ESL bans MIBR, Heroic coaches for exploiting bugs in tournaments

By Nick Johnson


Aug 31, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

ESL has banned three coaches from playing or participating in ESL and DreamHack events for exploiting a coaching bug that allowed players to gain a tactical advantage in tournament play.

The exploit has been possible for months now, with the three bans stemming from the coaches’ actions in a number of ESL tournaments, including ESL’s Road to Rio series. All teams involved have been retroactively disqualified from those tournaments and forfeit both ESL Pro Tour points and any Regional Major Ranking tournament points from those events. ESL notes that while other coaches encountered the exploit, they did not use it in a way that gained a competitive advantage for their teams.

Heroic, MIBR, and Hard Legion coaches banned for tournament exploit

ESL has known about the bug for months and worked with Valve to ensure that it was patched out prior to ESL One Cologne, the tournament provider’s most recent event. According to ESL referee Michal Slowinski, the exploit was intentionally triggered and was not a case of a bug, but instead intentionally used.

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Teams were found to be using the bug as early as Road to Rio, and the bans from ESL include the following coaches:

  • Hard Legion, Aleksandr “MechanoGun” Bogatiryev at ESL One Road to Rio on 6 maps in 3 matches
  • Heroic, Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen at DreamHack Masters Spring in 10 rounds on 1 map
  • MIBR, Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia at ESL One Road to Rio in 1 round on 1 map

The news casts a shadow over Heroic’s first-place finish in ESL One Cologne, despite the fact that the exploit was no longer available for teams to utilize during that tournament. It’s unclear whether Valve intends to take any action in addition to ESL’s bans which range in time from 6 months for dead, 12 months for Hunden, to two years for MechanoGun.