Popular Dota 2 streamer BSJ got a surprise ban from Valve after smurfing on a fan’s account.
On November 19, educational Dota 2 streamer Brian “BSJ” Canavan was unexpectedly banned while playing on a viewer’s account. The speed of the ban implies that it was personally administered by a Valve employee. Not all smurfing is against the rules, but by sharing his account with a popular streamer, one unlucky player got hit with the ban hammer.
After starting up his stream, BSJ asked his chat for an account to play on for his educational smurf series. As the rank 396 player queued up for a game of carry at 3,000 MMR, BSJ taunted his chat over potentially getting in trouble for smurfing on someone else’s account.
“Report this stream to Twitch? Yes please. Make sure you guys report it to Valve. That’s the big one. Make sure Valve knows, and Reddit knows, how big of a piece of shit BSJ is,” BSJ said.
His smug demeanor didn’t last long. Minutes into his educational smurf game, BSJ was suddenly disconnected from the match. His stream went dark, but the account appeared to have been issued a temporary ban due to being shared.
The timing of this ban indicates that someone at Valve personally applied it. BSJ is among the highest-paid Dota 2 streamers on Twitch, so it’s possible that Valve heard about the smurfing session and decided to ban the account. Valve has taken several stances against smurfing, including revising the banworthy rule list earlier this year as part of the new player experience update.
As of March 24, 2021’s New Player Experience update, smurfing is officially a banworthy offense in Dota 2. Valve’s metrics for detecting smurfs are highly secret, but its impact is well-known. Suspected smurfs are usually matched against other suspected smurfs until Valve is completely sure that the accounts are fraudulent. In such cases, accounts can be banned by hand or automatically.
In addition to smurfing, there are several other actions that can result in an account being banned. The biggest one is account sharing, which BSJ also committed during his smurfing stream. If BSJ’s stream educated players about anything, it was how to bet banned for smurfing on someone else’s account.