UPDATE: ESL has chimed in on the situation. We asked the organiser what it thought about what’s happened, considering MnM won the ESL UK Premiership before all of this happened.
ESL said in a statement: “We regret that the roster that won the ESL Premiership last split will not be competing together in the Challenger Series Qualifiers. Despite the growth the UK and Irish communities have seen in the last 12 months this is evidence that the transition from national to international play is still one fraught with challenges.
“This news only makes us want to redouble our efforts to drive player development as we move into 2017.”
Just what is going on with MnM Gaming? It’s something we’ve been trying to figure out since a week or so ago when the players announced they were now free agents.
They won the ESL UK League of Legends Premiership back in October 2016 and progressed to the EU Challenger Series qualifiers. Or they should have done.
On December 29th and 30th 2016, the players – Hadow, Phurion, XDSmiley, Larssen and OnlyAngel – all announced their were leaving MnM and becoming free agents on Twitter.
But why? They had just won the UK Premiership and were about to embark on a new adventure in the Challenger Series qualifiers. It was simple, right?
Before the team officially joined MnM, they agreed that the players would own the spot if they won the UK Premiership, not the org.
After winning the Prem, MnM apparently missed out on boot camp as they couldn’t secure enough finances to get a house sorted, and we’ve also heard that one of the former MnM players has a high ping, and so the team were unlikely to perform at their very best.
Because of this, the plan was for the players to sell the spot, with one MnM player staying on and four others coming on board, including one player from the LCS.
The spot took a long time to get sold, because the first ‘investor’ the players spoke to apparently turned out to be a scammer.
The players spoke with the scammer roughly between December 20th and 29th.
“The spot took a long time to get sold, because the first ‘investor’ the players spoke to apparently turned out to be a scammer.”
Rumours suggest said scammer went to the nth degree to con the players, giving false numbers and so on, but an assistant to the team saw through it and noticed some of the papers he provided were false. We’ve heard he’s under investigation by the FBI.
However, while the players technically avoided him, it meant they had wasted a lot of time that could have been spent finding a genuine investor. So they then tried to sell the spot for cheap.
MnM coach Jordan Walsh tweeted this in December (whether it’s to do with what we’ve heard or not, we’ll leave you to decide):
if @sv_josh contacts any of your teams, I implore you to ignore/block and move on. Complete scam and fraud.
— Jordan (@JordanWalshm8) December 27, 2016
After this, an org eventually offered to buy the spot, and everything was going well, up until two hours before roster lock, when said experienced player was picked up by an LCS team at the last minute.
The ADC, once they learnt of this news, no longer wanted to play with the team.
So, what was once MnM is now going to be playing in the qualifiers as Team Larssen.
Mid-laner Larssen (pictured above) has this week tweeted the following:
— lars (@Larssen00) January 8, 2017
CSQ tmrow, so many unlucky things has happened with the CSQ spot the latest 3 weeks which is unfortunate but will make the best out of it 🙂
— lars (@Larssen00) January 9, 2017
Unfortunately for the players, the LCS team that signed one of the players later said that he could play in the CS qualifiers after all. However, this was after the roster lock, and nothing could be done. Hence Larssen making a last-minute mix team.
It appears there’s more to this MnM story than first appears. We’ll update with more developments as we get them.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.