Riot rules on League of Legends screen watching incident, issues $30,000 fine

T.J. Hafer

Yesterday, we reported on a scandal at the League of Legends World Championship playoffs involving members of team Azubu Frost allegedly using the tournament displays (with both team's vision revealed for the benefit of the spectators) to gain information about the other team. The professional esports equivalent of the classic "screen hack" you used to get accused of in Goldeneye, basically. Riot has ruled that the outcome of the match will stand, but that Azubu Frost will be fined $30,000, which accounts for 20 percent of their winnings.

"We evaluated these cases based on intent, severity, and tangible impact to the course of the game," Riot's VP of esports explained . "Based on our investigation, the Azubu Frost incident is the only one where we determined there to be tangible impact - we believe other members of AzF modified their gameplay (level 1 ping and Jayce brush check) based upon the information gained. We don't believe, however, that these actions decided the winner of the game."

Riot's Senior eSports manager clarifies what was observed: "Between the restart and the final crash, at 19:24 on the game clock, WE WeiXiao looked up to his left and back at the venue screens. This happened shortly after a surge in crowd noise and a vuvuzela blast. Prior to WE Weixiao looking at the screens, Team WE had sufficient ward coverage to know the location of CLG.EU Froggen (Orianna) in mid, CLG.EU Yellowpete (Ezrael), who had just left top to either B or go through the jungle, CLG.EU Snoopeh (Cho'Gath), who was near wraiths, and CLG.EU Wickd (Malphite) at bottom."

As for the other teams accused of taking advantage of the stage layout, the following rulings were issued:

  • Quarterfinal #4, Game 3 (CLG.EU v. Team WE) at 19:24 on the game clock – WE WeiXiao looked up at the venue screen. Practical benefits to Team WE were limited - Corki's moves after WeiXiao's look would have been logical, whether he saw Sona's position on the venue screens or not. We have determined this to be unsportsmanlike and have issued a warning.
  • Group Stage A (IG v. SK) at 13:00 on the game clock – iG Zz1tai looked over his right shoulder at the screens. From our analysis, there was no material impact to the game. We have determined this to be unsportsmanlike and have issued a warning.
  • Quarterfinal #3, (restarted) Game 1 (AZF v. TSM) during game pause – TSM Dyrus turned his head to determine whether it was feasible to see the minimap screens from the stage. TSM obtained no direct meaningful benefits from Dyrus' action as the game was restarted, but we have issued a warning.
  • Quarterfinal #2, Game 1 (TPA v. NaJin Sword) at 4:11 on the game clock - TPA Stanley briefly looked to his left, then looked forward and adjusted his monitor. We've determined he was responding to glare issues. The position of all five players of NaJin Sword was already visible to TPA at this time. While Stanley violated the referee's instructions to look forward at all times, there was no unsportsmanlike conduct.

The money AzF was fined will be going to Riot's charity partners in Korea, according to the post.

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