ESIC sanctions former Heroic player niko over HUNDEN coaching bug “complicity”

ESL / ESIC / Heroic

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has handed down their full ruling against Heroic’s CS:GO squad, punishing Nikolaj ‘niko’ Kristensen after former coach Nicolai ‘HUNDEN’ Petersen claimed they knew he was abusing the spectator bug during their 2020 rise.

The ruling, handed down on October 18, claims niko “admitted his complicity in the cheating exploits of [HUNDEN] and is, therefore, guilty of breaching the ESIC Code of Conduct.”

ESIC received a voice recording of a conversation between niko and HUNDEN about the spectator bug during their investigation, implicating him in the scandal.

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He was sanctioned under Article 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 of the code, which outlaws “cheating or attempting to cheat to win a game.”

Niko was able to escape a suspension from ESIC for his actions because of “special circumstances” due to an ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis.

HUNDEN used Niko’s diagnosis — and his relationship as his coach — to “deliberately [foster] and [exploit] trust at a timing that was convenient to him”.

“ESIC was informed that this would have significantly impacted his ability to know right from wrong, make values-based decisions on his own and communicate effectively in a conventional way,” it said.

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However, he will receive a “severe public reprimand”, as well as “one-on-one education sessions with the ESIC Commissioner” about the code.

If he does not comply with the ruling, ESIC will suspend him for a minimum of 30 days.

In the ESIC investigation, HUNDEN accused all of Heroic except b0RUP. He told Danish news site “some of the players were aware” of his abuse of the spectator bug.

The bug allowed coaches to set their cameras to watch parts of the map otherwise unavailable to them, thereby relaying important information to their team mid-game. The other four Heroic players at the time ⁠— TeSeS, cadiaN, b0RUP, and stavn ⁠— were cleared by ESIC.

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“ESIC was unable to find anywhere near enough evidence to reasonably conclude that these four players were guilty of any offence under the ESIC Integrity Program,” it said.

It comes at the end of a tumultuous 18 months for Heroic. After reaching the heights of CS:GO with an ESL Pro League win during the online era, they were struck down by two ESIC rulings against their former coach.

On top of the spectator bug abuse, HUNDEN was also caught leaking strategies to another organization in the lead-up to his departure from Heroic in 2021.

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HUNDEN playing CS:GO for MAD LionsDreamhack
HUNDEN remains banned for two years after leaking Heroic’s strats to other teams.

Documents obtained by Dexerto’s Richard Lewis claimed Heroic created an NDA to prevent the team from speaking about the alleged cheating allegations. No players signed the NDA.

HUNDEN was banned for two years for breaching ESIC’s code of conduct on August 27 for the leaks. His ban is set to expire on August 24, 2023.

Heroic are currently set to take part in the upcoming PGL Stockholm Major, CS:GO’s first since 2019.

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