Matt ‘Nadeshot’ Haag has responded to heavy criticism over the performance of 100 Thieves at the League of Legends World Championship.
100 Thieves managed to secure a spot at the World Championship in their debut season in the North American LCS.
With a second-place finish in the Spring Split and a fourth-place in the Summer, 100T locked in the second seed out of North America based on championship points.
Unfortunately, the team were particularly underwhelming at the World Championship. Having been drawn in a group alongside Invictus Gaming and Fnatic – both of whom were often in the conversation as some of the strongest teams behind tournament favorites KT Rolster and Royal Never Give Up – 100 Thieves looked significantly outclassed, their only wins coming against LMS second seed G-Rex.
With the weakest showing out of the three North American teams – Cloud9 reached the playoffs, while Liquid underwhelmed to some degree as they missed out but still picked up three wins and had some flashes of strength – 100 Thieves have become the target of a lot of fan frustration.
As well as the team’s underwhelming performance, fans have also criticized certain organizational decisions, including the trading of Jungler ‘Meteos’ with FlyQuest for ‘AnDa’ and the selection of ‘Rikara’ as starting AD Carry for Worlds over ‘Cody Sun’.
On top of the organization’s shortcomings, the backlash has been amplified by 100 Thieves’ lack of communication of these topics, with no official statement regarding the team’s results or the thought process behind certain decisions.
Nadeshot, the CEO and public face of the organization, has now responded to the backlash. While he recognized that the team needed to work on communication with fans, Nadeshot stated that the lack of transparency in certain situations was as a result of wanting to protect the players involved.
It’s clear that we can improve on quite a few things this off season, but I’m still proud of what our team accomplished in our first 9 months. New organizations will always have growing pains, especially at the level we’re playing at. All we can do is try and be better.— 100T Nadeshot (@Nadeshot) October 17, 2018
Communication is definitely one of the areas where we can improve. Communication is tough for many different reasons, especially when it comes to why roster changes were made. Protecting our players & coaches, whether they’ve come or gone, is important to us so messaging is key.— 100T Nadeshot (@Nadeshot) October 17, 2018
On his personal stream, Nadeshot also addressed one of the most common complaints regarding the team, which was that they seemed more focused on brand-related elements such as selling apparel than on the competitive success of the team.
Nadeshot hit back by stating that in order for the industry to continue to grow, it is important that the organizations leading the way in leagues like the LCS develop revenue streams.
“People got to realize these esports teams do not exist and the esports industry does not continue to grow unless these teams that have these hundreds of millions of dollar valuations don’t make money. They have to make money. The industry doesn’t grow, more jobs aren’t created, more opportunities aren’t there for young and upcoming players and coaches and management. The ship stops, the train stops dead in their tracks if these teams don’t start making money.”
League of Legends interviewer Travis Gafford made a video discussing what’s gone wrong for 100T , and he too highlights communication as the big issue. In response to Nadeshot’s tweets he states “you can tell a story about what’s going on without throwing players under the bus”, but most importantly he highlights that the organization only has one public leadership figure – Nadeshot – and seems reluctant to put anyone else in the spotlight.
Nadeshot understandably isn’t always available for public communications and interviews, but this often leaves a void in which nobody is “cheerleading” for the team or giving their side of a story when necessary.
With their World Championship campaign over, 100 Thieves’ League of Legends team will next be seen on a competitive stage in the 2019 season, giving the organization time to address fans’ criticisms before returning to action.