Riot Games Investigates Match-Fixing Report in Russian LoL Competition

Former Vega Squadron player, Rolandas “Optimas” Vincalovičius, accused his teammates of purposely losing an LCL Open Cup 2020 match to make money on high betting odds. The club has found no evidence of wrongdoing during an internal investigation, but later confirmed that the situation caught Riot Games’ attention. 

Pre-Match Standings

For reference, LCL Spring Open Cup 2020 is a tournament that runs in parallel with the regular competition for Russian-speaking markets, LoL Continental League. Eight LCL teams are seeded into Group Stage, and another eight spots are up for grabs in the Open Qualifier. All matches but the final are held online.

By March 12, the last day of the LCL Open Cup 2020 group stage, Vega Squadron were in a somewhat secure position. They were guaranteed at least a spot in tie-breakers for a playoff spot even if they finished March 12 with a record of 0–2. Vega were scheduled to play an amateur team, Funny Yellow Dog, as well as a fellow LoL Continental League participant in M19. Based on the previous record, Vega was the favorite to get one of the playoff spots while FYD and M19 would scramble to secure the other.

*Deep Dark Fantasies forfeited their match vs M19 on March 11, citing personal reasons

Vega Squadron’s Jungler, Yaroslav “MightyDragon” Svistun, had to miss the first game (against Funny Yellow Dog) due to late classes. The team subbed in their coach/manager, Kirill “JamesPeke” Katashov, with MightyDragon set to be back before the M19 game later in the evening.

Matchday

For Group D, March 12 started with Vega Squadron losing to Funny Yellow Dog in 41 minutes. Vega had a 6K gold lead by Minute 25 but never closed out the match. This result enabled Funny Yellow Dog to either take part in tie-breakers or directly qualify as the second seed, depending on the result of Vega Squadron vs M19 matchup.

LCL Open Cup Зима 2020 | Групповая стадия | Неделя 4 | День 2 | DOG vs VEG

Vega Squadron, however, forfeited the remaining match against M19. Riot Games Russia’s esports page acknowledged that but didn’t explain what happened. This resulted in a three-way tie-breaker with Vega, M19, and FYD sitting at a record of 4–2. With MightyDragon back on the squad, Vega defeated both opponents to earn the first seed while FYD beat M19 for the other spot in the playoffs. 

Allegations

On March 17, Vega Squadron announced Alexander “Unho1y” Sevostianov as their new substitute ADC, who would replace Rolandas “Optimas” Vincalovičius in the LCL Spring Open Cup 2020 Quarterfinals. The following day, Vega lost the playoffs series to Dragon Army (0–2) and were knocked out of the tournament without any prize winnings (only top-4 get a share).

A few hours before Vega’s match in the quarterfinals, Rolandas “Optimas” Vincalovičius opened up about the March 12 shenanigans on his VK page. Here’s his post in full with my notes for clarity.

Hey everyone. As Vega’s new ADC has been announced and I’m no longer contracted, I’d like to tell you what happened [and] why I’m not playing. As most of you probably know, we lost to Funny Yellow Dogs (sic), had a forfeit loss, and then played the tie-breakers. One could explain the loss [to FYD] by us playing with a substitute Jungler, joking around, simply underperforming. The real reason is actually different.

It all started with Funny Yellow Dog having 15/1 betting odds to win against us. [Vega Squadron’s coach, manager, and substitute Jungler] JamesPeke pointed that out in the team’s chat, and they started discussing a potential win trade (sic); the game had no influence on our standings and nobody would get suspicious, as we were set to play with a sub in Jungle anyway. The discussion moved to Discord, where I said that I didn’t want to have my reputation tainted or lose to the underdog.

This topic picked up again on the matchday, but I was reassured that everyone would play normally: no bets were placed, so there’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, I took my team’s word on it and didn’t record the match, but there was some next level shit going on on Discord. We didn’t discuss the draft at all and picked Yasuo instead of Qiyana for [our mid laner] Keysie, even though we had discarded Yasuo due to Keysie not being comfortable playing the champion. Nevertheless, I still thought that my teammates would perform at a decent level. I still had the confidence even when Keysie didn’t level up Yasuo’s ultimate at Level 6 (shit happens). It was when Keysie started reading the Twitch chat and [my support] SimSin built Knight’s Vow and Gargoyle Stoneplate, ignoring multiple pleads to purchase Zeke’s Convergence, that I got suspicious.

This topic picked up again on the matchday, but I was reassured that everyone would play normally: no bets were placed, so there’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, I took my team’s word on it and didn’t record the match, but there was some next level shit going on on Discord. We didn’t discuss the draft at all and picked Yasuo instead of Qiyana for [our mid laner] Keysie, even though we had discarded Yasuo due to Keysie not being comfortable playing the champion. Nevertheless, I still thought that my teammates would perform at a decent level. I still had the confidence even when Keysie didn’t level up Yasuo’s ultimate at Level 6 (shit happens). It was when Keysie started reading the Twitch chat and [my support] SimSin built Knight’s Vow and Gargoyle Stoneplate, ignoring multiple pleads to purchase Zeke’s Convergence, that I got suspicious.

After the first secured Nashor, our Yasuo decided to go bot with Teleport on cooldown while Sylas could’ve gone there with his TP up. I noticed that and asked Sylas to head bot instead, but the team simply ignored the request. Moreover, Yasuo merely took the golems and recalled instead of split pushing [further]. There were a series of other “fantastic” plays from my team, including Flashes into the Baron Pit to help the enemy finish the match and a missed Ornn ultimate by our Sylas. I told the team that I wouldn’t play out the remaining matches if we lost this one, but it clearly didn’t affect their decision to lose the game on purpose and secure the bets.

