All-female Russian LoL team Vaevictis Esports lose 52-2 in the LCL: Is this really about giving women a platform or is it just an unfair publicity stunt?

Vaevictis Esports announced an all-female roster last week and the girls have heavily lost their first three matches in the League of Legends Continental League (LCL).

Management describes the team's formation as an 'experiment' to see how they will fare in the league, however from early indications it seems to be nothing more than a publicity stunt that could dent the players' confidence, argues Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco in this opinion piece.

First off: this story might not involve a UK team, but there's a few reasons why I'm covering this.

The announcement of this team drew several comments from the UK League community and sparked a separate debate on sexism in esports.

Diversity in esports (or lack thereof) is an important topic and one I haven't written about in a while, and after watching this team get beaten in their first three matches, I felt inclined to write something.

Vaevictis are currently bottom of the LCL league having lost lost 12-1 to RoX at 21 minutes, 52-2 to Vega Squadron and 20-1 to Dragon Army. The latter game was over before the 20-minute mark.

For me, this is not an experiment. It's humiliation.

 

"It's time to experiment. We would like to check how competitive the women's team will be on the professional stage and how strong their progress will be."
Vaevictis Esports

 

These players are all Diamond elo and several main support. They are going up against top Grandmaster/Challenger players. That in itself shouldn't happen - I feel bad for the girls because they no doubt will be feeling shit after losing like this.

Maybe it will knock their confidence in the future, maybe it won't. I'm going to reach out to them after this article to see what they think, but I wanted to get a quick opinion piece off my chest first.

On top of this, in their first match in the LCL embedded below, RoX banned five support champions in the draft phase. The implication of course, being this notion that females 'can or should only play support champions'.

You could argue RoX were being lighthearted, and the Vaevictis players clearly saw the funny side of it as outlined above.

But this Reddit post on the situation was locked 'due to an overwhelming amount of sexist comments'.

And you could also argue, you wouldn't see a team banning like this against an all-male or mixed team (the latter being incredibly rare of course).

At this stage it's incredibly likely Vaevictis will remain bottom of the league.

So, why have Vaevictis decided to do this? Is it an unfair publicity stunt? Do they really want to promote females in esports? Or is it, as they say, just an experiment before the league changes? Perhaps it could be a mix of all three.

Vaevictis fall 52-2 to Vega Squadron

Riot Games is apparently planning on introducing a franchising system for the LCL in 2020, like the EU LEC and NA LCS.

Vaevictis said in an announcement post (translated from Russian): "It's no secret that in 2020 we will encounter a new league system, but for now it's time to experiment.

"First of all, we would like to check how competitive the women's team will be on the professional stage, how strong the progress of this team will be, and what they will be able to demonstrate in the game."

 

"The people who claim sexism isn't a problem within esports are probably the same people who laugh or make jokes when they see full female roster announcements."
Billy "Nutri" Wragg, Barrage Esports

 

Back in 2015, I interviewed a female CSGO side, Team Property, at DreamHack London and in 2016 I spoke to Intel and pro gamer Hege "Hedje" Botnen from LGB eSports' then all-female CSGO team at IEM Katowice.

Reading these interviews back, not much has changed since then. Yes, we still have female-only tournaments, and yes, some say that's a good thing to promote women in esports and provide role models for younger girls, while others say it does more to widen the gender divide and prevent us moving towards more regular mixed teams.

It's easy to forget that esports is technically a mixed activity. It's not like football, where you have men's football and women's football, completely separated. If a woman is good enough at the game, she will get noticed. Just like Scarlett, Remilia (aka Yuno, Maria), Geguri and others.

Why aren't there more female players at this top level? That's a harder question to answer, and something that the UK community explored in a bit more detail in some of the Twitter comments I've published below.

