Look, my experience with playing games competitively is minimal, but the one thing I do know is that losing can feel real bad. Thankfully, I only have a handful of friends and strangers to witness my poor performances. But when you're a newly-formed team under a hugely popular streamer on a seven-loss streak in a major Valorant tournament, I'm sure those Ls hit a hell of a lot harder.
That's the problem Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang has found himself in. The OfflineTV member decided to get into esports earlier this year, rounding up a team of pro Valorant players to tackle the game's Challengers 2023 tournament under the moniker DSG. It's a pretty strong team, too—a large chunk of the roster came from playing competitive CS:GO, with recent additions like Jacob "yay" Whiteaker coming from huge organisations like OpTic Gaming and Cloud9.
The team got off to a great start, skating through open qualifiers by winning all three of its games. It won a couple of games during the tournament's first split, but then a curse seems to have befallen the team. It's failed to win a single game since the beginning of March, losing seven games in a row. DSG is yet to secure a single win in the tournament's second split and is teetering on the edge of relegation with two games to go.
Despite a motivational message and a ton of backing, the losses have continued to hit the team hard. In a surprisingly transparent act for the industry, Disguised Toast opened up about the struggles of pulling together a team and apologised for the recent performance. "Sorry to all the DSG fans for our performances recently. Esports have definitely been one of the more challenging experiences I've faced in my career." he tweeted on May 4. "I've always been pretty confident in my content but for the first time in a long while—I have been having a lot of doubts about my decision making."
sorry to all the DSG fans for our performances recentlyesports have definitely been one of the more challenging experiences i've faced in my careerive always been pretty confident in my content but for the first time in a long while - i have been having a lot of doubts about…May 4, 2023
The streamer called his responsibilities as an organisation owner "scary," adding "I never had any competitive FPS experience and now I need to make choices over the livelihoods of these young players who are trying to make a living pursuing their aspirations." He cited the amount of attention on him and his team thanks to his popularity as a source of pressure, saying it "builds and builds on the players" with each loss.
Despite that, Disguised Toast clarified: "I do not regret getting into the space. I'm very proud of what we have done in the short time we've been here and still am excited for the future."
It's genuinely a refreshing take—I haven't always loved how volatile the esports space can be both for players and organisations trying to get off the ground. The openness has been well received by fans and fellow competitors alike. Former Rainbow Six Siege pro Stigs called esports "such a hard field to navigate," adding "You may have all the right components to a team and still not garner the desired results. This is what esports is, this is why it's such a hard and uncertain profession."
Global Esports founder Rushindra Sinha replied: "You are not alone, some of the biggest and best esports orgs face these challenges as well. You're in a much better position than most and you are adapting and learning quickly so [don't worry] you'll be fine."
i couldn’t have asked for a better boss, Toast has been nothing but loving and supportive and playing under DSG has been the greatest pleasure. he is constantly providing encouragement week after week to me and the team💛it has been absolutely the worst feeling in the world… https://t.co/hPdeMxNYmcMay 4, 2023
DSG's members were quick to present their own apologies while also singing Disguised Toast's praises. "In my experience with Toast he's been incredible as an org owner… he really does care more than any other I've seen," Whiteaker tweeted. "If anyone deserves success he does." Michael "nerve" Yerrow said "Toast has been nothing but loving and supportive and playing under DSG has been the greatest pleasure," adding "It has been absolutely the worst feeling in the world losing these past three weeks and letting you guys down."
With two weeks of the split left to go, DSG has a hell of a lot of people rooting for them. That's no doubt been helped by the organisation's transparency during the lows, and it's still early doors for a team who've barely had four months to play together. Transparency in the industry is always welcome and Disguised Toast seems to be learning a few valuable lessons along the way.