The International is the most prestigious and competitive Dota 2 tournament in the world. The best teams from around the world strive on the endless fields of carnage for the Aegis of the Immortal and the massive prize pool that the tournament hosts. It is to be expected that a tournament of this high status wouldn’t face any issues regarding poor display of sportsmanship, but sadly enough during the CIS qualifiers for TI9 a player from Gambit Esports Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin seemed to break that expectation when he rage quit during the qualifying match against Winstrike Team.
This is a first during a TI qualifier where a player from a major team ended up rage quitting and leaving the game entirely thus pulling his team in a disadvantage.
After struggling in Day 1, Gambit Esports was all set to face Winstrike Team in day 2 match 1 of the CIS closed qualifiers for TI9. In the said match Afoninje was playing Morphling and Gambit Esports had a really strong early game. Regardless, Winstrike Team wasn’t going down without a fight and they started gaining advantage back slowly as the game progressed. The game was on, and both sides were all out on each other. The game was easily going to be a tooth and nail fight. During the match, when the entire Winstrike Team was trying to take a tier 3 tower of Gambit Esports in the bottom lane, Afoninje took his chances and focused on split pushing the top lane of Winstrike Team. To defend themselves, Winstrike Team forced a 4 man teleport in top lane to put an end to Morphling. With the oncoming wave of enemy heroes, Afoninje tried his best to juke his way out and make a daring escape but he was finally taken down by the likes of Slark, Tidehunter, Storm Spirit and Jakiro with their insane lockdown and chase capabilities. Afoninje despite his death had enough gold for a buyback which meant Winstrike Team had to think twice before initiating another push. What happened next was a total shocker in the Dota 2 esports history. Afoninje typed “Good game, well played” in all chat and proceeded to disconnect and leave the qualifying game. Winstrike Team easily bagged the win due to the rage quit of Afoninje of Gambit Esports.
These series of events put an end to the run of Gambit Esports for a slot at the main stage event of TI9 as they subsequently lost the next two games and were eliminated from the CIS closed qualifiers for TI9.
Gambit Esports organization didn’t waste a second and swiftly came up with an official statement regarding the unsportsmanlike behaviour displayed by their player during the event. In an official tweet, the Gambit Esports management stated “Even though this game would most likely result with a loss and our desire to keep our mental component intact for following games, the behaviour of our player was unsportsmanlike and unacceptable. Afoninje will be subject to disciplinary actions. On behalf of Gambit Esports we would like to issue an apology to our fans and community in general.” It still remains an enigma what action the Gambit Esports organization will decide to take against its player, Afoninje, for his misdemeanour, but what is certain is that the run of Gambit for this TI9 has come to an end and this serves as a reminder that even the best players crack under the pressure of events as big as The Internationals.