The Dallas Fuel team is finally parting ways with the controversial player – Felix xQc Lengyel. The decision to suspend Lengyel follows his second suspension from the Overwatch League.
xQc – a Winston specialist playing tank for the Fuel – was suspended for the first time for making homophobic remarks against an opposing player. For the second time, he was suspended for using racially disapproving language against Overwatch League casters and fellow players.
In a statement, Dallas Fuel owner, Mike Rufail, said: “There are few players out there who have achieved as much success in as short a time as Félix has in competitive Overwatch. Ultimately, it was in the best interest of our organization and Félix to part ways before the expiration of his contract.”
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Rufail added that the team wants Felix to succeed, and believes that a bright future lies ahead of him. Rufail thanked Felix for his time and passion for the team. So, the team will progress towards stage two without Felix.
With Felix’s departure, the team now has the opportunity to sign more players during the league transfer window. On the other hand, it is also an opportunity for Felix to pursue other options this season. “Our focus is to field a roster with players that are available to help the Dallas Fuel succeed now and in the future,” Rufail said.
Under the suspension rules, Felix, however, would not be able to play or practice for another team throughout the stage two, notes PC Gamer. So far this season, xQc has played in six of the 16 matches. Felix’s contract was set to expire towards the end of the first Overwatch League season. Last week, xQc himself made it clear that he would likely step down from Dallas Fuel for being suspended.
On Thursday, the Fuel added Min-seok “OGE” Son to its roster. OGE can compete in the Overwatch League starting April 4, when the third stage starts. Esports’ journalist Rod Breslau said the new addition was meant to replace xQc and Timo “Taimou” Kettunen, notes ESPN. Just like xQc, Taimou is also accused of using anti-gay slurs on his stream in January and was also fined $1,000 by the league.
Apart from the players, Houston Outlaws coach Tae-yeong “TaiRong” Kim was also issued a formal warning for an offensive meme on Twitter. Talking about the warning, The League stated that they had accepted TaiRong’s “unprompted public apology” and $1,000 donation to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation.
According to the Overwatch League, these sanctions are meant to ensure a community that welcomes all players and fans. Further, the league also believes that recent sanctions will demonstrate that they are serious towards achieving this objective.
Overwatch League has garnered a huge fan base in a short time. The league has evolved immensely from the first phase with teams now showing deeper know-how of the weaknesses of the other teams. The best teams are looking to benefit from the smallest but crucial strategies and personality quirks of the opponents, and this is a treat for the fans.
This trend of picking a weakness of others is a common strategy now in franchised sports. The hints were evident during season one with teams such as Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior making preparations for each other, notes Kotaku. With season two, the teams have pushed their performance to a completely new level by planning for exact situations, making it even more challenging for the fans to find out the best team.
As of now, the league is only available to be watched live at one stadium – the Blizzard Arena in LA. It has a capacity of about 1000 and boasts of an exciting setup where fans can watch their favorite teams. To enhance the viewing experience, the stadium uses clever features. Fans gathering at the stadium are not only an encouragement for the sponsors, but for the teams as well.
Initially, not many fans had decided on their favorite teams, but as the league progressed, there have been a dedicated group of gamers who side with their team. Blizzard, on the other hand, offers exactly what fans want in terms of viewing experience. Going forward, the league will need to be active in Europe and Asia if they want to continue the momentum.