Interview with Earlwin “Ewe” Libre of team Execration regarding the Philippine matchfixing incident

A lot of readers of avyportal.com linked me to a Twitter update from Earlwin Young, who plays for team Execration. According to Earlwin, his team was contacted with a proposition to be part of the match fixing plan.

earlwin Xct

I decided to get in touch with Earlwlin to ask him a few questions on the matter.

earlwin convo 1 earlwin convo 2 earlwin convo 3 earlwin convo 4

For those of you who don’t speak Tagalog, Earlwin’s last message read: “I hope this will be a lesson to the new players of the Philippines, don’t be blinded by money, don’t waste the years we spent on playing Dota just for money.”

The image below is an extract from a conversation between Earlwin (Third Reich) and his teammate (Emma Stone) that he kindly linked during our interview. On the right hand side is a rough translation by my friend – Richmond Bernardo.

xct screenshot

TR: You son of a b**** maybe you’re part of the 322, I’m going to slap you!
ES: Sure if you see something haha
TR: You look like money (Means the person is all about money)
ES: I told you already I don’t care about money I just play. Tag me already b****.
TR: Wahaha
ES: Hurry, son of a bitch
TR: You mentioned before that MSI and MSKI throw games, do you have proof?
ES: Yes
TR: Let’s show it to Godz
ES: I’ve already told you guys before [to show it] haha
TR: Pass [post?] the PROOF on our group
ES: It was only talk though
TR: Print screen it
ES: It’s not on chat
TR: It’s okay. What do you mean just talk?
ES: In person, not on chat.
TR: Who were you with?
ES: Kuku and the others
TR: Even the ugly guy will get dragged into this s***, son of a b****.

In short, Michael attempted to recruit IAP (InterActive Philippines – Execration) into his little group of match-fixing teams. However, Execration declined his proposition and avoided the trouble. Earlwin called the situation a “disgrace of Philippines”, and he’s absolutely right in saying so.

Earlwin and his team are definitely positive role models amidst this crisis, where everything seems to be going downhill for Philippine eSports. They are truly figure heads for the eSports community worldwide. Hopefully everyone learns a lesson from these guys and has a look at the current consequences the guilty individuals in this incident face, and then thinks if they want to be in the same place as them just for a dirty sum of money.

Remember this quote from Ewe: “I hope this will be a lesson to the new players of the Philippines, don’t be blinded by money, don’t waste the years we spent on playing Dota just for money.” / “Sana maging lesson to sa mga darating na bagong mga players sa pinas, wag tayo magpapabulag sa pera, wag nten ipagpalit ang ilang taon na sinayang sa paglalaro ng dota para lang sa pera.”

earlwin

Mineski and MSI matchfixing scandal

mineski 4 *The players in these two photos do not directly represent the individuals who were responsible for the game fixing as the rosters depicted in these images may not be accurate to the current lineups.msi croppe Yet another Philippine scandal is at hand.

For those of you who don’t know what “322” refers to (I didn’t know either), it is the story of Solo. He made against his own team (RoX.KiS) in a StarLadder match and won $322 for losing the game. However, StarLadder staff found out about what he did and excluded him from all tournaments for the period of one year. In addition to that, the betting agency did not give him the $322 that he won. In short, 322 basically means “throwing the game” because that is what he did.This is why I included the number 322 in the article header, as it perfectly describes what has been going on in this scenario, although it is on a far bigger scale.

Match fixing is not something I would expect to happen, at least not at a professional level, but unfortunately a large number of reports suggest it has. Yesterday I was notified of a possible series of staged games between Mineski, MSI alongside other teams. I looked into the matter and found some publicly accessible images which point to a few names that are involved, the one below being the initial one which vaguely illustrated the main individuals involved, and their roles in the whole fiasco. 1779948_1483883445221750_204426545960375348_nThe image above gives a simple overview of the situation as portrayed by one user. Vallejos was claimed to be the “mastermind” of the whole incident. After researching him, I found out that he is the General Manager of a Dota 2 community named MyDota2Community, which has a total of 25,000 members in its Facebook group and 37,000 Facebook likes. The alleged middleman – Jonathan Radores, is a Dota 2 eSports player in the Philippines who is often seen standing in for Mineski, and is the friend of Julz, who was accused of scamming 80 keys from a GosuGamers staff member a few months ago.

