The year 2016 started off on a good note for Indian Dota. Big Lans, big prizepools and some even bigger performances by some of the teams raised the hopes of Indian Dota fans who have waited for a long time to see an Indian team do well internationally. It was Beyond Infinity initially who made all the buzz, making it to the finals of the TI6 SEA Open Qualifers where they lost out to eventual table toppers TNC Gaming who ended up in a very respectable 7th-8th spot at TI6. But that would be the greatest height that the team would attain, and although they became a more noticed team in the SEA circuit the level of performance wasn’t really quite the same.
Meanwhile in the Indian scene, rival team Invisible Wings were on the rise. After losing out to BI multiple times in tournaments like the Challenger Cup and Havoked, IW were more or less written off by most. BI went on to take part in Tier 2 SEA competitions and Open Qualifiers for Manila Majors but their performance was pretty lackluster. Realizing that something needed to be changed for an Indian team to go all the way, a major roster shuffle was unveiled in early September, wherein a super team emerged from the two rosters. Raunak “Crowley” Sen who is more or less the face of Indian Dota 2 moved to the new squad alongside IW teammate Darshan “A35” Bata while BI’s BlizzarD, Swifty and No_Chanc3 all too made the cut. Ketan “Merciless” Goyal also made it as the 6th member/standin/substitute while Battosai, Prophecy, Archmage were let go and Bari “ZeDisBugg” Anwar chose to take the retirement path.
With BI and IW still having to play out some remaining tournaments with their old rosters, IW players went on a break with internal issues arising in the team. But BI looked worse for the wear as IW still managed to take two big consecutive LANS (TE Cup and Dew Arena) as both rosters finally dissolved into Entity Esports. Fast forward to November 2016 and Entity’s performance had been hugely underwhelming. They seemed out of shape in the Boston Major Open Qualifiers but their performance could be attributed to the fact that the team was still in its nascent stages. But disappointing performances in online SEA tournaments like the 2 editions of PD Cup made many fans questions whether it really was the right move to make a super team or not. When the boys finally made it to the ASUS ROG Masters event in Kuala Lumpur, the community was ecstatic. With big names like Execration, Fnatic and Team Secret in the tournament all eyes were on Entity to make their mark. Entity managed to make it out of the group stages after taking out unknowns MAX.X but when faced with tougher opposition like Fnatic and Execration they seemed to crumble.
With no official statement from Crowley or the Entity management, we get news that Raunak has been “kicked” from the team. An article is published on Talkesport and speaks about how Crowley is out of the team. While nothing is confirmed to the absolute degree, words like ‘planning to’ and ‘sources close to the team’ are used. While much of it is speculation a quote from the manager of Entity, Sid Joshi does confirm that Crowley has been removed from the roster.
Their manager's statement was made on his personal social media for reasons best known to them and out of respect for their privacy we will not publish the same here. However this seems contradictory considering that he has already given a quote to both Talkesports and Asidcast, both of whom were already live with the news before the organisation or player in question made official announcements themselves. Also, why as an organization you would not make a statement is beyond anyone. So basically it boils down to this, information gets leaked from Entity’s management/players. It reaches media houses like Talkesports and AFK (yes we knew about the move but decided to wait for official statements from both parties before writing anything). Entity management knows that this has happened but they still choose to stay quiet on the matter. While officially they are silent on the matter, the manager makes a very specific statement that Crowley has been kicked and not chosen to go of his own accord. There still is no official word from Entity that the change has happened. The only two sources of information are the 2 articles with the quotes from Sid Joshi.
Eventually Raunak makes a statement that he won’t be playing with the roster anymore and he is drafting his side of the story. This was on 17th November. 3 days pass. Speculation is ripe that Crowley has been ‘kicked’ due to his misconduct and attitude. Just like food kept out in the open, the story begins to rot. Words are misconstrued, meanings are changed, articles are edited and the people who are involved are portrayed wrongly.
