After months of silence from Into The Breach’s side about their Pipeline initiative, they finally reveal their first player, James “bevve” Slinn.
bevve has most recently won the UKIC CeX Summer Invitational with ‘JACK3D’ and EPIC.LAN 39 with ‘The Neighbours.’ The two-time LAN winner who has competed in ECL with Into the Win will now have a home within the ITB Pipeline.
There have been many rumours flying around about the Pipeline, with some in the scene reacting negatively to the scheme, or not fully understanding it. Bevve talks about both topics and how ITB elevates the stress from him as a player within this interview.
Congratulations on joining the ITB Pipeline, do you want to break down first what this means?
It is a little bit complicated to put it shortly. The goal of ITB is to support the grassroots of UKCS. That would be offering to join their main team at Bootcamp, being coached as well, and then giving me a salary which is really important. We have seen even with Ex-Viperio they were out of org for a really long time under the name FAMBIT and you are just not getting paid, look at Ex-Coalesce right now. For ITB to be able to fund a player it removes a headache for me. ITB’s goal right now is to make it as simple and as easy for a player to just focus on the game and to grow into who they believe they can be.
You mention that you will be potentially bootcamping with them, and coached by them. Are you going to have a close relationship with the main team? And when you say boot camping what does this entail?
I haven’t had an in-depth conversation with either the coach or the manager about this, all I know is that I have been invited to go out to bootcamps with them. Go check out the professional environment, and the way they may tackle everyday issues we have as CS players, how they set up their game. For me, I would love to do it, but as the main team ‘would I want this academy player to sit in on all of our practices’, maybe that can become a bit too much. I just need to be as respectful as possible to the main team’s wishes, if they are happy to have me there, I am more than happy to be with them.
Do you feel like this is an avenue to progress towards the main team?
I think that is ultimately the goal of every academy team. We see it all over the block. Look at Spirit Academy, they have just brought up three young guys. Fnatic Academy [Rising] had Volt who went to ITB and is now GamerLegion. Academy teams are breeding grounds for the next generations. I think ITB are seeing that and want to replicate it in some sort. I think to give it six months to one year, obviously, there will be a new game so if it was GO [Global Offensive] I would be ready in that timespan, but even with CS2 it could be significantly shorter or longer, I don’t know with the game. Overall I would like to play at their main team level within the contract link that I have signed.
An interesting thing that has been flying around is the inability to play for other teams while under the contract. Can you run me through what you are allowed to do while under this contract?
I have gotten this question a lot since I signed, people saying “Why have you signed, you are just locked, you cannot even play.” That is just false in a short way. UK teams and EU teams can have me on a “loan” deal, and ITB will still be paying my salary. It basically frees up resources on the organisation I sign for. I won’t give any names, but say I sign to Endpoint, instead of having me on their payroll, ITB will be paying my salary. Into The Breach has basically just taken away pressure on these smaller organisations, they can also be able to offer more. If you are salarying five players at “x” amount, things such as attending LANs, bootcamps, and proper content, that stuff can get neglected because all of your money has gone towards players’ salaries. I think this is a really good step in the right direction.
You have had a bit of a tumultuous time in the last year, not being able to find a set roster. Do you feel like joining ITB now increases your stock, and is the best thing you could do right now?
I think for me right now it is. I think especially with CS2 on the horizon there is so much unknown. I don’t think many teams are going to make roster changes within two or three months from the release because it is just too early on in the game. I have gotten unlucky, some of it is self-inflicted at the end of the day. For me it is the best thing to do, I am tied to now ITB for an extended period of time, and they are going to have my full concentration, I think it is perfect for me.
Is there ever a world where the ITB Pipeline becomes a full-fledged academy team?
Alongside everyone else, we have had whispers on who else they want to pick up, or who else they have picked up. Honestly, I am not sure if it ever becomes a true academy team, if it does, I am ready to play for it. It is really just that simple, I am with Into The Breach, I want to be with them for the next six months to the year at least, and I want to be here for a long time, in esports terms. Whatever they ask for me to play, I will play with it. If they chuck me with four Gold Novas I guess I will have to play with them, I don’t really care. If that is what I have to do to prove to everyone so be it.
What is the future then for the ITB Pipeline that you might have no mentioned?
I think I have covered most things pretty well. Of course, with the whole loan thing if they do sign more players I can see it being quite a revolving door. A lot of teams especially internationally, if you are a part of ITB, you are connected to a major organisation. You get a lot of eyes on you, I wouldn’t be surprised if they announce “x” player tomorrow, and “x” player a week later getting loaned out.
We welcome our first ITB Pipeline Player, no other than @bevvexyz.
We’ll be introducing more players within this pipeline shortly, alongside an article with @ukcsgo on what this entails.
— ITB SHUFFLE (@ITBesports) September 7, 2023