Gosugamers coverage crew member Sovann “Skim” Kim added this in his latest article regarding the match fixing debates: “Upon checking up on our own bets, we found two GGnet accounts that both only placed one key bet in their entire history and both on this exact match between Mineski and MSI. Both accounts were created on the day of the match, won their bets and were able to withdraw over 70 keys each. Furthermore, two other accounts who were able to withdraw a similar amount of keys, with a total of only two key bets to their name. All accounts are from the Philippines and while none of them can be linked to any particular person, it adds up to the theory.”

The Mineski vs MSI match can be found here. The Mineski vs Team Immunity can be found here.

The evidence coming from GosuGamers already seems strong. I spoke to a dozen people myself, from both sides of the spectrum, the majority of whom wished to remain anonymous, meaning that I will not be able to state exactly who they are as I have to respect their privacy, especially for a sensitive topic such as this. However I am able to state the names of everyone who has been put ‘on the spot’ in this incident/whose names are open to the public already.

The first person on my list was Jonathan Radores, as a lot of the publicly available screenshots depict him discussing and planning the match fixing with friends. His stance on the matter was straight forward – He got hacked; the hacker framed him by messaging on his behalf. Below is an extract of my conversation with him. jonathan replyHowever, a very large number of screenshots have emerged over the past few days, giving us insight into Radores’ private messages which depict him talking to others about scamming and planning to fix the upcoming games. I will not post all of them here, as I will publish a separate article which will be composed primarily of images which have been uploaded to social media by various sources – you will be able to look through them and decide if they are real or fake for yourselves. For those of you who don’t speak Tagalog, here’s a translation that was provided by one of the people I interviewed:

10615527_885755691443145_3036691654036398179_n
Jonathan Radores: Do you want to scam 80keys?
Arnel Marcos: Hahaha crazy. Baka majulz dre (A joke indicating that what had happened to Julz in the gosuwriter scam could happen to him)
Jonathan Radores: It was the two of us stupid! We screwed the wrong guy, because the guy we scammed was the #1gosu writer.
Arnel Marcos: hahaha you’re an idiot
michael and jonathan croppedMichael Vincent Vallejos: Sure, Tell Jacko,Tell Paseo to do their best later but Patt will miss pick
Jonathan Radores: Sure.. Hahaha.. Sisi too?
Michael Vincent Vallejos: Yes
Jonathan Radores: Give Jacko’s Tinker. Who else knows?

Perhaps one of the most valuable insights I received was from an MSI player themselves. Of course it is for you readers to decide whether or not this is true, due to the fact that I am unable to state the name of the player involved for confidentiality reasons, meaning that the statement below cannot be backed up with a screenshot of a conversation between me and the player (including their name) unless they themselves decide to confess publicly. Initially the player announced to me that he will be leaving MSI, and admitted to the game fixes:

leaving msi
 They then went onto talk about Michael Vincent Vallejos, who has been portrayed as the main antagonist in the story:

msi player on michael small

msi player on michael small 2

msi player on michael small 3 This information leaves us with some back-story to Michael. This story can supported by a selection of Reddit users who commented on a recent Reddit post that was created less than a day ago. Here’s an example: reddit user Whilst browsing various Dota 2 Facebook groups, I also came across this image of Mineski players, Jonathan and Michael ice-skating together…coincidence? friends The image below is of Michael, where he is depicted being a “scam lord” whilst showing off his ‘dirty’ money. Definitely not something that he should be proud of. One of the sources had this to say:

“He is a buyer and seller of dota 2 items. He wants all the prices in his group under his control. If people buy items higher than his price in his group. he will automatically kick them. Many people have been kicked by him because they are all buying items in his group…Michael wants to control the price in his group and wants to only to sell them on him at low price because if no one is buying, there is no competition – sellers have no choice but to sell to him at low low price.”

scam lord In conclusion, the majority of sources and the information open to the public suggest that the match fixing between Mineski, MSI as well as other teams is a reality, however the defendant (Radores) stands by the statement he initially provided – that his email, steam and facebook were hacked. That being said, one of the sources I spoke to, told me that during their conversation with one of Radores’ friends, they claimed that he has regained access to his steam account. The question is, how is this possible if he has no access to his email address?

As Vallejos ignored my messages I couldn’t get his stance on the situation, however a heavy number of both sources and the general public on Reddit stated that he has scammed players before and continues to do so alongside the match fixing. I would like to highlight my current stance on the overall situation. From all of the information I have gathered, Michael Vincent Vallejos is guilty, no doubt about it.

