In just the last week two teams from two regions have been disqualified from major tournaments -- Scrypt from South-East Asia's Pro League and Salamander from Europe's Challenger League.
Over in Southeast Asia (SEA), the longtime Pro League team, Scrypt E-Sports, has been disqualified for contravening ESL rules. Based in Indonesia, Scrypt has been a part of the region's Pro League since Season 7 when they qualified via the open qualifiers. Since then, they've made it to the APAC Finals once in Season 7, where they were one round from knocking out NORA-Rengo, and finished third within their region for Seasons 8 and 9 -- just one point away from qualifying over Aerowolf in the latter.
Now, as they sat with two wins and two draws in eight games, they have been disqualified as a team member attempted to circumvent a toxicity ban by playing on a team members account:
Back in July, the player of Rixx had received a toxicity ban outside of tournaments, meaning he was unable to play in their upcoming Pro League match. Scrypt had then officially used their substitute, WildLotus, during the game. However, following an ESL investigation, it was found that they had circumvented this requirement as Rixx played on WildLotus' account, breaking two rules in the process.
This means the team has been disqualified from the Pro League, with each of their previous results nullified, meaning that the region will keep just seven teams for the rest of the season. The league having seven teams is not too uncommon for APAC, as can also be seen within the ANZ subregion after the disbandment of Power Plays, but a Pro League ban is new for the region.
After a number of accusations during the qualifiers, Salamander has also been disqualified from the European region of the Challenger League as they had played with the Pro League player of Ferenc "SirBoss" Mérész during the qualifiers. SirBoss currently sits as a substitute for PENTA after playing with the lineup during the first half of Season 10, but also played alongside the Hungarian national runners-up during the first day of the fourth Challenger League qualifier, leading to their disqualification as announced earlier this week.
The disqualification comes with a large level of controversy, however, as in a Twitlonger post by the team's captain, DogeFather states that they had played the qualifiers under the impression that SirBoss was allowed to play. He pointed out that there had been no rules against it in the Challenger League qualifier rulebook, with the rule they broke instead being a part of the Pro League and Challenger League ruleset (seen below). The rule itself also seemingly doesn't relate to this situation either, as it would simply stop SirBoss from playing for PENTA for the rest of Season 10, rather than limiting Salamander's roster.
After playing the first day of games with SirBoss, Salamander saw a protest against them open up on day two for this reason in which the ESL admins determined that they were allowed to continue as long as SirBoss did not continue to play, which was agreed to and followed by the team. Two weeks after this protest was closed, though, it was reopened and saw Salamander disqualified last Friday, with it being announced that SYZYGY, the runners-up from the fourth qualifier behind Salamander, will be taking their place.
Yesterday, the official Pro and Challenger League rules were updated to more directly forbid any Pro or Challenger League players from playing in the Challenger League qualifiers:
SYZYGY is a French roster that defeated both the Italian champions of Mkers and the Hungarian champions of WiLD MultiGaming to make it to the qualifier finals before losing to Salamander. This team is largely inexperienced at this level of play, with just PrimaL having played in the Xbox Pro League during Season 2 in which he finished joint third as well as the Challenger League during Season 8 on 3DMAX. However, over the last few months, they have shown themselves to be a notable up and coming team while playing under the name of Don't Panic.
During this time, they qualified for the Six Major Raleigh Closed Qualifiers where they came within one round of defeating the German Challenger League team of Orgless, and finished joint-fifth in the TopAchat Cup where they fell to the eventual champions of LeStream Esport (now known as the Vodafone Giants). However, one of their players, Avadentt, was then caught with a VPN on his computer during a GO4, leading to six penalty points and the formation of this "new" team. SYZYGY's debut game in the Challenger League will be a rematch against Team Orgless a week on Thursday at 18:00CEST as Season 10 of the Challenger League kicks off.
While rare, we have seen Pro and Challenger League level disqualifications a number of times previously:
- Pro League Season 6 EU - beGenius ESC for use of macros by Shaiiko
- Challenger League Season 7 EU - forZe (which back then included the players of karzheka, Shockwave, ShepparD and JoyStiCk) for not maintaining three players from the previous season
- Challenger League Season 7 LATAM - Avalanche GG, which was the core of the current Team oNe roster for sharing accounts/PCs (the same reason for Scrypt's disqualification)
- Challenger League Season 9 LATAM - Furious Gaming, the first non-Brazilian team in the league since Season 6, for playing with an underaged player during the qualifiers
This makes Season 10 the second time there has been two teams disqualified in one season and the first time an Asia-Pacific team has been caught out by the rules.
For more coverage on the Pro and Challenger League when it fully kicks off next week and any updates on this story, keep an eye out here at SiegeGG!