Opinion

The North Rebranding: Analysing the desperation

Published: 7/Jan/2020 17:43 Updated: 7/Jan/2020 19:43

by Richard Lewis

Share


It was only yesterday that Danish esports organisation North went dark across all social media. Even their website went down and served up the dreaded 404.


The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by Dexerto.


Was it a hack? Well, we can rule that out as whoever had gained access to all the accounts hadn’t posted any pathetic racist nonsense. Had they shut down? It would honestly have been a plausible scenario, coming after a long string of poor results and announcement of new management in October. Esports orgs are like the terminally ill… They have a tendency to rally before they finally die.

And yet an interview from December did say that there were going to be some “super exciting announcements” in 2020. You might have missed the jubilation since that quote was buried in a news post announcing the sale of their star player Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså. So then, it had all the hallmarks of a rebrand. Mother of god.

Just twenty-four hours later and the unveiling has taken place. The word “underwhelming” might be the first you reach for but that would be strangely flattering given how bad it actually is. Just give me a moment. 

NorthNorth unveiled their ‘big announcements’ on January 7.

Despite being a fledgling industry esports is full of proud traditions. Retirements that last for a few months. Heads of organisations who publicly declare bankruptcy to avoid paying their players that then go on to return next week with a new brand promising the world. Professional players declaring that the latest patch of their game is the last straw and they will never play it again before slinking back as if nothing had been said because honestly what the fuck else are you going to do? Now we can add awful rebrands to that list.

There have been a few notable examples recently. NRG’s name and logo would be generously described as “high concept” but it had things going for it. The striking pink and grey colour scheme in a world where brands are like the crew from “Reservoir Dogs” (“you get four guys all fighting over who’s gonna be Mr. Black…”) was honestly enough to stand out. They went away and came back with a logo that looked like it belonged on big screen behind an 80s cartoon villain. They followed that up with creating merchandise with a misspelling of “unapologetic” on it, creating the clothing equivalent of the “no ragrets” tattoo. 

The Evil Geniuses rebrand is spectacularly awful. Imagine replacing the iconic circular “E” and “G” with just the words “Evil Geniuses” with an oversized “V.” It’s hard to comprehend, even more so when you consider there is a graphic designer that got cut thousands of dollars for the conceptualisation and execution of doing it. In fact, if the logos of the teams involved in the Call of Duty franchise league are anything to go by I think we can rule there’s an entire cottage industry of people serving up clip art under the guise of excellent design.

Evil GeniusesEvil Geniuses logos, old (left) and new (right).

But North’s… Oh man. Where to begin with this? I think by saying I actually liked their original branding even if it wasn’t spectacular. A Nordic depiction of a roaring lion (a dragon in the style of those that adorned the Viking langskips would have been better honestly) was hardly a game-changer but it was recognisable and the art style immediately conveyed what they were going for. This new logo? Fucking hell. It’s like they took the same lion when it was an awkward spotty teenager before it got it braces. That or is it a warthog?

People have told me it’s supposed to be a dragon, that they are actually enacting my original branding suggestion. Well, not all dragons are equal. I was thinking Nidhogg. They’ve gone for Puff. Inexplicably toothy, goofy and about as intimidating as a chicken korma, maybe it’s actually an appropriate logo given how the Counter-Strike team has performed lately.

North / Puff the Magic Dragon

Perhaps it’s part of a genius plan. The management came down and said “right lads, you’re playing like shit so you’re stuck with this logo until we get some results” and with each podium finish the dragon will level up and eventually get to a point where people can look at it without being doubled up with laughter. If that is the case we’ll be staring at Toothy McToothface for a long fucking time.

It’s not just the logo. I am utterly perplexed at the whole strategy. Talking directly to you now North, yes, you’ve massively overspent for failure and in a territory dominated by the best team in the world. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, especially for the big investors behind the brand. Yet what does deleting three years of tweets and social media output achieve? Do you guys not know how hard it is to accumulate and retain history and credibility? You just wiped yours out with the press of a button because you think all your failings will disappear along with it. That’s the actions of someone going through a bad break up, not the actions of people that really understand the esports landscape.

In addition to that, weren’t we promised big announcements? Let’s break that down: Your marquee talent announcement is that you re-signed a player, Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, that you already had. Okay. Well, that’s exciting. You realize that, for your fans, a much more tantalizing announcement would be that you had dropped Jakob “JUGi” Hansen. That’s not even to shit on the guy (too much) but that’s just to put it into perspective. Your team is busted and constantly falling short of expectations. Your fans want change, not “good news guys we kept our best remaining player.”

StarLadderConfirmation that 21-year-old Kjaerbye had resigned was the big news from North’s January 7 announcements.

Throwing in you’ve got a performance coach really tells its own story, doesn’t it? The hidden message here is “we know we’ve been bad and we’re going to try and see if this guy can hypnotise the players into being better.” Meanwhile, a future hall-of-famer in-game leader that you used to work with, Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen, is sat twiddling his thumbs, despite his iteration of the team being the one that won you a trophy over Astralis. Get your kneepads dusted off and get crawling back to him. That’s step one. That’s an announcement that might have got fans perked up.