As for Jonathan Radores, I do not want to make assumptions. Although his past suggests otherwise, I believe that there is a fight to suggest that he could be innocent, although the amount of evidence is overwhelming, so I will leave it to you guys to decide. MSI and Mineski players are the primary individuals at fault. If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t have happened. As far as I know, both organizations are looking into the situation themselves and will keep the public updated on their plans for the players once they run through a thorough investigation.

Due to the overload of information I received from various sources, I will write a separate article which will be solely dedicated to screenshots and other images which contribute to the allegations made by other sources. I would like to thank everyone who agreed to speak to me and provide me with all of this valuable information – everyone apart from Vallejos provided me with their views. I hope that this article answered some of your questions on the current on-goings of the Philippine Dota 2 scene.

I will consider writing a Part 2 to this article as there is so much that I still haven’t included in this one. Let me know if I should in the comments section below! I hope that you found this article insightful, I tried to include some information that is already available to the public as well as some exclusive information that no one else has covered. You can see the latest statements from both organizations below: mineski statement msi statementIf you have any further questions or have anything to add, feel free to get in touch on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Yakovl3v

The International 4 is drawing near!

ti4

From 18th to 21st July, eSports will see its biggest tournament to date – The International 4. What makes this tournament so special? It boasts a whopping prize pool of over $10,000,000 as of this week, dwarfing the prize pool of the second biggest eSports tournament, The International 3, which held a prize pool just shy of $3,000,000 last year.compendium reards

Valve has given the community an opportunity to raise the prize pool by allowing them to buy interactive compendiums, which has increased the prize pool by $2.50 for each Compendium purchased, which has led to the colossal prize pool which we see now. In return for fans supporting Dota 2’s biggest annual tournament, Valve announced that players would “receive extra immortal treasures, obtain new custom in-game effects, get bonus Loading Screens and increase your Battle Point Booster percentage as you progress”.

As you can see on the right, compendium owners are rewarded as their compendium is leveled up.

Valve also added stretch goals to the compendium which were unlocked as the prize pool gradually increased, all of which have now been unlocked:

  • $1.8 million – Receive “Evolving” Battle Point Booster
  • $2.0 million – Unlock a Few New Loading Screens
  • $2.2 million – Vote for Which Hero Should Get New Arcana
  • $2.4 million – Unlock Compendium-Themed HUD
  • $2.6 million – Unlock Voting for an 8-Player Solo Championship at TI4
  • $2.9 million – Unlock All Random Deathmatch Matchmaking
  • $3.2 million – Unlock a Treasure with Valve-Designed Immortal Items
  • $3.5 million – Unlock Emoticons for Dota 2 Chat
  • $4.0 million – Unlock Mini-Pudge Courier
  • $4.5 million – Unlock New Music Pack
  • $5.0 million – Unlock New 1v1 Mid-Lane Matchmaking
  • $5.5 million – Unlock New Environmental Effects
  • $6.0 million – Customize a Building in Your Base
  • $6.8 million – Daily Hero Challenge
  • $7.2 million – Alternate Voice (Hero vote, plus item when recorded)
  • $7.6 million – Favorite Hero Challenge
  • $8.0 million – Model Update Vote
  • $8.4 million – Multi-Kill Banner
  • $8.8 million – Afterparty broadcast with Darude
  • $9.2 million – New upgraded creeps
  • $9.6 million – A-Z Challenge support
  • $10 million – Victory prediction taunt

This year, the International will be held in KeyArena, Seattle, which has a grand total seating capacity of over 17,000, a huge upscale from the previous two years of the event being hosted at the Benaroya Hall, which has a mere capacity of 2,500. A four day general ticket was priced at $99 with floor seating for $199 and $499 for VIP tickets for this event, and tickets were sold out within the first hour of going on sale! Perhaps next year it will be moved to a football stadium?

ti4

Previously, in all three Internationals, the winning team received 50% of all prize money, but this year people are speculating that the prize pool will be distributed differently, considering that it is so monumental in comparison with any other eSports tournament prize pools to date. If not, then the winning team will be going home with an impressive $5,000,000, suggesting that each player would receive $1,000,000 of the share, surpassing the total earnings of the highest earning eSport player in history – Jaedong ($522,961.72), from a single tournament.

