In a super twist of events today, insomnia63 has seen a sudden drama happen earlier today in a elimination stage match between Team Unique & Cat345. We’ve seen a few stories in the past at iSeries, from those players who cheat, the great SpacePanda cheating debate, the TLR disqualification, but suddenly not disqualified, we’ve had it all.
Last night’s drama should be no secret to anyone that frequents the UK CSGO Scene Facebook page. For those who don’t, the short version of events is Matt Litherland, someone who is becoming fast renowned for taking private matters to the public’s attention via Facebook, posted a call to arms. He urged people who knew Dudley “Dudley” Morris to contact him in order to pass on a message. The message was to stop ignoring VATIC management and that the Xtrfy equipment they were given for epicLAN needed to be returned.
This rather unusual way of getting someone’s attention, and the detail that was given didn’t sit easy with some of the community, and so a firework show of name calling and meme creation started. In the midst of all this drama and excitement, the VATIC website was shut down along with a short Tweet, “Thanks to all for your support vatic.eu” This lead people to the conclusion that Matt had decided enough was enough, and was closing down VATIC despite the recent announcements of a store opening.
However, that is apparently not the case. According to Matt’s partner in crime, Mark “Crossy” Cross, the website shut down had been planned for “about 2 weeks” and that they are working on a number of things behind the scenes. It is a mystery what these things are, as Mark was playing his cards very close to his chest. While it is a massive coincidence that this drama and the website shutdown happened at the same time, I am keen to take Mark’s word on it as he seemed to know nothing about Matt’s actions the night before. Whatever plans are in motion, it seems pretty clear that we won’t be seeing a VATIC team at the upcoming iSeries, and we will have to sit tight on an announcement from them to find out what they have planned.
Two days ago, shortly after we published our article on the new CAZ eSports team, a lot of information came out about the organisation from the previous team. Jesper “Jesp” Johansson released a very large Twitlonger post, which you can read here, with all the issues that lead to them leaving the organisation. However here I’ll be summarising the main points, reactions from everyone and talking to some of the people involved in this situation.
Richard Lewis also released a video about the organisation, available through his Youtube channel where he goes more in-depth.
It started when the team was first signed to the organisation back in March of this year, they were verbally offered a signing bonus of a CAZ branded chair from their sponsor, this is something that they have never received even to this day. When questioned about it by the team they were told “it’s up to our sponsor”, which as rightly pointed out by Richard Lewis in his video, it’s CAZ’s responsibility to get the chairs they promised to the players, even if the management had to buy the chairs themselves. This was one of many broken promises by the organisation.
Most of the issues however surrounded the Dreamhack Summer event, an event that the CAZ organization sent the team to so that they can compete in the 3 BYOC tournaments run during the event. CAZ also sent a manager along with the players, Ryan “fLk” Oliver was told he was there to help manage the players with travel and food, write articles for the website and take photos of the event of the team that CAZ could use for marketing purposes, as nobody else from the organisation could attend for personal reasons ranging from work to exams.
The management promised that they would make sure the players had enough money for travel, drinks and a reasonable meal at night, and that Ryan would not have to pay anything, this would be a free trip for him. This is when issues started popping up. I asked Ryan to give me a run down of the event, and it started with this:
The problems began when the flight reservations were not sent in time, so we had a 3AM panic to get the flight reservations where they were needed so people could check in. So planning issues already became apparent…
Due to short notice I couldn’t go into full ‘player management’ swing of things, so I had 6-8 hours before getting on the plane to try to organise bits the best I could. We eventually arrived in Sweden, with no money and no support, being told that the money, after an eventual late response, would arrive later that day.
As you can see, Ryan was told everything would be sorted and they would get money later in the evening so they could pay. This didn’t happen, come the second morning the players had no cash, the management were contacted again and Ryan was again assured that money would be there by the evening. It wasn’t.
UKCSGO has since learned that CAZ eSports Management claim they had sent the flight details a number of times over the teams teamspeak server, but that the details were only sent via email at short notice.
Jesper “Jesp” Johansson ended up paying over 4900sek (£437) on every taxi from their hotel to the venue and back every day because CAZ simply didn’t fulfil their promises to the team.
After the second day of no money, Team captain Ben “r0m” Smith tried to talk to the CAZ management himself, before swiftly being told to “shut the fuck up”. The team eventually got money to the tune of £80. Which in Sweden was enough for one burger for each player, no drink. During a 4 day event this is simply not good enough and Ryan spent every last penny in his bank account. (He estimates he took around £200 out of his bank which he used making sure that he and the team had everything they needed and were fed properly.)
The team started to make things more apparent for me just how many issues they’d been having [with CAZ] considering I was completely unaware before hand, this was quite a shock. Topics of misled signing bonus’s came up and lies amongst other things. CAZ seemed to think the players had taken what the terms were and adjusted them, expecting too much.
