This just might be the most shocking scandal in the history of the tournament. Russian Dota 2 team Virtus.Pro just announced their withdrawal from The Summit 5 LAN tournament after admitting they have broken tournament rules.
In a story originally covered by GosuGamers, Virtus.Pro and Ad Finem‘s matchup for the Summit 5 European Qualifier match is one riddled with controversy. In their third match against Ad Finem on May 29th, carry player ALOHADANCE seemed to have issues with his internet connection. Pauses were made but unfortunately even Ad Finem’s pause time was up. AF snagged that round leading the best of five match 2-1. It looked like the day was saved for Virtus.Pro as “ALOHADANCE” was able to reconnect to the game and push for a decisive fifth game ultimately advancing themselves to the LAN tournament in L.A.
This was when the community buzzed about certain inconsistencies in ALOHADANCE’s play style. Those who are quite well-versed in the game noticed the difference almost immediately. Each player would have very specific ways of building up items and would even put items in particular slots in the inventory. This varies from player to player and is a hard habit to break. ALOHA’s teleportation scroll as well as culling blade on game 4 were strangely misplaced at different slots. This was highly uncharacteristic and was a clear indication of different key bindings. Fans were speculating that perhaps it was a different player using his account. This was clearly in violation of tournament rules if proven true.
Photo Screengrab from: Gosugamers
Finally, in a move that surprised all, Virtus.Pro released an official statement admitting to the rumor and apologizing to players and fans alike. They allowed Vega Squadron’s carry player No[O]ne to play in game four using ALOHA’s account without informing tournament officials. BeyondTheSummit announced via twitter that Ad Finem would win by default and would be the ones representing EU for the Summit 5 LAN event.
We're withdrawing from The Summit 5.
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) May 30, 2016
We admit that yesterday we broke the rules at The Summit match.
Apologies to all our fans and @adfinemgg
— Virtus.pro (@virtuspro) May 30, 2016
Unfortunately, cheating in eSports is not new. In tournaments, issues of “throwing” (intentionally losing the match after betting against your own team), match fixing, or even bug/glitch exploitation have occurred, even in major mainstream competitions. Who can forget the Fnatic fiasco in the 2014 Dreamhack Winter event or Dendi’s use of the Pudge hook to home base glitch in The International 2013? With the eSports industry being fairly new, there is still a lot of room for modifying the rules. Setting standards as well as creating safeguards against any unforeseeable circumstances should also be a priority. There are a lot of factors to consider and tournament organizers should take that into account.
While scandals like match fixing and throwing are hard to prevent, other issues can easily be solved. This particular Summit 5 tournament, the internet connection played such a huge role in what happened. We have no qualms about ALOHADANCE’s skills as a player, but connection problems definitely cost them a match. Would the tournament have turned out differently if it was him playing the game instead of No[O]ne? We will never know for sure. With stakes in tournaments rising, players would do anything to win. Virtus.Pro stepped up to the plate by admitting what they did, risking their established reputation in the process. However, does that mean the case is closed?
Now that Dota 2 tournaments are getting bigger and bigger in terms of prize pool and production value, it is always a good idea to make sure the actual game runs smoothly for all players. With the game relying heavily on internet connection, tournament organizers need to find ways to ensure the events stay clean to prevent things like this from happening again.