Cloud9’s General Sniper Bungle Could Be the Young Player’s Big Break
General Sniper, a League of Legends streamer and the younger brother of Dignitas top laner Omran “V1per” Shoura, was signed to Cloud9 as a streamer. It seemed to be a breakout moment for the young streamer, who is known for tearing up solo queues with Irelia and Riven, as well as making Challenger at age 13.
However, due to the age restriction placed on players being signed by teams by Riot Games, he was forced to be dropped. Riot has a restriction that says players younger than 15 years old can’t be signed by LCS organizations, whether they are playing actively for the team or just representing them as a streamer.
General Sniper Is Too Young to Be on a LCS Organization
“Turns out the minimum age to join any team is 15 (even as a streamer) so my contract was terminated, very sad news,” General Sniper said in a tweet. “ I’ll be back stronger than ever next year.”
Cloud9, by their own admission, seemed surprised by the rule that they were apparently unaware of, despite having signed General Sniper to a contract and gotten far enough along in the process to put out an announcement.
In a statement to Inven Global, Cloud9 explained: “Riot Games has made C9 aware that because of the talent’s age, he will no longer be able to stream for the org.”
Cloud9 Gets Ridiculed for Their Lack of Due Diligence
Cloud9 was forced to delete the announcement tweet and responded to General Sniper’s tweet with a series of reaction photos showing their sadness. They faced massive ridicule from the League of Legends community due to a lack of due diligence on their part, though most of the reactions were just of feeling bad for General Sniper.
“It’s all good bud keep head up, better opportunities are ahead of ya,” Team Liquid co-CEO Steve Arhancet said on Twitter. “15 will be here before you know it!”
Given his young age and status on the solo queue ladder, General Sniper seemed to be one of the rising stars in North America, a relatively unique phenomenon. This is especially true as North America has not exactly been known for producing star level talent in League of Legends, especially in recent years.
What could have been a boon for Cloud9, picking up a relatively unknown talent and putting him into their talent system, ready to play for C9 someday, has now backfired. The fact that they had to pick up, then drop the player, surely wasn’t lost on talent scouts who are now aware of a few things – his age, when he can be signed, and the fact that Cloud9 was interested in the first place. General Sniper’s own bargaining power probably increased with this move as well, as he can now leverage the attention from stories like these into actual dollar signs.
It also helps that he has his brother V1per as an example to follow, and their careers have actually followed a pretty similar trajectory. Like V1per, Sniper hit Challenger at the young age of 13. Unlike his brother, however, his name was put into the limelight even further by winning a 2v2 Twitch Rivals event with League of Legends streamer Tyler “tyler1” Steinkamp., who is currently signed to T1.
The young phenom is also on a 27 game win streak while duo queuing with his brother V1per this off-season, which set off a number of fan speculations that the pair could be a good duo for any organization to have, especially with the lackluster state of North American League of Legends.
What Does General Sniper’s Status Mean for NA League of Legends?
While General Sniper is too young to compete in the League of Legends Championship Series, the sheer fact that he exists at all is a good sign for the North American scene. THe scene has long struggled to produce meaningful talent, mostly due to the fact that the Amateur scene was absolutely gutted by Riot Games when they announced franchising for the League. Academy teams were thought to replace the tournament systems where teams could compete and qualify for the LCS – they did, but only to a limited extent. There was suddenly a shortage of slots for amateur players, and only the Scouting Grounds where they could prove themselves. So, instead of competing, they were forced to stream and hopefully get their names out there – which generally provided for more publicity around them, but also a sheer lack of competitive experience.
In any case, the fact that General Sniper was discovered at all means that talent scouts are once again looking for people that could fit in on LCS teams eventually. And the fact that they are now looking at young players like General Sniper means that they are apparently searching for the next generation of fresh talent. This can only be a good sign that these searches are at least proving somewhat fruitful, even if it will take years before it starts to bear fruit for any of the LCS teams.
The road back to being a premier region in competitive League of Legends is going to be a long one.