HUNDEN, dead, zoneR banned for coaching bug exploit
The trio face lengthy bans after deliberately using the glitch to gain unfair advantage.
Heroic's Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen, MIBR's Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia and Hard Legion's Aleksandr "zoneR" Bogatiryev were all banned on Monday for abusing the coaching bug that came to public knowledge last week, ESL has announced.
The Russian coach faces the biggest punishment, a two-year ban, after using the bug on six maps across three different matches in ESL One: Road to Rio. HUNDEN has been banned for 12 months after using the bug in ten rounds of a single map during DreamHack Masters Spring, while dead will have to serve a six-month ban for using the bug in just one round during ESL One: Road to Rio.
The punishments were doled out after consultation with the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC). The three teams will be disqualified from the tournaments in question and will forfeit the corresponding ESL Pro Tour points and prize money.
Heroic were the first of the three teams to react to the announcement. In a statement, the Danish organisation said that "an internal investigation was started today" after being notified of the ban by DreamHack, and vowed to answer all questions "at a later point".
MIBR also announced that dead, who took over as coach following the departure of Wilton "zews" Prado, has been "suspended effectively immediately", with the LA-based organisation due to provide further comment "pending the outcome of our investigation".
The bug became a topic of conversation last Wednesday, when Wisla Krakow coach Mariusz "Loord" Cybulski posted a tweet saying that he had come across a glitch enabling coaches to have an overview of a random spot on a map. This allowed them to inform players of an opponent's tendencies and economic situation at all times without getting detected.
This bug, which was also reported by other coaches, including Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu and zews, was fixed later that day in a CS:GO update released by Valve. The impact of the glitch was played down by many, who thought it to be a random occurrence, but in fact it had been exploited by some coaches in recent months, compromising the competitive integrity of several tournaments, an investigation conducted by veteran Counter-Strike referee Michal Slowinski uncovered.
ESL added that it has notified other tournament organisers of this issue and is willing to cooperate in their investigations. ESIC will be issuing separate sanctions soon in accordance with its Player Code of Conduct.
Heroic had won $3,000 by finishing in 9th-12th place in DreamHack Masters Spring, while MIBR had earned $2,000 by placing 7th-8th in ESL One: Road to Rio - North America, and Hard Legion $6,000 by finishing third in ESL One: Road to Rio - CIS. Neither ESL nor Valve has announced whether the latter two teams will lose the RMR points amassed in these two tournaments.