UPDATE (March 4th): Marcus previously claimed to us that he made his 'easy' comments after Alex called his team 'arrogant' and attacked Marcus directly in the Twitch chat, however newly published chat logs show otherwise.
Marcus said 'easy' and 'sorry, just super easy for me?' in the chat first, after which Synygy said: "I'd say gg but given you're being arrogant c*nts I guess I won't."
We screenshotted the chat logs from around the 1 hour 40 minute mark, which can be found at the bottom of this article.
The Twitch chat logs for the games - which can be found in this VoD - also show that Marcus did reveal the Pentakill before it happened (however it seems there was a delay between the video and the chat log).
Marcus remains adamant that he received abuse before he said 'easy'. Marcus said he saw comments before he spoke in the Twitch chat himself, comments such as 'MSR vayne is also xD', 'he can only play kalista', 'Aston can't draft', 'Aston can't team fight', 'Why did he rush runannes on kalista, he is dumb'.
Synygy has since posted on Twitter expressing his frustration around some of the comments made following the publication of our article. Synygy also added: "And of course the guy who was originally a dick hasn't been punished whatsoever and I'm the one taking all the shit for it, make sense."
eSports News UK also wants to make it clear we weren't approached by anybody to produce this article. We spotted some comments on Twitter on Monday and decided to follow it up ourselves independently.
ORIGINAL STORY (posted March 1st):
Students from local rivals Aston University and the University of Birmingham have engaged in a heated feud over a national League of Legends match.
Marcus "MSR" Raiyat (pictured left), the ADC player and team captain for the Aston Aunties, has been accused of unsportsmanlike behaviour during the GAME National Championship semi-final against University of Birmingham (UoB) TCA Storm, which took place on Sunday February 28th.
Marcus regularly used the 'laugh' emote and Champion Mastery emote during the game, which caused his character to laugh at his opponents and display the mastery symbol above its head.
Marcus told eSports News UK: "I do spam mastery in game, but I do it when I dodge skill shots etc. It's fair to use it as a strategical advantage as it mentally tilts the enemy. As far as I'm aware, it's part of the game so shouldn't be considered unsportsmanlike."
His tactics did indeed frustrate the University of Birmingham; Marcus went on to secure a Pentakill for the Aston Aunties who went on to win the match 2-0, sending them through to the final.
"I think MSR's laugh and mastery spam, while within the rules, was over the top. Saying 'gg easy' is kinda rude to our whole team - and he only did it to spite someone who is not even on our team anymore."
Matthew "UoB Bluebear" Thompson, University of Birmingham
After the match, the live Twitch stream got a little heated, with Marcus commenting "easy" and "sorry, just super easy for me?" in the chat window, which caused other Aston students to join in with him and aggravate the University of Birmingham fans.
This prompted former University of Birmingham player Alex "Synygy" Winton (pictured right) to tweet the following:
Hi I'm MSR and I'm a cunt pic.twitter.com/5b8F9ha1i9
— Alex Winton (@SynygyLoL) February 28, 2016
This is where things get messy. Alex claims he posted the Tweet after Marcus' behaviour both in the game and in the Twitch chat. However, Marcus claims he made his 'easy' comments after Alex called his team 'arrogant' and attacked Marcus directly in the Twitch chat.
Marcus said: "In the Twitch chat he said something along the lines of: 'I would congratulate MSR, but he's f****** arrogant'.
"Instead of replying in an unacceptable manner, I said 'gg, easy', which I find is in no way unsportsmanlike as a response to his toxicity. He also tweeted hate speech towards me personally."
Alex, on the other hand, said that he typed the following: 'I'd love to congratulate Aston however given everything you've said and done, I won't bother.'
Alex added: "I disagree completely with their claims that they only said ‘gg easy’ etc in response to things that we said. We have never called them arrogant to their faces - that is just the general feeling amongst our team over the things they've said and done in previous matches against us.
