cadiaN says Heroic were CSGO community’s “main target” in coach bug scandal
Heroic captain Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller spoke with Dexerto about the tough times his team endured after being involved in the spectator bug scandal.
Heroic’s ESL One Cologne 2020 title celebrations were short-lived as just 24 hours after the tournament came to an end, ESL announced that the team’s coach, Nicolai ‘HUNDEN’ Petersen, had been banned along with two other coaches for abusing a spectator bug earlier that year.
It later turned out that the bug abuse was a widespread situation when the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) handed out bans to 37 coaches after launching a historical investigation into the problem.
HUNDEN returned to coaching in April 2021 after serving out his eight-month ban, but that was not the end of the story. Later that year, after being banned for two years for sharing sensitive information belonging to Heroic with a competitor ahead of IEM Cologne, HUNDEN claimed that some of the players on the team were aware of the bug use.
Criticism and abuse aimed at Heroic reached a crescendo after those claims, prompting an emotional video response after ESIC had revealed that it had been “unable to find anywhere near enough evidence” linking cadiaN, René ‘TeSeS’ Madsen, Martin ‘stavn’ Lund, and Johannes ‘b0RUP’ Borup with HUNDEN’s actions. Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen was the only player found complicit in the bug use, but he escaped a suspension because of “special circumstances” due to an ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis.
Questioned about how the players dealt with the barrage of abuse aimed at them, cadiaN admitted that it was difficult for his team to be in the eye of the storm.
“For me, we’ve been the main target throughout all of this,” he told Dexerto. “I think it’s because when the coach bug was announced, it was the day after Cologne, which we won.
“We win [ESL One] Cologne, this is our biggest trophy yet and one of the biggest trophies you can win in Counter-Strike. We wanted to focus on winning, but the other people were focused on the winners, obviously.
“We got so much attention from that. I think that was one of the most difficult parts. We were used to being one of the teams that would never draw headlines, and now we were winning and the drama hit.”
Heroic traveled to Stockholm for the Major with loads of weight on their shoulders after being in the news for the wrong reasons for several weeks.
But despite the pressure, Heroic acquitted themselves well and reached the semi-finals of the tournament – a much-needed performance after the tumultuous weeks they had endured in the lead-up to the event.
“It was super important,” cadiaN said. “That was also part of why there were some emotional clips, at least with me. It meant a great deal to perform like that at the Major.
“There was a lot of negative pressure. People are underestimating the amount of support we’ve been getting. There can be five positive comments, but one guy is telling you to f**k yourself and you focus on that.
“We’ve been getting a lot of support. But the HUNDEN case and us not performing on LAN brought negative pressure. So when you go into a LAN and showcase yourself in the way that we did, you make it through the Challengers Stage, the Legends Stage, you win the first game of the Champions Stage and you’re up 15-14 on the third map of a semi-final… I think we played amazingly and the young guys really handled the pressure well.”
Heroic are one of the 16 teams competing in the group stage of IEM Katowice, the first big LAN of 2022. After beating OG 2-1 in their first match in Poland, the Danish team will return to action on February 18 against Vitality.