Mar 8: Call of Duty organization accused of blackmail, Dota 2 goes to Disneyland and League of Legends’ LMS to close shop?

Good morning, happy Friday! In today’s miscellaneous bin former Cloud9 teammates Jensen and Sneaky reflect on their relationship in an interview over on the League of Legends site. Also, the Heroes of the Storm development team did a Reddit AMA to talk about the state of ranked play, balance and matchmaking. The rest of today’s news is below, I will see you again on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Call of Duty org accused of blackmailing players

Yesterday Excelerate Gaming announced the release of their Call of Duty roster. At the time it seemed like just one of those unfortunate things, but there appears to be more going on. One of their former players is now accusing the organization of blackmailing the team by leveraging their CWL Pro League spot to try force them into new, unfavorable contracts. Sources have also confirmed to Dexerto that both Excelerate and rival team UYU have approached them about buying said spots, which does not reflect well on either.

There is some light in the darkness, however, with Envy owner hastr0 paying for the former Excelerate squad to at least attend next week’s CWL Fort Worth stop, but this is probably not the last we’ll hear about the rest of it.

PandaTV shuts down

Also yesterday we heard news of the rumored bankruptcy and shut down of Chinese streaming platform PandaTV on the 18th of this month. Turns out that report had added an extra 1, with streamers saying goodbye last night and the company ending operations today.

League of Legends’ LMS region to disappear?

League of Legends’ regional competition for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, the League Master Series, is shutting down next year. Or, at least, that’s what caster Lilballz has said on his stream. Thus far we have no other confirmation, so him trolling or Riot just rebranding the league (something the company’s been fond of of late) are all still distinct possibilities.

New hosts at LEC and LCS this week, Sylas disabled

In other League news, popular CS:GO personalities Machine and Frankie will be guest hosting Europe’s LEC this week, whereas analyst Crumbz is returning to North America’s LCS desk after a stint at the Overwatch League. Riot Games have also announced that new champion Sylas will be disabled in its competitive leagues for the time being, due to various bugs relating to his ult. Last month the company’s development team elaborated on the complexities of designing said skill, but it appears they may have missed a few spots in the process.

EVOS latest team to raise funds

Southeast Asian team EVOS Esports have closed a funding round, raising to the tune of $3.8M USD. The money will be used to further expand its presence as one of the region’s premier esports organizations.

Event news

  • Well, last month’s report appears to have been on point, as Mars Media have now officially confirmed their hosting of a Dota 2 Major at Disney’s Paris resort. It will run from May 4th through 12th and feature the usual $1M USD/15,000 DPC points reward pool. It’s the organizer’s first foray outside of China.
  • Tencent and PUBG Corp are organizing the PUBG Mobile Club Open, a year-long, $2M prize pool competition. It will be divided into spring and fall splits, with global finals for each. Registration for the spring split opens today.
  • DreamHack will also be going mobile, with the company announcing a Mobile Series for titles Brawl Stars and Clash Royale. Each individual event will sport $20,000 USD in available winnings. The first one will take place at DreamHack Dallas in May, with qualifiers being held the month before. The company has also published the qualifier information for Dallas’ CS:GO Masters tournament, these are set to start March 20th.
  • The Good Game League will be returning for another year. With 16 online tournaments, 4 regional LANs and a stadium finals, the €100,000 USD competition promises to bring some excellent Counter-Strike action with it. Qualifiers start next week, with the finals dated July 13–14.
  • StarCraft II tournament Cheeseadelphia is returning as well, with its ninth edition taking place on April 20th. The tournament will feature a $2,500 USD prize pool and double elimination bracket.

Roster changes

Apex Legends

Call of Duty

  • Parzelion joins UYU, Skyz and Spoof released

CS:GO

  • AMANEK replaces bodyy on G2
  • lmbt to rejoin HellRaisers as head coach?
  • x6tence Galaxy releases 4 after “internal problems”
  • GOSU’s HSK, Jinx and stax sign with MVP PK
  • ICON loans ofnu and zewsy to Chiefs Esports Club

League of Legends

  • InSec officially retires
  • Fenfen joins Snake Esports
  • Crumbz rejoins LCS desk

Smash

  • Dabuz joins Team Liquid

Game updates