OpTic Gaming and Animal Planet DQ'ed from ESL Qualifiers

posted by Vaalia,
A controversial tug-of-war ensued between world OpTic Gaming, ca Digital Chaos and ESL after the teams' disqualification in today's ESL One Katowice 2018: North Americas Qualifier. In the end, ESL won.
ESL announced the dates and details of the ESL One Katowice 2018 on December 7, back when there were no overlapping qualifiers or other events to interfere with scheduling. Fast-forward to December 22 and PGL announced their The Bucharest Major 2018 qualifiers to occur simultaneously with ESL's.

Despite attempting to reschedule around PGL, ESL had to continue with their qualifier dates. This presented immediate problems for teams not invited to either event: which tournament's qualifier would they compete in?

This is exactly the problem both OpTic Gaming and Animal Planet ran into this week. Ending up playing 6 games in a row in the PGL qualifiers, OpTic and Animal Planet showed up 35 minutes late to their ESL qualifier match. ESL's ruleset states the following:

Each team has 15 minutes to show up to a match. (Match date +15 minutes). Showing up after 15 minutes result in a default loss. The team that is waiting must open a protest ticket in order to request the default win.

Due to this rule, ESL disqualified both teams for their tardiness.

5 minutes late for ESL so the admin DQ'd us. Tried our best to play in all the qualifiers but it seems our hopes for the Major in Katowice have come to end. Suppose this is our punishment for taking both series to 3 games. GGs!!— Peter Dager (@Peterpandam) January 11, 2018

The same fate awaited Animal Planet

All tournament organizers refused to reschedule. ESL Admins gave us and Optic DEF loss for ESL Katowice Major because our series went full six game series.— David Tan (@MoonMeanderated) January 11, 2018

OpTic's us Peter 'ppd' Dager took to Twitter quickly to fan the flames of outrage over the occurance. In addition, according to ca Kurtis 'Aui_2000' Ling the teams had tried to communicate with the ESL admins about the delay due to PGL yet had received no response.

no contact from admins at all. We would have left that last game if we would have both gotten def loses— Aui 2000 (@Aui_2000) January 11, 2018

Understandably, ESL was quick to set the record straight via social media. On Reddit, ESL's Senior Vice President Product Ulrich "theflyingdj" Schulze had this to say:

There has not been a final decision yet, our admin team is getting together today to discuss this.

Optic and AP were 35 minutes late, and I want everyone to remember that our qualifiers, including broadcast, admin staff and all other things necessary to run them, had been scheduled for a while before other organizers just scheduled over them. Yes, the qualifiers are problematic in this Pro Circuit, but the tone in this thread seems to convey all of this is our fault.

theflyingdj also took to Twitter to respond to ppd's claim that the team was only 5 minutes late for their match:

35 minutes, and our qualifiers were just scheduled over by other organizers long after we set the dates. Our admin team is looking into the situation today though and will post a decision after that.— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) January 11, 2018

This was the chain of events that caused this cataclysmic uproar:

  • ESL announce their tournament qualifier dates
  • PGL announce their tournament qualifier dates
  • ESL attempts to reschedule some of their qualifiers to more amenable times for competitors
  • Both OpTic Gaming and Animal Planet play six games in the PGL qualifier, missing ESL's call time
  • ESL disqualifies both teams from their qualifier for tardiness
  • ppd claims that the team was only five minutes late via Twitter
  • Moonmeander confirms that both OpTic and Animal Planet have been disqualified via Twitter
  • ESL Staff member theflyingdj takes to Twitter and Reddit to state that the teams were, in fact, 35 minutes late
  • ESL confirms that their "admin team is looking into the situation"

Qualifier Hopes Quashed

Despite OpTic's coach Kodiak Shroyer's plea to the "humanity of people" on Twitter, ESL was not to be swayed. After careful review of the situation, ESL returned to the public eye to announce that the decision would stand: OpTic Gaming and Animal Planet would remain disqualified.

Once more returning to Reddit, ESL's Tournament Director Jonas "bsl" Vikan had this to say:

Now, while Optic gave some sort of heads up, and in that regard handled this a little differently than AP, the outcome has to be the same for both in order for the rules to mean anything.

I`d also like to address some rumors posted here that our admins were unreachable. That is simply not true. The admin working the qualifier and the matches was available to the teams in the respective Discord channel.

Finally: Don`t think for one second we like, or want to DQ teams. We understand that teams want to play as many tournaments as possible, as a former professional player myself (in CS) this is completely normal.

We also recognize that in the current environment, when organizers double-books dates, that it is difficult for teams and it places a burden on them. Going forward we are committed to working around this so there are windows between two qualifiers that are important to teams.

However, the teams that choose to participate still have to fulfill their commitments within the rules of each tournament they play in. Any differential treatment here from our end is unfair to every other team that competes in our tournaments.

This decision will be final and will, hopefully, put to rest the remaining question marks surrounding the tournament's qualifier.