Toronto Esports Team Pulls Out Of Overwatch Because It Couldnt Use Toronto Anymore

Toronto Esports Team Pulls Out Of Overwatch Because It Couldn\t Use \Toronto\ Anymore
Blizzard lays down the law on Overwatch Contenders team amid Toronto Esports drama
Until yesterday, Toronto Esports managed the Contenders team of the Overwatch Leagues Boston Uprising. The organization had dubbed its minor league team Toronto Uprising, and that name was part of what caused problems, according to Toronto Esports tweet about the matter last night.

We have been informed by Blizzard that we will be forced to remove Toronto from our brand in only 6 weeks. Mid Contenders season 3, the Toronto Esports account stated. The reason cited: Toronto Defiant have purchased exclusive naming rights. We will be leaving Overwatch effective immediately. Good riddance.

The winning team of the first season of the Overwatch League won $1 million. Viewers might not care whether Overwatch players are using Adderall, but thats a lot of money on at stake when theres no system in place to check if players are doping. Are Overwatch players abusing Adderall to get an edge over their competition? Are there players in the Overwatch League that are using the drug to treat legitimately diagnosed disorders? Is there an environment where players are taking Adderall only because they think thats what it takes to compete? At the moment we have no way of knowing unless they choose to share that information because Blizzard does not implement drug tests.

Toronto Defiant is a new Overwatch League team operated by OverActive Media and esports organization Splyce. The team had its big coming out (read: branding) party at the end of October. Itll begin competing when Overwatch League season two starts in February. Like other Overwatch League teams, Defiant can now also field an academy team for Overwatch Contenders if it so chooses.

For what its worth, my own, not very scientific experiment found that taking Adderall didnt make me a better Counter-Strike player, but it did help me focus on something for a longer period of time, whether that was playing a video game or replying to boring work emails. So while theres no drug that can boost an Overwatch players performance in the same way anabolic steroids can boost a weight lifters performance, Adderall could help esports players power through long training sessions and tournaments.

Overwatch streamer Kephrii signed to Overwatch Contenders Pacific division team

With the launch of Toronto Defiant, perhaps Toronto Esports should have seen the writing on the wall for their Overwatch Contenders team name. However, instead of preemptively changing the name, organization president Ryan Pallett challenged Toronto Defiant to a show match, despite the fact that Toronto Esports is a Contenders team and Defiant is a League team.

We dont know if Kettunen is suggesting that the same practice is common in the Overwatch League, the official esports tournament for the first person shooter which is owned and operated by the games developer, Blizzard. He might be suggesting that, if Blizzard implemented a strict ban on the drug, players who use it with a prescription from a doctor to treat a disorder like ADHD could be in trouble because theyd have to choose between taking the drug and competing in the League.

We will be leaving Overwatch effective immediately. Good riddance.Toronto Defiant did not respond to the Toronto Esports show match challenge. After a few days without a response, the official Toronto Esports Twitter account re-upped the challenge with some trash talk, posting that the Overwatch League team must be scared and, later, writing: What does their silence tell you?

In 2015, a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen changed the esports business after admitting in an interview that he and his teammates “were all on Adderall” while they were competing. esport tournaments can last for six hours or more, and training sessions can last even longer, so some players, Friesen suggested, used Adderall to stay alert.

This raised eyebrows from some in the Overwatch League community, including London Spitfire social media manager Mateus Portilho, who wrote, Can this team stop tweeting cringe stuff, its reflecting really bad for them and for the OW competitive scene.

After Friesen admitted to using Adderall in competitive settings in 2015, several esports tournament organizers implemented new regulations. Electronic Sports League (ESL), one of the largest esports organizations in the world, partnered with National Anti Doping Agentur (NADA) to implement random drug testing for its events.

Pallett reacted to this post by apparently taking a headlong slide into Portilhos DMs late last week, asking why he was opposed to the show match idea and then—when he didnt respond—calling him a coward. In a public tweet, Pallett then posted that Portilho was a joke.

“Imagine if you use Adderall and then it gets banned in the [Overwatch] League, and then youre like…there are probably 20 players who use Adderall in the League, and then imagine if it was illegal to completely use Adderall, theyd be so fucked dude,” Kettunen said during a Twitch stream.

All of this led up to Toronto Esports splitting off from Overwatch Contenders last night. While things hadnt been entirely normal in the days prior, people were still shocked by the sudden departure. The teams own players appeared to be shocked as well.

On Monday, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen, a Finnish professional Overwatch player for a team called Dallas Fuel, once again brought to the forefront an issue in the still growing business of competitive gaming: the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Damn, tweeted Toronto Esports player Charlie Nero Zwarg in reaction to the news. I guess Im goin home boys it was a good run.

“Its something well continue to evaluate and keep our eyes on, as esports grows and evolves and as more studies come out on what potentially can affect performance in video games, but we havent seen studies on that yet,” he told Shacknews.

In the hours since, Boston Uprising president Chris Loranger has clarified that his organization still possesses the Contenders teams player and staff contracts, as well as the Contenders slot. The team will go on.

I do not have the ability at the moment to address the recent or current decision out of Toronto Esports, and we were not part of the decision at all, Loranger tweeted. We will continue to compete as a team, but obviously under a new brand. That is all I can say at the moment but will provide further details at a later date.

As ESLs senior vice president of product Ulrich Schulze tweeted following Kettunens statement about Adderall use in the Overwatch League, ESL has since administered hundreds of random tests and found no positives.

Kotaku reached out to Toronto Esports, Boston Uprising, and Blizzard about all of this, but as of publishing, the latter two had yet to provide comment. Pallett of Toronto Esports provided the following statement to Kotaku:

Adderall, much like Ritalin, is a psychostimulant usually used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and often abused by anyone that needs to stay concentrated for long periods of time.

Yes, we felt we were loyal to Blizzard and Overwatch. We stayed and helped scout and develop players in tier 2 in the early days, prior to Overwatch League, at a time when most other organizations were abandoning Overwatch. We felt that given this, in the very least should have been able to keep our original brand, which we hold very dearly. We also feel that the recent changes to the Contenders rules are creating unnecessary barriers that are harming the talent development ecosystem. This is against our core company values.

Earlier this year, Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer told Shacknews that hes yet to see a scientific report that says that theres any substance that makes people better at playing video games.

We did challenge the Defiant to a showmatch, we felt it would be a great local event, and many of our fans really wanted it to happen, so we continue to represent them in pushing Defiant to answer.

We plan on entering new titles and continuing to compete in esports and help young players. I think it is unlikely we will continue to work with Kraft group. However, I would like to state that Chris Loranger and Uprising and Kraft Group have been incredible partners. We have nothing but the utmost respect for them and their leadership in sports.

Theres something to be said here about Blizzards continued prioritization of Overwatch League over all else—especially Contenders, given recent changes to Contenders format—but the name thing was always gonna be an issue for Toronto Uprising and Toronto Defiant. Maybe… the show match was a good idea after all?

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