One of Dota 2’s most credentialed organizations has been permanently banned from the game.
Wykrhm Reddy announced that Newbee and its 2020 roster have been given a permanent ban from any Valve-sponsored events. This functionally ends Newbee’s existence in Dota 2, and the careers of the players that were attached to its roster in May. Newbee’s lineup at the time included the following players:
Newbee was previously one of Dota 2’s most successful teams. The brand is best known for winning The International 2014 with a superstar team that notably included current player Faith. It nearly became the first organization to win two The International championships just three years later when it reached the grand finals of The International 2017.
A look back on Newbee’s controversies:
Newbee’s ban comes several months after alleged Dota 2 match-fixing by the organization. The team was accused of playing a fixed match against Avengerls during the qualifiers of the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor Season 3. Former Newbee captain Zhang “xiao8” Ning publicly suggested the match was rigged by the teams, with many others agreeing.
Action wasn’t immediately taken, but a few months later, Newbee and its five players were given a ban for match-fixing by the CDA, an association of Chinese esports companies. This opened up a number of simmering suspicions of misdeeds against Newbee, particularly with a Chinese betting site revealing that Faith had given up first blood in 18 straight games.
It also unveiled serious issues within the esports organization, both in terms of its financial status and its handling of contracted talent. After the ban, Newbee was accused by its Fortnite players of exploitative contracts and withheld earnings. The organization is alleged to have pocketed all of the money its Fortnite players earned at the Fortnite World Cup.
The ban coming into place now likely stems from the new Dota Pro Circuit leagues coming into being. Though multiple Chinese tournament organizers banned Newbee, that wasn’t the case with Perfect World. Perfect World is operating the Dota Pro Circuit leagues and may have asked for verdict on the situation from Valve. Either way, Valve has made it clear that Newbee will not be allowed to participate in its official Dota 2 competition.
Match-fixing occurs when a team intentionally underperforms, often to the point of losing, due to an external incentive. The most common way this happens is a player or person within a team betting against themselves, then ensuring a winning bet by deliberately losing the match. There can be non-financial incentives as well, such as throwing a group stage game in order to manipulate seeding for the playoffs.