And with an offlane Tusk Rampage, it was over.
Alliance’s season officially came to a close after losing two straight series in the DPC Western Europe The International 11 qualifiers. They won just one game, against a streamer stack — Team Bald Reborn — that has repeatedly said they don’t even play scrims.
Upsets happen. If this was a one-off event, it would be unfortunate, but understandable. What’s more upsetting for Alliance fans is that for nearly an entire year, the team has seemingly regressed with every roster change. And though they are paid like a tier one team, they have not played like one for months.
CEO Loda: This is Alliance’s ‘worst DPC season’
Even CEO Jonathan “Loda” Berg wasn’t one to mince his words, calling it the “worst DPC season in the history of Alliance.“
Alliance finished seventh in the first Tour, and was subsequently relegated to Division II. There, they only managed second — behind goonsquad — and were promoted. Unfortunately, the team then failed to win a single game, finishing 0-14, and will play another stint in the lower division next year.
What stings even more is what could have been. Goonsquad, a team with three former Alliance players and one of the organization’s legends, Gustav “s4” Magnusson, progressed with a win over Nigma Galaxy. There are still a litany of strong teams waiting in the wings, like Team Liquid, Entity, and Team Secret. But goonsquad feels like they are punching above their weight — and Alliance doesn’t.
What can Alliance do to improve?
Building rosters isn’t easy. It’s not just about putting the biggest names together in a roster — ask TI4 DK, or TI5 Secret.
Recent tournament winners like Team Spirit, OG, and even PSG.LGD have shown that youth is key. All three teams have relied on a mix of experienced leaders along with prodigious talent, usually sourced from tier two teams or pubs. And while some teams could get out to a flying start like OG, it’s more likely that there will be growing pains.
That’s where we look to teams like TSM.FTX and Entity. TSM.FTX has grinded their way to one of the top teams internationally, even though they were supposedly stuck in the two-horse North American region. Entity was a tier two team in Creepwave, slowly improving together until they are now regarded as one of the best teams in Europe.
Sometimes, painful changes have to be made. Team Liquid once made the decision to release Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen one year removed from their The International victory. Evil Geniuses did it right after TI5 with Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling.
In the case of Entity, they endured richer teams chipping away at their roster bit by bit, but still managed to find their pieces slowly but surely.
Alliance is an organization with a storied history. There are few and far between of those in an esport where player names are far more revered. Thousands of fans are counting on them to come back — and patience is already wearing thin.