The Dota 2 roster of Chinese organization Wings Gaming severed ties with the team, appearing at the Kiev Major as Team Random. As of 05/01/2017, the ex-Wings Gaming roster has announced that they will be disbanding.
Featured image via theScore, edited by EsportsEdition.

Dota 2: What Happened to Wings Gaming?

May 5, 2017
Featured image via theScore, edited by EsportsEdition.

As of 5/1, the Wings Gaming lineup has disbanded. Four out of the five players will retire. Rumors suggest that only iceice will remain active.

Wings Gaming might have been TI6 Champions, but bLink and company have found themselves in an unexpected position. With the organization facing a grim financial situation, the ex-Wings Gaming roster cut ties with the company.

Wings Gaming has renamed to Team Random! The Wings Gaming Company has fail in investigating a LOL project, 20000000RMB vanish in the air. The company sell blink,y,faith_bian,iceice and shadow to stop the loss. Now these 5 TI winners has regroup as "Team Random" from DotA2

I don’t know too much about the economics of esports in China, but it sounds like Wings had planned on sinking a bunch of money into a League of Legends team, and the investment didn’t pan out. A public statement has been issued about the “vanishing” money mentioned in the post above, claiming that poor investment management was responsible for the disappearance of funds. However, it remains possible that something more sinister–for example, fraud or theft–is the culprit. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in esports. Several details about the Wings Gaming situation remain unconfirmed, and rumors, both plausible and ridiculous, continue to circulate–the organization, according to one of these online whisperings, demanded 40% of the players’ TI winnings, roughly equivalent to $3.6 million USD.

Shadow, bLink, Faith_bian, y`, and iceice played under the banner of Team Random while at the Kiev Major. Fortunately, qualifier and invite spots are attached to players, not organizations. It doesn’t matter to Valve what the team’s name is as long as they keep the same roster, and although the team’s showing at the event was far from excellent, it is comforting to know that players can’t be prevented from competing due to circumstances beyond their control.

After the initial announcement, Anna Zhang, media officer for Wings Gaming, posted to China’s version of Quora in an attempt to clarify some of the rumors [translated version here]. Ms. Zhang claims that players on the Wings Gaming Dota 2 roster were paid 80% of their TI winnings and, furthermore, that “both sides share in the blame for things becoming the way they are.”

The players broke their silence over the weekend. Y` mentioned that both he and his teammates hoped Wings would grow into a legitimate esports club, but the owner slowly stopped coming to see them and, as of March, stopped paying their salaries entirely. Y` cautioned fans that Kiev could be the team’s last major together. Faith_bian, Shadow, and bLink added statements shortly thereafter.

The version of events reported by the players asserts that Wings stopped paying their TI winners’ salaries and the organization failed to communicate. BLink did confirm that the TI winnings were split 80/20 with the Wings Gaming org and that the players were comfortable with this arrangement, especially for a small organization still trying to establish itself. After being crowned champions at TI6, the Wings roster had a dip in performance. The owner stopped visiting. The money dried up, and salaries went unpaid. The players decided they were unable to trust the organization, and left.

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The five members of Team Random have severed their contracts through a legal process and are, as of this publication, currently lacking a sponsor.

It’s a travesty that a TI-winning squad like Wings can end up without an organization. We’ve seen poorly-run organizations make a spectacle out of successful teams, and it diminishes the entire sport. We’ve discussed the need for more  contracts many times, but contract don’t necessarily protect players from bad business decisions by the parent organization.

The Ex-Wings squad has never been conventional. It’s a shame that one of the most exciting teams in Dota won’t be back this year to defend their Aegis at TI7.

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Kara Jacobacci
Kara has been following professional DotA2 since the TI4 qualifiers. When not watching matches on Twitch, she can be found working (or attempting to find work) as a geologist and enjoying nature.
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