Steven R. July 13, 2019
Lazarus Esports was one of the standout performers of the Americas Minor Championship qualifiers. Unfortunately, the team will no longer be able to compete for a spot in the upcoming major.
StarLadder made the surprise announcement that Lazarus had been ejected from the event in favor of Luminosity Gaming. No explanation was given, but judging from Daniel "fRoD" Montaner’s response on Twitter, the news did not sit well with the team.
WIN.gg reached out to the Lazarus’ coach to find out what happened and where Lazarus is now going.
“Cloud9 wouldn’t allow [Tyson "TenZ" Ngo] to go and we couldn’t come to reasonable terms with Pujan "FNS" Mehta to continue to ring as he originally said he would,” FRoD said. “They said they’d only allow the reserve or coach to fill but wouldn’t allow us to add anyone.”
Despite enjoying a fairly stable roster, Lazarus was forced to use a pair of substitutes for the North American qualifier. Braxton "swag" Pierce has been banned from Valve-sponsored tournaments since 2015, while Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker was not signed to the roster until just days before the qualifiers and thus was unable to compete.
The team used TenZ and FNS as substitutes for the event and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Despite playing with an impromptu roster, Lazarus had no issue making the cut alongside top teams like NRG Esports and Furia Esports.
But in the days that followed, TenZ was signed to Cloud9 and FNS had a falling out with the team. Per the rules, fRoD could step in as a substitute, but Lazarus was not allowed to add a new player in yay. That left the team with a hole in its roster and as a result Lazarus was forced out of the event. This led to Luminosity being offered the empty spot in the minor after they had been defeated by Lazarus.
The trouble is that while Lazarus wasn’t allowed to bring a new addition to the team along to Berlin for the event, all signs point to Luminosity being allowed to do so with the recently added João "felps" Vasconcellos.
“It’s messed up because, what? They allow Luminosity to add Felps who didn’t even play in qualifier with them not forcing them to use reserve/coach?” fRoD said. “If we could add someone, like Luminosity did adding Felps, we would’ve added Yay for TenZ and me for FNS but StarLadder only said me and since we need two then we cannot.”
It’s a strange set of circumstances, but it’s one that Lazarus will ultimately have to live with.
The Americas Minor Championship was the one live tournament Lazarus managed to qualify for, falling short of events like ESL One: New York 2019 and Intel Extreme Masters XIV Chicago. That leaves the team hunting for opportunities to compete, with the squad’s eyes now set on playing at MSI Gaming Arena 2019 and surviving ESL Pro League relegation.
They’ll almost certainly stay busy, but missing out on this opportunity still stings and hopefully a more consistent set of rules can come out of it in the future.
“Very disappointed by it but it is what it is, hopefully they change their rules and improve the overall landscape for the better,” fRoD said. “We know we’re a team with a few hurdles but it doesn’t distract us from our goal of competing at large competitions.”