Back in the spring, two Dota 2 esports teams were banned for life because of match-fixing allegations. The teams in question – Wind and Rain and Pecado Squad Gaming were banned from participating in any Valve or Beyond the Summit-sponsored events. Today the teams’ battle against the (in their words) unfair ban continues as they try to prove their innocence.
What Happened in May?
The teams were originally banned in May when they were accused of match-fixing. Following an investigation, it was decided that both Wind and Rain and Pecado Squad Gaming would be denied entry in any Dota 2 event held by Valve or BTS. This was a huge blow to the teams because it blocked them from effectively the biggest esports events and cut their chance of qualifying for The International 10. Additionally, the team’s other matches in the then-ongoing DPC league were voided.
Before the ban itself, Wind and Rain were already under fire for hiring the A-Team roster, which was already in North America’s Lower Division of DPC, and then removing three players from it. Despite Wind and Rain releasing a statement where they explained their decision, many people became suspicious of the esports team. Later some came to suggest that it was the three kicked players who went on a vengeful mission to accuse Wind and Rain and get them banned.
The suspicions only grew when the team won only one out of seven matches it participated in and finished in the last place. To many, it seemed like the team was match-fixing and/or betting against itself.
Pecado Squad Gaming was far less suspicious in its actions as it had played its way into the Lower Division and had a pretty unremarkable result with three victories against four losses.
However, BTS still found both of the teams guilty and, as was already told, banned them on May 25. Valve followed that and also disqualified the teams from their own events. However, at that time, it wasn’t sure what happens to the stand-in players who weren’t a permanent part of the teams.
Wind and Rain Players Plead Innocence
With time it became clear that the ban also concerns the stand-in players as it was suggested they were aware of the match-fixing attempts. However, Ilyas “Steel-_-Borco” Kaukenov begged to disagree. He played with Wind and Rain for only a few games and had then left the organization by the time of the ban issuing. However, because he was related to the team, he was also banned for a lifetime.
Kaukenov explained that he played for just two series and neither participated nor was aware of a match-fixing taking place.
Chad “Szabo666” Szabo, another player from the team, also claimed he was innocent. According to him, he had already talked with the rest of the Wind and Rain team that he would not partake in match-fixing and would expose it if it was taking place. And he really did, as according to his statement, he was the one who notified of the match-fixing attempts. Szabo also supported Kaukenov, believing he was also innocent.
Yet another Wind and Rain player, Vladimir “yol” Basov, shared his side of the story. According to him, the team didn’t partake in match-fixing and was just doing poorly. At one point, Basov decided to just give up on winning at all cost and play the game for fun. The player said he never participated in any match-fixing or betting fraud and that Valve ought to provide evidence if it is to accuse the team.
Lastly, Wind and Rain’s player Daniil “satesate” Krivenko also confirmed that the team was just losing, and his bad internet connection (as he was playing from the CIS region) worsened the squad’s performance further. He hopes that Valve and BTS will rethink their bans.
Pecado Squad Gaming, on the other hand, submitted proof of its innocence to Valve and BTS and is awaiting a response.
There is hope for the professional gamers as a few days ago, on August 11, Kaukenov and Szabo communicated that Beyond the Summit has removed their bans. They are now waiting for Valve to review their case as well.