Last Week in E-Sports: Overwatch match fixing?

Last Updated January 23rd, 2022

Last week in e-sports, we saw the community deal with one of its most common scandals: match-fixing. We also saw a few massive changes to the League of Legends tournament scene, a new e-sports scholarship offered at an all-women’s college, and the conclusion to the LCS spring finals.

ESL Clarifies Its Position Regarding Multiple Ownership Issues

There has been an issue with “academy teams” in e-sports recently. Major teams tend to own “academy” sides to scout out new talent. These lesser known teams participate in qualifiers while the main team itself usually gets an invite.

The issue is that the academy team will sometimes win in a qualifying series, putting them in the same tournament as their parent team. Not only does this stack the deck for a single franchise, it also creates several ethical problems, the least of which being a match-fixing concern.

To address this issue, the ESL has made an announcement saying that each organization will always have only one license per tournament, which includes qualifiers. This directly effects many academy sides and makes participation in qualifying events far less profitable for team owners.

There are two ways franchises can circumvent this rule. First, they can absorb the academy team into their main team. This usually ends with the release of several star players, however, and creates an unstable team of players who haven’t trained with each other long enough before a major event.

Otherwise, they can provide written confirmation that qualifying teams will be sold or released before the tournament. This is, of course, not something that team owners will jump at the chance to do and, even if they did, questions about match-fixing will still arise.

Fnatic Academy was directly affected by this ruling, forcing them out of the ESL One Cologne qualifiers since Fnatic has already been invited. PENTA Sports Academy and Misfits Academy will also be affected.

OGN’s Overwatch League Has a New Match-Fixing Scandal

They say a sport isn’t legitimate until it gets shady, and OGN’s Overwatch league just got shady. Two individuals, manager and coach of Luminous Solar, Jin Seok-hoon and Baek Min-jeh have been found guilty of match-fixing. They attempted to persuade UnLimited to throw a game by guaranteeing them a sponsorship deal. This would have qualified Luminous Solar for the second division of the OGN’ Overwatch APEX Challengers Season 3. While Luminous Solar did eventually win the match, they were disqualified shortly after this information came to light.

This is not the only charge that Jin Seok-hoon and Baek Min-jeh have been found guilty of. They were also found falsifying medical documents for their players. This allowed them to bring on last minute substitutes without cause.

The pair was banned for life from OGN events, as were Luminous Solar as a team. The players themselves were not banned, but will have to find a different team if they want to compete in the future.

Blizzard Shuts Down China’s Hearthstone Team Story Due to Gambling Scandal

Something vague but ominous recently happened to one of China’s largest Hearthstone leagues. According to Team Celestial manager Sinn Tann, Blizzard has temporarily stopped the fourth season of China’s Hearthstone Team Story. Supposedly, there was an issue regarding tournament licenses and gambling. Although it is not exactly clear what happened, footage of the event shows that there is obviously some gambling aspect, with teams putting chips on a table to “bet” on every match. This would not be the first time Hearthstone was labeled as gambling, as it has fallen under some scrutiny in European territories that compare its microtransaction model to gambling.

Riot May Aim to Franchise League of Legends Next Year

The old world of e-sports was a meritocracy. Players and teams that won advanced onward while losers would find themselves without a home or a career. This was all well and good when we were just playing as a hobby, but with e-sports becoming the primary career of more and more aspiring competitors, this instability has become unacceptable.

Enter franchising. A cornerstone of all traditional sports, franchising allows certain teams to have a concrete slot in a professional league, despite their win-loss record. Instead, these slots will be determined by popularity and investments. While there will certainly still be player turnaround, it won’t be nearly as high as it is now.

According to a report by “TheScoreEsports,” Riot might be looking to shift League of Legends competition over to a franchising model for 2018. This news is being received well by team owners and players alike. However, none of the current most popular or successful league teams will be guaranteed a spot should Riot pursue this model. In addition, several tournaments like the North American Challenger series, which depend on the current relegation model, will have to be changed or abandoned in a franchised league.

Riot has given no official word on this issue yet, so we will have to wait and see what they choose for the 2018 e-sports year.

Stephens College Now Offers Varsity E-Sports Scholarship

Stephens College in Missouri has just become the first all-women’s school to offer a varsity e-sports scholarship. The school plans to form an Overwatch team, and will be expanding into other e-sports in the future.

“Our mission is to ensure that women can succeed and can make choices about anything they do in any environment and in any profession,” the college’s president, Dianne Lynch, told ESPN in an interview. “Our hope is that we will be able to create a culture on campus where the only people in the room who are gaming are women, so you have this dynamic that eliminates that other, sort of negative culture out of their immediate space.”

Valve Reveals Dates for the DOTA2 International 7 Regional Qualifiers

Valve has announced that the regional qualifiers for the International 7 will take place from June 26 to 29. These are the dates for the general qualifiers, not for the open qualifiers, however. The finals will be held in Seattle on August 7-12.

Big Wins

  • SK Gaming emerged victorious in Beyond The Summit’s first-ever international Counter-Strike event. They brought home $63,750 and their first ranked tournament win in 2017.
  • EnVyUs stole the top spot in the CWL Global Pro League away from Splyce last week, earning spots in major Call of Duty leagues for the rest of the year.
  • Team SoloMid faced off against Cloud9 in the 2017 NA LCS spring finals. TSM pulled out a victory in the end, earning 90 championship points, with Cloud9 winning 70 points as the runners up. Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon was awarded the title of MVP in the split.
  • G2 Esports have picked up the EU LCS spring trophy, triumphing over Unicorns of Love.
  • LMS champions Flash Wolves have remained in their championship throne after dispatching agq e-Sports Club in the spring finals. They will now represent Taiwan at the Mid-Season Invitational on April 28 in Brazil.
  • Reigning world champions SK Telecom T1 have picked up another LCK title, taking home the victory in this year’s spring split. They will be headed to the Mid-Season Invitational in the Korean slot.
  • Two titans of the fighting game scene have moved on to the ELEAGUE Street Fighter V finals. They are Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez, and Daigo “The Beast” Umehara. This was a particularly memorable tournament for Daigo, who is known for mastering the “shoto” style character, but recently switched to Guile after the system-wide nerf to dragon-punches.

The Roster Shuffle

  • Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo has left EnVyUS’s League of Legends team. Tryouts will be held in Korea to find a suitable replacement.
  • Evil Geniuses have taken the plunge into the world of competitive Overwatch, signing a roster formerly known as East Wind. The team consists of DPS players Justin “Kayuun” Ha and Corey Nigra, flex Lucas “Pebbimitsu” Nettesheim, and supports Anthony “Goliath” Pietro and Elijah “Elkiea” Gallagher, with tank player Carlo “Dcop” Delsol still in trials.
  • Lunatic-Hai will be adding two new players, formerly from Rinos Gaming. They are DPS Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-Beom and flex Lee “claris” Keon-Ho. However, despite their signing the starting lineup for Lunatic-Hai has not changed.
  • Vytis “Mineral” Lasaitis will replace Kalle “Zave” Haag Nillson as the Misfits main support in a sudden roster change after their fourth place finish at the European Overwatch PIT Championship.
  • Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev has returned to Na’Vi’s DOTA 2 squad as Roman “rmN-” Paley’s replacement.
  • Troels “syndereN” Nielsen has been removed from the current NiP roster. They will bring in Aydin “iNsania” Sarkohi as his replacement.