Cheating is common enough in sports – and esports isn’t safe either. Cheating in esports matches isn’t too common, but it happens often enough to be a problem. The worst cheaters in esports are precisely those few that are willing to ruin it for everyone just to make themselves look better… thankfully, they don’t always get away with it!
Phox and W3ak During the Prep for PAX 2020
A much more recent incident in the Valorant scene happened as North American amateur team Echo 8 was preparing for the PAX arena tournament in July. Two of the players – a NA player going only by the alias "phox" and Jack "w3ak" Hughett – were banned as the team geared up for the event.
After initially denying it, the two that fell under Vanguard’s banhammer eventually admitted it – and other incidents of them allegedly using somewhat obvious cheating software quickly surfaced.
Despite these two’s deception, the team was allowed to continue in the competition – phox and w3ak however received a lifetime ban from the game and Valorant competitions.
Azubu Frost at the League of Legends World Championships 2012
Some years ago, Korean team Azubu Frost was caught in a very low-tech cheat – they just looked at their opponents' screens. During the competition, the team was caught looking somewhere they shouldn’t have been – up at the map that revealed where the opponent team TSM was located. There was plenty of video footage of the players peeking where they shouldn’t have been – and it cost them.
The team was fined $30 000 and of course, publicly humiliated. The actual players were dismissed, and further games quickly adopted a different setup that simply didn’t allow the players to see screens revealing enemy setups anymore.
Team Dignitas and Curse NA at the MLG 2012 Summer Championships
Most of the worst cheaters in esports cheat in order to gain an advantage over the other side. That isn’t always the case – in the 2012 MLG competition, the two teams competing in the final made a somewhat unique deal.
They decided to split the prize money, and therefore didn’t really need to try. Instead, they played an ARAM game – all random characters, and all players went to mid lane. Naturally, they were found out (not that they were hiding it, really – truly some of the "worst" cheaters in esports) and punished. Both teams were disqualified by MLG, but ultimately the fallout was worse for the organizers, who were of course embarrassed that their tournament was mocked like it was.
Forsaken at the eXTREMESLAND 2018 Asia Finals
Part of OpTic India’s CS:GO team, player Nikhil "forsaken" Kumawat was caught cheating live at one of the biggest tournaments of the year. His attempts weren’t well concealed – he used an aimbot that was discovered by tournament officials. Instead of confessing to cheating in esports matches, he instead tried to delete the aimbot program he’d put on the computer and deny it – naturally, this didn’t work. The whole "word.exe" debacle even became a meme.
He and his team were promptly disqualified, and another competition of theirs was retroactively found to have also included cheats. As the CS:GO scene has always suffered from cheating, many fans were extremely upset to see a player from a high-profile team like OpTic participating in such actions. It was especially sad as everyone had such high hopes for Indian esports.
- READ MORE: Around the World: Esports in India
Cloud9 at ESL One Katowice 2015
While most cheating incidents in esports have more to do with game manipulation, that event saw a team try a different method – doping. Physical attributes like speed and reflexes are a must-have in esports tournaments… and the CS:GO team Cloud9 decided to take a shortcut there, as was revealed by player Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesenafterward.
And it wasn't just one player – the entire team had been on Adderall for the match. The rulebook for the event didn’t technically forbid this, however, though the use of prescription drugs like Adderall IS illegal there. No specific actions were taken against the team as no actual proof existed, but this incident helped start a dialogue about performance enhancers in esports.