World Cup-type tournament? We hope LoL events can be more diversified, can satisfy our audience, and can give everyone a better player experience, so this is what we will target for the event this year in July. Wait and see.”

The exact format of this tournament is unknown, as is the specific location, date and even how participants will be selected. While the conference was held in China, there is no clear indication that the tournament will be held in Asia.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Riot Games and Big Ten Network partner for new conference LoL championship

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Riot Games

Riot Games and the Big Ten Network are set to announce a partnership for a new season-long collegiate League of Legends championship, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

The championship will feature 12 of the 14 conference schools competing in the championship, the exceptions being Nebraska and Penn State, and is set to begin on Jan. 30. Divided into two divisions named BTN East and West, teams will play in a best-of-three round robin against division opponents, with the top four moving on to a single elimination playoff bracket. The finals will take place on March 27 and will be televised by the BTN.

The winner of the BTN league will subsequently go on to compete in the LoL Collegiate Championship. For BTN, this league will hopefully allow them to reach an audience who they have not connected with before.

"As a content provider, we have obviously seen the popularity in esports grow," Erin Harvego, BTN's vice president of marketing, told ESPN. "Given the demographic that watches, perhaps this could reach a younger viewer who we haven't reached before."

This is not the first time that Riot and BTN have partnered for an event. Last April, BTN and Riot worked together to create the BTN Invitational, a best-of-five series between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

Fantasy LCS: 5 Dark Horse players to draft

by 4d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Jose Silva / theScore esports

With Fantasy LCS descending upon us very, very soon, we at theScore esports have taken it upon ourselves to indulge you in what may be your breakout pick of the fantasy season. These picks are generally high risk picks with the possibility of an even higher reward. If you miss out on Bjergsen or Reignover (very likely if you're down in the draft order), you might want to keep an eye out on one of these picks. Who knows, you may strike gold and outperform the top picks of your draft....or take to Twitter to call me an idiot.

As I stressed in my previous articles, EU picks are underwhelming in the "Best Two Games" format due to the league's new format that will see some teams only compete in two games per week.

Top Lane

NA Dark Horse: Samson ”Lourlo” Jackson, Team Liquid

Steady growth is the name of the game for Lourlo. The end of summer saw him expand his champion pool and become a more reliable top laner for Team Liquid. If Lourlo can continue his growth, that, combined with the jungle pressure of Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin, could be the perfect combination to make him a top tier top laner.

EU Dark Horse: Barney “Alphari” Morris, Misfits

We simply don't know how Misfits will perform in their group, but we do know that the top lane talent in that group is fairly exploitable for the likes of Alphari. A rookie entering his first LCS split, his active laning and the support of Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon will likely put him as the top of the top laners in his group.

Jungler

NA Dark Horse: Lee “Chaser” Sang-Hyun, Dignitas

Chaser's career trajectory would rival the greatest of rollercoasters. From being one of the best junglers across 2015 and a superstar on Jin Air, Chaser was subsequently part of a Longzhu superteam that did not come close to living up to expectations. Benched for upcoming aggressive talent Lee "Crash" Dong-woo, Chaser did not perform well in 2016. In a revitalized Dignitas lineup, Chaser is the catalyst for the lineup's early game and a key factor in the performance of his aggressive sidelanes. Look for Chaser to rack up assists and/or die trying.

EU Dark Horse: Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, Unicorns of Love

When you think of "dark horses", maybe a unicorn isn't your first thought. But, newcomer Xerxe has been hyped up by peers and enemies alike, with his entry into the jungle being a true X-factor in determining just how good the Unicorns of Love will be. If you think love prevails, you might want to pick up the jungle prodigy just to see how far he can go under the guidance of his incredibly experienced peers.

Mid Laner

NA Dark Horse: Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, Phoenix1

Nothing says under the radar like having a Worlds semifinalist moving to a historically poor NA LCS team and people not making a bigger deal about it. Alas, Ryu and his stats can tell the whole story. Constantly in the upper echelon in the EU LCS, he benefited from Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski's aggressive jungling style. Rami "Inori" Charagh will provide similar coverage on this team, potentially leaving Ryu in familiar territory to rack up points in the mid lane.

EU Dark Horse: Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, H2k-Gaming

There's no denying Febiven's talent. I mean, did you see him solo-kill Faker? Memes aside, Febiven is coming onto a revitalization after a disappointing 2016. His presence in H2K, matched with a new self-sufficient bot lane should see the first blood king come back to form as the playmaker he was known to be in Season 5.

AD carry

NA Dark Horse: Benjamin “LOD” deMunck, Dignitas

Seventy-three KDA in the first week, a top three KDA in his position by the end of the split, and an absurdly low 13.2 percent of his team's death. You wouldn't know it if I just said the stats, but this was LOD on a team that barely squeaked into playoffs, not Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng. With the support of the new Dignitas lineup, it's likely that he can ascend to new heights and cement himself as one of the region's best AD carries.

EU Dark Horse: Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi, Team Vitality

Steeelback is moving to a team with an undeniably higher ceiling, and communicating with his Vitality teammates will be a lot as the team fields a number of French-speaking players. His rapport with veteran support Ha "Hachani" Seung-chan will be important in establishing a solid presence in the bottom lane, and could be the catalyst in padding his already stellar statistics.

Support

NA Dark Horse: Matthew “Matt” Elento, Team Liquid

Team Liquid look poised to have a solid bot lane and jungle synergy with their two imports operating in both these positions. Matt will serve to benefit as well, being a natural playmaker on champions like Bard and Thresh. He has the chance to rack up an incredible amount of assists as a result. He may also cut down on his deaths in a better team environment with better synergy.

EU Dark Horse: Lee “IgNar“ Dong-geun, Misfits

IgNar may be new to the EU LCS, but his talent on other teams have not been questioned. He has played in the top level of North America and Korea, and will be the anchor to rookie AD carry Steven "Hans Sama" Liv. His experience may be underrated and as a result could be a solid pickup in the support position, able to rival the top tier supports in needed statistics.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a News Editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

Scripting site shuts down after settlement with Riot Games

by 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

After a six-month court case, the hackers behind scripting service LeagueSharp have ceased operations after reaching a settlement with Riot, according to a post on their now-defunct website.

"As some of you may know, Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against LeagueSharp and has made it clear to us that LeagueSharp violates their Terms of Use. As a result of our lawsuit with Riot, we have agreed to cease development and support for LeagueSharp and any other tools related to Riot Games. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in League of Legends may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Riot Games. We apologize for any pain we've caused to players of League of Legends."

Riot originally filed a complaint, which was obtained by Rift Herald, against the five people behind the service on Aug. 5, citing breaches to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and facilitating the means by which thousands of players violated LoL's Terms of Use.

They also accused the defendants of leaking personal information about a Riot employee who they threatened and harassed on social media after Riot reached out to them to try and settle the matter out of court.

"[The] defendants or those working in concert with them disseminated personal and non-public information about a Riot employee, threatened that employee, and posted offensive comments on the employee’s social media," the complaint said.

According to the complaint, the five defendants operated through a Peruvian shell company which held the copyright to their scripting software in hopes that it would protect them from legal ramifications.

"Additionally, knowing that this lawsuit was imminent, Defendants have been quickly and carefully destroying or concealing evidence such as their most incriminating online posts and purporting to hide behind a Peruvian shell corporation created solely for the purpose of evading liability," it said.

With the settlement, the average LoL player can expect encountering a few less unwinnable battles in Solo Q as well as some balance restored to the Summoner's Code.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

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