No Chinese organization is fielding an Artifact roster anymore, VPEsports has learned. Even established, hallmark brands in the scene have abandoned Valve’s card game, following what could be described as a disastrous launch of the title.
The Chinese scene was the first one to offer contracts to players on a larger scale, compared to the West. In December, Douyu and Varena hosted the Varena Artifact League (VAL), a tournament which was to be the scouting ground for pro players. The best players in the tournament were to be offered contracts with hallmark orgs in the scene like EHOME, Keen Gaming, LGD Gaming, Newbee, OMG, Rogue Warrios and Vici Gaming.
Some Chinese teams took a more serious interest in Artifact. Keen Gaming, for example, had one of the strongest rosters in the region, fielding the likes of Jason “Jasonzhou” Zhou and Zhang “Doudou” Xiaoyu. Newbee had a major presence in the scene too, with Hearthstone veteran Shan “MieGod” Yang headlining their line-up.
Many other teams, however, barely even registered their involvement in the Artifact scene, including major brands like Royal Never Give Up and LGD Gaming. By last account, orgs which had presence in Artifact or intended to make a move on it, included:
- Keen Gaming
- LGD Gaming
- Oh My God
- Rogue Warriors
- Vici Gaming
- Royal Never Give Up
- Invictus Gaming
- Weibo eSports
On Sunday, a WeChat screenshot made it to /r/artifact, hinting that most of the Chinese teams have disbanded their Artifact rosters. Subsequent information has since confirmed that there isn’t a single team operating Artifact at present time, including the most involved teams like Keen Gaming and Weibo eSports.
The mass abandonment of Artifact coincides with some western teams like Virtus.pro also decreasing their involvement in the game. Artifact’s esports scene itself is largely lacking and there hasn’t been a “major” tournament for almost two months now, not since the $10,000 OGA PIT Series.
Artifact itself is getting worse every week. On Saturday, news broke that Artifact game designer Richard Garfield is no longer working with Valve, ending a four-year contract. The last time the game peaked above 1,000 players was Feb. 16, almost a month ago and it’s been almost three months since the game’s official Twitter has said anything.
The promised $1M Artifact tournament is also likely cancelled, though there’s no official (or unofficial) info on the matter. The event was originally planned for Q1, but the quarter is almost done and there hasn’t been a single piece of information.