The French rebuild of LDLC failed to gain entry to Contenders Season Zero, falling to ESPORATI one round away from qualification. The disappointing finish, given the bracket placed before them, was the last straw for a team already suffering internal conflicts. LDLC and the players have decided to not renew their contracts which were due to expire at the end of June, making the nuts and bolts of the Francophone roster free agents for hire.

LDLC’s long-term captain KabaL reformed the team with a majority-French roster after bidding goodbye to Mete, Meza, and the rest in March. The core of that former European LDLC roster qualified for Contenders Season One under Bazooka Puppiez, but the French version had far less success over their time together.

The team was composed of four Sydioda players with support KabaL and flex DPS NokSs, though NokSs was replaced by Sydioda’s Genji WoRsS shortly into the lifespan of the team. It made LDLC almost a rebrand of the old Sydioda side but with former Ana/Mercy baud on flex to make room for KabaL.

According to KabaL, the team tried two days of pure dive towards the end of March when it was clear the meta was shifting but LDLC struggled with the composition. Deeply ingrained habits of listening to Pipou’s Lucio calls and focus, built from the tank metas, had left them with a quiet tank and Genji unsuited to directing the team. It gave LDLC a poor dive offense and crippled their confidence.

Instead, moving into Gamers Assembly 2017, LDLC formed a new plan. They pioneered a Reinhardt, D.Va, and McCree composition with Lucio and Zenyatta support, adding in a Genji or Tracer as required. Their success was swiftly cut short as teams figured out a strong counter in Sombra and added it to their dive, knocking LDLC out of DreamHack Tours as they were unable to adapt.

KabaL recalls that it was after DreamHack Tours when Pipou decided to force the LDLC train back on track with the meta. The team was on board at first but quickly became disillusioned after the inevitable early losses rolled in. The tension this caused between those in favour of following the meta and those against ripped apart the team atmosphere, despite the players remaining solid friends outside of the game.

It cued a carousel of roster shuffles as the majority of the team voted to remove Pipou, then tried to add him back onto tank and remove Winston chubz, then LDLC decided to put baud back on Zen/Ana and recruit a new French flex with KabaL on the bench.

“I accepted this solution because if not, the team probably splits before Contenders and we can't miss an important tournament like this,” said KabaL, “especially for LDLC and our career. LDLC has given so many support for us, we need to do this tournament, give our best.”

LDLC took OURS2RUE, a vocal French flex from Death eSport, for Contenders and scrimmed with him before the tournament. “After three days on scrims, the working ambience and results were worst than before,” KabaL continued. “Some players wanted to kick Pipou again and put me back on Lucio.”

LDLC’s management had booked a bootcamp for the team to prepare for Contenders and play their games together, hopefully ensuring a strong result. Despite the arrangements already in place and paid for, two players were disenchanted and did not want to attend. KabaL, as an older player who had been moved to assistant coach for the team, he was determined to continue and perform. “I was mega furious because we are pro players, it is work, it's a duty and not a fucking game. We have to behave like professionals and not egoist kids.”

Despite the added motivation, the bootcamp, and a break to avoid tensions building up, LDLC fell to ESPORATI in the round before qualification. It sealed the deal for the team and they agreed to disband.

Other than KabaL, who will join LDLC as staff, the players themselves are strong free agents in a French scene brimming with potential. With LDLC, IceBlockGG, and GamersOrigin all outside of Contenders Season One, with only the latter qualifying for Season Zero groups, perhaps another French shuffle is on the cards.

The former LDLC Contenders team was:

  • Hugo "WoRsS" Iwonttellu (DPS)
  • Jeremy "Hqrdest" Danton (DPS)
  • Romain ”OURS2RUE” Clem (Flex)
  • Simon "Chubz" Vullo (Tank)
  • Julien "baud" Robert (Support)
  • Richard "PiPou" Buscemi (Support)
  • Anthony "ythnk" Danly (Coach)
  • Guillaume "KabaL" Ettori (Assistant Coach)