16 of the world’s best teams will battle it out in the main event of the tournament from 18th-21st July, 11 of which have received a direct invite to the event, whilst 4 others ravaged through their regional qualifiers to earn their place in the main event, with the runners up in those qualifiers getting one last chance to compete for the final spot in the main tournament as a wildcard.

ti4 casters

24 of our favourite Dota 2 personalities, casters, streamers, commentators and stats-men have also been invited to the event, including TobiWan, Bruno and SUNSfan, and will be providing casting coverage over Twitch.TV for all of us watching at home. That being said, one of the most recognizable casters in the scene, Draskyl, will not be attending the tournament, despite receiving an invite from Valve. He released the following statement:

“Without you guys, I’d be nothing but another face among a mass of DotA 2 players but because of you I’m able to do what I love for a living. Because of you, I’m able to live a dream. That is why as hard as it is for me to say, I will not be attending TI this year. I know some of you were looking forward to meeting me and for that I apologize…I was not given the opportunities I had been prior to this years International and because of that I had to decline Valves invitation to cast the biggest tournament in the history of any E-sport. This wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but I have to stand up for what I think is right and the position that I was given I don’t feel is fair to me so I’ll have to keep on hoping for another shot next year. (Not really a great excuse for the crappy dota I played earlier, but it was on my mind quite a bit) As a reminder, this weekend I’ll not be able to do sub games due to Dreamhack Summer. Hope to see a couple of you there!”

cis

In other news, one of the participating team, the Chinese runner up – CiS, was declined it’s Visa this week, for the second time. They have announced that they will be re-applying individually as a last resort. They released a statement earlier this week:

“Two group applications and none succeeded, the consulate officer took a glance at our TI4 invitation….s/he barely looked at it!! Our last attempt is probably on the 30th….next time it’s individual applications,fnatic era it’s better than 5 going down all at once. Could we possibly be the first team in TI history to not make it because we can’t get a visa? I’m so down, not in the mood to practice.”

This is not the only team having obstacles regarding this year’s International. Fnatic’s Adrian “Era” Kryeziu’s health has been in decline recently, which has forced Fnatic to play with a stand-in for recent LAN events – Steven “Xcalibur” Ye. It has now been reported that Adrian’s health is even worse than previously thought, which has led to some complications regarding their direct invite to TI4. Fnatic released the following statement on their website:

“As we approach [The International], we are at a crossroads — to play with Era without knowing if we are damaging his health, or to be disqualified,” Fnatic’s post says. “To play with Era would also mean extreme lack of preparation. We have not been practicing as the original five for some time now because of everything recounted in this post. As such, even if we were once able to perform on that level fans love and crave, we cannot reproduce this performance without practice and preparation.”

Valve stance on this matter is that they will only be accepting Fnatic to play in The International if Adrian is present in the team roster. This raises questions on Valve’s decision, considering that they allowed Evil Geniuses to replace one of their players due to a wrist injury just a few weeks earlier.

With such a successful outcome fti4 graphrom TI4, we can only imagine what TI5 will bring. This year the prize pool more than tripled that of last years TI4. Could a $20,000,000+ prize pool become a possibility in TI5? As of now, The International 4 surpasses even the international sport tournaments such as The Masters, Grand National and ICC World Twenty20. At the rate eSports is currently growing, it is safe to say that it will be more widely accepted in the coming years. Countries such as South Korea and USA already recognize eSports as legitimate forms of sports and players are eligible to receive sports visas for LAN events abroad. This is just the start.
TI4

Dota 2 Guides: Tidehunter

tide coverThe Tidehunter known as Leviathan was once the champion of the Sunken Isles, but his motives are as mysterious as those of his people. We all know the importance of the Drylanders’ shipping lanes, how empires may rise and fall according to who controls the open water. Far less is known of the submarine lanes, and how the warring tribes of the Meranthic Diaspora have carved out habitations through endless undersea skirmishes. In the fragile treaties between the Mer and Men, we can glimpse the extent of the drowned empires, but their politics appear complex and opaque. It would seem that Leviathan tired of such petty strife, and set off on his own, loyal only to his abyssal god, Maelrawn the Tentacular. He stalks the shallows now in search of men or meranths who stray into his path, and with a particular loathing for Admiral Kunkka, who has long been his nemesis for reasons lost in the deepest trenches of the sea.

Tidehunter is a melee, Strength based support hero, who is great at initiating and ganking. I personally love this hero for a few reasons: Early and mid-game he has amazing resistance to attacks with the help of his passive Kraken Shell ability, which reduces physical damage and removes negative buffs when damage received reaches a critical threshold, meaning that enemies will have a hard time killing you. In addition, he can slow down enemies with Gush, ensuring that they can’t escape, or that Tidehunter himself can, if being pursued. As well as that, his Anchor Smash reduces the damage enemies’ deal to you and everyone else, for a 6 second period! Let’s not forget Tide’s ultimate, a swarm of tentacles that arise from the earth, damaging and stunning all surrounding enemies!

