The Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2018 Controversy, In a Nutshell

By Jasmin on Jul 30, 2018

Last weekend was the Grand Finals of the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2018 (MSC2018) and boy oh boy were there issues. From start to finish, the three day weekend was filled with issues and disputes. Ultimately, that led to Malaysia’s own AirAsia Saiyan (ASYN) to drop out of the competition. We’re going to do our best to break it down for you.

First, some background: the MSC2018 is the official esports competition for the mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang with players from (most) Southeast Asian countries competing for the crown. The tournament starts with its Group Stages, where the 10 teams are split into 2 groups of 5 and the top 2 from each Group shall move on to the Semifinals. It should be simple enough, so let’s jump into the first problem…

Part 1: Technical Problems Gave Unfair Advantages

During two of the Group Stage matches, one from Group A and another from Group B, Malaysia’s ASYN (facing Indonesia’s Aerowolf Roxy) and Thailand’s I DO NOT SLEEP (facing another Indo team: Rex Regum Qeon aka RRQ) both reported having technical issues during their matches.

It should be noted that both teams sat at the same side of the stage for their respective matches and during their matches at least one player had reported that their character would suddenly be using their skills without the player pressing any buttons. This unusual technical issue prompted ASYN to call for a ‘pause request’ at the 20th second which the marshall on duty did not grant until the 5th minute. If you have played any MOBA, you would know that each and every minute is precious and with that, ASYN lost the match.

Since they faced issues out of their hands, the two teams demanded rematches to be held and at first, the request was granted as you can see from this now-deleted post on the MLBB Facebook page, written in Bahasa Indonesia:

If your Bahasa is rusty, the statement says that the issues faced by the two teams was indeed an in-game problem and after careful deliberation and discussion, Moonton agreed to the rematches after all the Group Stage matches were over. That quite quickly stopped being the case after Aerowolf lost to DDPG and rejected the request for rematch. The above post was deleted and replaced with this hours later:

Their reasoning is due to the MSC Rules clause 3.3 which states that ‘...teams may not remake after the first creep wave have spawned’. Horrible language aside, according to the official statement on the MLBB Facebook page, this means that “once the first creep has spawned and the match is finalised, it cannot be rematched”.

TL;DR: No rematch because of some really vague rule which doesn’t cover technical issues but it was cited anyway.

Strike one.

Part 2: Two Teams, Two Rulebooks

At the end of the Group Stages, there were three teams from Group A that had the same win-lose record (two wins and two losses): ASYN, Burmese Ghouls and Aerowolf. Since the tournament structure is that the top 2 teams from each group will advance to the Semis, this was obviously a problem. One of these teams didn’t belong.

In the official rulebook given to the teams (via contracts) it states that in the event of a deadlock, the Organiser (RevivalTV) will consider Kill Difference (KD) of the teams as a tiebreaker. KD is the difference of the number of kills and deaths accumulated by each team. If that doesn’t work, then the head-to-head record of each team will be used followed by the overall match time of each team.

ASYN would have then been the no-brainer contender to move onto the Semis as they had the best KD of the lot. And that should have been that but...nope. Out of nowhere, the Organisers pulled out a new rulebook with different tiebreaker rules that was apparently given to everyone but it was not put onto ASYN’s lap nor was it signed by them. The new set of rules nullifies the need for the KD comparison and goes straight to comparison of  match records. In that case, the team that would proceed to the Semis would be Aerowolf as they had beat ASYN in the round with the technical difficulties mentioned earlier.

According to the contract given to and signed by AirAsia Saiyan July 24th, Article 11, 12 and 13 of that contract states that any additional Articles that are not within the signed contract is void and can only be valid when both parties agree to and sign the amended contract. That didn’t happen so ASYN questioned the legitimacy of the new rulebook and as of 11PM July 28th, ASYN would be moving on to the Semis…

Oh if it was so simple, we wouldn’t be here.

Part 3: Oh, So Now There’s a ‘Rematch’?

Later that same night, Aerowolf took out their own contract with the organisers and launched their own appeal. The team’s contract was signed with RevivalTV July 6th during the MSC2018 press conference. At 1AM, RevivalTV along with Moonton and Aerowolf met with AirAsia Saiyan to tell them that their Semifinal qualification was withdrawn due to the existence of the two signed rulebooks.

After a long discussion, the organisers proposed that the ‘best solution’ to the problem would be to hold a Best-of-1 tiebreaker match between the two teams for the Semifinals slot. If that proposal is rejected, the rejecting team will be disqualified from MSC2018. Shocker.

The bigger shock? AirAsia Saiyan rejected the proposal. Enough was enough and thus ASYN were disqualified from the competition.

Here is their official statement on their Facebook page:

Good news, they’re not taking this lightly and they shouldn’t. This was horrible organising on the part of RevivalTV and they should know it, so AirAsia Saiyan will be taking legal action against them as they have broken the contract agreement signed between the two of them.

Let this be a lesson to any organiser thinking of creating an esports event to this scale.

For more updates on this and anything related to AirAsia Saiyan, feel free to follow their Facebook page.

About the Author
Writer, photographer, music lover, friend of the animals, adventurer and PC gamer by circumstance (no, really). RPGs and fighters are my favs, I'll beat you at MK or MvC anyday. Judging all the cups of coffee, even the ones made by myself.
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