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The EU LCS Gauntlet scrim drama, explained

Cancelled scrims, “internal problems” and more.

Riot Games

The Regional Finals in North America and Europe take place this week, determining the third and final team to qualify for Worlds in each region. It’s a crucially important time of year for the few teams left, with a win-or-go-home scenario for the most important tournament on the calendar.

An important part of any team’s preparation process are scrimmages; practice games against other teams in the league (or similar leagues). And sometimes, teams make the choice of whether they want to scrim against another team very carefully. This came up last week when Doublelift accused Immortals of intentionally withholding scrims against TSM (Immortals said this was false), in order to increase the chances of Counter Logic Gaming, rather than Cloud9, falling to the Regional Finals with Immortals.

Thursday, a similar drama erupted in Europe. The four teams in Europe’s Regional Finals are Giants Gaming, Unicorns of Love, Fnatic and Splyce. Giants will face UOL first in the tournament, with the winner facing Fnatic, and the winner of that series facing Splyce for the final spot at Worlds.

It all started when the Unicorns of Love posted in a Twitlonger that Splyce and Fnatic cancelled their scheduled scrims with UOL, leaving them without a team to practice against before their series against Giants Saturday.

Here’s an excerpt:

Despite a schedule booked in advance, coaches YamatoCanon [sic] and NicoThePico told us today they are canceling all scrims in order to train together. It leaves us with no scrim-partner 48h before the tournament.

From an external perspective, it sounds insignificant and childish to be upset. We are sad because those 2 eminent coaches were not able to hold to their word on the eve of what could be the last competition of 2016.And we are frustrated because those last-minute cancellations are impacting in a really bad way our preparation. Not cool guys, really not cool. Slightly unprofessional, to say the least.

Splyce head coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Medbi responded with a Twitlonger of his own, explaining the decision was made because Giants elected not to scrimmage anybody. Here is an excerpt:

The villain in all of this is that Giants are not scrimming. There are currently 3 (including Splyce) teams in Europe practicing and one team is bound to be scrim-less. Everyone else is on vacation, including challenger teams, IWCQ is done and the teams that have qualified to worlds are taking their well deserved EU-vacation. I have to make sure my team has practice everyday of the week and this is how it happened. This is not personal at all, this is how business is done.

Giants head coach David “Lozark” Alonso Vicente clarified on Twitter that Giants’ lack of scrims was due to “internal problems within the group” and apologized to the other teams.

Part of the problem appears to be the system for scrims in Europe, which was changed recently. CLG’s head coach chimed in (and Lozark retweeted this)...

...but as Misfits analyst Naser “Empyre” Al-Naqi explained.

Giants will play the Unicorns of Love Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.