Alongside this lackluster reveal, you also mention you’ve signed an Apex Legends team for that game’s Global Series with a $3 million prize over twelve events. I won’t labour the point and will just say enjoy that while it lasts. However, if you’re curious as to why the announcement isn’t setting the world on fire, following that link might be a good start, unless of course, we’re on the same page. Ram raid esports I call it. You get in, grab as much as you can, get the fuck out before the police turn up.

So overall what a let down this was. An erasure of a history that had only just begun, an announcement that trumpets about how not much is going to change and that logo. Let me tell you that this is worse than the “#stoptoxicity” campaign you launched last January in a bid for attention, and the reception that received was for your fans to spam “#stoplosing” in return. Maybe that’s why you were so eager to delete the past. There’s some pretty cringe-worthy stuff in there. 

The great David St. Hubbins said “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” North has a way to go before it can even see that line.

League of Legends

LIVE: LCS Lock In 2021 Day 1: Perkz’s debut for Cloud9 goes awry

Published: 15/Jan/2021 23:00 Updated: 16/Jan/2021 2:52

by Andrew Amos

Share


The LCS has kicked off 2021 not with the Spring Split, but with a new tournament called Lock In. Similar to the KeSPA Cup or Demacia Cup, NA’s top teams will duke it out in a pre-season event right before the main season. Here’s what you need to know.


  • 100 Thieves, Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Dignitas open up LCS Lock In with wins.
  • Perkz’s Cloud9 debut goes awry with 4/7/2 statline on Yone.
  • Golden Guardians vs CLG next at 7pm PT / 10pm ET.

LCS Lock In: Stream

The LCS Lock In tournament is the 2021 starter for League of Legends in North America. All 10 LCS teams will take part in the two-week competition that gives fans a taster of the year to come.

They’re not playing for pittance either. The winning team will take home $150,000 USD, and a lot of confidence heading into the start of Spring 2021 in February.

LCS Lock In 2021: Teams & groups

As we mentioned earlier, all 10 of the LCS teams will be taking part in the Lock In tournament. Some teams may choose to field their academy rosters instead of their main rosters, but with $150,000 on the line, there’ll definitely be some teams gunning for the flag.

Among them, Summer 2020 champions TSM would be favorites. Having made a number of moves in the off-season, only keeping jungler Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu, the new squad will have a hard task in front of them. Team Liquid, CLG, and Cloud9 also made some big moves in the off-season to catch back up.

The 10 teams will be split into groups of two, with the top four from each group making it to the single-elimination playoffs.

Group A Group B
TSM FlyQuest
100 Thieves Cloud9
CLG Dignitas
Golden Guardians Evil Geniuses
Team Liquid Immortals

LCS Lock In 2021: Schedule

Groups Day 1: Friday, January 15

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group A 100 Thieves 1 – 0 TSM 3pm 6pm 11pm
CLG 0 – 1 Liquid 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 16)
Group B Cloud9 0 – 1 Evil Geniuses 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 16)
Dignitas 1 – 0 FlyQuest 6pm 9pm 2am (Jan 16)
Group A Golden Guardians vs CLG 7pm 10pm 3am (Jan 16)

Groups Day 2: Saturday, January 16

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Immortals vs Evil Geniuses 1pm 4pm 9pm
Group A Golden Guardians vs TSM 2pm 5pm 10pm
Group B Cloud9 vs FlyQuest 3pm 6pm 11pm
Immortals vs Dignitas 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 17)
Group A CLG vs 100 Thieves 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 17)

Groups Day 3: Sunday, January 17

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Immortals vs Cloud9 1pm 4pm 9pm
Group A Liquid vs 100 Thieves 2pm 5pm 10pm
Group B Dignitas vs Evil Geniuses 3pm 6pm 11pm
Group A CLG vs TSM 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 18)
Golden Guardians vs Liquid 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 18)

Groups Day 4: Friday, January 22

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Dignitas vs Cloud9 3pm 6pm 11pm
Group A Golden Guardians vs 100 Thieves 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 23)
Group B Evil Geniuses vs FlyQuest 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 23)
Group A Liquid vs TSM 6pm 9pm 2am (Jan 23)
Group B Immortals vs FlyQuest 7pm 10pm 3am (Jan 23)

Quarterfinals Day 1: Saturday, January 23

Match PT ET GMT
TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm
TBD vs TBD 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 24)

Quarterfinals Day 2: Sunday, January 24

Match PT ET GMT
TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm
TBD vs TBD 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 24)

Semifinals Day 1: Friday, January 29

Match PT ET GMT
TBD vs TBD 3pm 6pm 11pm

Semifinals Day 2: Saturday, January 30

Match PT ET GMT
TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm

Grand Finals: Sunday, January 31

Match PT ET GMT
TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm