A former solo queue star with little competitive experience, jungler Rami “Inori” Charagh had a breakout debut split for Phoenix1 in Summer 2016, his first in the LCS. After visa issues left him ineligible to play for the first part of the season, he broke through with a poorly performing Phoenix1 team, leading the squad to an upset over previously undefeated Team SoloMid and eventually out of relegation.
This year, led by Inori and a bolstered roster with three new additions, Phoenix1 burst off to a strong start, making a case as one of the three or four best teams in North America. But a family emergency forced Inori home before Week 5, so Phoenix1 brought in former Cloud9 jungler William “Meteos” Hartman.
P1 has been winning games with its new jungler, but the general expectation was for Inori to be back soon. Well, it’s been two weeks and Meteos has played all 10 games, as the team has gone 3-1 in series after a 4-4 start. You’d think it’s just as simple as a team sticking with the hot hand, or Inori still being unavailable, right?
Well ... maybe not. An interview with Blitz Esports with the 22-year-old jungler reveals 1) he’s back in Los Angeles after returning home to care for his mother after an accident and 2) he’s under the impression he’s not playing because one of his teammates doesn’t want him to.
Start at the 2:49 mark here:
For those that can’t watch (emphasis ours):
Q: Can you talk about your time off and your transition back?
A: Yeah, I feel like maybe this is a good time to talk about it, because I didn’t really talk to my fans too much about it, and maybe this will help now. I had a lot of stuff going on this split, new team, new environment, and I was building up so much stress and I didn’t have a way to, like, deal with it, like we were like moving a lot of stuff to another house, and I had a lot of built-up stress, and shit happened, and even like, the week before, like, my mother ... in Vancouver it was snowing a lot, it snows a lot up there, and my mom slipped on ice and she like broke her leg, and she had to sit on the couch for the whole month. I try not to let that get to me, but it just added to all the stress and all the stuff, I feel like I just needed to reset and see my mom and make sure she’s like okay, because she was going through surgery too. And yeah, like, I kinda got what I needed, I think she was really happy to see me, because I don’t get to see her that much, and I was happy to see she was doing well, and it kind of cleared my mind, and I was ready to go back and really try my best, but right now I kind of feel like I’m getting rejected from my team, because there’s like a certain player who doesn’t want to play with me, which is kind of like silly, but yeah. I just want to play, I just want to win. I love P1 as an org, and all the people who work with us, and it’s just kind of sad that I can’t get the opportunity to play again, because I know I can prove myself. I’ve come back a lot better and stronger, so I just want to get back on stage and prove myself.
That’s ... some serious alleged drama behind the scenes for Phoenix1, a team currently in fourth place at 7-5 but with plenty of teams itching to catch up behind them. When one of your star players isn’t in the lineup, and they believe it’s because another player doesn’t want them there, that’s something you probably want to sort out if you expect to compete in the playoffs.