IO Esports retracted the penalty and Azure Ray continues to play in the Bali Major tiebreakers.

China's star lineup, Azure Ray, is in the hot seat after allegedly abusing a bug during the Bali Major Group Stage. This was announced in a now-deleted Tweet by the tournament organizer, IO Esports.

Today on July 3, the Bali Major Group Stage heads to a close. Most teams have confirmed their placements, but Azure Ray was still fighting to avoid elimination. The team managed to win their final series against nouns and secured a tiebreaker against Bleed Esports. This would decide the final survivor of Group B.

But things took a turn when IO Esports published a now-deleted Tweet. It stated:

After investigation, Azure Ray's 2-0 win against Nouns has been reversed to a 1-1 draw due to an unfair advantage gained through bug abuse in the second match. We have provided them instructions against the violation to maintain a fair, competitive environment.

A deleted Tweet by IO Esports announced Azure Ray's bug abuse at the Bali Major.
A deleted Tweet by IO Esports announced Azure Ray's bug abuse at the Bali Major.

UPDATE: IO Esports just now apologized for the deleted Tweet, calling it a mistake as the investigation is still ongoing. The TO assures an update after the investigation is done. Here's an official statement regarding the situation:

"After a thorough investigation, IO Esports and Epulze have found inconclusive evidence regarding the alleged bug abuse by the accused team. Furthermore, it was determined that the reported bug was not able to be recreated consistently, adding complexity to the investigation."

What was the bug that Azure Ray used?

On Telegram, 9Panda's manager shared a screenshot of a WhatsApp message that the team received. The message is likely sent by the organizer to alert teams of a present bug and to warn teams to not use it. The message describes the bug below:

"There's an ongoing BUG surrounding the Watchers where you can identify if they are captured even in fog by pinging them. Depending on if you get an Attack Command or a Shield Icon."

This likely means that teams can spot if a Watcher is captured or not even without vision on them. In hindsight, this bug seems insignificant and barely game-changing. However, IO Esports had reached out to Valve and ultimately decided to punish those who abuse it.

"Any team using the bug will incur penalties that could result in disqualification at the discretion of the League Operations Team."

Some games have already been played out by the time IO Esports and Valve made the decision. Because of this, the rule only applies to games starting TODAY.

9Panda's manager shared a WhatsApp message that explains the bug.
9Panda's manager shared a WhatsApp message that explains the bug.

Azure Ray likely faces elimination after penalty

Azure Ray's alleged bug abuse caused them to lose a match victory against Nouns. This results in a lower scoreline and Azure Ray by default faces elimination. Simultaneously, Bleed Esports would advance to the Lower Bracket of the Playoffs.

Though IO Esports deleted the announcement, Liquipedia seems to reflect the penalty's legitimacy. Previously, there was a schedule for Azure Ray vs Bleed Esports tiebreakers. However, it is now removed.

UPDATE: Liquipedia has re-added the schedule for Azure Ray vs Bleed Esports tiebreakers.

We will update this article as the story develops. In the meantime, keep track with Bali Major's schedule and results here.

Azure Ray's Dota 2 roster:

  • Lou "Lou" Zhen
  • Lu "Somnus" Yao
  • Yang "Chalice" Shenyi
  • Xu "fy" Linsen
  • Jiang "天命" An

Stay tuned to for more Dota 2 news and updates.

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