MDL Match-Fixing Madness

Sep 04 2020 4 min read

The ESIC has recently launched an investigation into match-fixing in MDL.

The Counter-Strike community has gone through many things this week, but one of the craziest is, without a doubt, the recent match-fixing allegations in North America. 

The Esports Integrity Commission recently announced that it would be investigating potential match-fixing cases in the NA Mountain Dew League in the next four weeks. This announcement comes amid many low-tier players leaving for VALORANT over the past few months, but many are unsure about the situation. 

The past

Match-fixing is a subject the CS:GO community is somewhat familiar with, considering the infamous iBUYPOWER and Epsilon Esports match-fixing scandals of 2015. While those two cases differ in a few ways, they both had significant impacts on the community and set precedents for future cases. Over the years, many hoped that Valve could give the ex-iBP players a second chance or a way for them to atone for their actions. While ESL, DreamHack, and a few other tournament organizers eventually changed their rules regarding match-fixing in 2017, the ex-iBP players have always been barred for Valve-sanctioned events such as the Majors and Minors.

Following years of missed opportunities due to the consequences of his actions, Braxton "swag" Pierce officially retired from CS:GO earlier this year. He became the first VALORANT player to sign for a professional team and was quickly joined by his former iBP teammate Keven "AZK" Larivière, as the duo linked up under T1's banner. Joshua "steel" Nissan also announced his departure from CS as he just joined 100 Thieves' VALORANT team, following a long stint of developing talents in the NA scene. 

While many have argued whether or not steel, brax, and co. should've been unbanned, it seems as though that discussion is in the past. Their careers in CS following the scandals were rocky at best, but VALORANT has offered them a new chance to compete at the top level, given that Valve will probably never budge on the matter. 

Match-fixing is illegal in nearly every country, but one couldn't theoretically be sued for partaking in it. That said, tournament organizers and game publishers are swift to dish out bans when proof of throwing comes to light. The community is happy to see the ex-iBP players move to a new home because they tried to redeem themselves in CS:GO. 

The present

However, the case being investigated by the ESIC is very recent, as the players involved allegedly hoped to make a quick buck before leaving for Riot Games' FPS with no repercussions. Until the ESIC completes its investigation in four weeks, many speculate who the players could be.

The ESIC hasn't revealed any names, Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro listed people allegedly involved in the match-fixing on Twitch. It's worth noting that he later retracted his statement regarding James "Nurfed" McFadden, but other names mentioned include Team Envy's Abdo "c4Lypso" Agha, FaZe Clan's Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen, and Dignitas' trial member Ryan "Shanks" Ngo.

Many in the scene hope that bans by tournament organizers and Riot will be issued for the match-fixers if found guilty. No one can agree on whether the bans should be permanent, like with Valve, or have an allocated period, so that players may get the opportunities to redeem themselves in the future.

The future

Throwing matches is certainly an unsportsmanlike behavior, and anyone found guilty of it should be held accountable with no loophole or scapegoat. While it's unfortunate that this is something our community has been plagued with, it's essential to investigate and punish those responsible, hopefully discouraging others in the future. Some may say that money is hard to come by in the lower echelons of Counter-Strike, but financial compensation isn't a given; it's earned. Most people can find a job to support themselves until they can commit to esports full-time. I'm a believer in second chances and hate to see talent go to waste, but selfishness and greed aren't things I can get behind, especially at other people's expense. There are no good excuses to throw a match. There's no honor in doing so, and until people learn that lesson, they were never meant to reach the top. 


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