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CS:GO "Coach Bug" Scandal

This past week, information surfaced after an investigation by ESL into a recently discovered game bug that allows coaches to access unfair locked camera positions around the map to gain information on enemy team movement. This bug is accessed without any other person in the server’s knowledge. Which means there was no way of knowing when the bug was being abused. Multiple coaches from big name team, such as ESL One Cologne winners, Heroic’s coach HUNDEN.

What is the exploit?

This bug has actually been around for quite sometime, with some reports of abuse coming in around early 2018. There was a bug of similar sorts that Valve had claimed to remove. Now it seems that fixing the other issue actually created this new one. This new bug allowed coaches to spawn into a map with access to different spectator cameras they were not supposed to have access to. This includes views of the opposing team’s spawn area and different important map choke points. This obviously gave the coach abusing the bug a massively unfair advantage to, without the opposing team knowing, see their positions on the map. Coaches would then use that information to advise their team based on that knowledge.

How was it discovered?

The amazingly dedicated team of a few referees at ESL painstakingly went through around 1,500 game demos from the past weeks and months of ESL sanctioned events to determine whether coaches were abusing this bug. Referees were able to do this with access to a coaches point-of-view at any time during the match, as well as, access to the coaches voice communications during the match. The referees also worked hand in hand with the game’s developer, Valve, to confirm their findings. Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides of competing in online tournaments due to Covid. This bug does not exist on LAN matches and wouldn’t have been an issue if games were not online.

Fallout

Any coach who was found to have abused this bug has been dealt harsh punishment. There are a lot of coaches, many of whom coach the game’s top teams, who have come forward and admitted to abusing the bug. Many of these coaches have been suspended by their organization and are awaiting punishment from Valve and ESL. The biggest offender of this is Hard Legion’s coach, MechanoGun, who was found to have used this bug in essentially every ESL match they competed in. For his actions he was handed a two-year ban from playing or coaching in any ESL or Valve sponsored tournaments. It is important to remember that there is more to come in this story as now investigations have spread from not just ESL events, but to other tournament events as well.

Last updated: Mon 7th September 2020
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