Earlier this month UKCSGO reported that Into the Breach would be opening its own academy, since then I had the opportunity to talk to ITB owner, Sam “SlayTheMinotaur” Macedonio. In the interview, SlayTheMinotaur revealed that Into the Breach will be unveiling two new rosters, ITB Fated and ITB Union, both with vastly different aims. This would mean that Into the Breach would have its main team, an all-UK team competing in the lower levels of ESEA and a European roster with an aim of competing in competitions such as the WePlay Academy League. Find out all about the three rosters and how to have the opportunity to join them below.
What is the long-term goal of the Into the Breach Academy?
In principle, the same as our primary roster – provide infrastructure and support that is reliably funded, enabling opportunities for UK-based CS:GO players to develop and demonstrate their abilities.
Who will be leading the search for the new talents?
That’ll be led by our Head of ITB Initiatives, BlaineUknighted, and our CS:GO Manager MrPunico, with LVN helping in no small way as an advisor.
Just to confirm will this academy team be UK CS:GO based?
We discussed this internally over a lengthy period. Our first step was to identify prior academy efforts, what they did, how they did it, and potential things we should avoid. We want to learn from history and not repeat past mistakes. I’d say there are three primary issues:
1) While we wish it weren’t the case, the ‘pool’ of potential in the UK is quite limited. This arbiters a sort of glass ceiling in which a majority UK academy stack will always struggle to break through.
2) Our resources are finite, and ultimately UK orgs that remain UK focused are usually the ones most financially restricted, while the wealthiest of us end up focusing on the EU and beyond. This makes sense for several reasons, business chief among them. The ones who can don’t and the ones who would can’t.
3) The reality is our main roster is at the level of other organisations academy rosters. You might say this is a consequence of one and two, though either way this means that our primary roster is still reliant on ESL UK, ESEA Advanced, and other such ‘mid-tier’ cups. There are plenty of unsigned teams in the same position, and we can’t sign them because they’d directly compete with our main roster and in some cases we can’t field two in the same tournament (ESL Premiership, for example). So, what to do with this? We decided on a balance.
We’d create 2 new rosters.
One would be a UK majority, even a five man, called ITB Fated, centred solely on supporting UK players at a main or intermediate ESEA level. They could be well established, more casual, or high potential youths. We just want more people to play UK CS:GO comfortably, with the possibility of talent coming from that. The second, would be ITB Union, and would be an EU majority, with one or two UK players. This roster would be better supported financially, and while focused on younger players, would still aim to compete at a level on par or just below the primary roster.
Our thinking here is that this enables the one or two UK players within ITB Union a much better opportunity to grow and compete, without restriction, while we’re still supporting grassroots a UK majority squad (alongside our main roster which will always remain three UK minimum). This also enables us to develop talent across Europe and is an easier sell for sponsors, too.
We think this is the best way forward, though we’re open (and even encourage) other thoughts.
How will you be choosing your players?
We’re yet to determine this, but through some sort of trial system. If there is an established main or intermediate team already, though, we’re open to signing them directly. Just reach out.
In UK CS:GO we have seen academy teams fail for a multitude of reasons, how will ITB be different?
We’re hoping this approach will enable more success, while the funding for both is secured for a minimum of one year.
What brought about this decision?
It’s a team decision, though it sticks to our principle of trying to support the ecosystem we’re apart of. We’re a firm believer that if you invest in the scene, the scenes’ ability to invest and support you (even via just a Twitter follow) grows too. If we do this in a way that also benefits people and/or charities, then it’s just a win, win, win as far as we’re concerned.
Will you be aiming to compete in WePlay Academy League?
For ITB Union, this will indeed be an ambition. Let’s see if we can get there!