Raunak finally makes a statement. To sum it up, he speaks about how misconduct and attitude were just reasons given to the public and to him to cover up the fact that his teammates simply didn’t want to play with him anymore. He says that there is no legitimate reason to call his attitude poor and makes a case that it is very unfair and untrue. He says that while his performance wasn’t up to the mark it is extremely unjust to single him out as it was the entire team and not particularly him who had a poor showing. He also makes the very valid point (and it is something we are emphasizing as well) about how the situation was handled poorly by the Entity Esports and its personnel.
So I spoke to both parties and while a lot of the information is sensitive and can’t be revealed here is what I could make out of it.
1. Raunak believes that misconduct and attitude are just reasons given to him because they didn’t have any legitimate justification to remove him while Sid says that they are indeed the reasons and he has proofs of it as well but chooses not to release it.
2. The Entity organization has failed in two ways. First is that someone within the organization is leaking sensitive information and that’s obviously a big issue. Secondly, the fact that they still haven’t made an official statement is very ridiculous to say the least. They claim that they do not want to get into a war of words and such, but if the manager has already made the statement “He is not planning to leave. He was removed for misconduct. He was kicked.” (source:Asidcast) then it seems very contradictory.
Honestly, the best thing to do would be to make a simple non controversial statement on the Entity page informing the fans of the page rather than using other platforms to make these claims. The fact that everyone came to know of the change via other news portals and not the official Entity page is very sad. If you are aiming to be a professional organization then social media is basically the A, B, C of interacting with your fans!
3. Raunak claims that he was told that he would be benched for the ESL One Genting Qualifiers and instead he chose to part ways with the team. This happened before they went to Kuala Lumpur. So all that was left for Entity was to make a simple statement after they returned and they would be done. However Entity claims that it was Crowley’s actions at the ROG Masters that led to the final decision of him being kicked.
4. Entity claims that they don’t want to sour any relations with members of the community and since they have big plans with their team (sorry can’t reveal anything) they chose to stay quiet on the matter. Also since the legality and contracts of Entity as a team haven’t been formalized yet it wasn’t so clear cut and the management chose to stay silent for the most part. But the issue with that is, either you take a stand and make an official statement or you don’t speak to anyone about it and choose to not go public. But the fact that they did make public statements yet claim that they do not want to add fuel to the fire seems incoherent.
5. Both parties agree that all was not well in the Entity camp, but while Raunak maintains that he chose to leave after having been asked to sit out of the ESL One Genting quals, Entity want to make it very clear that they kicked Raunak due to his behaviour outside the game.
With only Entity left to confirm the split, it is all but certain. Both IW and BI are playing as separate teams in the ESL India Premiership Masters so things are bound to get tense. From what we understand, IW’s ex carry player who currently plays for A5 - Puneet “Prophecy” Sangolekar, won’t be coming to the Masters as he has prior commitments. That should be the last time those 2 squads face off. If rumours are to be believed, there are some organizational and management level changes incoming for Entity Esports but we will have to wait on official statements from owners Kanishka Singh and Neerav Rukhana before jumping to any conclusions.
Meanwhile Entity will switch back to a 5 man system with Ketan making a permanent move back to the roster while Swifty moves back to mid. Raunak is currently on a break till the Boston Majors are over and the rosters are unlocked and hopes that he can play for a SEA team as he doesn’t want to limit himself to India.
- Interacting with your fans and supporters is key. I have followed Entity’s social media for a while a now and honestly there is a lot more they could do with it. Just acquiring players isn’t going to cut it, it takes more to build a brand.
- Going at it in public will never be beneficial to anyone. As professionals, no matter what the situation, you have to put on a different face when facing the public. If you can’t then you just don’t cut it.
- Sources and leaks are imperative when covering stories but so is the legitimacy of the source and the origin point of the information. Get both sides of the story, speak to people, check your facts, don’t just blindly follow.