Sam “DaZeD” Marine, the infamous in-game leader of banned Counter-Strike team IBuyPower has finally made his return to the Counter-Strike scene. This time as an analyst on ESL Pro-league NA. DaZeD only appeared for two nights but was a huge hit with fans. Could this be a sign of good things to come for the indefinitely banned IBP players?
On September 14th it was announced that DaZeD would be a guest on the ESLCS Pro-League broadcast, his first appearance as a member of the analyst desk. It took just 18 minutes for the CounterStrike community to take to their keyboards in a frenzy of appreciation for his work. DaZeD’s follow up role was as a colour caster, again showing his vast knowledge of the game whilst striking-up surprisingly good synergy with his co-caster John “BLU” Mullen.
— John Mullen (BLU) (@blucsgo) 14 September 2016
In the past it was never even an option for any of the ex-IBP players to work with tournament organisers in any capacity, as well as being banned from working alongside any team. Teams and tournament organisers who employed any of the banned players would fall out of favour with Valve, drastically reducing the chance of receiving major status for their event. As they showed with their treatment of the IBP match fixing scandal, Valve are not scared to throw their weight around – making DaZeD’s return so extraordinary.
In the past ESL would never even dream of defying Valve’s wishes and employ a banned player, even for a short two-day appearance. Joshua “Steel” Nissan was an observer during the X-Games tournament for Major League Gaming, but following Valves wishes has not been permitted to observe any events since. Steel also had a short stint as an analyst for Counter Logic Gaming, another venture shut down by Valve.
Yet here we stand with DaZeD being a guest analyst for Valves most loyal tournament organiser, ESL. This could be all the good work ESL have done for Valve being repaid by allowing them to use DaZeD to boost NA viewership. Let’s hope for a more positive outcome, could this be the beginning of justice for IBP? Will they soon know their fates rather than being held at arm’s length by Valve not knowing if they will ever be unbanned.
— Lauren Scott (@TheyCallMePansy) 15 September 2016
This unprecedented move by ESL will hopefully spark more discussion with valve regarding the IBP players ban. Richard Lewis, the journalist who broke the story regarding IBP’s throw and match fixing scandal has himself lobbied for justice for the IBP players. However, Richard’s open letter to Valve appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
It seems unlikely that we will see DaZeD back on the server anytime soon, but perhaps we will finally see some clarification on the ban. The nature of the indefinite ban currently tortures DaZeD as he continues to play in the hope that the ban will one day be lifted. One thing is for sure, this is a step forward at least for DaZeD and the rest of players banned for match-fixing.