Team Spirit, the current International champions, have made a request to ESL to revoke Azure Ray’s spot in the upcoming ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 tournament. The event is scheduled to begin on December 11 and features 12 teams competing for a prize pool of $1 million.
While Team Spirit has decided to withdraw from the tournament, they are urging organizers to remove Azure Ray from the competition. The reasons behind this request are not yet clear, but it is likely that Team Spirit has valid concerns that they believe warrant the removal of Azure Ray from the tournament.
Why Team Spirit Want Azure Ray Kicked Out of ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023?
Team Spirit’s manager, Dmitry “Korb3n” Belov, has strongly opposed Azure Ray’s retention of the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 invitation despite making three player changes. Belov emphasized via his Telegram channel that, according to the rules, Azure Ray’s roster moves should lead to the team’s disqualification.
Belov stated that the rules do not allow three stand-ins and he is waiting for ESL to officially announce Azure Ray’s disqualification from the Malaysian tournament. He wrote on Telegram, “Don’t tell me these are not stand-ins but the new roster players. The current reality is, without transfer windows, I can change the roster every two weeks, officially. And I don’t see ESL’s transfer windows in the rules, only fines for stand-ins.”
Aldar “Jamba” Dzhambinov, who formerly managed 9Pandas, sided with Spirit’s complaint but expressed skepticism, implying that Azure Ray might not face any consequences. He stated that sometimes the official invitation letter information stands above the rules, and teams can assemble new lineups from scratch.
It is unclear whether Azure Ray will face disqualification or not, but Team Spirit’s request has gained attention in the Dota 2 community. The situation highlights the importance of clear rules and regulations in esports tournaments to ensure fair play and competition.
Azure Ray’s Major Roster Overhaul Post-TI12: What Does The ESL Rulebook Say?
After the departure of Xu “fy” Linsen, Lu “Somnus” Yao, and Yang “Chalice” Shenyi, Azure Ray brought in Zhao “XinQ” Zixing, Guo “Xm” Hongcheng and Lin “Xxs” Jing. However, according to the ESL rulebook, such a massive squad overhaul is only allowed under certain circumstances.
The rulebook states that if a license holder loses over 40% of their starting lineup, the administration can review the license. If the license holder cannot convince ESL about their ability to continue in the event on a similar level of play, the license may be withdrawn. This scenario only applies after invites have been issued and accepted for a given event. Otherwise, the rules governing the world rankings apply with regards to license assignment.
It is unclear whether Azure Ray had to go through a review process with the administration or if they were able to continue with the new roster without issue. However, it is evident that the organization took a significant risk by replacing three of their star players, and their performance in future tournaments will determine if the overhaul was worth it.