Valve Removes Tournament's Major Status Because It Will Require Drug Testing

The upcoming Galaxy Battles Dota 2 tournament will no longer be a major because local regulators in the Philippines are requiring drug testing for the players.

Image credit: Deivis Villanueva/YouTube

Developer Valve confirmed to Compete that it was rescinding major status due to government policies requiring drug testing: "Players were going to be subjected to drug testing and screening as part of a government policy in order to enter the country for that event," said a spokesperson. "Given the local climate, we felt it best to pull back our involvement."

The Games And Amusement Board of the Philippines released a statement on the matter, as shared by ESPN freelance reporter Paolo Bago.

A section of the board's statement.

In the board's statement, they specify that the drugs tested for would include marijuana and shabu (crystal meth). While Filipino players have been subjected to these drug tests already as part of acquiring their athletic licenses, incoming competitors would have to submit their own, either on-site or submitted results from overseas. Since these laws have existed since July 2017, why did Valve wait until now to deal with them?

Virtus.Pro had already announced it will not participate in the event. In a statement, general manager Roman Dvoryankin noted that without the tournament being a major, it wasn't worth playing in.

"The [major] status withdrawal from Valve was the main reason behind our cancellation of the invitation," wrote Dvoryankin. "The said status, among all things, imposes additional standards of players' safety, event's technical security and logistics on the event's organisers. Furthermore, the participation in rating tournaments has always been our main goal, therefore Galaxy Battles DPC points loss absolves the tournament of sense in that regard."

Valve has said it will talk to tournament organisers to attempt to set up a major with the teams invited and qualified in order to offer them the same shot at more points in the pro circuit.


    I still don't understand what the problem is. If people want Esports to be treated as a legitimate event, then shouldn't there be drug testing to make sure the participants aren't on something to enhance their reactions and/or aiming ability? Or is this a problem because most of the players are on this stuff and it would look bad?

    EDIT - Reread the first paragraph and given that this is taking place in the Philippines, seems at least some of the players are probably known to be on something that would get them arrested and/or killed given what is going on. Great place to hold a tournament.

    Last edited 06/01/18 4:41 pm

      Yeah, the headline made me think, "What, because if you ban players on adderall, there'll be no-one left to compete?"

      Then I read it was like... "Ohhhhhh. Because it's a fucking terrorist/vigilante-infested hellhole of rampant state-sanctioned extra-judicial murder, where 'we suspected drugs' is being used to justify killing anyone you fucking feel like. Well it makes sense to let competitors avoid that whole shitfight."

    Wait, so Valve don't think it's fair for their top level players to have to compete without drugs or am I misreading this?

      I think the major rub is that this drug testing may be totally out of line with what is legal or expected in other countries. For example, the a big one is marijuana, which the article states that they would be tested for. Because marijuana is either legal or decriminalised in the countries of many competing teams, testing for it would be invasive at best and may result in totally unwarranted consequences at worst. It’s also a good example because of how unlikely it is that marijuana could be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

      My understanding is that some of these drugs would also test positive within a very generous timeframe of using them. If it was 24h and they’re illegal in the Phillipines anyway, it’d be a non-issue, but it’s a bit shaky when you can test positive after a significant amount of time.

      So, long story short, the specifics of these drug tests make them an inappropriate imposition for this sort of event, but it would have to happen because of Phillipines law.

        Thanks. It does mention things like "Given the local climate.." which I didn't pick up on but reading it back now, it makes a lot more sense :/

      It's so any players who did test positive didn't get arrested and/or murdered. Philippines is currently run by a psychopath and it's purely to protect them (and avoid a major incident). Pretty stupid place to hold a tournament tbh.

    Isn't the Philippines one of those countries where you get a bullet in the brain if your found to be a drug user? yeah...., I would say leave that location for the mentally retarded people with no common sense!

    This decision is solely about embarrassment, and it's the reason why e-sports will never be taken seriously in the mainstream. Valve knows players will fail the drug test, a lot of players. Yes it'll just be for marijuana, some will test positive for meth, nothing will be "performance enhancing". It'll be the number that tests positive, the embarrassment that comes from that, it'll make the whole "sport" a laughing stock. So the avoid that, they'll avoid going where the tests are.

      Wow. You're not exactly Mr Current Affairs, are you? Try googling "Philippines Drug Laws". I think "Wholesale murder of E-sports teams" is a headline and "embarrassment" that Valve could do without. It's a bad idea to have a tournament there, yes but at least they are trying to keep competitors safe now that it is there.

        Especially since their execution of drug-users/dealers is performed outside of the court system by Judge Dredd wannabes and twenty-cent hitmen for settling grudges. Good luck having one of the participants' corpses appealing a false positive.

    The problem isn't the tournament requiring drug testing. The problem is that it's a Philippines tournament requiring drug testing, and any players testing positive won't so much risk qualification as much as they're actually risking their life, thus the whole "current climate" comment. Removing major status means it becomes a much less important event for teams to attend and literally risk their life on.

    What the hell were Valve thinking hosting this in the Philippines, I don't condone drug use, but I also don't condone the death penalty by a madman for minor infractions.

      I guess someone not familiar with the legal/political climate suggested it for the cheapness of the venue space and everything else and no one else thought the drug testing would actually follow through. Basically a lot of shortsightedness by a lot of people involved.

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