LDLC Overcomes Cheating Scandal to Win DreamHack Winter CS:GO Tournament
That French eSports team LDLC won the $250,000 DreamHack Winter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament wasn’t a huge surprise. They’re quite good and experts considered them quite capable of picking up 2-0 series wins in their playoff matchups. The real surprise was the LDLC overcame unusual circumstances that would have sunk other teams en route to that championship.
At one point, LDLC was out of the tournament after the quarterfinals having lost to Fnatic but a scandal over Fnatic using a “pixelwalking” exploit resulted in a protest, forfeiture and a storybook run for LDC to the DreamHack Winter Championship.
In the final map of their best-of-three quarterfinal series, LDLC was up by nine maps (12-3) and only four more maps from securing a spot in the semi-final. However, Fnatic used an exploit in the map to be able to see their opposition’s movements and strategy.
Fnatic used a technique called a boost where one player stands on top of another to get some extra height. That’s perfectly legal. Fnatic used an invisible ledge to boost up even higher. The technique, called “pixelwalking,” is considered somewhere between in poor taste and illegal. The pixelwalking boost allowed Fnatic to turn around from down 12-3 at the halftime break to a 16-13 win.
LDLC protested the final map and DreamHack officials upheld the protest on the grounds that using that particular boost allowed Fnatic to see through environment textures as the rules violation rather than a pixelwalking violation. They also ruled that LDLC was also exploiting transparent textures so the final map was ordered to be replayed from 0-0 before the second semifinal (which the Fnatic/LDLC was to go into). However, Saturday morning, Fnatic announced its forfeiture of the final map which awarded the quarterfinal win to LDLC.
After picking up a 2-0 semifinal win over Na’Vi, LDLC booked a trip to the finals against Ninjas in Pajamas.
LDLC sure didn’t look like the drama of the prior day affected them in the final. They picked up eight wins in a row to start the second half of the first map to power them to 16-10 win to open the finals series. Despite winning 10 maps in the series, NiP won only one map in the second half. While LDLC picked the second map of the series, Inferno, they were trounced by the Swedish side as NiP won the final 11 rounds consecutively to win that map 16-4.
The final map might have been one for the ages without the story leading up to it. NiP took the first half 11-4 and got to 14-8 before LDLC ran up five straight round wins to get the map to 14-13 for the Swedes. NiP took the 28th round to take it to match point but LDLC forced overtime by picking up the final two rounds before overtime. After splitting the first two rounds of overtime, LDLC took the next two rounds to pick up the map 18-16 and the tournament win.
For their efforts, LDLC picked up a grand prize of $100,000. If their appeal had been denied, they would have been stuck with 10% of that, $10,000. It’s also worth noting that this tournament also set new viewership records for CS:GO, probably thanks in part to the drama of the Fnatic cheating scandal.
So, in what is certainly a rarity in real life, we’ve had an honest to goodness storybook ending to a scandal. GG, LDLC.