Spongey returns in stacked ESEA Advanced team
After eight month away from competition, Gabe "Spongey" Greiner has returned to the fold with an impressive squad of ECL veterans set to play in ESEA Advanced. The lineup, currently named WITHOUTWARNING, consists of Spongey alongside former Bad News Bears player Saad "Pluto" Siraj, David "J0LZ" Jolin, Kevin "consti" Yi, and Andrew "Tender" Cote, with the latter trio exiting their respective ESL Challenger League lineups to join this team.
The emergence of this Advanced "superteam" has had a number of knock-on effects in ESL Challenger League, with Vendetta being the most acutely affected. With consti and Tender leaving to join WITHOUTWARNING, Vendetta only have two players from Season 44, putting their ECL slot in jeopardy. As a result, unless Silas "silas" Marrufo returns from his competitive break, Danny "cxzi" Strzelczyk and Connor "chop" Sullivan will need to find a new roster to call home for Season 45.
cxzi told Dust2.us that the team had expected consti to leave but were unaware of Tender's intentions to join WITHOUTWARNING. With that being the new reality, cxzi says Vendetta are currently evaluating their options but do not have a plan currently in place.
Regarding the decision to leave so suddenly, consti told Dust2.us that himself and Tender made the decision to leave Vendetta due to an acute desire to play with Pluto once again. Unfortunately, Pluto's return to Vendetta was ruled out due to Rule 2.21 in the ESL Pro Tour Roster Restrictions, which prevents a player from returning to a former team within a 120 day window. As Pluto's short-lived tenure on ATK was only 59 days ago, it required Tender and consti to find a new home if they wanted to play alongside Pluto once again.
Fortunately for them, WITHOUTWARNING received a direct invite to ESEA Advanced Season 45, saving the squad from having to take over another team's spot or play in ESEA Open.
The other major change in ECL WITHOUTWARNING has precipitated is that Strife have lost J0LZ, their longest serving member. J0LZ told Dust2.us that he had been considering an exit from Strife for some time, as evidenced by the team fielding Anthony "CLASIA" Kearney in his place in the recent ESEA Cash Cup Circuit event. The formation of WITHOUTWARNING set the stage for him to peel the proverbial Band-Aid earlier than expected. As such, Strife will now need to commit to finding a replacement for the French Canadian veteran.
One interesting knock-on effect for Strife is the potential future relationship with the organization as J0LZ's brother, Mathieu Jolin, is a founder and backer of the team. Despite this relationship, a Strife representative told Dust2.us that they will continue to support their current team.
Turning the attention back to WITHOUTWARNING, as previously mentioned, this squad are positioned to be a dominant force in ESEA Advanced Season 45 and will almost certainly claim a place in ECL Season 46 if they keep their current formation.
Gabe "Spongey" Greiner
Saad "Pluto" Siraj
Kevin "consti" Yi
Andrew "Tender" Cote
David "J0LZ" Jolin
ESEA Advanced Season 45 is set to begin on April 10th.