If I’m at an event, I’m going to do all in my power to ensure that a team has the best possible success and least stressful time. That responsibility doesn’t simply stop when there are organisational issues, we had to make do, and in fairness to everyone on that roster, things were extremely stressful at times. However we did make it through and we made the best of what we had available to us at the time, even if it meant digging into personal funds. They key thing for me is that the players remained professional at all times, including, continuing to play.
Ben “r0m” Smith was also promised a salary for each player should they win all three CSGO BYOC tournaments, if they were to lose even one then they would not get a thing. This was agreed on by CAZ COO Ben Bagg and r0m himself however this adds even more pressure onto the players that were already stressed enough with the money issues, stress that was not needed. Also considering that they were playing for prize money (a total of 15,000 SEK, roughly £1350) and qualification spots in the Dreamhack Winter Pantamera Challenge. Something that the team actually managed to accomplish considering the situation. The team won all 3 BYOC tournaments at the event and earned a spot in this Pantamera Challenge.
The team and management held a meeting after the event and it was agreed that the players would continue on with CAZ, however there would be no salary, something that again was promised should the team complete the goals set out by CAZ, which they did, resulting in more broken promises for the players. Ryan decided to stay and keep writing content for the org, however he thinks he and the players should have left straight away
From my point of view, there was no bad blood, the world continued turning and all was sorted. This is eSports, fuck ups happen, you have to take them in your stride and work with what you’ve got. Albeit this was a little naive and in hindsight I’d have changed my decision and left after the event. [During talks with the team afterwards] I realised all 6 of us should have left from the get go.
However, I’m still new to eSports, both mistakes and lessons are still going to happen and from my POV, this is just one of them. Don’t let organisations fuck you around, stand your ground and make sure whats on the dotted line is followed.
This is when CAZ started to talk about releasing the team and focusing more on the UK scene than the wider European scene.
The CAZ organisation released a statement on Wednesday night, which can be found here.
With the team now picking up JAKEM and co. I thought it would be a good idea to get his thoughts on the situation and how his team were going to deal with it going forward.
I was in CAZ for a year before and its been by far the best organisation I’ve represented. Its clear they dealt with the situation poorly but there is always two sides of the story! We are all paid up and ready for iSeries already so there is no doubts from me in them delivering!
During the aftermath of this, CAZ Marketing Manager Eren Lawrence left the organization, stating
It’s a horrible situation, one that should never occur within this industry and that’s why I have chosen to depart from the organisation.
The players have all stated that Eren was not involved in any of the discussions regarding payment, the Dreamhack Summer event or contracts, and that he is not to blame for any of this
What do you think about all this? Share your thoughts with us on twitter @ukcsgo and let us know!
insomnia57 CS:GO Tournament has finally wrapped up, and after an incredible three days of non stop action that teams have provided, we get a chance now to let the dust settle and see the scene once again implode during the height of ESL UK Premiership qualifiers. These are your final standings so that you can see which team finished where.
For the first couple of days, there was always some “underdog” story that was doing the rounds. We saw at insomnia56 how the scene had massively progressed, and of course, this event started off with one of the biggest shocks since Liverpool came from 3:0 down to beat AC Milan in the final of the Champions League in 2005. A team that had been under the radar of literally everyone, decided they would steam roll one of the favourites and one of the most in-form teams going into the event. Pick ‘N’ Mix soon cemented their place in the history books as they saw off fm-eSports in the opening game 16:9. Of course, that meant fm-eSports now had to hope a tie-breaker would be a result or that Pick ‘N’ Mix would lose to others.
The shocks didn’t stop there, Monumentalis had a close match against Kicked Dropped & Reformed where they went on to lose 16:14 to them, nerdRage struggled to close out a match at 11:1 up when IGI eSports really mounted a solid comeback but eventually went down 16:14. Back to Group B, and Pick ‘N’ Mix secured a 16:9 win against Craig “onscreen” Shannon’s side MixedVibes, which meant barring any upsets from some of the sides they had to play, Pick ‘N’ Mix had secured top spot in the group and a Top 16 position.
The day closed out with a close shave between Adam “adamxoxo” Rotherham’s side Team uFrag who squared upto Alasdair “AL” Maltby’s side Perilous.Fury, it was an incredibly close match with rounds being traded. There came a pause time at the beginning of overtime (why overtime in groups you ask…. well Battlefy doesn’t count round difference, so H2H and an overall win had to be counted), and Adam decided he had to get his team pumped up for fear of being upset by a team who in theory should never be that close to them (uFrag had beaten Perilous Fury 16:2 at epic.17). The pep talk from Adam obviously worked wonders as they managed to close out the match in overtime.
