2017 isn’t exactly starting out on the most confident footing in League of Legends esports. After the purported clash between team owners and Riot, after all the rumors and roster leaks, and with just two weeks to go before the start of the season, a fog of war as dense and obscuring as the one in the game still lingers over a lot of the rosters, and much of the circuit details.
True, we literally just came out of the holiday break. The expectation is for Riot to make announcements soon about the upcoming year of competitive play. But even in the face of that, the incompleteness of the information we have available before us seems somewhat out of place. By this time last year, the circuits were effectively established and the hype engines were primed to leave the station.
This year, we don’t even know what to call some of the teams.
Here’s a non-comprehensive list of what we’re missing thus far:
Cloud 9 Challenger is Now ????
ESPN reported that the Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens moved to purchase the team and its extant roster for a healthy chunk of change. But since that early December report, there’s been no confirmation that they’ve made it through Riot’s vetting process – nor, indeed, any information from the team itself. Even captain Hai Lam’s still listed on his Twitter account as Chief Gaming Officer for Cloud 9 – a position he would presumably have to abdicate with the new team.
Heck, we still don’t even know what to call them.
Where’s the Fifth Fox?
Echo Fox has been right in the center of the most recent dramas, accused by multiple sides of unethical poaching and tampering attempts (or at least extremely suspiciously timed reach-outs). They’ve kept their heads low and out of the spotlight since, but that does leave the whole deal about their support recruitment attempts notably unanswered.
It isn’t Adrian. It might be Gate. It’s not confirmed. What does the Fox say?
Gone are the Giants
So far, we know of Flaxxish, Night, and Hustlin.
Aaaand that’s all.
Sure, the Giants haven’t exactly been a top-four caliber team in the EU LCS, but they’re still an EU LCS team. And judging whether or not they have a chance this split is largely determined by what names they actually have on deck. Of course, the fact that they’ve been unwilling to share thus far does kind of imply a lack of enthusiasm about their prospects within their organization.
That Damn Database
You know, for something that’s officially at the crux of Riot’s governing policies regarding whether or not a team’s allowed to approach a player, it’s suspiciously underutilized. Here’s a quick summation of each region under Riot’s aegis, and when it’s since been last updated:
- Brazil: December 12
- China: June 6
- Commonwealth of Independent States: December 2
- Europe: January 3
- Latin America North: January 2
- Latin America South: November 28
- Japan: June 6
- Korea: December 14
- North America: December 21
- Oceania: December 19
- Southeast Asia: December 1
- Turkey: January 3
- Taiwan: October 27
Yep: some regions haven't been updated for over half a year or more. But the dates alone are deceptive. Notably, a lot of entries are also completely absent: Korea has all of four teams and 10 players listed, despite being one of the most prominent regions in the world. CIS is almost as poorly populated. And Southeast Asia isn’t actually done at all!
Which is, you know, extremely bizarre given RiotChopper’s official statement, as listed on LoLesports:
Poaching can only occur when a Team Member (either player or coach) has a contract listed on the Global Contract Database, and another team/owner/player approaches that Team Member. Contracts are only listed on the Global Contract Database when a Team submits the required documentation to the League for a newly signed Team Member and receives approval for that player.
It's a bit hard to believe that KeSPA’s organizations aren’t on top of their obligations.
Where to Watch
Riot’s huge deal with MLBAM leaves a lot of questions unanswered – like, if it’s going to start this year, does this mean we’re getting an app soon? Merrill’s specifically promised that the current broadcast standard will be free – but does that necessarily mean they’ll still be using the Twitch channel?
And where is that announcement about the start-of-season details anyhow?
We’ve reached out to Riot for more information.