Banning Russian players in Dota 2: what can an international boycott lead to

Alisa Barladyan
07 Mar 2022

Russian Dota 2 teams, as well as their players, began to be suspended from international competitions. So, had to leave GAMERS GALAXY: Invitational Series Dubai 2022 even before the start of the tournament. The organizers forbade the players to take part in the tournament, although they had already flown to Dubai in full force. Now, other esports organizations from Russia are in a similar situation - the international community is gradually declaring a boycott on them. Who has already managed to get a ban and what it can lead to? told about it in this article.

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Dota 2 announced blackmail by the organizers of GAMERS GALAXY

Right now, Dubai is hosting the first LAN tournament in a long time — GAMERS GALAXY: Invitational Series. Nine teams take part in it, although initially there were 10 of them. The Russian esports team, which has already arrived at the venue, was suspended from participation in the tournament. The representatives of the club were the first to announce this the day before the start of the tournament March 1.

Today we face with an unthinkable situation: the organizers of the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 gathered players who arrived in Dubai at the invitation of Nigma Galaxy SEA and gave them an ultimatum. The ultimatum sounds like this: "Either your club takes a public position on the situation in Ukraine, or we remove you from the tournament." It even reached the point of threatening to announce that our players allegedly fell ill with COVID (all tests are negative), just to prevent them from playing. As an alternative, we were asked to drop the name and our game jerseys, playing without being tied to a specific club and country.

Representatives of the esports organization also said that WePlay was behind their suspension, which threatened the organizers from GAMERS GALAXY to disrupt the tournament if was allowed to attend. This contradicts the statement that "esports is out of politics".

We know that Nigma Galaxy SEA found itself in a dependent position: their technical contractor for the organization of GAMERS GALAXY is the Ukrainian company WePlay, which put forward such conditions, threatening to disrupt the tournament. This is despite the fact that the government of the United Arab Emirates, where the tournament takes place, takes a neutral position on the situation in the CIS. considers behavior by WePlay and GAMERS GALAXY to be categorically unacceptable. Many Russian and CIS clubs are now under attack. Individual tournament operators have already launched a "witch hunt". We urge them to stop and not become a mirror of the "traditional" sport, where politics has become an integral, ruling part.

Having outlined the position, the team refused to take off the club's uniform and stated that they would not allow to be pressured from outside. With these statements, wanted to restore justice and defend the right to participate in the tournament, where they were directly invited by the organizers. Apparently, it seemed to the representatives of the club that this was the best way out of the current situation. However, GAMERS GALAXY remained adamant.

On the morning of March 2, the organizer of Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 excluded from the tournament participants. The representative of the Russian club said that the team was removed from the schedule and will not play in the championship. And half a day later

there was an official announcement of this decision. As we can see, eSports, like traditional sports, cannot exist outside of politics.

The esports organization has fallen out of graces with foreign companies and tournament organizers, so it is unlikely that it will be invited to any other tournament in the near future. Officially, no one banned the club, but in modern realities, everything is clear - they announced a boycott, which could last a very long time.

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Team Spirit is up in the air

Team Spirit

It is worth to remark that Team Spirit, another Russian Dota 2 esports team, still participates in Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022. Most likely, the fact is that the club made an official statement about the situation in Ukraine. Apparently, WePlay was satisfied with this statement, since the company did not make any claims to the team.

At the same time, there are no guarantees that Team Spirit will receive an invitation to the next tournament, which will be held abroad. In Dota 2, this is now treated with great reverence, since the team is still the current champion of The International. They can't just be banned. However, Team Spirit can still be blacklisted and never play outside of Russia again.

HellRaisers Organization suspended activities


The Russian eSports organization HellRaisers announced the termination of its activities. As stated in the official announcement, "the HellRaisers project cannot continue its work in the current situation, therefore it will be frozen for an indefinite period."

At the same time, the club management assures that all staff will retain their jobs, and the organization will continue to provide financial support to employees during the project freeze as far as possible. The Dota 2 HR roster will continue to play in tournaments, but under a different tag - it will be chosen later by the esportsmen. It should be noted that in the previous composition of HellRaisers there were three players from Russia and two players from Kazakhstan.

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WePlay Esports banned Russian clubs from participating in their tournaments

From March 1, Russian players are no longer allowed to take part in competitions on the platform of the tournament operator WePlay Esports. The organizers of the amateur 2x2 CS:GO tournament awarded the PingueS mix a forfeit defeat. The players did not understand why they got a defeat in advance, so they turned to the WePlay administrators.

Representatives of the tournament operator explained that due to the current situation in Ukraine, players from Russia were denied access to tournaments on the WePlay platform. When the Russians will again be able to participate in tournaments is unknown. In addition to amateur and major CS:GO tournaments, WePlay holds competitions in Dota 2, League of Legends, Tekken, and other esports disciplines. Apparently, players from the Russian Federation are now also not allowed to play at them. It turns out that both tier-1 players from Russia and ordinary players who participate in small tournaments were banned.

Valve postponed the start of the spring DPC season in the CIS

The American game developer Valve has postponed the start of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021/2022 spring season for Eastern Europe. The postponed dates for the start of the next season will be announced by the DPC 2022 organizers later. It is worth noting that earlier it was supposed to be

held from March 14 to April 24 and the Major would end, but now the general situation for the CIS teams is still unknown.

Valve has informed us that DPC's spring tour of Eastern Europe has been postponed indefinitely. We'll be back soon with details on the new start dates for the open qualifiers and the main part of the regional tournament.


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Season 8 of D2CL has been temporarily halted


Under the threat of disruption there were not only foreign competitions, but also Russian ones. Tournament operator Epic Esports Events has announced that Winline Dota 2 Champions League Season 8 will be suspended indefinitely. Prior to this, several European teams have already managed to refuse to participate in D2CL. Most likely, this is the reason why to organizers decided to temporarily pause the tournament.

Winline Dota 2 Champions League Season 8 has been suspended. Reopening dates will be announced later. Now, we cannot ensure the further holding of the tournament. Epic Esports Events stands for the speedy resolution of the current crisis and against any action that causes harm to innocent people. We hope to be back with good news as soon as possible and will keep you updated.

Epic Esports Events

By the way, the Beyond The Summit studio refused to cover the Dota 2 Champions League Season 8 online tournament in English from the tournament operator Epic Esports Events. In addition, BTS has revoked RuHub's rights to cover the tenth season of the BTS Pro Series in Russian.

What can an international boycott lead to?

As we can see, Russian esports is gradually being driven out of the international scene. If tomorrow a major Dota 2 tournament is suddenly announced, then hardly anyone will invite Russian teams there. Now everything is about politics. If this keeps up, soon our teams will have nowhere to play.

In one scenario, we will only have local tournaments, in which only Russian teams will participate, and there are not so many of them. In another one, these tournaments will not exist, since their organizers also need partners and sponsors, who are becoming less and less every day.

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