To be honest, I don’t know what was their thinking behind this loss. Perhaps they thought that I wouldn’t notice, let things be as they were, or fail to provide evidence. Indeed, one has to know what they’re doing when it comes to such things. Luckily, [Vega’s Top] Charger and JamesPeke have long been placing bets and thus understand how to give little ground for suspicion.

Unfortunately, this is all my word against theirs, as the team would naturally deny everything. I’m sorry about all the Vega fans and those who supported me and the team. I’m sorry about the club and my relatives who believed in me. I hope you would understand my decision not to play with this squad going forward.

Rolandas “Optimas” Vincalovičius, former Vega Squadron ADC

Optimas’ Evidence

Team Conversations

Optimas published screenshots of conversations that took place in Vega Squadron’s chat on VK. We put our translation on top of the text in Russian for your convenience; the original screenshots are available here

People in the screenshots:

  • Kirill “JamesPeke” Katashov, Vega’s Coach/Manager/Jungle sub
  • Yaroslav “MightyDragon” Svistun, Vega’s Jungler
  • Andrey “SimSin” Zhabov*, Vega’s Support
  • Oleg “Charger” Zhuravlyov, Vega’s Top
  • Nikita “Keysie” Popov, Vega’s Mid
  • “Leon”, a person Charger discusses betting with

*Listed as Vladislav “SimSin” Samokha on Riot’s GCD

VOD Analysis

Shortly after leaking the conversations, Optimas also published a highlight reel with his teammate’s misplays. Below is a YouTube mirror as well as Optimas’ take on each situation.

Optimas Breakdown of Vega Squadron vs Funny Yellow Dog

1) Yasuo didn’t level up the ultimate and put the point in a different ability. Few people noticed that during the broadcast
2) Yasuo takes golems instead of pushing the bottom lane with bot side vision at his disposal
3) Yasuo stands by the wall and tanks all the Ornn knock-ups, even though we just had to avoid engaging and wait for Sylas to push bot
4) Yasuo flashes into the Baron pit to steal Nashor (???) 32 minutes in, although he can jump in with the plant and then Flash out. The very decision is “int”[entional feeding], too
5) Charger clearly forgot that he stole Ornn ultimate 15 seconds ago and has another 75 to use it in the bottom or in the top lane. He must have realized that we may win if he accidentally lands it
6) Sylas catches the hook with Flash and E up. Yasuo messes up all the Wind Walls and decides to jump on Jhin instead of Cassiopeia (this one is up for debate)
7) Sylas is caught with a hook once again, but we still win the fight. We just need to go as four and finish the game through the middle lane, but Yasuo decides to get three creeps (40 minutes in) after focusing down the cannon with Sylas. Braum runs away from me with his shield available, and Sylas decides to Flash in after I Flash out. Frankly speaking, the instinct to charge forward and finish the game should’ve prevailed here, but not today I guess. 

Reaction (so far)

Vega Squadron commented on the matter within a few hours, on the evening of March 18. They first responded to Cybersport.ru’s request with the following statement:

The club actively worked with the players and the squad’s manager after the game with Funny Yellow Dog. We found no evidence of players intentionally losing the match or betting on it. Optimas indeed refused to continue playing with the roster despite his contract. We tried to resolve the conflict to keep the same lineup, but it proved to be impossible.

As a result, we were forced to look for a new Marksman to keep fighting for an LCL playoffs spot and the Open Cup trophy. We also accommodated Rolandas’s request and relieved him of his contractual obligations. He has no claims against the club he played multiple splits at.

Vega Squadron

By midnight, Vega Squadron published a response to the allegations on their VK page. The CEO, Alexey Kondakov, mostly reiterated the same points. He also added that the squad’s coach, JamesPeke, has proven to be a trustworthy person. Most importantly, Kondakov revealed that Riot Games Russia are looking into the situation.

Riot Games are running their own investigation, and they have incomparable resources relative to Vega. Like all fans of the club, I’m very sad about what’s going, especially as this is the first time we ended up in a situation like this.

Alexey Kondakov, CEO of Vega Squadron

Riot Games Russia independently confirmed that they’re running an investigation into Optimas’ claims. “The player hasn’t reached out to us, so we learnt about the situation today from the press. We’re looking into the information,” said Andrey Korshunov, Head of Esports Russia & CIS to Cybersport.ru.


As both Open Cup and LoL Continental League run online, they have not had any coronavirus-related breaks. Vega Squadron’s next match is on March 23, 15:00 CET. They will be playing CrowCrowd live on Riot Russia’s Twitch channel.

by Denis Matusovskiy
March 19, 2020

3 comments

alt
Riot Games, Vega Squadron'un Şike Olayını Soruşturuyor!
March 20, 2020 at 10:03 am
[…] detaylarına ve ilgili görsellere buradan […]
alt
Reddit Anime Post: Optimas, formerly of Vega Squadron, shares his experiences of playing in LCL : leagueoflegends - TECHPRPR
May 09, 2020 at 8:15 pm
[…] everyone was up for idea of match making except me. https://nemo.gg/blog/riot-games-investigates-match-fixing-report-in-russian-lol-competition/ (couldn’t have translated this precise myself, huge props) in this link you can find our team […]
alt
Reddit Anime Post: NEMO - TECHPRPR
May 09, 2020 at 8:18 pm
[…] Source Link […]

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