Competing in Overwatch is not easy. This is especially true if the team is a sponsored team, playing under an organization’s banner. Players not only have to win in order to keep their Contenders spot; they also have to win in order to ensure that their sponsors and organization are happy. This is not the case with the latest report of organization mistreatment in esports.
NoWeaver Esports is an organization based in Australia. According to their official website, they are an international structure since 2018 and have teams in many games: including Overwatch, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, Apex Legends, Hearthstone, Rocket League, League of Legends, Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Smash Ultimate.
NoWeaver’s former roster consisted of 8 players: Luca “Lab” Barichello and Seth “Don” Kingston on Support, Kurt “naahmie” Pederson and Qiu “BRS” Dazhi on DPS, and Thy “Mini” Le and Andres “Fundrae” Duran Blancas on Tank. The team had a very positive record going into Contenders Australia and performed well in the tournaments that preceded it. In the Contenders Seeding tournament, the team placed 5th-6th losing to Mindfreak. In the subsequent MB Community Koala Trials, the team placed 5th-6th again, narrowly losing to Ground Zero Gaming. The team proceeded to place 3rd-4th in Contenders Trials Week 1, barely losing out to Paradigm Shift. NoWeaver then went on to place 2nd in Contenders Australia, falling to Ground Zero Gaming once more. The roster’s final tournament placing was in the second week of Contenders AU, where they fell to the Sydney Drop Bears. They placed 3rd-4th overall.
There was heavy internal strife between the org and the players/staff. The team’s off-tank, Mini, further explains this in a twitlonger. In this, she posts screenshots of a discord conversation that their manager, Lily “Cherhorowitz” Douglas had with the CEO of the organization, Thibaut “ValKyn” Vialle.
Regarding contracts, Mini says that “[NoWeaver] wrote a contract for us that was basically indecipherable and illegible that clearly stated no benefits for the players/coach but themselves and threatened us to sign the contract by stating the player will not receive any prize money if they had not signed the contract.” Mini adds, “After a couple of days, the org owners further threatened us to sign the contract by “tonight”, or else they would kick those that have not signed the contract yet.“.
Mini goes on to explain that the screenshot shows Cherhorowitz trying to defend the roster and communicate with CEO ValKyn. Cherhorowitz explains that players think that the contract is not satisfactory and therefore will not sign. Cherhorowitz did not agree with the org’s mindset or anything that the contract stated. However, ValKyn goes on to guilt trip and gaslight her by saying that he was the only reason she’s around and that the previous roster did not like her.
Profit over Players
Mini goes on to state that the owners only wanted to profit off of them and claimed that they [the owners] worked as hard or harder than the players.
“We scrim 6 days straight, usually 4 hrs and on top of that vod review and ranked during our free time. Majority of us are students and so most of us don’t really have much time but we always look to put aside other important things to make time.” Mini explains in the TwitLonger. “Our coach is on the Australian schedule whilst living in NA, waking up at awful times.”
Mini also states that players/coaches would only receive 10% of tournament winnings and the rest would go to the org. The owners would threaten and take all the prize winnings away if players trialled for other teams without their permission.
In addition to contract issues, players would be heavily criticized during scrims and officials by the owners.
“For instance, when we had lost our first officials, we were asked “How did you lose?” with a very hostile tone and them belittling us.” Mini states. “Scrims are for trial and error. Results really don’t matter in scrims yet they make it seem like it is the end of the world.”
Mini then states that her teammate, Fundrae, was criticized for not responding to a DM on time.
In the screenshot, ValKyn asks if Fundrae has a “little brain” and Cherhorowitz states that he’s just tired from school and that she’ll get into contact with him as soon as she can.
There were also instances where the org has attacked players without understanding the situation beforehand.
Mini talks about an instance in the Monkey Bubble Tournament, “Someone donated during the team’s match against Ground Zero to run 6 mercys’ which we had to obliged to”. However, this had the opposite intended effect as Mini goes on to state, “This resulted in the org owners becoming infuriated and upset because they thought we were trolling the matches which led to criticizing the players.”
Furthermore, the owners had created a listing on several discord servers stating that they were without a manager for their OW Contenders team. This set off many red flags to everyone on the team because the owners were looking to replace Cherhorowitz.
“I wanted to protect our manager hence I had messaged the org owner to discuss the issue and expressed that I would leave if our manager left because I just generally did not want to play under the org with half the roster gone and them planning to kick the manager as well.” Mini states in the twitlonger.
The managers tried to play the victim and say that Mini was “blackmailing” them because she expressed her discontent with their decision to replace their manager. Mini then readressed the contracts since they brought up blackmailing. According to a screenshot Mini had posted, ValKyn said that the “contract blackmailing” was just to ensure that the players wouldn’t leave the org.
As of March 24, 2020, all players and staff are no longer affiliated with NoWeaver Esports and are all LFT.