League Of Legends: Riot Bans Three Teams – Here’s Why

Part of my morning has been spent reading through the big League of Legends’ [official site] esports rulings which will affect North American teams Renegades, Team Impulse and TDK as well as slapping bans – one permanent – on various people involved with said teams. In case you were curious, the other part of the morning was spent wondering whether to try my hand at making these Jabba The Hutt marshmallows.

Okay SO.


Let’s look at the Renegades/TDK ruling first. That’s the one you’re more likely to have seen mentioned if you follow people from the professional League of Legends scene on social media as it’s the one which has left one of LoL’s most well-known shoutcasters, Chrisopher ‘Montecristo’ Mykles, banned from owning teams or holding an official position like general manager, coach or analyst on a team until Summer Split 2017.

Basically it states that “Renegades management has been found to have knowingly violated the competitive ban against Chris Badawi, misrepresented their relationship with TDK, and compromised player welfare and safety.”

What that means is that Riot say they have evidence that Monte had a deal with Badawi which would give him a 50% stake in Renegades once Badawi’s suspension had expired. Badawi used to be a part-owner of the team as well as part-owner of TDK (Team Dragon Knights) but was suspended in 2015 after a Riot investigation found that he’d been trying to solicit players from Team Liquid to join Renegades. That ruling only banned Badawi from holding any official positions on a team in a Riot-affiliated competition until the end of the 2016 season. But the granting of future rights is still considered a firm ownership stake by Riot and thus granting future rights to a banned individual would violate League’s rules.

The ruling goes on to state, “Further, Mykles failed to disclose this arrangement during the LCS team vetting process, which we consider to be an intentional and material omission apparently designed to circumvent the clear and public ban of Badawi.”

The second section of that ruling corresponds to allegations of player welfare concerns which “included confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payment and contract provisions, and failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members.”

The third section revolves around team independence and integrity – specifically that TDK and Renegades were not acting as entirely separate entities. For example, one team continuing to house or pay a player even after they had been traded to the other organisation. Riot explains here why that’s problematic:

“Co-mingled finances and operations can lead to establishment of influence between teams that forces one party into non-beneficial decisions (like trading away strong players) and, at worst, unfair play (described in Rule 10.1 of the LCS ruleset)”

The result of all of this is that Badawi’s continued transgressions in the eyes of Riot have netted him a permanent ban from association or affiliation with any team in a Riot-sanctioned league. Monte is deemed to have “lesser involvement” and thus his ban is until Summer Split 2017. The ban doesn’t cover his casting work, by the way. TDK co-owner and manager Chris and Sean Shim are banned indefinitely but can apply for reinstatement from January 1, 2019.

Renegades have until 18 May to sell all rights and legal claims to its LCS spot (so a finalised transfer agreement has to be presented to League officials by that with the new owner/s meeting the standard ownership requirement). TDK is not allowed to participate in the Challenger Summer Split (that’s the level just below the professional top tier) and has until May 18 to sell its spot.

There’s not a lot in the ruling about the specific evidence that was presented to Riot to back up these claims. The ruling states that this is partly to protect the people involved from possible retribution and partly because “some of these are serious allegations that extend beyond our LCS ecosystem, and it is not our goal to affect these parties outside of LoL esports.” Which: yeesh.

Since the ruling Monte has been retweeting messages refuting the player safety bits of the ruling from some of the Renegades players and he also states:

“To my knowledge there was never any misconduct regarding player, nor have any of my players ever alerted me of any problems.”

He later added:

“For those asking: I was never presented evidence by Riot for these claims, nor did I know most of them existed.

“I was also told of my ban 30 minutes before the post. I was given no time to respond or present any information.

“I will make a more complete statement in the future, but for the moment have been advised by counsel to wait to say more.”

Team Impulse

The other competitive ruling involves Team Impulse. According to Riot’s top line summary:

“Team Impulse management has repeatedly failed to pay their players on time and to provide valid contracts for their players, as required by the LCS Rules and Team Agreement. League officials have, on multiple occasions, clarified requirements and even directly intervened in team operations to ensure payments, and have determined that Team Impulse does not meet League standards for a professional organization. As such, they will not be permitted to continue participating in Riot-sanctioned leagues.”

Essentially, not all players (and, at some points during seasons, no players) had valid contracts and Team Impulse were repeatedly late in paying players the minimum player compensation amount. The lack of contracts has added to confusion about some of the actual amounts owed to players by, according to the ruling, “several team members are still believed to be owed money, in some cases amounting to multiple months of pay.”

As with Renegades, Team Impulse must sell its rights and legal claim by May 18. Additionally, they’ve scored a $20,000 fine to be deducted from its final team league payment.

Whether a buyer will be found for the spots and how many (if any) of the existing players they would choose to keep is now the big question. Protection for players in esports is a big concern when talking about the future of pro-gaming and I think it’s good that Riot are being active in ruling against organisations over issues like not handing out contracts or paying players on time. The Renegades/TDK ruling is harder to parse given the lack of presented evidence.

