LCS Strike: Teams Sign Players, Union Cancels Interviews

The strike is continuing, but a few key things have happened.

BYBen Mock
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Phil Aram, manager of the Evil Geniuses Dota 2 esports team, watches his players practice at its home base - a house in a subdivision in Alameda, Calif. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016

The strike by the LCS Players Association has already sent shockwaves through the esports industry. Despite attempts to sign replacement teams, Riot Games ultimately decided to postpone the start of the LCS Summer split by two weeks. However, Riot Games made it very clear that they opposed all union demands and were not afraid to cancel the split entirely. If the LCS was to be canceled, North American teams would not be eligible for Worlds 2023 in South Korea.

In response to Riot's actions, the Players Association announced their dedication to resolving the situation. Subsequently, the Players Association said that they had asked Riot to engage with them in daily meetings to find an equitable solution to the strike. In the absence of the LCS, fans were treated to a showmatch between Disguised and Delta Fox. The best-of-three series was cast by LCS mainstays Azael and CaptainFlowers. Disguised won 2-0 with over 30,000 people watching the stream.

Teams Making Signings And The PA Cancels Media Appearances

June 1 saw the first LCS roster moves since the strike was announced. Golden Guardians announced the signing of ADC Jackson "Array" Moldenhauer as the team's sixth man for the split. This came as a result of former sixth man Youngho "Young" Choi signing with Disguised. Array is a long-time academy player who spent a year with Golden Guardians Challengers before being released last month. While a minor move, it indicates that teams are being able to convince players to cross the picket in preparation for the upcoming season.

Furthermore, freelance esports reporter Mikhail Klimentov shared a text message from Players Association Executive Director Phil Arama. "Mikhail, I'm sorry but I've got to postpone indefinitely. We are in productive conversations with Riot at this time and do not want to disrupt them with further media for the moment." This could further indicate that Riot and the Players Association are nearing an agreement. The LCS Summer split is currently set to start on June 15. Furthermore, the NACL, the second-tier competition that caused the walkout, begins on June 10. This is a developing story and we'll have any updates here at HotNewHipHop.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.