Evil Geniuses is at the center of an alleged cheating controversy after a Dota Pro Circuit league match.
The first tour of the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit season is wrapping up in most regions and the match between Evil Geniuses and Quincy Crew closed out the regular season for ESL’s North American league. However, a moment during the match stands out as controversial and has led to accusations of cheating.
At the 36-minute mark of the first game, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev scores a key kill on Quinn “Quinn” Callahan. The broadcast then cuts to Arteezy’s face cam, which was awkwardly pointed straight up. However, Evil Geniuses coach Sam “BuLba” Sosale can be seen behind Arteezy wearing a headset.
This drummed up controversy harkening back to a 2021 incident with Alliance. But is there anything behind this latest controversy?
Did Evil Geniuses cheat during DPC match against Quincy Crew?
While BuLba was in the same room as Arteezy during an official match, wrongdoing may not actually have occurred.
It’s easy to see why BuLba’s appearance might raise an eyebrow. In 2021, Alliance endured huge backlash from fans and other pro players alike when a video clip revealed that coach Peter “ppd” Dager was shot-calling for the team during a DPC match.
This led to accusations of cheating which were later deemed unfounded due to ESL rule changes allowing for an increased presence for coaches. The rule change was later reverted, limiting coaches’ interactions with players to drafts.
Today, ESL’s rulebook is explicit regarding the rules of coaches in Dota Pro Circuit matches. Rule 2.19 states:
“Any personnel in areas containing players or a coach must not interact with them in any way during the matches”
Meanwhile, rule 2.20 reads “communication during matches is limited to the five players. One coach may be present during the draft.”
Combined with the fact that Arteezy’s camera was placed at an unnatural angle that made it impossible to actually see him, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. But there may not have been any foul play here.
ESL’s rules have no ban on coaches being in the same room as players. The only stipulation is that they do not communicate with them. While some may point to BuLba’s headset as proof that he was in contact with his team during the match, the red light on his microphone may suggest otherwise. Many headsets have a red light on the microphone to indicate they’re muted.
There’s no way to know if BuLba was in fact muted. And while there’s a chance that BuLba was listening in on his team’s comms during the event, but there is no definitive way to prove that either. Even if he was listening, that isn’t strictly against the letter of rules.
So while fans may think EG was cheating in this instance, there’s likely isn’t anything there to actually prove that the team was committing foul play. What fans believe is another story.