I’d like to reach a point where there’s a better understanding of contracts and employment law and how it relates to esports, as well as related issues like player welfare, in a way which supports players from outside specific games. A third-party support system, better information for players/teams, maybe even a union of sorts. There have been rumblings and efforts in that general direction every now and again but it doesn’t feel like anything has really *stuck*.

Anyway, yes. We’ll see what the Renegades and Team Impulse news does to the NA LCS. In more positive NA LCS news, Counter Logic Gaming are still in the running for the Mid-Season Invitational going on in Shanghai at the moment.


  1. PoundCoin says:

    Esports are bad, mobas are bad.


    • boredandstupid says:

      Just to counter act the mindless negativity, thanks for this! It hasn’t hit my normal league news site yet. And MSI has been really exciting – nice to see RNG reject the European 4 v 0 lane swap and play an aggressive game with heavy contesting of objectives and a lot of fast/spontaneous engage. Mata and looper are fantastic, and it’s nice to see faker get contested as ‘best in world’. Keep up the league articles – pretty sure plenty of us enjoy them even if we don’t comment.

      • SyCo_Venom says:

        To me It wasnt about the way RNG dealt with the lane swap because they and other asain teams had some ups and downs on it. It has everything to do with how bad EU LCS is. G2 can play 1 type of game and have shown repeatedly in MSI that they cant adapt and just keep overextending.

        It blew my mind when everyone on the fist day was saying G2 is the 2nd best team. They beat a very lack luster Fantic team that lost the best eu jungler and top lane, not to mention the overrated yellowstar. Then they played origin in the finals who has decided not to play or practice their best mid laner. G2 is young and has 1 game plan and has shown faulire to adapt in the pick and ban phase as well as after the laning phase is over.

    • lasikbear says:

      ur mums bad (at raising u to be a good internet commenter)

      • boredandstupid says:

        If that’s aimed at me then… Thanks? On behalf of my mother obviously.

        • vorador says:

          If it was aimed at you, it would appeared like this, embedded on your own post.

          It was aimed at PoundCoin barely intelligible post.

          • boredandstupid says:

            I missed the indenting on your original response. Damn you Web formating, why do you mock me! The embarrassing thing is I’ve been reading this website for bloomin’ years, including the comments.

  2. Grizzly says:

    the other part of the morning was spent wondering whether to try my hand at making these Jabba The Hutt marshmallows.

    Those are proper cool.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I was thinking the same, and it reminded me that I have a candy thermometer but no idea how to make anything candy-like aside from fudge and hot fudge. I even failed to make rock candy the last time I tried…20-ish years ago, although I did get a tasty pot-sized disk of recrystallized sugar out of it.

  3. Flea says:

    I started reading this and after two paragraphs I found myself thinking: I honestly don’t care one single bit about any of this. I guess that’s the same feeling some of my friends have when they’re trying to explain to me, a football nut, how nothing about the game of football (soccer for you Americans out there) interests them.

  4. scannerbarkly says:

    This is actually kind of crazy as right now the NA LCS is just sitting there trying to figure out what their next split will actually look like.

    Also, with 3 teams up for sale this could be the time when the big guys who have been circling the tank for a while finally step in and buy, it’s hard to foresee being able to get a better deal that when owners only have 10 days to sell if they want to return any value from their investments at this point in time. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if one of the teams is picked up by Mark Cuban who has been expressing his interest for a while now.

    • SyCo_Venom says:

      As for team impulse and tdk, i think it is better for the NA lcs that they are gone. They were not any good and always so up and down. Hopefully the bans to them will lead to better teams. REN i feel bad though they were just starting to play well together but crumbz was a cunt. Same with montecristo that smug son of a bitch, i just wish he would have been at MSI to see his beloved STK get dismantled, STK my win the tourney in the long run but enough of this bullshit that none of the other teams can beat them.

  5. tormos says:

    I’m a pretty big fan of Dota as an e-sport but have very little knowledge of League so I would appreciate it if someone could enlighten me on this question.
    It seems like the initial reason for this Badawi character being banned was soliciting team members from one team to join his team. Is this accurate? If so why is this banned behavior? This seems like pretty common sports stuff to me and happens all the time to people in Dota (for example Team Secret was founded because one dissatisfied player recruited several others to start their own team with a different organization structure). Could someone explain if there’s something that I’m missing about his initial ban? Or if i’m not mistaken, could someone explain how player transfers between teams are supposed to happen?

    • Xocrates says:

      The problem is doing so while the season is on-going. The logic is to prevent changing player behaviour like, for instances, getting the player to throw games to favour the team he is moving to.

      The idea is to prevent conflict of interest during the season. Otherwise it’s perfectly normal and accepted.

  6. heretic says:

    Interesting, it sounds like the drama you get in old school sports!

  7. simontifik says:

    I can’t wait for one of these bans to be appealed in a real court. Some crusty, old, conservative judge, “Sorry… You were banned from League of what?”

    • GWOP says:

      “And it’s about… farming on lanes?”

      • GrimoireFanboy says:

        “Run this “Last-hitting mechanic” by me one more time. Who was he or she hitting and what exactly is their involvement in all this?”

  8. Ejia says:

    Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, but how did the Jabbamallows turn out?