 

The Vaevictis roster

  • Top: Diana 'TR1GGERED' Ivanchenko
  • Jungle: Aida 'Merao' Kazaryan
  • Mid: Elena 'VioletFairy' Koval
  • ADC: Ksenia 'Trianna' Mescheryakova
  • Support: Nataliya 'Ankote' Zayko

 

'Attitudes need to shift' - UK scene reacts

Billy "Nutri" Wragg, experienced UK scene player currently playing as ADC for Barrage, had some points to make on diversity and sexism in esports.

She told Esports News UK: "Attitudes need to shift if we want to see an increase in top tier female competitors.

"Specifically I think it's important to look at the culture and how we've normalized sexism at the moment. I would argue terms such as "e girl" are currently seen as reasonably harmless, but their origins are very sexist and even now the term has a very sexist undertone, but we are at a point of normalization where women are even using this to describe themselves."

Nutri added on Twitter:

This sparked a bit of a debate, with others adding their opinion, including the following:

We'll aim to add to these comments as we hear from more people, on Twitter, Discord, or in the comments below.

31 Responses

    • Honestly, they should just make a female only league... It is obviously not fair to put a team of women against men; to anyone who has a logical brain.
      • Equality [removed] You dont need a brain for something like this. You need a talent. What a [removed]
  1. Ben
    This is a really awful article. If the girls didn't want to get humiliated, they shouldn't have taken part. Being diamonds they knew what they were getting themselves into. My main issue with this article is you claiming that an opposing team was sexist by banning five supports - But you mentioned prior to this that most of the girls on the team mained support. Did it never occurred to you that the enemy team knew this and wanted to up their chances of winning?
    • I never claimed that was sexist. Do you really think RoX believed they would pick five supports? Come on.
      • Lol, I actually rewatched the pick/ban phase after reading your reply. RoX banned 3 supports on the first banning phase. And Vaevictis' actual first 3 picks were ADC, JUNGLE and MID. That means they need a SUPPORT and a TOP lane on their next two picks. And RoX already picked a support. That means if they can take out as much viable support champs from the game, the enemy team'd have to settle for an awkward pick, like a Morgana against a minimal cc draft. Banning 5 champs from the same role is a common tactic to force bad picks. Seriously tho, why didn't Vaevictus just pick a support on their first round pick. Braum is up and goes really well with Lucian. It's a really good bot lane duo. Overall, the BANS for Vaevictis was not too bad, pretty standard actually. But their picks were garbage. Enemy team first picks Support so they should've picked up a support as well, but they didnt. Ez counters Lucian's early game, Rumble burns through Liss' cc and hp, Kayn can invade Sej due to better skirmish, and Illaoi straight up beats any melee champ in lane. They had a 100% losing J4 top, a losing mid laner, a losing jungler and really hard losing bot lane. That and really bad execution made it impossible to win. I'm all for female pro players but if it's not meant to be, maybe not force it and make other female players look bad.
        • I agree. Vaevictis shouldn't have forced it in this instance, that's the point I tried to make (and could have made better) in the article.
          • You didn't even address his point. Do your research, there are instances where you pick multiple support champions to buff up/help another champion. Do I think it was a joke? Absolutely. But it was also strategy. Most of those girls main support and are comfortable with those champions. In addition, if you watch the video, it was well received by the girls. This sport has some bm. But as long is it is all in fun, there isn't a problem. I think they need to pick a diamond or higher editor here so he/she actually understands what is going on strategically.
          • You need to remember, having a Lulu top pick is also a tactic used in LCS, another is the regular support in the bot lane and SOMETIMES you could even pick Morganna in the mid lane, she has a lot of DPS if she lands her roots. Than you already have a 3 support team, they all mained support so they would not have had a problem playing these champions on those given lanes. If they did not ban 5 support and they did pick 3 support team and build full AP with tank, they could have had a chance of winning because they are comfortable with their picks. In your article you also never addressed this. People who do not know the game this well and look into articles like this are miss informed and you create a bigger deal and more confusion. They might made a new META with their 3 support picks if they actually did it. You should be have been more careful.
  2. Women in esport LuL
