Valve permabans match-fixing esports club and five Dota 2 pros, including a former winner of The International

Axe from Dota 2.
(Image credit: Valve)

In May 2020 the Chinese esports organisation Newbee, winner of 2014's Dota 2 International, was implicated in a Dota 2 match-fixing scandal. The incident took place during a match between Newbee and Avengerls in the Dota 2 Starladder ImbaTV League in February 2020, a minor event on Valve's Dota Pro Circuit. 

A video of one of the games in question can be seen below: at the time, clips of this went viral and it was widely perceived as having been thrown, with retired Newbee player and International winner Zhang 'Xiao8' Ning commenting to the effect that "If Avengerls didn’t fix this match, I'll eat shit."

When the allegations first surfaced, Newbee was barred from competing across a range of Dota 2 events: the CDA-DPL Professional League, IMBA TV and MarsTV schedules. At the time Newbee denyied wrongdoing and said it would appeal. Now both Newbee and the five players involved have been banned from competing in any Valve or Perfect World event permanently, effective immediately.

The announcement was made on Dota 2's Weibo account, and translated reads: "Perfect World and Valve have decided to permanently ban the Newbee Club and five players. The suspended clubs and players will not be allowed to participate in the official DOTA2 events hosted by Valve and Perfect World E-sports."

The players involved are Lipeng 'Wizard' Wen, Han 'Moogy' Xu, Rui 'Aq' Yin, Chao 'Waixi' Yan and Hongda 'Faith' Zeng. Hongda Zeng was a member of the Invictus Gaming team that won The International in 2012, and Newbee as a club won the International in 2014 and was runner-up in 2017. It's game over for all of them, permanently.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."