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.

35
Have your say

avatar
17 Comment threads
18 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
EumenesNotsexistXxBTExXLgbt fer lifeJosh Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback
Josh
Guest

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.

Lgbt fer life
Guest

Equality [removed]
You dont need a brain for something like this. You need a talent. What a [removed]

Ben
Guest

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?

kxd313
Guest

Women in esport LuL

Name
Guest

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.

Xensae
Guest

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… Read more »

Tyler
Guest

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?

Viktor
Guest

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

Doubletake
Guest

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… Read more »

Name
Guest

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… Read more »

Ankhthiel
Guest

Get good or get out. Thats how competition works.

Jelte
Guest

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.”… Read more »

Name
Guest

These quotes from twitter lol

Donny Meanie
Guest

>>”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.

Yeetus Deleteus
Guest

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.

XxBTExX
Guest

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.

Eumenes
Guest

Disgusting politically motivated game ”journo” at it again.