Banner image: Ubisoft/Joao Ferreira
According to a release from the organization, Spacestation Gaming is parting with long-time flank-watch, current hard-breach, and SI 2020 champion Javier "Thinkingnade" Escamilla.
The move comes after a quarterfinal run at the Mexico Major. Spacestation won their group, but fell to eventual finalist Team Empire by a 2-0 scoreline.
“We weren’t [initially] looking to make a move,” said Justin “Lycan” Woods in a Discord call with SiegeGG.
The team’s contracts were up in August, and they were planning on re-signing with Spacestation, which they all planned to do at the same time before the Major. According to Lycan, Thinkingnade waited until during the Mexico Major to sign his.
During a conversation between Thinkingnade and Lycan, after the contract timing was revealed internally, Thinkingnade allegedly revealed that he didn’t know how he felt about continuing playing due to personal performance on the hard breach role, but the Mexico Major had reignited his competitive fire, and he stated that he wanted to continue.
The decision to make this move ultimately came down to Spacestation’s recent experience with Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski’s retirement, according to Lycan. Thinkingnade’s “hiccup of commitment” was a little too close for comfort for the roster.
Canadian initially retired after the February transfer window on Mar. 13, putting Spacestation in a situation where it was forced to play with its analyst, Luke Slota, as a stand-in. Spacestation impressed Canadian back into service at the Six Invitational 2021 due to some passport issues with Luke, where he said he regained his fire to play.
Canadian officially returned to the competitive scene on July 7, causing a quickly-squashed public spat between him and his former teammates who felt slighted by the tough situation he had put them in during March, only to return a handful of months later. He then announced that he signed a two-year contract with DarkZero Esports as a player today, Sept. 1.
“For us, this is kind of a soft spot right now,” Lycan said about their previous situation. “...The guys all decided that because of what happened with Troy, that we should make a move.”
Lycan elaborated, saying that it was unfair to all involved if they were having to second-guess Thinkingnade after every minor frustration. The team took a vote following the revelation, and it was unanimous; they didn’t want to deal with that situation again, but there was really only one option the team would take as a replacement.
Thinkingnade confirmed this series of events, and said in a Twitter DM to SiegeGG that he’ll be retiring from the competitive aspect of the game and “would only be willing to try streaming or be a sub.”.
“I was hesitant to sign the new contract because my bad performance made it hard for me to have fun playing the game and enjoy competing,” Thinkingnade said. “And on top of that, for me, it feels unfair to drag my teammates down,” he said of his performance.
The NAL does not have a public date set to return to action.