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?

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UPDATE (February 18th 2020): Vaevictis Esports have been kicked out of the LCL, one year after they announced their all-female League of Legends roster.

Riot Games Russia said, as reported by The Loadout: “Unfortunately, the results of the 2019 season showed a huge difference in the results of VAE compared to other LCL teams, which is an unacceptable level of competitiveness in a closed league. In this regard, Vaevictis Esports will skip the 2020 Continental League season.”

Original article (February 17th 2019):

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

Would Vaevictis Esports make an experiment in the gambling area? It is a game of luck and everyone will have equal chances to win. For example, there are some iGaming operators not registered at Gamstop for UK players that provide high return to player rates. which means that you are closer to your winnings. Fortunately, there is no kill-death statistics when gambling for real money online.

Back to the esports team, 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.

Untitled 3
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.

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Ben
Ben
2 years ago

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?

David
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

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.… Read more »

Anonymous
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

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… Read more »

WaLLy97
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

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… Read more »

Notsexist
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

When your entire team consists of support players. They could COULD have team surrounding the adc and the rest picking support types. Morgana lulu etc. The draft (where all teams strugglr) was done so uneven. But blame the coaches if that’s the problem. You cant say they are all one type of player and get upset when thier strongest style is banned out. I remember when team siren came out in LCS they died out 1 month later due to public ridicule. Though they claimed it was due to sexism. The point they made was like this article. But the… Read more »

kxd313
2 years ago

Women in esport LuL

Name
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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?

Bobby
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

You’re honestly the definition of respect wamen journalism. This won’t get you laid buddy..

Viktor
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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 »

Name
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

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

John Q Public
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

” 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.

Name
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

**** yourself Dom

Oh Geeze
2 years ago
Reply to  Dom Sacco

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.

Ankhthiel
2 years ago

Get good or get out. Thats how competition works.

Jelte
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

These quotes from twitter lol

Donny Meanie
2 years ago

>>”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
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

Disgusting politically motivated game ”journo” at it again.

john
john
1 year ago

thanks

Isak Newton
Isak Newton
6 months ago

This doesn’t make sense, how was it sexist if they won fair and square? The all men team didn’t care if they were women or not, they just gave their best and their best was better than that of the all women team. I bet if the women got 52 kills and the men got 2, everyone would be congratulating them.