Greek legend Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou has stepped down from the FC Schalke 04 roster after their tumultuous start, and criticized the team and the players for not competing hard enough.
The 2020 LEC season for Schalke 04 has gone from bad to worse, as their star AD Carry player has decided to remove himself from the active roster, Just weeks into his first campaign in professional European League of Legends since returning from military service. In doing so, he called the team's competitive spirit into question.
After three weeks of Spring Split action, Schalke 04 find themselves with an 0-6 record, tied for last in the LEC with Team Vitality. Just a day before their week 4 matchups against Rogue and then SK Gaming, their bot laner took to Twitter to announce he's stepping down, and criticized the team's lack of drive as the primary reason.
— FORG1VEN (@FORG1VENGRE) February 13, 2020
FORG1VEN claims that the current roster does not fit the principle of playing to win and being competitive, and that the organization is unwilling/unable to make the necessary roster changes to fit a competitive goal.
Stepping down "until and if they are willing to do so," the EU LCS veteran expressed that he'd rather sit on the bench than compete in an environment of players that he sees aren't trying to win.
- Read more: Thorin's Take: The Inimitable FORG1VEN
Prior to the player's statement, S04 announced that Nihat 'Innaxe' Aliev would start this weekend in the bot lane position, saying that "it aligns with our vision to give Academy players time in LEC if they perform well." They also mentioned that FORG1VEN is still being counted on for the 2020 season, and stressed how dedicated he's been.
We have decided to give Innaxe a shot, as it aligns with our vision to give Academy players time in LEC if they perform well. We’re still counting on @FORG1VENGRE for Spring & Summer Split and would like to stress that Kostas has been very dedicated during his time with the team.
— Schalke 04 Esports (@S04Esports) February 13, 2020
The organization has not since responded to FORG1VEN's statement, which came out an hour after the team announced he wouldn't be playing this week.
His statement was met with a largely negative response from fans on both Twitter and Reddit, with some calling the decision"arrogant."
Tzortziou has played with exceptionally high standards for his teammates for his entire captivating career, with some calling him "the most demanding lane partner" they'd ever played with. The debate regarding whether or not his "drive' is considered 'toxic' has been ongoing for more than half-a-decade, even before his military service.
There is no telling how this situation will pan out. S04 is now faced with the dilemma of either keeping the unhappy FORG1VEN on the bench, trading him, or attempting to meet his needs by trying to make the roster more competitive.
We will update this article if and when an official response from Schalke to his comments is made.