Vici Gaming pulls Eurus from Elephant.4AM, team may not survive
Steven R. November 16, 2020
Four Angry Men’s foray into Dota 2 hasn’t gone especially well, and there are no signs that things are getting better any time soon.
Elephant.4AM is being forced to compete with a substitute in CDA-FDC Professional Championship Season 2. This stems from Vici Gaming pulling Zhang "Eurus" Chengjun from the lineup due to unpaid transfer fees, per VP Esports.
“During the transfer period of this season, Vici Gaming did not reach an agreement with Elephant on the transfer of Eurus. Based on careful consideration for the player, we’ve made concessions for Eurus to join them first for training and tournaments...After final communication between both parties, before Elephant pays off Eurus’ transfer fee, Eurus cannot play for the team in tournaments for the time being,” Vici Gaming said in a statement.
With Eurus out of the picture for the time being, Zhou "Yang" Haiyang has been moved from the offlane position to carry, while Ru "RedPanda" Zhihao is moved from hard support to offlane. Elephant.4AM coach Chen "Xz" Zezhi will step into action in the hard support role to complete the team’s roster.
The team's roster for this event, and potentially others in the future, will be as follows:
Zhou "Yang" Haiyang
Lu "Somnus" Yao
Ru "RedPanda" Zhihao
Xu "fy" Linsen
Chen "Xz" Zezhi
The announcement from Vici Gaming adds to what has already been a disastrous start to the Elephant.4AM team. Though the squad has looked strong in competition, the organization itself has come under fire from both fans and others within the pro Dota 2 scene.
This initially stemmed from Four Angry Men announcing veteran Liu "Sylar" Jiajun as the carry player for the inaugural roster, and not announcing Bai "rOtK" Fan as the team’s coach. Rumors had long suggested that rOtK and Eurus were set to be on the team’s inaugural roster, and fans were surprised and disappointed when this didn't come to fruition. rOtK went on to discuss the breakdown in negotiations between 4AM and Vici Gaming, and how his career was left in limbo as a result.
That was initially remedied to some degree, but was ultimately made even worse. Sylar wouldn’t ever play with Elephant.4AM, as he was removed from the team after less than a day to make room for Eurus. Sylar was added to the team due to 4AM’s inability to secure a deal with Vici Gaming to transfer Eurus, and while his eventually joining the team seemed to end that chapter, Vici’s statement suggests Eurus has only been competing as something of a favor to the player.
Four Angry Men was previously criticized for a lack of professionalism when it comes to the handling of its Dota 2 roster, but things haven't ended there.
Four Angry Men and Elephant possibly disputing over Elephant.4AM
According to VP Esports, the two halves of the Elephant.4AM name are possibly set to split up. While Elephant.4AM is primarily known for being attached to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds team Four Angry Men, Chinese media company and talent agency Elephant.Bgoose has been handling the operations of the Dota 2 team. These two sides might be set to part ways, judging from dueling statements from the companies.
Both sides effectively accused the other of not fulfilling financial obligations stemming from Eurus’ transfer fee. 4AM stated “payment of Elephant for the cooperation was in arrears, and the two parties had a failure in negotiation on the operation plan for the Dota2 project.”
Elephant followed with a statement of its own, saying that it has been floating all costs associated with the team to this point.
The pointed language from 4AM suggests that it may be set to leave Dota 2 behind. Regardless of how this situation resolves, the Elephant.4AM union is looking like an increasingly toxic one.