Day of upsets at BLAST Paris CS:GO Major marred by potential competitive integrity breach

How could this happen at a Major?

Photo by Michal Konkol via BLAST

It was an exciting but otherwise unremarkable opening round of matches at the BLAST Paris CS:GO Major Legends Stage on May 13, with many of the event’s top squads surviving their first best-of-one unscathed. The same could not be said, however, in round two.

Top squads G2 Esports, FURIA, and 9INE all face potential early exits as they prepare for day two of the Legends Stage, with G2 falling against Vitality and Bad News Eagles in their opening matches after a dominant display during last week’s Challengers Stage.

But all eyes were on FaZe Clan, who joined the aforementioned squads at 0-2 after dropping best-of-ones to world No. 1 Heroic (16-7) and British representatives Into The Breach (16-12). ITB received a high seed after their EU RMR blitz in April, while, despite their status as one of the world’s best CS:GO squads, FaZe entered with a far lower seed after scraping past the Last Chance Qualifier and Challengers Stage.

Related: ‘Broken’ seeding just made top CS:GO team’s BLAST Major journey much harder

But following ITB’s victory, a video surfaced online revealing television screens that featured a live producer feed of the game were positioned in view of the ITB team booth. The video was sent to HLTV’s Danish “Nohte” Allana, who posted it on behalf of the anonymous recorder.

It is understood the screens only displayed a select few rounds at the end of the map following the conclusion of the G2-BNE series. There was no evidence suggesting ITB had used this information to their advantage, as the squad on multiple occasions executed T rounds into a stacked FaZe bombsite. And with such a distance between the players and the producer feed monitors, it would have been next to impossible to decipher the images.

But the question of competitive integrity must be asked of tournament organizer BLAST—especially at a Major tournament, no less—as to how this lapse of judgment could occur.

While a vocal minority made outlandish claims of ITB cheating and demanded the match be replayed, those with cooler heads instead turned their ire to BLAST.

“[The] worst thing about this is people will now try and bring down ITB’s win over FaZe even though they almost certainly didn’t even notice the screen,” said analyst Janko “YNk” Paunovic following the map. “But we can’t know for sure and that’s why BLAST should’ve never allowed something like this to happen in the first place.”

Dot Esports has reached out to BLAST for comment.

Around the grounds, the upsets kept coming, with FURIA caught napping in their best-of-ones, winning zero T side rounds in heavy losses to Monte and Ninjas In Pyjamas, while 9INE—one of the top-seeded squads out of the EU RMRs—went down to Team Liquid and GamerLegion.

Related: BLAST Paris CS:GO Major: Scores, standings, and results

Natus Vincere was strong in their opening map win against GamerLegion but fell unceremoniously to Team Liquid, who themselves sit comfortably at 2-0 and may yet qualify for the Champions Stage after being written off during last week’s 3-2 reverse sweep in the Challengers Stage.

The BLAST Paris Major Legends Stage resumes today, May 14, at 4:30am CT.

Update May 14 3:46am CT: A BLAST spokesperson provided the following statement to Dot Esports: “A production error was made yesterday during the last game of the day between FaZe Clan and Into The Breach on Stream B. The stream was visible from the ITB match playing booth for a short period of time. After investigating the matter and reviewing the match demos and voice comms, there is no indication that ITB were aware of, or benefitted from any external information provided by the stream. We have rectified the issue and will ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

About the author
Nicholas Taifalos

Aussie Editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career as a commentator, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly CS:GO and Dota. Email: [email protected]