Last week, League of Legends fans were stunned by the news that last year’s top regular season European finishers, Lemondogs, had been disqualified from the LCS. That move set off a three-way battle between the teams who lost their promotion / relegation matches during the Battle of the Atlantic a few weeks ago.
This was a huge stroke of luck (sort of, and we’ll get to that in a second) for Ninjas in Pyjamas, who were upset by Polish newcomers KMT in a 3-0 sweep. Now they had another chance to get into the LCS. But they forgot about that crucial first step in winning a high-stakes eSports battle: actually showing up.
When the this final series of promotion matches were set to commence earlier today, only part of the NIP team actually joined the lobby. Riot eSports Coordinator Scott Parkin noted on Twitter, “We are waiting on NIP to have all players in the lobby. They have currently lost 2 bans for lateness.”
A few minutes later, eSports Manager Nick Allen said, “NIP is being disqualified for not being able to field a full lineup. We are moving to a Bo3 between MYM and SHC for the 8th LCS spot.”
No word on whether Ninjas in Pyjamas will be changing their name to, “Ninjas Who Are Fully Dressed Like Goddam Adults and Show Up on Time to Work or Maybe Even Early”.
It was a fitting end to the comical saga of NIP and Lemondogs, who got involved in an ill-fated attempt to barter an LCS slot. Ongamers reported earlier this week on how Lemondogs, with a shaky roster and a miserable showing at the Battle of the Atlantic, attempted to sell their LCS spot to the newly-relegated Ninjas in Pyjamas team.
It was not an illegal move, and it’s almost to be expected when a major eSports brand finds itself shut out of one of the biggest leagues in the world. But it also seems a bit like money trumping fair competition, and like collusion among major teams would make it easier for them to stay in the LCS while less-monied teams have to fight and claw their way in.
Riot apparently felt that way too, and promulgated new ownership rules in advance of the buyout. The statement from Allen explained they were adding the new regulations “in order to prevent teams who failed to qualify for the LCS from buying their way in; a situation we saw as quite likely and one that we believe is contrary to your interests as fans of the LCS,” [emphasis added].
The rule change caught out both Lemondogs and NIP, neither of whom had a set roster ready. Lemondogs were halfway-to-disbanded, since they were undergoing a takeover anyway, and NiP likely thought they had until the season began to finalize their lineup.
At the last minute, John “hyrqBot” Velly stepped down and a last-minute sub was named in his place. However, given that NIP never made into the lobby, it looks like the last-minute chaos was too much for the team to handle.
Today’s big winners, however, were Supa Hot Crew XD, who looked so strong at their promotion match against SK Gaming. Now, with a second chance to get into the LCS, they rose to the occasion and beat MeetYourMakers for the final European LCS spot in the spring split.
Image credit: ESL