So here's an odd situation.
If you were in a tournament, and you entered a match that didn't matter, what would you do? Would you goof off? Would you play your hardest?
That was the question put before pro League of Legends teams Dignitas and Curse NA, as both teams played in MLG, despite the Regionals being only a week away and neither of them in need of the points.
When they got to the finals, they decided to mess around and play an ARAM game in the first match (ARAM is All Random All Mid, a gimmick casual mode that's never been done as a tournament). They planned it ahead of time as a gag for the viewers. But then, after Curse made a resurgence and won the tournament 3-2, the stream was quickly ended - no ceremony or anything - and MLG's previous tweet supporting the ARAM game was deleted.
And then, in a public announcement, MLG disqualified both teams, citing a collusion as the reason. It was not, they clarified later, a collusion to play an ARAM, but the planned goal to split the money. Instead, all of the money will go to the third through sixth placed teams, and neither will earn circut points. Later, RedBeard, the VP of eSports for Riot, said both teams "admitted and apologized for colluding prior to the finals to throw the match." MLG then had Riot backing the disqualification.
But it's not quite as simple as that. In a video to the fans, Curse explained that they agreed about the DQ, but it was not because of the pot splitting, but how they didn't play in the tournament to win, which would mean the ARAM was the cause. But then why would MLG say the pot-splitting was? And was the pot-splitting against the rules? I'm not so sure, since some professional gaming like Magic the Gathering features pot-splitting as an integral part of tournaments, and there's no official rule against it. More oddly, Dignitas the organization and the players have spoken little on their take.
If I had to guess, the contention over the ARAM game was what fueled it. MLG and Riot saw the ARAM goof-off (while pretty funny) as disrespectful to MLG, but didn't have any solid rules to hit them with. So instead they used their plan to pot-split the winnings, planned when they got to the finals, as a manipulation of the brackets. Right now, the dust is settling and everyone's prepping for Regionals, so we may not hear much more out of this. But I wouldn't be surprised if Curse and Dignitas challenged the ruling and we saw this fight get dragged out until MLG puts down some more concrete rules. Dignitas has said the organization will make a statement, but none has come yet.
For now, all we can do is wait for more news.
Julian "Mirai" Williams