T1 Recruits Another iBUYPOWER CSGO Pro for Valorant Roster
It sounds like SK T1 (SK Telecom) is courting controversy and their lineup for their Valorant roster. Previously, Keven “AZK” Lariviere and Braxton “Swag” Pierce, formerly of iBUYPOWER’s team were picked up. The two were caught in a match-fixing scandal in 2014, in which six players were ultimately banned.
However, the latest iBUYPOWER team member to get signed to T1’s squad, Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham was not banned in the match-fixing incident. AZK and Swag, however, were definitely in the mix of that controversy.
It’s interesting to see the two banned players get another chance at pro player glory. While Skadoodle had done nothing wrong, his name will always be attached to the scandalous iBUYPOWERTEAM. Will they mess it up or have they learned their lesson?
A Chance at Redemption
All six of the banned iBUYPOWER players managed to stay in the esports scene, despite being involved in match-fixing. Swag, for example, was an analyst for Cloud9 and participated in a few unofficial tournaments (such as DreamHack). We can imagine there are quite a few fans excited to see the band back together to play once more.
There was a time when iBUYPOWER could be seen as the strongest CSGO team in North America, so the news of their match-fixing hit the scene hard. Perhaps T1 doesn’t feel they were complicit, or maybe they have made amends. If they manage to cheat or wind up in shady deals again, it could very well ruin their career forever. So, it’s a bold strategy with T1 recruiting these three to their Valorant roster.
Out of the iBP squad, only Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham was not banned, since he didn’t accept any of the ill-gotten gains. So, what exactly happened? The long and the short, iBP was heavily favored to win against NetCodeGuides back in August 2014. Instead, they were crushed, 16-4.
It was the strategies that iBUYPOWER employed that tipped people off. Trying knife kills at weird times, and their strategies constantly fell apart. Some blamed “travel issues,” as they had recently played at ESL One Cologne 2014, and weren’t familiar with the map.
The next day, Dot Esports received a tip of screenshots of a conversation with ShahZam before the game. The fix was in and iBP was supposed to lose. Khan never revealed who was behind the match-fixing, though. Later, it came out that Duc “cud” Pham (player, skins bettor, trader) put in a serious bet. They gained a total of $10,738.26 from match-fixing, which is an incredible amount.
We don’t know how Skadoodle feels about his squad exploding thanks to this cheating, but if they can work together in Valorant, it might be a serious move in the right direction. I don’t think they should have been picked up at all. I wouldn’t trust someone guilty of match-fixing to make amends and do things right, but I’m a cynic. I’m sure the fans are excited, though.
If Swag, Skadoodle and AZK can work together with their new team and play right, T1’s Valorant roster could be formidable, if not unstoppable in the West.