PSG.LGD to investigate coach xiao8 for throwing TI10 draft

Kenneth Williams • December 3, 08:29

If PSG.LGD’s xiao8 investigation leads to anything, it could potentially result in the biggest scandal in Dota 2 history. 

PSG.LGD has suspended its Dota 2 coach Zhang “xiao8” Ning for 30 days. It has also launched an internal investigation related to his performance at The International 10. This is most likely related to several poor draft decisions that resulted in Team Spirit winning 3-2 in the grand final. If foul play is discovered, xiao8 could become the most infamous figure in the history of Dota 2 esports.

As part of its investigation into xiao8, PSG.LGD has reached out to Valve for an audio and video recording from The International 10. Members of LGD staff will look over audio and video recordings from the TI10 grand finals to make their final decision. The implication is that xiao8 could have purposefully chosen a poor draft for the deciding fifth game. While Dota 2 has seen cases of match-fixing and collusion, a potential scandal of this caliber is unprecedented.

“At the same time, in view of the current public opinions triggered by the current Dota 2 division coach Zhang Ning… the monitoring center has asked the Dota 2 division coach… to suspend employment for 30 days,” PSG.LGD said, according to an unofficial translation.

It’s important to note that the official statements make reference to “public opinions.” xiao8 came under heavy criticism from the Chinese Dota 2 community for his draft decisions in game five. A Chinese team has not won the Aegis of Champions since Wings Gaming in 2016. Failing to secure the reverse-sweep was seen as an embarrassment for the regional scene.

The investigation into xiao8 could be a form of appeasement from PSG.LGD. Even if he is found innocent, “The Director” will most likely be relieved of his position given the backlash and PSG.LGD’s acquiescence.

Did xiao8 throw at The International 10?

The grand finals of TI10 was an exciting and memorable series. Team Spirit was the heavy underdog while PSG.LGD was heavily favored to win. Spirit won the first two games in large part due to Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov’s incredible Magnus play. LGD rallied back to a 2-2 tie score, but failed to finish off the comeback. The final game was filled with incredible pickoffs initiated by Collapse’s signature hero. 

Like many Chinese Dota 2 teams, PSG.LGD’s coach xiao8 commanded the drafting phase. He made the questionable decision to keep Magnus available in the first pick phase, which Spirit immediately drafted. He also chose to put LGD soft support Zhao “XinQ” Zixing on Skywrath Mage instead of his more successful Magnus counter Rubick. While some interpret this as a deliberate throw, it’s worth noting that PSG.LGD likely got the better of the drafting phase of game five. Team Spirit’s coach even stated in the post-draft interview that his team would need to get lucky to win the fifth game, which it apparently did, given the result.

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