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It's not quite as big a deal as the StarCraft cheating scandal of 2010, but League of Legends has been rocked by accusations that two of the top teams were conspiring "not to win" the Major League Gaming Summer Championship.
IF that sounds strange, it's because it is. The teams in first and second place of the Championship - Curse NA and Team Dignitas - had apparently decided between themselves that they would split the prize money.
An official statement from MLG reads:
We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignitas. This is in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of MLG's Official Pro Circuit Conduct Rules: 'competitors may not intentionally Forfeit a Game or conspire to manipulate Rankings or Brackets.' As such, both teams have been disqualified, and no placements or prize money will be awarded.
The drama surrounds the final match of the championship, which Curse NA and Team Dignitas decided should be played in the player-created "ARAM" style. That is, all random / all middle, where both teams pick random champions and play only the middle lane of the MOBA.
Despite the match returning to normal after that initial game, Curse NA argues that this decision is what's caused the problem, something Dustin Beck, Vice President of eSports at developer Riot Games denies:
Just to be crystal clear, MLG’s decision here has nothing to do with ARAM. Both Curse and Dignitas admitted to and apologized for colluding prior to the finals to throw the match.
More to the point: CRS and DIG conspired to split prize money "in a public, crowded setting", says MLG Executive Vice President Adam Apicella:
The entire venue was aware of it. Not happy to be in this position.
Witnesses and the teams confirmed when confronted.
MLG can't quite seem to get everyone to agree on the exact nature of the violation, but the league, both competing teams, and League of Legends developer Riot have all agreed that not playing a tournament to win - Unsportsmanlike Conduct - warrants disqualification.
One theory behind the teams' decision is related to the fact that the MLG championships are not the Big Event in the League of Legends calendar. Instead, LoL hosts its own championships, with Season 2 playoffs coming up soon. Reportedly, neither team wanted to reveal its finals strategies in a game of lesser importance.
At time of writing, all results stand, with th $40,000 total prize pool redistributed among the 3rd-6th placed teams. No 1st or 2nd place title or prize money will be awarded.
I like video games, fishing, Depeche Mode, long walks on the beach, writing discussion papers and cups of tea. Not necessarily in that order.
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