  3. So segregating the two genders is sexism but placing them together is also sexism, this is the most stupidest thing I have have ever seen. If they can’t compete well, it’s not sexism it’s just being sub par. Esports isn’t about diversity, it’s about meritocracy.
  4. Coming from a semi-professional I hope that these words will help anyone reading to understand why it is hard for women to get into eSports. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to say Sexism in gaming and eSports doesn't exist, but there is a big difference between the two. Before we get to that, we need to establish base facts. In typical Shooter games like Rainbow Six Siege or and Multiplayer Shooter or MOBA's like League in top tier play (Top 5,000 players) I believe the amount of Males to Females is a pretty big gap. I don't have statistics to prove this but it's mostly common sense if you look at game Demographics. Now, we cannot call this sexist because this is the game side of things purely based on skill. It's clear that the chance of a Female becoming a Pro is already lower than that of Males but this is nobodys fault. In the gaming community, Women do get harrased and targeted but so do Males. It is exclusive to neither Gender. Therefore I do not count this as Sexism, just Toxicity. Now if we look at eSports, most teams are all males. Why? I believe we can incorporate biology here. Men are a brotherhood and nothing symbolises this like a team of Males fighting together to win. When a Female is added, due to the Part Stereotype Part truth of who Gamers are, I believe this causes a divide in the team. I have a personal experience of this where we included a Female in our team and she started dating one of our other members. When they broke up, this led to decreased Morale Toxicity and so forth. Also from personal experience, when playing games with different squads and different females, I have noticed that when all the males may laugh at a joke the Female may not and vice versa. I believe this leads to a lack of teamplay and Chemistry which is desperately needed in eSports. Now I could go on but I believe this paragraph is long enough :) I also hope any readers, you age a better understanding of maybe why there aren't many Female eSports Players. :3
  5. Nobody said shit when the Shangai dragons lost every single game in the overwatch league. As soon as its an all woman team you guys make an article about it. Weird eh?
    • You've completely missed the point of the article.
      • You're honestly the definition of respect wamen journalism. This won't get you laid buddy..
        • Don't worry, my wife isn't interested in esports so I don't think writing an article to woo her would work.
  6. Maybe they should have let them win. Then there would be no problems with sexism. Git gud or fuck off stop it with the bullshit
  7. Vaevictus said that they wanted to “EXPERIMENT” and “CHECK HOW COMPETITIVE THE WOMEN'S TEAM WILL BE ON THE PROFESSIONAL STAGE AND HOW STRONG THEIR PROGRESS WILL BE “ right?? So is the team planning to put them on boot camps to let them improve? Maybe the way we can tell if the VS Org is taking actually taking this seriously is in their efforts to improve the squad.(I’m not sure if they are/have made efforts). Perhaps if they simply sign a roster of female players from diamond, watch them fail, don’t bother to try and help them improve, drop them and resign males then it would be a horrible publicity stunt. If they actually make effort to improve them then great! and you could put the elo of the players down to player procurement issues. Still they really should be higher elo.
  8. This article is very bad. First off you claim that it’s sexist to ban supports (I don’t play league but I watch ESL all the time) when the other team knows they all main support and they are trying to win not make a team look humiliated. Also I have no problem with a women being good at comp play that’s why esports are amazing no physical advantages it’s practically all skill. Last the team had to know they were going to get stomped these teams they got beat by have probably been together for years and been to many LAN events so calling sexism on everything because the man wins is just a false and garbage narrative you reporters try to push. (If they won) Are esports sextist, after a all girl team wiped a team of men it raises the question are girls kept out of esports because men are afraid to let girls beat them?
    • Where do I claim it's sexist to ban supports? Read the article again, my main point is this is a poor attempt at a publicity stunt by the management of Vaevictis. Also, the 52-2 match could have ended so much sooner, but as Vaevictis are unable to surrender, it makes for embarrasing viewing. This team should not be playing in the league. It has nothing to do with them being all-female, that's Vaevictis' choice. Problem is they're a much lower elo than the rest of the league.
