By Jason Parker
March 26, 2020
Professional Overwatch isn’t easy, don’t get us wrong. As a player on a sponsored team in the Overwatch Contenders series, you have to win to keep your spot and keep the sponsors/organization happy. However, we have heard that an organization, in particular, NoWeaver Esports, may have mistreated their Overwatch players and staff.
NoWeaver Esports is an organization based in Australia, and have more than just an Overwatch squad. Having been established in 2018, NoWeaver Esports has teams for Overwatch, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, Apex Legends, Hearthstone, Rocket League, League of Legends, CS:GO, and Smash Ultimate. That is a lot of teams to manage.
Things don’t seem to be going too well behind the scenes for their Overwatch team though. The team that was formerly associated with NoWeaver Esports is: 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 placed 5th-6th in Contenders Australia and had a positive record to boot in tournaments. In the Contenders Seeding tournament, the squad again placed 5th-6th and only barely saw defeat at the hands of Ground Zero Gaming. The team continued to do fairly well, from 3rd-4th in Contenders Trials Week 1, and 2nd place in Contenders Australia, being once again bested by Ground Zero Gaming.
The final tournament the team played for NoWeaver Esports as an Overwatch team was Contenders AU, where they placed 3rd-4th, being defeated by the Sydney Drop Bears. Now, we said “final tournament.” Is this team still with NoWeaver Esports? Nope! As of March 24, all players and staff are no longer affiliated with NoWeaver Esports. But, we’re here to talk about what went wrong. So, here are the problems.
That’s only part of the problem though! Between the organization and the players/staff, there were some major contract disputes. The team’s off-tank, Mini, explained some of this in a TwitLonger. She posted screenshots of a Discord conversation between Lily “Cherhorowitz” Douglas and the CEO of the organization, Thibaut “ValKyn” Vialle.
Regarding contracts, Mini says that “[NoWeaver] wrote a contract for us that was 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.“
Cherhorowitz reportedly tried to defend the team and communicated with ValKyn, explaining that the contract is not satisfactory, and the team would not sign it. 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. That sounds like pretty standard CEO talk, but it’s repugnant either way.
Another serious issue is the organization was only looking to profit off the players and didn’t care about them at all. The players were working far harder than the owners of the team. Sure, the players are responsible for a lot of the work, but you want your org to care about your health, well-being, and help you reach the top. You can’t do it alone, and they can’t make a profit at all without the squad being in top shape.
Mini continued to discuss this as well. “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.”
If that’s not rude enough, Mini pointed out that the players and coaches only receive 10% of the tournament winnings, with the rest going to the org. Owners would also threaten and take all the winnings away if players trialed for other teams without their permission. These are people, orgs, not chattel.
It sounds like the owners of NoWeaver Esports are just shameful in how they treated their Overwatch team. They were heavily criticized during scrims and official matches 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.”
Fundrae was also criticized for not responding to a DM on time. That’s creepy, and also terrible. ValKyn asked if Fundrae has a “little brain” and Cherhorowitz stated that he’s just tired from school, and she’ll get into contact as soon as possible. This isn’t the only time either.
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 This resulted in the org owners becoming infuriated and upset because they thought we were trolling the matches which led to criticizing the players.”
Finally, we get to the end of this laundry list of awful behavior. The owners of NoWeaver Esports created a variety of discord listings on several servers, pointing out that they are without an Overwatch manager and were seeking one. This is disconcerting because they already had Cherhorowitz.
Mini discussed this in a recent TwitLonger. “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.”
Of course, to no one’s surprise by now, the NoWeaver managers tried to play the victim, and claim that Mini was blackmailing them because she was discontent with the decision to replace their already-existing manager.
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. This is repulsive behavior if true. I listed this as “alleged” because we weren’t there, but frankly, I don’t doubt it. It’s unfortunate to see this kind of behavior in esports. However, the team is now looking for a new organization to call home, and we hope they find one that’s a bit more positive.