TSM and Immortals Are the First Two To Exit NACL After Controversial Rule Change

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TSM and Immortals Are the First Two To Exit NACL After Controversial Rule Change

With the rule requiring LCS organizations to field an NACL roster, teams are starting to exit the league.

Only five days ago, last week Friday, Riot and LCS announced that they were removing the requirement for LCS organizations to participate in the North American Challengers League. It didn’t take long for the orgs to start dropping their Challengers rosters, and the first two to abandon the ship are TSM and Immortals.

The rule change had come as a shock to many, including the LCS Players Association (LCSPA) who were promised by the LCS that no changes would be made before the 2024 Season, according to a statement by LCSPA Executive Director Phillip Aram.

LCSPA put out a press release after the LCS announcement appealing to fans and the orgs to keep the NACL alive and help fight the decision, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen as all ten teams voted in favor of removing the requirement.

Reports had already come out last week that TSM dropped their NACL roster, which was competing without a supporting staff during the Spring Split. The report was confirmed by Riot’s Global Contract Database (GCD) and by LCSPA.

Earlier today, LCSPA tweeted that the second team to release their NACL squad, an action the Association described as “abandoning,” was Immortals. While Immortals still have two NACL players on their roster according to GCD, Kadir “Fleshy” Kemiksiz and Michael “Wixxi” Fernandez, both players put out tweets confirming the organization was pulling out and they are now free agents.

LCSPA once again appealed to the remaining eight LCS orgs in their statement, asking “Will any of you commit to staying in the NACL?” The prospects seem tough for the Challengers League, as Aram predicted in an interview with Travis Gafford that only three teams would keep their NACL rosters for the Summer Split.

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With the news of the first two teams’ exit, the call for an LCS player strike started to get louder among the fans online. A player strike is an option that LCSPA is considering, according to Aram, it might not be as easy as some fans think. Since LSCPA is not a players union, the members of the association don’t have the same protections a union member would have when it comes to withholding their labor during a negotiation. While there might not be a retaliation from Riot, LCS or the orgs toward players due to a strike, it is a risk that many 20-something-year-old players might not want to take. But considering how slow Riot is in general when it comes to walking back from what they would consider mistakes, a player strike might be the last resort for LCSPA.

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TSM and Immortals Are the First Two To Exit NACL After Controversial Rule Change
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.