      • Dom Sacco: Where do I claim it's sexist to ban supports? "On top of this, in their first match in the LCL embedded below, RoX banned five support champions in the draft phase. The implication of course, being this notion that females 'can or should only play support champions'." -Quote from article above. Stupid twat
        • Read it again. That is not my claim. I mention the ‘implication’ that some people believe. There’s no need for personal insults either. Sort it out or leave. Cheers.
          • " I mention the ‘implication’ that some people believe. " Total nonsense. You didn't put the belief in the implication on "some people". You give some "you could X", then quickly follow it with "but Y". You simply and explicitly stated that the pick implies sexism, then went out of your way to try and debunk any rebuttal. "There’s no need for personal insults either. " There is no need for this article nor biased journalism either.
          • If you want to take that logic, there's no need for you to read it or comment on it either. You've misinterpreted my stance on the matter by the way.
          • **** yourself Dom
          • You wrote "The implication of course". You didn't write "An implication"; you wrote "The implication". I agree with your main point the team is a publicity stunt and going to end poorly for the team and that this was unfair. It's just that when you wrote that RoX implied that girls can or should only play supports, you were being incredibly unfair to them as well.
  9. Get good or get out. Thats how competition works.
  10. My parents (damn hippies) gave me a female name, even though I am male. Everybody who reads my name without seeing me always assumes I'm female. Sometimes people even assume this over the phone - or they get enormously irritated by my low voice. I play league under my real female name. Sometimes people recognize this. "Are you a girl?" they ask curiously. This does not happen very often, maybe 1 out of 50 games, but it happens. I have a range of options to reply with. "No.", "Yes.", "Does that matter?" or even "Sure, kid. I am your mom." I use whatever I feel like. I haven't been harassed once, ever, for the fact of being assumed female. Nor are there any inappropriate remarks, ever. When I just go with "yes" what people reply is "wow" or "cool" and that's pretty much that. If anything I get more support and more leeway when I fuck up a play. This whole sexism thing is a monumental hoax concocted by people who want to engage in politics rather than playing a game. When I am an obnoxious feminist who bullies and belittles people, I get some backlash. That backlash often comes in gendered form, just as it happens for men. Have you ever noticed how Donald Trump is literally the only person on the planet who would call a woman a loser? Yeah, that's because no one else does that. Neither do they get called dicks or cucks. But of course, when something 'bad' happens to women it's an absolutely horrible thing that we have to address and change asap, nvm the fact that the women this happened to WANTED it to happen to them, so that they had a 'problem' they could tackle politically - as well as another reason to just straight up hate men. That's not what equality is, and it's not equality that anybody wants. It's not good for society, it's not good for esports and it shouldn't even bloody be news at this point anymore. Studies have shown that men get significantly more abuse in video games than women do. Do we do something about that? No, and we shouldn't. Because we are talking about video games here. This whole lip-service to "oh yeah there's sexism in video games alright" reminds me too fucking much of the catholic church.
  11. These quotes from twitter lol
  12. >>"THE PEOPLE WHO CLAIM SEXISM ISN'T A PROBLEM WITHIN ESPORTS ARE PROBABLY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO LAUGH OR MAKE JOKES WHEN THEY SEE FULL FEMALE ROSTER ANNOUNCEMENTS."<< That's your sincerity being questioned, Billy.
  13. Basically what I've just read here is that an all female team isn't competitive, has no chance and you thi k its sexist that one team they went up against banned all the characters that they main. This is a pointless, pandering article but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Most modern games journalism (and I use that term with the most sarcasm possible) is just sad political pandering by losers who couldn't get a job with a "real" news organization.
  14. I think we should stop forcing the whole "all female team" idea and focus more on maybe getting the 1 or 2 good female players into the teams. In NA from the 200 Challenger spots only 2 were women. That's 1%. As for the whole "sexist comments" welcome to the internet. Women in pro gaming are extremely rare and thus they will stand out. Put 99 white balls and 1 black ball in a room and the first thing people will see is the black ball.

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