Epic Esports Events, the EPIC League organizers stirred a lot of discussions, especially in the Russian Dota 2 community, when they decided to give Just Error (404) a free pass into the qualifiers decider match counting for a spot into the $500,000 Division 1 of the tournament.
Although the qualifiers took place across 12 days, the information regarding the surprise last minute invite became officially available only a couple of hours before the game was actually scheduled to take place. After a series of accusations of favoritism and a lot of comments made by the Russian commentators, EPIC League issued a statement for Cybersport.ru on November 11 explaining how they decided to give the slot to the newly formed CIS stack Just Error.
According to Epic Esports Events, all the qualifiers participants were informed about the decider match right from the beginning, but they were told that Natus Vincere will get the invite for that series. However, they encountered an issue when Evil Geniuses declined the invite to the main event, and so they decided to put NAVi in their slot.
Epic Esports Events’ statement includes only these aspects and does not clarify the Just Error decision. However, Russian commentator Vitalii “V1lat” Volochai, posted on his Telegram account that although the info was not made public until the very last moment, the participating teams knew who would be invited to that best-of-five match.
Following V1lat’s claims, Yellow Submarine manager, Dmitry “Korb3n” Belov made a lengthy post on vk.com, explaining the whole situation.
He denied the fact that the teams playing in the qualifiers knew about Just Error, but he confirmed that the initial format featured NAVI in the decider series for the second slot. However, he states that once NAVI was invited into the main event, the organizers didn’t give the teams any other update.
Furthermore, he explains that when the qualifiers started, the document with the schedule provided by the organizers to the teams still featured NAVI in the decider match.
“Obviously, when you see the match for the second place with NAVI, who are already invited to the first division, you immediately think that there will be two slots on the standard bracket, as it was indicated in the Liquipedia page. There was no information or announcements coming from the organizers,“ Korb3n said.
He states that only later on during the qualifiers NAVI were replaced in the document with “invited team.” “V1lat’s statement has nothing to do with the reality,” Korb3n wrote.
“The organizers said nothing,” he added. “The info came by accident when, on November 8th, the NiP manager was indignant in a general meeting about why the teams don’t know who the Invited Team is.”
At the end of his post, the YeS manager states that he understands why the tournament organizers did everything in their power to get Just Error into the main event, but he raises a series of questions and concerns regarding the competition integrity.
“I don’t understand why such a big TO as Epic Events didn’t do everything in the open. Why didn’t they write everything in the regulations, why didn’t they officially inform the teams what kind of invited team was and so on? Why they did not make a normal schedule, or in the end did not force 404 to play the entire (qualifier) playoff, since they couldn’t give them the direct invite they deserve?”