Another matchfixing scandal hits the professional Dota 2 scene

Dota 2 Hitanshu “Anomalina” Budhwani

Two Chinese teams participating in the Dota 2 Secondary Professional League have been provided bans of varying degrees from all future MarsTV and DPL tournaments.

Amidst exciting times for the professional scene of Dota 2, incidents of matchfixing among the smaller and lower tier teams continue to emerge. This is despite Valve's stringent and ruthless bans on players and teams found to have been involved in suspicious or malicious behavior that threatens the integrity and sportsmanship of the game. The teams involved this time in such a case are ULrica- and Rock.Young, the latter of which was none other than the last surviving team representing China at the World Electronic Sports Games 2017, finishing with an impressive 4th place at the tournament.

The organising committee of the Dota 2 Professional League (DPL), prominently Mars Media (ex-MarsTV), made the announcement in a Weibo post on their decision following a careful scrutiny of every move made by either team in the group stage match. There were several examples of suspicious behavior right from the start. Players on both teams were dying without using any items or abilities. There were also illogical chases which involved unnecessary tower damage being taken, that eventually led to deaths with no favorable trades. The game ended with Rock.Y 5-manning down the mid lane with minimum resistance from the players of ULrica.

The event was first brought to light by the clip shown above that was shared throughout the Dota 2 community via platforms such as YouTube, Reddit and Twitch. This situation has apparently evoked a lot of anger and disgust from both the professional and casual players of the Dota 2 community in China.

Dimitri "Mali" Vallette, Director of Events at @MarsMedia, also clarified that the teams involved were participating in the Dota 2 Secondary Professional League, which serves as a platform for amateur and rising teams to practice and improve. This is to differentiate it from the primary Dota 2 Professional League which is an alternative method for Chinese teams to qualify for the MDL Changsha Major, one of the last and most important Majors of this Dota Pro Circuit season. 

As such, the organizing committee of DPL declared the following penalties specific to their tournaments due to both teams displaying a "negative" and "passive" behavior during the game:


  1. The organisations Rock.Y and ULrica are banned from all future MarsTV and DPL tournaments.
  2. The players Rock.Y.Ayo, Rock.Y.Hitagi, ULrica.Fan, ULrica.Scorpio and ULrica.OLOS have been banned for life from all future MarsTV and DPL tournaments.
  3. The remaining 5 players have been banned for two years from all future MarsTV and DPL tournaments and will be revisited in two years.


GGNet spoke to a representative for DPL and MarsTV who stated that although they have reached a decision, a report is being submitted to Valve for further discussion and any finalized decisions regarding the consequences.

Of course, there is always potential lifetime bans for Valve events as seen with at least 21 other players from Peru, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Sadly, since the detailed analysis of the problem of match-fixing in our article last year, the Dota 2 scene has made little progress on the front. There seems to be no reform by Valve, the tournament organizers or the organizations of the teams themselves. It was expected that Valve would take a harder stance on match-fixing in Dota 2 which would prevent more examples from cropping up again. 

Valve has made drastic changes to many different aspects of the game in recent times, such as the structure of the professional scene in the form of the Dota Pro Circuit, 6 month bans for reports in match-making and rules surrounding broadcasting and streaming tournament games. Hopefully, this issue will be met with equal seriousness with an effective reform.


Should professional Dota 2 players receive a fixed regular salary to prevent matchfixing from happening?

Yes, that is the primary reason why such incidents happen
Thank you for voting!
No, there is a lot more to it than that
Thank you for voting!
Hitanshu “Anomalina” Budhwani


  • Bian "HighFlyingWings" Deng ,
    Rock.Y has posted a comment on its Weibo (CN equivalent of Twitter) (and interestingly, its first ever Weibo entry) claiming their players only acted like this upon receiving orders "to prevent the other team winning their potential bets" from executives. Regardless of the credibility of this claim, the team made attempts to somewhat "rescue" their players' careers. Also, MarsTV announced the punishment less than 24 hours after the game, and some would be skeptic about how much investigation they had done. Regardless, match-fixing should not be forgiven if confirmed.
    • Cristy "Pandoradota2" Ramadani ,
      Thanks for the update on Rock.y.... i personally spoke with someone at MarsTV and a report has been submitted to Valve to be reviewed and investigated. Upon their conclusion, it will be Valve's ultimate decision (meaning it can be reversed or they can even receive lifetime bans). I did fairly extensive research about a year ago regarding matchfixing and the motivations and risks vs rewards for my last article. In esports and typically players from less financially fortunate countries get a LOT of pressure from various places to engage in it. Considering how relatively young they are its very sad they can easily ruin a career because of it. It would be nice if there were some investigations and consequences for those that were putting the pressure on them and more education/support to prevent it. Betting is a dirty world and more often no one really 'wins' in the end. :(
      • Bian "HighFlyingWings" Deng ,
        And having a player notoriously known as a gambler (Meteor, formerly known as lin, the caster made the infamous comments about VG.R.nono on TI6) certainly won't help their case...
        • Hitanshu "Anomalina" Budhwani ,
          That's true. Solo from VP, who ironically is the source from where the 322 meme started is one of the few, perhaps the only player who was involved in such a case and came back to play after. Not to take anything away from him, in fact, it shows how players can learn from their mistakes and become better persons. Maybe permanent bans are not the ideal solution but they are the easiest to apply, as it shows strict and unforgiving command on valve's part.


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