322, reloaded: Former Dota 2 prodigy comes clean, reveals darker side of pro play

A deal with the devil.

A demonic figure with red and blue wings sits a throne twirling a dagger.
Image via Valve

In a stunning confession, a prominent Dota player hailing from the EEU region, Arslan “xannii” Shadzhanov, opened up about a shadowy chapter from his past. The former Empire player shared the moments of desperation that led him down a treacherous path of matchfixing.

Admitting to succumbing to a proposal involving matchfixing in an interview with Escorenews, xannii cited financial struggles as the catalyst behind his regretful decision. After a series of bad results, a financially struggling xannii was approached by a notorious matchfixer, Sensibility.

During this time in 2022, xannii was playing with Team Empire, one of the most well-known organizations in Dota 2 history. Despite having a rich past, Team Empire had fallen into irrelevance after the 2010s and couldn’t even offer salaries to their players.

Related: European match-fixing allegations raise new concerns for one of Dota 2’s biggest problems

Xannii also spoke about how he disliked his form and had doubts regarding his Dota 2 future, so he decided to take Sensibility up on his alleged offer: $4,500 for purposely losing three games. The core player said he was alone in this decision, meaning his teammates had no idea they would now be playing with a traitor in their ranks.

Dota 2 player Xannii.
Arslan “xannii” Shadzhanov. Image via Escorenews

Accepting the matchfixing deal also came bundled with certain requirements, since Xannii was asked to pause the match at minute three and claim he was lagging. This excuse would be the justification for his poor performance, but his teammates slowly picked up on xannii’s ill intentions, as he was also required to disconnect from a match and not come back, leaving his team with four players in one instance.

Upon noticing something was off about xannii, Empire removed the player from the roster and continued playing in the tournament with a stand-in. Empire allegedly told xannii that the organization wouldn’t start any drama, but he would be off the roster effective immediately. Betraying his teammate’s trust made xannii feel awful, and the player decided to call his former teammates to tell his side of the story.

While Stanislav “633” Glushan was understanding toward the youngster, Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh immediately removed xannii from all gaming and social platforms. Xannii claims he only received $2,000 from his deal with Sensibility, an amount he immediately “wasted” as it was also the first money he made in one and a half years.

Amidst his departure from Empire, xannii put his Dota 2 career on hold, only to come back after three months. Upon his return, xannii started to feel the impacts of his decisions as his reputation prevented him from joining tier-one squads.

The Aegis of Champions upon its podium.
The Aegis of Champions. Photo via [Valve](https://www.flickr.com/photos/dota2ti/48616275311/)

Xannii decided to prove himself once again, and restarted his grind from division two. With the player returning to active play, so did the demons from his past, as xannii claimed Sensibility started messaging the player to fix more matches. Xannii said he was greeted with threats this time around, since Sensibility claimed he would blow the whistle on him if he were to refuse to throw matches.

The threats served as the last straw for xannii. The player told off Sensibility, claiming everyone already knew about his dark past, while also deciding to come clean about the previous matchfixing incident so no one would be able to hold it against him.

Xannii actively participated in the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit with HF and IVY. His statements carry enough weight to put his future Dota 2 career into jeopardy, a fact that the player said he fully accepts. Even though he’s prepared for a potential permanent ban from competing in Valve events, xannii preferred clearing his conscience to repair his broken image in his own eyes.

The 2023 DPC season has been filled with controversy as multiple allegations of matchfixing have surfaced, and Valve has already banned over 40 Dota 2 pros and kicked five teams out of China’s DPC Tour for integrity violations. Even some legendary names were accused of matchfixing in 2023, making fans wonder whether Valve should employ a more hands-on approach with its DPC to ensure the integrity of Dota 2‘s competitive scene.


Gökhan Çakır
Strategical Content Writer and Fortnite Lead for Dot Esports. Gökhan Çakır graduated as an industrial engineer in 2020 and has since applied his analytical and strategic thinking to many endeavors. As a natural-born gamer, he honed his skills to a professional level in Dota 2. Upon giving up on the Aegis of Champions in 2019, Gökhan started his writing career, covering all things gaming while his heart remains a lifetime defender of the Ancients.

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