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With the 2021 Spring season less than three weeks away, Viperio have been ramping up the effort in preparation for week one of the UKEL Season 4. The organisation recently announced its starting five for the split, which included 2 players from last season (๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง JonnyREcco, ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Kazz) and 3 new additions (๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง In4, ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Killakin, ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hasse).

Through the combined hard work of General Manager Alan Reid, supported by Analyst James Woodland and the organisation’s marketing team, Viperio have presented one of the strongest rosters on paper in its history. With 60% of the starting five ranked Master+, the players definitely have the individual skill needed to compete within the UK&I ecosystem.

However, despite this hard work, Viperio face an ever growing problem brought on by their position within the UK&I League of Legends hierarchy. Being at the third tier of the official circuit (UKEL, the Division Two for the UK&I), there are organisations in the tier above who will always see our roster as a potential talent pool.

When Viperio announced its roster, the line-up received a very good reception. So good that UKLC teams that hadn’t been as proactive during the off-season instantly saw a potential way to make up for their delayed approach to fielding a roster. Only a couple of days after our public post, multiple players had already been approached to try out for rosters in the tier above.

Christopher Sword, Managing Director at Viperio said:

“Our staff [Alan & James] have spent hours and hours hunting for talent to build a competitive line-up. As an organisation, we identified players players who were off the radar of most teams, taking a risk to give them an opportunity many others would not be willing to do.”

One of the more beautiful parts of esports for managers is being able to build a team and seeing it grow. With Viperio competing in the lower leagues, Alan Reid and the other UKEL managers are forced to find the talent that managers above wouldn’t consider.

Alan Reid gave some additional insight into life as a UKEL manager:

“The job of managing players at the UKEL level is already very hard. We at Viperio have to be very unique to what we can offer and this usually involves a long term vision. This comes through development, both player ability and marketability, and generally making them a better person. It usually takes split or two to make sure a player has improved.”

While it is the aim for any player to progress to the UKLC level whenever possible, it can be to the determent of the UKEL and its participating teams. By losing just one player, the whole synergy of a team can be damaged. It is generally a hard job to find a replacement which holds the same qualities and skills, meaning a partial rebuild.

Alan Reid also believes that UKLC managers have to do their job and find the best players for their organisation but this should not be at the expense of UKEL teams right before the start of a split. Building a team takes a lot of time and losing a player after weeks and weeks of work can be the difference between winning or losing at this level.

Alan further commented:

“Esports brings the dream of knowing that with hard work and experience, that you can progress within the industry. If people put in hard work just for someone else to be able to take it, that dream fades.”

Until the UK&I league of legends ecosystem matures, providing more opportunities for both organisations and players, the problem will continue to occur. With the community calling out for teams to avoid roster changes every season, problems like those mentioned in this article will need to be addressed to allow teams at all levels to improve.

Christopher Sword

Founder & Managing Director at Viperio.