Blizzard's Overwatch League's latest controversy has to do with a Chinese Contenders team and the way an attempted signing of one of their players to Toronto Defiant allegedly went south after significant interference. There has been no official comment from Blizzard yet, but Contenders team Lucky Future is alleging that Toronto Defiant behaved fraudulently by telling one of the team's top players that they had been signed when their contract was invalid.
Overwatch Contenders team Lucky Future is alleging some serious misconduct on the part of Overwatch League team Toronto Defiant, and also misconduct on Blizzard's part. The team itself already has a bit of a reputation, as Lucky Future has clashed publicly with another Academy team in the past and gotten a rap on the wrist from Blizzard for its transgressions. However, its latest Weibo post has accused Blizzard employees specifically by name when it comes to Contenders China management issues, alongside the bone that it has to pick with Defiant.
Lucky Future has accused Toronto Defiant of fraudulent conduct in regard to the way the team handled the contract of a player named Lucid in a statement made on Weibo and translated by a Medium user named sgbros1. Essentially, an Overwatch Contenders team in Lucky Future alleged that Toronto had told Lucid he had been officially signed by them, when in reality, the contract was never inked, making it invalid. Lucky Future has also accused Blizzard of obstructing the team's players from getting Overwatch League spots by spreading misinformation, telling those teams that Lucky Future did not have any available players when they did. That's a big deal, because the Overwatch League is like the MLB of Overwatch, while Contenders is kind of like a farm team system - getting to the OWL means a pay and exposure increase, and strengthens the Contenders team's reputation for breeding successful talent.
It's a huge mess, and it gets worse: a new follow-up has implied that Lucky Future itself is the reason Lucid was badly mishandled. Check out the Twitter thread here:
Regarding Lucky Future's allegations against the Toronto Defiant, league sources claim the Chinese org delayed the player signing process themselves by requesting a transfer sum in violation of League rules. Report will go up today. https://t.co/RU1bttqlc9— dave (@benchmobdc) March 26, 2019
Apparently, Lucky Future may have wanted a transfer sum for Lucid, which would go against OWL rules. The league sources might actually be Blizzard itself, which would have a vested interest in setting the record straight after Lucky Future made accusations against Blizzard officials in its statement. Of all of the accusations being thrown out by all three parties, the ones against Blizzard could end up the most damning, as the company could be running interference on roster pickups and signings.
If the allegations are true, it raises the question of how players on Contenders teams like Lucky Future can make it into the Overwatch League proper. It's a messy situation made even more difficult by needing to be translated back and forth between the parties involved, but the Overwatch esports scene will be watching attentively as this story continues to unfold.