"As for the tweet, I was the one to write it and while it is certainly was not a nice thing to say, it was completely in response to the things they said in Twitch chat. You can see from the timestamps in Twitch chat that I made the tweet around 50 minutes after Marcus made his comments in chat, hence there’s no way what he did was just a response to mine."
"I do spam mastery in game, but I do it when I dodge skill shots etc. It's fair to use it as a strategical advantage as it mentally tilts the enemy. As far as I'm aware, it's part of the game so shouldn't be considered unsportsmanlike."
Marcus "MSR" Raiyat, Aston Aunties
Other sources, including those from the University of Birmingham and its sponsors TCA, have said that Marcus was first to make the antagonising comments.
Matthew "UoB Bluebear" Thompson - ADC for the University of Birmingham - commented: "Their ADC would spam mastery emote and laugh in lane very often. So I muted him partway through the series so you can no longer see the mastery emote. It got a little distracting.
"The same player said 'easy' and some other stuff in the twitch chat after the series. I've spoken to the rest of their team and they seem nice, good sports. I was happy to discuss the games with them - I think it's a shame that their ADC Marcus gives them such a bad image."
UK eSports fan Emily Hang - who highlighted the situation on Twitter - said:
v. disappointed with the unsportsmanlike behaviour from Aston Aunties after that @theNUEL series :// pretty sad and rude, pretty unfortunate
— Emily Hang (@emiletsdance) February 28, 2016
On the rivalry between Aston and Birmingham, Matthew said: "I would have always considered it a friendly rivalry. I would still consider myself friends with all but MSR, it was a good series and I wish them luck in the finals. But personally I think MSR's laugh and mastery spam, while within the rules, was over the top. Saying 'gg easy' is kinda rude to our whole team - and he only did it to spite someone who is not even on our team anymore."
Alex added: "I would say our relationship with Aston isn’t great, and that we’ve never really got on. We did think they were arrogant/cocky after Facebook posts they made last semester, though nothing came of that. In-game, their ADC continuously spammed his mastery and laugh emote, which while isn’t against the rules, its unsportsmanlike behaviour and not something we expect from NUEL teams. In small amounts it can be fun, however I think the amount at which Aston did it was excessive and disrespectful."
Alex later tweeted:
I miss the days of NUEL teams being friends and having rivalries, brought an actual atmosphere to the tournament, especially at finals
— Alex Winton (@SynygyLoL) March 1, 2016
Marcus said he was "just having a laugh" and engaging in banter, but admitted the situation shouldn't have got out of hand like it did.
"Things shouldn't have escalated to this level, but I was just being light-hearted about my comments, whereas a certain UoB member decided to make serious harsh comments that I feel are unacceptable."
Marcus also accused UoB of 'strategic' pauses throughout the match, but UoB say the pauses were only made due to lag issues.
The eSports tournament the two sides were playing in - organised by the National University Esports League (NUEL) and sponsored by national retailer GAME - sees students from different UK universities battling it out in League of Legends matches.
NUEL founder Josh Williams told eSports News UK: "We don't publicly comment on specific incidents from the tournament as we don't believe its the best way to deal with such things.
"Generally speaking we've done a lot to make the NUEL a pleasant environment to play in. From the feedback we've had, the vast majority of people who play in the NUEL have a great time without coming across anyone who wants to ruin that experience - and many of those people end up becoming friends. This is something we're particularly proud about."
While it's true that Marcus' behaviour didn't technically break the rules, it highlights a grey area: when is something considered unsportsmanlike - and when is it considered banter?
Last year, League of Legends developer Riot's lead game designer of social systems, Jeffrey Lin, said: "There's throttling systems in place for emote spam, and excessive emote spam is considered unsportsmanlike. It's something that as developers you know will definitely happen, and we just need to tune the throttling system appropriately. If I recall the values for throttling, it's probably a bit too conservative right now."
Riot recently changed its ruleset, but only for the LCS and global leagues.
Aston Aunties will face the Cambridge Memers in the GAME National Championship final on Saturday March 12th.
Chat logs (from around the 1hour 40 minute mark):