Pros

  • Good farming ability
  • Good debuffs
  • A high gain in Strength
  • One of the best Ultimate’s in the game
  • A good support option in any case.

Cons

  • Early game you are extremely mana dependent and therefore need to level up and get your items quickly if you want to be effective mid game
  • Everyone will target you because you’re a pain in the ass

Abilities

gush

Gush – Your main nuke. Target your enemy and slow them with this skill, as well as reduce their armor and deal some damage. You should use gush in situations such as:

1. Your team mate(s) are ganking your lane – use it to slow your enemy and help your allies deal some extra damage. It will be a secured kill.

2. When there is a hero with low HP – Gush has a good range, and can be used to finish off fleeing enemies.

3. To save yourself or your teammate by slowing a pursuing enemy.

Range: 700

Debuff Duration: 4

Armor Reduction: 2/3/4/5

Movement Speed Slow: 40%

Damage: 110/160/210/260

Cooldown: 12 seconds

Mana cost: 120

Kraken Shell – Add some extra armor to yourself so make it even harder for enemies to kill you. (Passive) kraken shellNot as effective late game, but amazing in early to mid game. By the mid-late game, creeps wont deal any damage to you at all.

Damage Reduction: 10/20/30/40

Damage Threshold: 600/550/500/450

Anchor Smash – Swing your mighty anchor to damage nearby enemies and reduce their base attack damage. GAnchor Smashreat in clashes, you can hit several heroes in the radius around you and almost half their attack damage! The low mana cost makes it spammable.

Radius: 400

Duration: 6

Damage Reduction: 40%

Damage: 75/125/175/225

Cooldown: 7/6/5/4

Mana cost: 30/40/50/60

ravage

Ravage – Slams the ground, causing tentacles to erupt in all directions, damaging and stunning all n
earby enemy units. One of my favourite ulti’s in the game. This ability is amazing for initiating. Your ul
timate alone will take out at least 1/3rd of all the nearby enemy heroes’ health, as well as stun them fo
r a period of time which would allow your team to pick them off one by one and surround them.

Radius: 1025

Stun Duration: 2.02/2.32/2.77

Damage: 200/325/450

Cooldown: 150 seconds

Mana cost: 150/225/325

Items

Due to Tidehunter’s mana problems early game, I go for magic wand as soon as I can. My starting items are 1 set of tangos (I play aggressively to harass whilst my carry can farm). In pub games I end up having to buy wards AND the courier so I don’t have any other gold left, but generally you would like to go for 3 branches and 1 magic stick. As soon as you get enough gold Magic Wand is a good item to get.

Early game, boots are a must buy to catch up with enemies and to run back to your tower if in danger. Get some more tangos if you are getting hit a lot in your lane. I generally try to then go for my energy booster to complete my arcane boots. This is a very expensive item to get early game, but if you get it early, not only will you have sufficient mana whilst laning and ganking early, but all your surrounding team mates would benefit too. If you would rather slowly build up and be strong all the way through early game then I would suggest buying a Bracer (+6 strength, +3 Agility, +3 Intelligence, +3 Damage) An alternative would be Urn of Shadows. I’m not a huge fan of this item but it suits well for Tide. +50% Mana Regen, +6 Strength. The downside, and what turns me off, is that it Gains 1 charge every time an enemy hero dies within a 1400 radius. Unless you’re killing left, right and center it won’t benefit you in terms of its healing abilities. Keep buying wards and upgrade courier.

Mid game you have a variety of items to choose from, depending on what your allies have bought. I tend to go for Assault Cuirass due to the increase in attack speed (Tide is pretty damn slow) and also the area effect which grants allied heroes extra armour. Mechansm is the other item I tend to get, just to ensure my survivability and that of my teammates. If you’ve bought Mechansm and Arcane Boots, chances are that someone else will buy Pipe of Insight Drums of Endurance and/or Shiva’s Guard. A popular item for Tide tends to be Blink Dagger. I don’t get it very often but it is a very good item to use in conjunction with your ulti, as well as catching enemies, and escaping from them.

Late game, the ideal item in terms of being totally badass is Refresher. It adds a good mana regen and allows you to reset all of your cooldowns, meaning that you can cast your ulti twice. All you need, is to make sure that you have enough mana to be able to do it. Aside from that, the items I mentioned above would be a good addition. Heart of Tarrasque is handy for its extra health and strength if you want to get kills.

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