We have reached the New Legends Stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major and before we talk about what’s to come, let’s take a look back at key moments from the New Challengers Stage.
StarLadder vs. Streamers
I can’t help but feel the first stage of the Major was marred by the fact that StarLadder went on the offensive by filing DMCA takedown notices against a number of Twitch streamers for streaming GOTV without permission. Everyone involved has had their infraction revoked, but then were met with either having to insert advertisements into their stream or pay money to gain GOTV streaming access.
Each day that passes without a statement from Valve clarifying the situation leaves me fearing that they have in fact given full control over every broadcast medium to StarLadder. Less than 24 hours remain until the New Legends Stage starts, so if they’re going to say something it needs to be today.
Right now, we know that in April of 2018 Valve explicitly told a streamer that broadcasting via GOTV was allowed. The question is, has that changed? If it has, why did it change?
This wasn’t even an issue in the past because most organizers realize the added value streamers bring to the viewing experience. Despite most Majors having the best talent in the world with experienced members of production, that style isn’t for everyone. If I’m honest, I actually prefer watching the Major through a secondary stream. It’s more mellow and allows me to tune out from time to time while getting work done. If I was in charge of a Major, I’d be shouting from my social media that as many streamers as possible should stream GOTV.
StarLadder is concerned about what they are getting in return rather than what they should actually be focusing on: getting as many people as possible watching the event. The Major should always be a celebration of the game and this definitely doesn’t feel like one. I’m tired of Valve giving Majors to organizers that spend all of their time focusing on the bottom line instead of the overall product and getting eyes on the game.
Jason Lake goes off
Just moments after the 1-3 performance from Complexity in the New Challengers stage, Jason Lake published a tweet that exploded. It was met with praise and equal amounts of criticism, due to the timing and nature of his sentiment. I think there is an argument on both sides, but let’s step through what happened and what’s actually possible.
As for the tweet itself, I don’t particularly think it was an issue but there is a chance that it may have scared off a handful of candidates. I’m not easily offended though. There are fragile star players out there that probably don’t want to play for someone who is capable of saying something like that right after a poor performance. The thing is, I don’t think Jason Lake wants a player that fragile. In that case, it’s a win-win.
I love our players as individuals but these results won’t be tolerated.
If you’re a Tier 1 player looking for a fresh start at the best facility in the world, HMU. I’ll pay your buyout and give you the world’s highest salaries.
Let’s build a juggernaut.
Spread the word.
— Jason Lake (@JasonBWLake) August 25, 2019
What I did like about the tweet is it shows a sense of urgency and is likely the tipping point from where Complexity become big spenders instead of trying to get “the best bang for the buck” type players. If you’re a fan of the organization, you probably loved it. Sure, there are ways to get the point across without saying something like that, but trust me his inbox is now full of players who are interested in signing up. That shit worked. I think it would have been met with far less criticism if he tweets it following the end of the Major and had discussed the future of the team with his players in depth.
Fans shouldn’t be asking if Complexity can afford some of the world’s best players because they absolutely can. The question instead should be, which players are available to grab and will they mesh well together? If I had to guess, I’d wager that Owen "oBo" Schlatter is the only safe player on the team. Shahzeeb "ShahZaM" Khan has played well, so there is a case that can be made for him, but I’m not so sure.
In every team that forms, players make sacrifices in their roles and spots they like to play. Do three or four tier one players exist on the market right now that are willing to do that? If so, are they willing to move to the United States (if they don’t live there already)? Assembling the pieces of the puzzle here is the difficult part and that will take some time. I don’t expect much to happen for a couple of weeks.
CR4ZY set to go even more crazy
If you follow my work you’ll know that I’ve been on the CR4ZY hype train for months now. I’ve written about their two star players here and here. I’ve considered them one of the most underrated teams in the world and I still believe they might be underrated in the New Legends Stage. As I write this, many people do not have them advancing to the playoffs, but I do.
The unfortunate part is that they play Team Liquid for their first match-up, which is just about the hardest opponent. I wouldn’t write them off entirely though, as Liquid has yet to play an official match yet. If they can get the ball rolling early, it might be too much to handle as Liquid gets warmed up. I still see CR4ZY making it through though, even with a loss against Liquid. They can hang with and beat teams like ENCE, FaZe Clan, NiP, and MIBR.