Day 2 kicked off, and of course, the start of the day really went well for all the big sides bar one of the Top 8. It was Molotovs n Marshmallows time to feel the “underdog” storyline, whilst I had commented on the potential that Monumentalis could make Top 8 in my preview, we hadn’t seen that potential realised until this Best-Of-Three series. In what was an entertaining series, Monumentalis managed to get the better of their rivals and beat them 2:1 on maps to go through to the next round. The lower bracket was where the share of all the upsets seemed to be happening, after Molotovs n Marshmallows had a close shave in Map 1 of their encounter with Impulse Gaming UK, they managed to then go on to beat Team CeX over two maps. It meant that Team CeX, the defending champions of iSeries had been relegated out of the tournament at 9th – 12th. Meanwhile after a breakout tournament at insomnia56 and backing it up with 3rd place at epic.SEVENTEEN in February, Team uFrag also went out at the same stage as Team CeX to the star studded lineup featuring Dan “RE1EASE” Mullan, Perilous.CSGOSPHERE. It meant that some of our big names prior to the LAN, had been eliminated in some rather unique but frustrating parts of the LAN.
If there was a standout run from the entirety of this tournament it would be from Team Ionic, they beat both the seeded team “soz4owned” which in my mind should never have even been seeded, and one of the teams I had highlighted in my preview, BMiCrew, which featured Oliver “Orcl” Stubley in that lineup, they didn’t stop there in the tournament. After a sloppy start to Day 2, Ionic went on to lose against Team CeX and then beat Team XENEX in the Lower Bracket. It got better for the team as they went on to beat 9th seed Monumentalis, and spurred on by THAT victory, they took the first map 26:24 against Perilous.CSGOSPHERE before eventually losing over the two remaining maps. The Ionic team have gone to LAN and wrecked it, they were an unknown quantity, only really seen in ESEA with their default wins they have had in ESEA Season 21 Open League. However they played incredibly well at LAN and made a name for themselves.
The Grand Final saw Rasta.Infused and Team Pride go head to head. Rasta had previously won the encounter in the Upper Bracket Final 2:0 with a first map that was one sided, and a second map that Pride completely choked on. Well in similar fashion, de_cbble slipped away from the Poles as they just simply couldn’t hold bombsites to stop the rushes and executes from Rasta. It seemed that Rasta just were on fire, whilst Pride were incredibly sloppy. The first map finished 16:5 to Rasta.
The second map had a surge of Polish incredible plays, and solid lock downs on de_cache. They stormed to a quick 11:4 first half win. However in the second half it became a struggle with both Surreal and Robiin proving incredibly crucial for Rasta.Infused in securing rounds and making the Poles sweat a bit. It looked like we were in for a repeat performance from the Upper Bracket Final, however Pride finally got their act together and managed to secure the win 16:14 on map two.
We moved to de_mirage, and it became a bit topsy turvy as rounds were exchanged left right and centre. The first half managed to go to the Poles, with a close 8:7 scoreline. However another second half performance, again the stand out player for Rasta.Infused was Robiin, who proved incredibly valuable to the side saving them many times. Rasta.Infused went on to win 16:12 against Team Pride, and secured £2,500.
|Pos||Team Name||Prize Money|
|2nd||Team Pride (1)||£1,000|
|4th||Molotovs n Marshmallows (8)||£300|
|5th – 6th||nerdRage.Pro (4)||£150|
|5th – 6th||Perilous.CSGOSPHERE (7)||£150|
|7th – 8th||Ionic||£150|
|7th – 8th||Pick N Mix||£150|
|Pos||Team Name||Prize Money|
|9th – 12th||uFrag (5)||N/A|
|9th – 12th||Team CeX (6)||N/A|
|9th – 12th||Perilous.Fury (13)||N/A|
|9th – 12th||Monumentalis (9)||N/A|
|13th – 16th||Impulse Gaming UK (16)||N/A|
|13th – 16th||Mini Kiev Krew (12)||N/A|
|13th – 16th||Rasta.KO (15)||N/A|
|13th – 16th||Team XENEX (14)||N/A|
*Please Note: Seeding’s are shown in brackets
In the Intermediate Tournament, Team Crossfire had to draft in the services of Ryan “Ryf00lz” Fuller to help them out in keeping with a 5 player team. They faced Odin eSports in the Grand Final and went on to beat Odin, over two maps with a 16:11 win on de_cbble & 16:5 on de_cache. Team Crossfire have secured free tickets back to insomnia58.
Day 1 Coverage
Match Report: fm-eSports loss to Pick N Mix
Match Reports: Monumentalis defeat & NerdRage cutting it close
Match Report: MixedVibes shock defeat to Pick N Mix
Video – Interview with Pick N Mix
Video – adamxoxo rallies Team uFrag
End of Groups Part 1
End of Groups Part 2
Day 2 Coverage
Finals Day Coverage
Match Report: Ionic get Perilous-ly close to an Upset
Molotovs n Marshmallows Newsbite
Both Bracket Finals
Match Report: Intermediate Grand Finals
Match Report: Rasta.Infused Vs Team Pride (Grand Final)
Hopefully everyone has enjoyed our coverage throughout this weekend, please make sure you follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep in the know with everything related to the UK CS:GO Scene
After that brilliant weekend, next UK LAN event is epic.SEVENTEEN on the weekend of June 16th – 19th, you can still book tickets here, with only 240 tickets remaining, you won’t want to miss out on another weekend of glorious banter and incredible Counter-Strike.