Today, January 3, Valve announced that the Chinese organization Newbee
and five Dota 2 players are permanently banned from participating in Valve events for match-fixing that took place in May 2020.
In May it came to light that Newbee and its players had been involved in match-fixing and as a result, the Chinese Dota 2 Professional Association banned them from all IMBATV and MarsTV events. The following players have been banned by Valve:
Xu “Moogy” Han
Yin “Aq” Rui
Wen “Wizard” Lipeng
Yan “Waixi” Chao
Zeng “Faith” Hongda
What’s next for these players?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see a future for these players within competitive Dota 2 as Valve events make up a large portion of the prize pool, and being banned from playing in all Chinese pro events completely locks them out unless they move regions. Valve has a history of upholding bans such as Team Redemption who were banned all the way back in 2015 or Team Wolves, who found themselves banned in 2016. All of these players so far have never been unbanned by Valve. Match-fixing is the only reason players or teams are currently banned permanently.
How the mighty have fallen
Dota 2 isn’t new to match-fixing schemes, with the infamous Alexey “Solo" Berezin 322 incident having become a meme spammed in Twitch chat whenever someone makes a bad play. But it does appear that Valve has become more strict on the issue as Valve never got involved in the case of Solo and his lifetime ban by StarLadder was reduced to a one year ban.
Certainly, Newbee is the most successful organization ever banned, having won a grand total of $13,432,066 from Dota 2. Newbee is one of only four teams to make it to a grand final of The International more than once sitting in the great company of teams such as Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, and OG, who have all won the event at least once.
Faith also becomes the first player to have won The International and be permanently banned from events by Valve. Faith won the event in 2012 with the Invictus Gaming squad who denied Danil “Dendi” Ishutin’s Natus Vincere the chance to defend their Aegis.
There are currently 26 players permanently banned from participating in Valve-sponsored events. At the moment there is no path back to Valve-sponsored events for any banned player.
The timing is also interesting as the match-fixing took place in May, seven months ago, and the ban has happened just before the DPC system is going to take place — starting January 18.
Since the start of professional Dota 2 Newbee has been a constant in the Chinese scene and it’ll change the dynamic of the scene without one of the biggest organizations there to compete. By banning Newbee Valve is sending a clear message to everyone else ahead of the new DPC system — match-fixing is unacceptable.