Last week I wrote an article about shuffling rosters from the perspective of Dota2 teams. This time I’ve expanded to include League and CS:GO, two other games that are plagued by the shifting sands of changing rosters, albeit in slightly different ways.
I find it interesting that Riot has written into their rules that “No Team Member…may lure, or make an offer of employment to any official coach or player to breach or otherwise terminate a contract with said LCS team.” I’m admittedly not a huge follower of League, but even I heard about the Bjergsen poaching incident in 2014. He was fined $2000 for poaching players off Lemondogs. One has to wonder, what is it about these players that makes it worth risking a large fine? A good example from Dota [I know, I said this article would be about League and CS:GO, I lied] is the never-ending anime-esque romance of Arteezy. Seems like any time he’s willing to change teams, everybody drops everything (and sometimes drops another player) to woo him.
Is it a smart idea to plan your team roster around one player? I suppose the logic behind it is that the organizations see more potential in one player than they did in the other four combined. When I asked some of our other writers to weigh in, the example on everyone’s mind is the recent rebuilding of NRG. NRG finished the spring split a respectable 9-9 and placing 5th-6th overall. The decision to cut four players and rebuild entirely around the midlaner seems a little draconian. It also seems a little like putting all your eggs in one basket – if your star player doesn’t work out, you’ve now potentially pissed off a ton of fans and alienated the players who were cut.
CS:GO is another eSport where I follow results but don’t actually know a ton about the individual teams or players. I do know that North America in particular is a region prone to contentious changing. One quote I want to highlight from this piece written back in April is “I got cut by my friends.” The number of players at the pro level in eSports is relatively small; most of them know each other and have interpersonal relationships. Captains who are choosing to keep a few players and cut the others will be forced to cut their friends, and their personal feelings towards the players cannot come into play. At the same time, players who are looking for greener pastures may be perceived as screwing over their friends and teammates when they leave the team for better prospects *cough* Arteezy *cough cough*. Or, for a CS:GO example, the fallout over Hiko’s departure from c9 in 2014.
My personal opinion is that it’s worthwhile for teams to attempt to grow together before changing up the roster. I like the fact that Valve’s preventing some of the revolving door rosters with the new lock system, and Riot’s ban on player poaching seems like a step in the right direction. While I’m not a huge fan of gambling and rebuilding an entire team around one player, it could pay off big for the organization in the end.
When changing a roster is inevitable, where do personal feelings fit into professional sports? I don’t think that they do, and this is coming from someone who was always picked next to last for teams in gym class. As much as it sucks to be on the negative side of issues like this, I think that players have to make the best decisions for themselves when it comes to whether to jump ship for a team with better prospects or the best decisions for the team when it comes to whether to drop a player who is also a friend.