The Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) has already been hit by controversy even before the official start of its 2021 season on 18 January, with two teams and a player disqualified from the qualifiers for the Southeast Asian and North American regional leagues.
The first disqualification was handed on 7 January to the Malaysian stack VisDota2, which was barred from participating in the second stage of the closed qualifier and the subsequent open qualifiers for the Southeast Asian regional league for using a player that had been previously banned by Valve.
The player in question, who plays under the tag Deska, was a member of the Chinese team Avengerls that was caught in a match-fixing scandal with top Chinese organisation Newbee in May last year.
Both Newbee and Avengerls were banned indefinitely from participating in tournaments hosted by major Chinese organisers in May, with Valve also handing them a lifetime ban from participating in the DPC and other Valve-hosted events earlier this month.
The scandal rocked the scene, as it involved an organisation, Newbee, as well as a player, Zeng “Faith” Hongda, that have previously won The International (TI). Newbee won TI4 in 2014 while Faith won TI2 in 2012 as a member of Invictus Gaming.
Disqualifications in North America
The second disqualification of the DPC qualifiers was handed to North American stack VirtusProPolar (no relation to the CIS organisation Virtus.pro) on 7 January for an unauthorised use of a stand-in.
VirtusProPolar won the region’s first open qualifier to earn a spot in the closed qualifier, but their spot was rescinded, instead given to the third-placed team of the second open qualifier following their disqualification.
The third disqualification was handed to Jimmy “DeMon” Ho, who was playing with the Aristotle stack, on 10 January for misconduct in previous tournaments.
DeMon was among a number of personalities in the Dota 2 scene accused in a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct in the esports scene, alongside the likes of casters Grant "GranDGranT" Harris and Toby "TobiWan" Dawson, in July last year.
While GranDGranT and TobiWan were ousted from the scene, DeMon was banned from casting in events by Beyond the Summit (BTS), the biggest organiser in North America, according to what information is available to the public. BTS are also hosting the 2021 DPC regional league in NA.
However, the player himself has maintained his innocence and denied the allegations.
This newest decision by BTS, to disqualify DeMon in the middle of the qualifiers and not before it, drew the ire of a number of personalities in the region.
With DeMon disqualified, Aristotle has been unable to field a full roster and their remaining match in the closed qualifier for the last spot in the Upper Division of the North American regional league has been postponed to 13 January.
BTS co-founder and caster, David “Godz” Parker, said “the timing sucks” and apologised publicly to the rest of the players on the Aristotle stack in a tweet on his personal Twitter account.
The timing sucks and we're really sorry to his teammates who are negatively affected by it. That part of things was an unfortunate mistake we can only apologize for.
— David Parker | Godz (@BTSGoDz) January 9, 2021
“We’re really sorry to [DeMon’s] teammates who are negatively affected by it. That part of things was an unfortunate mistake we can only apologise for,” said Godz.
Meanwhile, DeMon responded on his own Twitter account that he would be looking to take legal action in response to the situation.
“I will now look into lawyers to clear the defamation of my name and no longer talk about this situation publicly,” he said.
Valve has not given any statements regarding the disqualifications at the time of writing.
The DPC qualifiers are set to wrap up on 13 January, with the DPC regional leagues beginning on 18 January.
Check out esports videos from Yahoo TV: