Sources: MDK to drop their female roster amidst Riot Games' LoL Game Changers silence

MDK

WNB

LEAK

09/04/2024 - 10'

"We haven't heard anything from Riot in months." - Anonymous Source

Disclaimer: Acquisition of new elements from sources have put into question some claims regarding behavourial issues, this article has been updated as a consequence.

Spanish Organization MAD Lions KOI privately parted ways with its female roster last night amidst radio silence from Riot Games on its League of Legends Game Changers project, sources tell Sheep Esports on Tuesday. Further sources indicate that the team is exploring options to sign a new budget roster to fulfill sponsor obligations and retain its spot in the Equal Esports Cup 2024.

Radio Silence

Marked by a lack of action by Riot Games, the League of Legends female scene is, once again, taking a blow this week. As first reported by Hannah Marie on Dot Esports and confirmed by Sheep Esports sources, teams have been left in the dark for the past few months with little to no clue as to what the company might be planning for the scene's future.

While definitive information about the exact events at Riot Games remains unconfirmed, several clues have emerged over the past few months. As announced in January, the company recently underwent a significant wave of layoffs, primarily affecting its designers and esports divisions. Among the many esports veterans who lost their jobs was Ashley Washington, the former Product Lead of the Game Changers initiative in the EMEA region.

A project that remained in talks since 2022, the EMEA Game Changers series has been a large topic of internal discussions for the past few years. Unfortunately, after confirming with several teams, it appears that this project has now been fully iceboxed for the time being, as none of them have heard from the company in months.

A Bubble of Expectations

Up to now, five LEC teams have decided to invest in the League of Legends female & marginalized gender scene: G2 Hel, Vitality Rising Bees, BDS Valkyries, SK Avarosa, and MAD Lions KOI Femenino.

Signed to year-long contracts, these teams were formed in November with the expectations of competing in major competitions in 2024, following discussions and hints by Riot Games. Unfortunately, with the company now backing out of the initiative, the organizations that invested in the scene now find themselves with full rosters of paid workers unable to compete.

According to sources, some of the aforementioned teams are now reconsidering their future involvement in the scene going into 2025. Further information revealed that certain teams had primarily decided to increase their investments and/or re-sign their rosters in hopes of competing in a major Riot-licensed Game Changers tournament after Riot had approached them at the end of 2023 and incited them to invest.

While Sheep Esports is still currently investigating the matter, it is likely that Riot Games is now set to put the project on hold and re-evaluate its stance next year at the earliest.

Troubles for the Lions

Related but not solely caused by the silence from Riot Games, MAD Lions KOI is now one of the first teams to re-evaluate its stance within the scene.

Previously having competed in both League of Legends and VALORANT under the names KOI Amethyst and MAD Lions LAURË respectively, the recently merged organization has a long history within the female scene. Despite this, uncertainties have now prompted the Spanish organization to pivot its approach. According to sources, due to obligations with its sponsor, the team is aiming to re-hire a more affordable roster, potentially featuring either a fully German or Spanish lineup.

While the same sources have not indicated that this move happened due to any particular event, it is likely that the organization simply realized that the Game Changers initiative would not take place this year and decided to cut its losses.

Conclusion

Currently, many elements of the future of the Game Changers scene remain uncertain, and teams involved in the project are beginning to reconsider their stance. At this time, Riot Games has not responded to Sheep Esports' request for comments. We will update this article when more information on this situation is uncovered.

When reaching out to OverActive Media (MAD Lions KOI) for comments on the future of their League of Legends Femenino roster and overall strategy, the organization responded:

"We are in the process of evaluating our strategy for our League of Legends Women & Non-Binary Team. This evaluation aligns with our ongoing commitment to the esports community, particularly in supporting and creating opportunities for Women & Non-Binary players. Our focus remains on developing a competitive and sustainable model that respects the dynamics of the current esports landscape. We look forward to sharing more details about our plans soon and continuing our work to foster a supportive environment for all players.”

- Armand Luque -