Bans for 46 players in cheating case hit Dota 2 esports, including 21 lifetime bans

Image of the hero Marci from Dota 2. She is brown-haired and yellow eyed. She is smirking at the camera in a friendly way.
(Image credit: Valve)

46 players have been banned from Dota 2 Esports events, seemingly resulting from an investigation following allegations of cheating in January's Chinese regional Winter Tour of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC). The list includes the entirety of the team Knights, which was accused of using a vision hack to cheat their way to a third-place finish in the DPC matches. 

That finish qualified Knights for $27,000 and a spot in the recent Lima Major. Knights' performance once there was notoriously poor, however, absolutely bombing with a 1-15 record in that tournament.

Knights had rebranded as "Antarctic Penguins" just after their appearance in Lima, dropping most of its old roster, though all of its new roster was included in the ban list. Antarctic Penguins technically retains a slot in the upcoming Spring Tour regionals in China, though it's not clear at this time if they will participate.

The bans were handed out for "interference with fair competition" according to the statement posted by Perfect World Esports on Chinese social media platform Weibo. 21 were permanent bans, which bar the recipients from any official Dota 2 tournament. 13 more were two-year suspensions, while 12 were one-year suspensions, also from official Dota 2 tournaments.

The specific findings of the investigation and the reasons for the differing penalties were not publicly disclosed. PC Gamer has reached out to Valve for comment. Perfect World Esports is the regional publishing partner for Valve in China.

These big bans follow a massive wave of 40,000 public Dota 2 cheating bans doled out by Valve late last month. Those bans were a honey pot of sorts where Valve became aware of the cheat, figured out how to detect it, and let people cheat for a bit to collect as many jerks as they could in the banhammer's impact area.

Kinda convenient timing on the part of the cheating esports competitors, though. They're just in time to have missed being included on the list of big esports scandals we just did.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.