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Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect that Stunna is not a part of G2, and that the ESL had not made a statement on the situation.
During an Intel Extreme Masters European Fall 2021 match between G2 and ENCE, broadcast staff aired ENCE strategies on the main stream. It’s not uncommon for tournament organizers to air team communication in-between games or rounds. However, usually, the comms consist of celebration or mid-round call-outs, not a team’s plan of attack for the following map.
Senior staff writer for Rush B Media, Max “SolGoat” Wallace, brought attention to the situation on Twitter. SolGoat reprimanded the organization for airing match strategies in front of thousands and suggested staff “be a bit more careful” with the comms included in videos.
— SolGoat (@SolGoat) October 8, 2021
Professional ENCE player Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer chimed in on social media questioning how ESL could allow the mishap. Snappi assures he’s confident G2 did not use the aired information to get a leg up over ENCE. However, Snappi stressed on Twitter the information “could have” been used unfairly. Tres “stunna” Saranthus, doubled down that neither he nor any member of his team heard the broadcasted strategies. Stunna said, “[we] cannot and have not heard any team comms. We see the same clips that the stream does at the same time as everyone else.”
Yo but also you’re still one of the best to play Mirage no 🧢
— stunna (@stunna) October 9, 2021
Saturday, IEM released an apology for ENCE’s communication being streamed on the ESL stream. “Following the tactical team communication being broadcasted to the public yesterday during the ENCE versus G2 match, we have extended our sincere apologies, both to Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer and to the entire team of ENCE earlier today. The matter has been addressed this morning to ensure it does not happen again,” the statement reads in full.
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) October 9, 2021
A reminder of Blast
The ENCE situation resurfaced the infamous Blast Premier Fall 2020 Finals scandal. In 2020, the Counter-Strike: Professional Players’ Association announced players would not grant BLAST access to recording their screens and team communication.
The CSPPA stated the methods used to record comms and screens could create computer performance issues. Furthermore, they said players do not control who accesses their files that hold “sensitive tactical information and personal information.”
Players refuse BLAST access to voice comms and video screen recordings without agreement on how information is handled pic.twitter.com/8RoofaQRA1
— Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association (@CSPPAgg) December 8, 2020
Looking ahead, it’s difficult to say whether players will protest IEM the same way they did BLAST. The CS: GO community looks forward to tournament organizers taking more consideration to uphold competitive integrity to ensure fair play.
Minna Adel Rubio is an esports journalist with an interest in first-person-shooter games. She specializes in class-based, arena, and tactical shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2. Additionally, Minna is a senior CS:GO guides writer at Dignitas and a graduate student. Catch her on Twitter for memes and more content!