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Last year, Counter-Strike’s esports scene would see one of its biggest scandals in recent times. Since being revealed, the coaching exploit caused many individuals being punished, and generated plenty of discussion in the general esports community.
Now, a new scandal has surfaced. Involving one of the most prominent organizations in CS.GO and its ex-coach, one of the most known names in the Danish scene, this series of events has brought back the case that happened last year. Of course, it also brought along with its own amount of controversy.
While the whole scandal is still on-going, we already have plenty to cover. In order to get up-to-date on what happened with Heroic and their ex-coach, we have this quick recap to bring you up to speed.
The aftermath for Heroic and HUNDEN
Before we get into the current situation involving the Heroic esports organization, and Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen, let’s take a look back at what happened in the aftermath of the coaching bug.
Back in 2020, the Esports Integrity Commission and ESL issued a statement. In it, they announced that HUNDEN and two other coaches (initially) were banned from competition. A ban from ESIC means that these individuals couldn’t be part of any of the events organized by its partners. This includes BLAST, DreamHack, ESL, Relog and WePlay. Valve also took action and banned Heroic’s coach from the next five CSGO majors.
As more coaches were being banned in the following months, like ex-Mousesports Allan “Rejin” Petersen, each organization took a different approach to deal with them. For example, Mousesports parted ways with Rejin. Heroic, in the other hand, suspended HUNDEN. However, after having his punishment reduced, they kept him in the organization as an analyst. Then, back in April once his ban expired and he returned as a coach.
When it all went down in Heroic
HUNDEN’s return to Heroic as a coach didn’t last long. Back in July, days before IEM Cologne, Heroic announced that he wouldn’t be with the team in the event. Furthermore, rumors of Astralis being interested in the coach started surfacing. While this initially pointed to a simply roster move, the situation was much more complicated.
Shortly after the event, HUNDEN went to Twitter to reveal that he would be parting ways with Heroic. There, he explained that he wished to start a new chapter in his career. At the same tweet, he also denied rumors that claimed that he shared Heroic’s strategies with a competitor in Cologne. Most fans weren’t aware of these rumors, but Heroic knew of something.
Shortly after that tweet, Heroic revealed on Twitter that HUNDEN wasn’t with the team in Cologne due to trust issues. In the same note, Heroic claimed that he had blocked its players from accessing the team’s strategy folder. Evidence that sensitive information from that folder was shared with a competitor was also found. Lastly, it was also announced that a legal process was in course in Denmark.
ESIC then published their statement. They revealed the ongoing investigation. They also affirmed that HUNDEN had engaged in ‘behavior that could constitute a breach of the ESIC Integrity Program.’
In late August, ESIC finally released their conclusion of HUNDEN’s case. The organization issued him a 2-year ban. The reasoning was ‘for engaging in behavior that threatened harm to the reputation and competitive integrity of esports.’
After the official ESIC statement, evidence that HUNDEN leaked Heroic’s anti-strat material to Astralis was found. At that point, the community already had an idea of what and to whom HUNDEN had sent the leaked content. In cases such as this one, more proof is always welcome.
Quickly after these rumors went live, another source revealed that ESIC had found that HUNDEN leaked more than just anti-strats. Heroic promptly released a clarification on what these documents were, and how they impacted Heroic as a team:
So, HUNDEN got banned by ESIC. Case closed, right? Not exactly.
Taking Heroic down
While even a reduction in his ban seems unlikely, HUNDEN didn’t simply drop the case. The coach revealed in an interview with TV2 that his teammates were aware of the bug being exploited. Now, he’s focused on proving it.
Going back to 2020, HUNDEN himself claimed that the players didn’t knew about the bug being exploited. While some part of the community doubted this, once ESIC finished investigating, the case was closed. In fact, Heroic CEO answered the accusations claiming exactly that. According to Joachim Haraldsen, ESIC thoroughly investigated the organization, and found no evidences of its players being involved a year ago.
However, Nicolai didn’t back down. He stated that he would be providing ESIC and other parties evidences that Heroic players were aware of what he was doing, despite his original claims. These were first reviewed by Danish analyst and ex-professional player Jacob “Pimp” Winneche, who commented:
Alongside this, HUNDEN also told his side of the story to TV2. Nicolai claimed that Heroic didn’t want him to leave the team despite him having issues with a higher-up. They went as far as offering him shares of the brand, but he refused. HUNDEN was then blocked of any contact with the team. In response, he shut off their access to the team’s documents, and shared it with Astralis. Moreover, he claims that he had his safety threatened when he opposed the organization’s decision to ‘conceal the truth’.
This Friday (3rd), TV2 revealed some of the evidences that back up HUNDEN’s claims. These involve a chat in which Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen, who now plays for OG, implies that the whole team knew about the abuse. Another piece of evidence points that René ‘TeSeS’ Madsen, who still plays for Heroic, helped HUNDEN to trigger the bug.
In that same piece, documents shown to the portal points that Heroic tried to issue a non-disclosure agreement with its players. This was made in a tentative to prevent them from talking about possible exploits and any information regarding the coaching bug. In case of breach, the individual would be required to pay up to US$100,000.
TV2 was also informed by HUNDEN that all pieces of proof have been shared with ESIC this Friday. Now, it’s a matter of time until an investigation takes off. Worth mentioning, Heroic roster back in 2020 featured two players who now play for different squads (Mad Lions and OG). This means that we can expect this investigation to affect these teams.
In the last hours, various individuals from the Counter-Strike community have shown their disappointment. From Natus Vincere’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev to Duncan “Thorin” Shields, many are commenting on the situation. Heroic, which qualified for the playoffs of ESL Pro League Season XIV, have yet to provide a final response, though. So far, they commented twice according to TV2. First, Heroic replied that NDAs are standard in the industry. Then, Joachim Haraldsen also commented that since Omaken Sports acquired Heroic months after these events, he’s unable to go in further detail about it.
Next week should be a busy one for every party involved in this whole situation. ESIC should be working on this as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, Heroic players and management should be preparing to explain their side of the situation.
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