9Pandas have hit a landmark at ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023, but they should be far from thrilled about it
9Pandas had a disappointing end to their ESL Pro Tour campaign in 2023 with a premature exit from the ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. The Serbian team did not enjoy their Southeast Asia tour, and on top of their underwhelming performance, another incident compounded their misery in Kuala Lumpur.
9Pandas Wrap Up Terrible ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 Campaign
9Pandas set a not-so-remarkable precedent of receiving a third draft penalty in a calendar year at ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. A Russian broadcast of the Group B match between the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 champions and Team Falcon brought this development to light.
Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey, the 9Pandas carry, left the stage when the first map was on pause. In the screenshot posted below, you will notice that he is not in the picture. The organizers penalized 9Pandas with a draft penalty for the draft delay ahead of the second map, which Alexey “Solo” Berezin and the company lost.
Credit: Paragon on Twitch
This has started to become a recurring theme for 9Pandas. As mentioned earlier, they had received two draft penalties prior to this in 2023, the first of which came during the Eastern Europe DPC 2023 Tour 3. Paragon, the organizers of the competition, issued a level 1 draft penalty for all the matches they played in that tour. As a result, they had 30 seconds less in all Tour 3 games they played afterward.
Paragon initially did not provide an explanation for their actions, but later, the company's CEO confirmed that it was in response to the team's abusive remarks directed towards the organizers.
“All tournaments are held thanks to the partnership of organizers, sponsors, and participants, relations between which are regulated. If one of the parties allows public statements that negatively affect the image of the other partner, this harms everyone. In this situation, we were forced to impose on the team a fine corresponding to the violation,” Aleksandr Zavoloka, CEO of Paragon Events, said in an official statement.
The next drafting penalty mishap took place during TI12 when the 9Pandas squad showed up late for the media day. Because of their unprofessional behavior, 9Pandas had to give up 110 seconds of bonus time during the draft in their upper bracket quarterfinal clash with LGD Gaming. 9Pandas succumbed to a 2-0 clean sweep in that game and fell to the lower brackets, where they locked horns with Gaimin Gladiators, only to lose again.
9Pandas failed to pick up any win in the four Group B matches they played in ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023. They suffered back-to-back defeats against Liquid and Tundra before throwing away a lead to settle for a one-all stalemate with Team Falcons. 9Pandas desperately needed a win against LGD Gaming to stay alive in the competition, but they could not avoid another 2-0 hammering from the Chinese opposition.