Dota 2 Pros React to Valve’s Crackdown on Smurf Accounts

On 17th January, Valve hit smurf accounts with another wave of bans. Many professional players, including Alimzhan “watson” Islambekov, Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, Artem “Yuragi” Golubiev, and Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, were among those whose accounts were banned. Interestingly, in a South American closed qualifier series between Mad Kings and Thunder Awaken, Mad Kings’ captain and support Steven “StingeR” Vargas was banned for sharing his account with David “Parker” Nicho Flores. Following this, several affected Dota 2 pros and personalities took to their social media platforms to share their reactions.

Valve’s Recent Ban Wave on Smurfs

Over the last year, Valve has been actively banning smurf accounts and punishing players for indulging in prohibited activities such as account sharing, boosting, and others. Notably, in December 2023, several players received bans in the form of a “Toxic lump of coal” found in the Frostivus gift bag. After a gap of a few weeks, Valve struck again and this time, it banned many known professionals in the Dota 2 scene. Some of the affected players took to Telegram to share their reactions to their smurf accounts getting banned.

Rank 1 player and Entity’s carry, watson, bid goodbye to his 12.5K MMR smurf. “Goodbye my 12,500 smurf,” he said. Meanwhile, Entity’s support Fishman tweeted, “Hahaha, everyone’s smurfs banned. Goodbye, professional griefer :(. TORONTOTOKYO joked, “I knew if I started playing to win, I’d be banned immediately.” However, Danial “Danial” Alibaev, who last played for Natus Vincere, found solace in knowing that he wasn’t the only player to be banned by Valve. He tweeted, “Well at least I’m not alone, I figured everyone got smurfed.” Russian Esports organization took to Twitter to share a photo captioned “Press F.” The photo depicted the animated “smurf” character getting into a coffin and had a photo caption, “Valve Against Smurfs.”

Valve seems to have waged war against smurfing and is now actively banning smurf accounts of professional players too. The list of the banned players so far includes: Alimzhan “watson” Islambekov, Illya “Yatoro” Mulyarchuk, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, Artem “Yuragi” Golubiev, Dzmitry “Fishman” Palishchuk, Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, Steven “StingeR” Vargas, Danial “Danial” Alibaev, Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin, Xu “fy” Linsen, Kharis “SkyLark” Zafeiriou, and Athanasios “dEsire” Kartsabas. Valve is known for working in secret and it could ban more undetected smurf accounts in the coming days.

Despite the uproar and dissatisfaction from certain players, Valve’s actions appear to be a concerted effort to uphold fair play and competitive integrity within Dota 2.


Why are smurf accounts banned?

Smurf accounts are banned because they violate the terms of service of the game, which prohibit activities such as account sharing and boosting. Smurf accounts also disrupt the competitive balance and fairness of the game.

What other actions has Valve taken against smurfing?

Valve has been actively banning smurf accounts and has implemented measures such as the “Toxic lump of coal” ban in the Frostivus gift bag in December 2023.

Are more smurf accounts expected to be banned in the future?

Valve’s actions against smurfing are ongoing, and it is possible that more smurf accounts, including those of professional players, could be banned in the future.


Valve’s crackdown on smurf accounts has garnered significant attention within the Dota 2 community, particularly as it has resulted in the banning of several professional players. The reactions from these players and esports organizations reflect the impact of Valve’s actions. While there are differing opinions on the ban, it is clear that the enforcement of fair play and competitive integrity is a priority for the game developers. As Valve continues to combat smurfing, the community will likely witness further developments in the ongoing efforts to maintain a level playing field in the Dota 2 competitive scene.

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