Newbee and its players have since been banned from Valve events.
One of the biggest scandals that Dota 2 ever witnessed in its professional circuit was that of the TI4 champions, Newbee, being blacklisted by the Chinese Dota 2 Association (CDA) and ImbaTV amidst match-fixing allegations.
Recently, some of their players teamed up to compete in a couple of Chinese tournaments, including the Perfect World Dota 2 League Season 3. which leads us to question if these players will be allowed by Valve to participate in the upcoming DPC season.
Why Was Newbee Banned?
In February 2020, Newbee ran into a spot of trouble when they were alleged of match fixing after the game against Team Avengerls in Game 2 at Chinese qualifiers for the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 3.
However, nothing much developed in this controversy for the next couple of months. But in May 2020, major Chinese organizations, ImbaTV and the Chinese Dota 2 Professional Association (CDA) made a statement regarding this matter.
- CDA in a public statement stated that Newbee was no longer a part of the CDA Alliance and all of their five players, in addition to the organization’s Dota 2 division leader, Feng, were barred from participating in any of their tournaments for life, including the ongoing DPL-CDA S1
- ImbaTV also stated that Newbee and all the five players were immediately disqualified from the ongoing China Dota 2 Professional League Season 2 and all other events held by the organization for life.
- CDA mentioned that relevant evidence had been submitted to Valve and Perfect World.(Valve’s partner which operates Dota 2 in China)
Over the latter half of May, the players of Newbee denied the allegations stating that their players were coerced into making unfavorable statements by the CDA and demanded proof of the match fixing events. CDA denied the coercion charges and mentioned that they had submitted the evidence to Perfect World and Valve.
Over the next few months, nothing significant developed in this matter, with neither Valve nor Perfect World issuing any public statements regarding this matter.
How Valve Handled Previous Instances of Match Fixing
Over the years, Valve has banned a few teams for match-fixing in third party tournaments. The most famous instances of these bans were the ones that were handed to Elite Wolves and Arrow Gaming.
In 2014, the Malaysian squad of Arrow Gaming was disqualified and banned for life from the Synergy League for deliberately losing their match against the Australian team of Can’t Say Wips. The five roster members were removed from the squad later and teamed up to form Team Redemption. However, in 2015, it was revealed that Valve banned these players indefinitely owing to their scandal from 2014.
After match fixing allegations were levied on Elite Wolves’ Peruvian team, four of its members were banned by Valve in 2016 for life from any Valve hosted events. Along with them, Infamous’ captain, Ztok, was also banned for involving themselves in match-fixing.
In both cases, Valve did not issue any public statements. They reached out to the teams and the tournament organizers directly and communicated that they were banned from participating in any Valve events, including DPC tournaments and Internationals. In both instances, the teams found that they were banned, just days before they were set to compete in official qualifiers.
So the precedent is that Valve doesn’t necessarily make public statements regarding match-fixing incidents.
Ex-Newbee Blacklisted Players Return to Competitive Scene After Six Months
After four months, in September 2020, two of the players who were a part of this banned roster, Aq and Waixi were officially added to an unknown team as per Dota 2 Minors and Majors Registration page. From October to December, Aq and Waixi were joined by their banned Newbee teammate, Wizard, and played in all three seasons of the Perfect World Dota 2 League. Playing under the tag ‘Ink Ice,’ they were also able to win:
- Perfect World Dota2 League Season 3 - Division A
- Perfect World Dota2 League Season 1 - Division B
In the last week of September 2020, two of the blacklisted players: Waixi and Aq were added to an unknown team with the Team ID 8021080 according to the Dota 2 “Majors and Minors Registration” page.
It is still unclear whether these players will be allowed to compete in the Dota 2 Pro Circuit. We are unlikely to get confirmation until the regional leagues kick off in January 2020.
However, considering that the team has competed in three Perfect World tournaments without any issues, we believe that the blacklisted players will likely compete in the upcoming DPC season’s Chinese regional leagues.