Team Liquid Manager Accused Of Physical Assault As Promotion Tournament Boils Over

Given what was at stake during the 2017 NA LCS Promotion Tournament, it is understandable that the tension between teams would be at an all-time high. The build up to Team Liquid’s series with eUnited was enhanced with aggression, eUnited jungler Berk “Gilius” Demir and TL manager Michael Artress acting as key protagonists. As Team Liquid triumphed on stage, their victory over the Challenger squad would be later marred by poor sportsmanship and rumours of physical assault involving both Gilius and Artress.

It is rare to see the emotion displayed on stage spill over behind the scenes. On the rift for both eUnited’s and Team Liquid’s first series of an edgy promotion tournament, the tension between the two sides was palatable. In the weeks leading up to the matchup, both parties had been vocal in promoting their chances of success and boastful of their abilities. The trash-talk was greatly beneficial in raising the profile of the promotion tournament, but as the two teams came to a head, the tension reached a ‘breaking point’:

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Team Liquid finally delivered the result many had been expecting from a roster with such a wealth of talent, sealing a 3-1 series win over the previously unbeaten Challenger Series side. For Gilius, who had been so outspoken and confident in his own abilities, the loss resulted in widespread mockery from the League of Legends community, his previous boasts coming back to haunt him.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Speaking openly after a second defeat that would relegate eUnited to a second split in the NA Challenger Series, Gilius detailed that he had been involved in a physical altercation with Team Liquid’s team manager following the second of game the series between the two sides:

“After Game 2, I was in the hallway to the studio to go outside and then TL’s manager walked past me and [shoulder charged me] into my shoulder – definitely on purpose by the way.

“I thought this guy attacked me at that moment, so I was like ‘What the f***, dude? What is your problem?’

“Does he want to fight me… what is happening? But he just walked past me and nothing happened.”

Berk “Gilius” Demir

The series of events – reinforced by eUnited’s General Manager, Daniel Clerke – are currently under investigation by Riot Games. The hosts will reportedly examine the CCTV footage to determine whether Michael Artress did indeed assault Gilius in the hallway between the stage and studio exit:

The incident evidently affected Gilius, who appeared to be playing irrationally in the two following games of the series:

“I guess this guy got into my head, I got really, really mad because I thought that he should have been punished for that.

“It affected my play: I communicated less, I was really emotional – props to the TL manager, really smart move at that moment to do that.

“He got into my head, he made me play worse.”

To maintain a professional stance, eUnited were gracious in defeat. Whilst Daniel Clerke maintained that he felt that Michael Artress’ actions were unprofessional and had affected the play of his organisation’s jungler, he was clear not to use the incident as a scapegoat for the team’s performance:

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Though Gilius suffered the scorn of the eSports fanbase on account of his perceived arrogance, within the professional scene itself, it was Michael Artress whose reputation was placed under the spotlight. Having stayed silent ahead of Team Liquid’s final game of tournament with Gold Coin United, Artress opted to rub salt in the wounds of GCU coach Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-sub following confirmation that TL would be returning to the NA LCS.

The tweet was received in bad taste by the TL manager’s fellow eSports professionals and was later deleted in accompaniment to an apology. The tweet was salvaged by former Misfits team owner, Ali “Alicus” Saba… along with an accurate (if strongly worded) summary of events:

The conduct of the Team Liquid Manager throughout the promotion tournament has done little to repair the brand damage suffered by the organisation over the course of the Spring Split. Artress has a rumoured history of previous internal misconduct. If the Riot investigation returns with conclusive evidence of assault on eUnited’s Berk “Gilius” Demir, Team Liquid could be at risk of retrospective punishment – at the very least it would be expected that the team would look for a new manager.


 

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