Monster Gaming was a virtually unknown team until it recruited Kim “Dosu” Yeon-Woo, a former DotA player notoriously known for his extremely bad-mannered and offensive attitude towards players.
Now, merely ten days after its initial exposure to the public League of Legends scene in Korea, Monster Gaming is at the center of an elo boost controversy that many Korean netizens regard as a potential problem that can rival that of the Brood War match-fixing scandal if left unchecked.
What is the Monster Gaming Elo Boost Controversy?
A suspicion of a connection between Monster Gaming and a well-known elo boost website began when a user of the elo boost website claimed that the contact number of the administrator of the website was that of Kim-Jin, a name shared by the Monster Gaming Head Coach. Another user claimed that the bank account that receives the payment for the boosting service was in fact owned by Kim-Jin.
The suspicion of a connection between the two organizations seemed to die out as it lacked solid evidence until the team’s Jungler, Song “Monster Demeter” Woo Jae, revealed what was happening inside the team.
Demeter exposed that “Monster Gaming is forcing amateur players to elo boost accounts”.
He further revealed that “Monster Gaming contacts pro or amateur players individually to bring them to the team house, then plans an elo boosting schedule for the players to follow. If the players complain, the head coach persuades the players not to leave the team house”.
To back up his claims, Demeter also posted screenshots of his access to the Elo Boost website as an administrator and also his own League account. Many League of Legends fans were shocked by the pictures.
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Monster Gaming’s Head Coach Kim-Jin strongly denied that the players were forced to elo boost accounts. The coach reasoned that as someone interested in creating a professional League of Legends team, he would have never done an interview if he was indeed forcing the players. The Head Coach also explained that the owner of the elo boost website is just an acquaintance and that the owner only borrowed the Coach’s name to create a contact and bank account number.
“I have known him for a long time (the owner of the website) and he asked to borrow money for an online shopping mall. Because his credit history was not in a good situation, he used a cell phone and a bank account that was made with my name on it. I later learned that the website was for elo boost and was also contacted by Riot Korea’s legal department. After meeting Riot, I convinced the owner to close down the website”.
Regarding Song “Monster Demeter” Woo Jae’s claims, the head coach responded, “Monster Karner told me that Demeter played Jungler and was player who elo boosted well. The team was rebuilding at the time and so I brought him into the team house. However, he left the team house after being demoted to our B-team and has made no contact with us since. My guess is that he is making these false claims because he was angry about being removed from the main team. I believe he is able to post ‘proofs’ because he has elo boosted in the past. People might think that our current players are also elo-boosting, but that is not possible as our team coach Lee ‘Tatu’ Min-Woo despises elo boosting and did not want to bring Demeter into the team in the first place. From now on, Monster Gaming will strongly respond to anyone who makes false rumours of the team. I have recording of our scrims, records of our solo queue ranked games, and records of our team ranked games to use evidences”.
The mentioned website posted a notice that because it violated Riot’s terms and affected many players, Riot has requested the website be closed by August 20th. However, with the personal connection between the owner of the website and the head coach, it is likely that the elo boost controversy will not easily die out.
In response to the controversy, Riot Korea stated that should the claims be true, the involved parties will be banned from the competitive scene and possibly suffer further consequences.
What Happened Inside the Monster Gaming House?
After much trouble, a contact with Song “Monster Demeter” Woo Jae. He suggested that we meet.
At the promised location, there were three players, Kim “Monster Karner” Dae-Jin, Song “Monster Demeter” Woo Jae, and Lee “Monster Koon” Sung-Jin. The talk was not too long. The other two players agreed with Demeter’s posts regarding the situation. Monster Gaming promised potential for greatness and asked the players to join the team house. In a way it seemed possible as the assembled team was even able to beat TPA and TPS in scrims.
But the problem was the elo boosting. An adequate environment for practice was never guaranteed and players had to elo boost even during practice. The team staff even called practice time as the “Work Time”. The staff persuaded the players that the team needed money and that elo boosting was necessary. In an environment where boosting accounts have become a routine, the players were unable to speak up.
Demeter and Koon left the team house few days ago unlike Karner who was able to finally leave today in the afternoon when the coaches were asleep. During the entire talk, the players’ phones never stopped ringing. Each call was from the team house. The players were scared without a doubt.
In a recording of a phone call with Head Coach Kim-Jin, “We will elo boost until next week and no more” can be heard, strongly suggesting that the players were part of the elo boosting recently.
The players seemed relieved that they were able to share their situation with another and wanted to change their summoner names as soon as possible. When I asked about their future plans, the players’ responses were all the same.
“We will continue to try to become a professional League of Legends player”.
The Interview with Koon, Karner and Demeter.
Did you see Head Coach Kim-Jin’s response to the controversy?
Yes, we did. Most of it is false.
Is it true that the elo boosting occured?
It is true.
There is a lot to talk about. Let’s talk it over one by one. First, the head coach said that he only let his acquaintance borrow the bank account and the phone but the team has nothing to do with the elo boosting website.
You can see that it is an obvious lie as the owner of the elo boosting website Na Yoo-Sun lives in the team house. It is Na Yoo-Sun who prepared the meals for team house. He did not like it when we woke up late and used a whiteboard to divide up the elo boost requests among us and checked to make sure we completed then. The people that worked for the elo boost website also lived in the team house as well. They even put up their business licenses on the wall, but removed them when Inven came to the house for the interview.
Are you telling us that the website and the elo boosting is run from the Monster Gaming team house?
That is true.
Were the three of you elo boosting as well?
How many accounts did you elo boost a day?
We boosted accounts whenever we had time. If we were not scrimming, we had to spend the rest of the time on elo boosting. We said that there was a set time period in which we had to elo boost, but that is wrong. We sometimes had to do it for 10 hours a day. We could not even solo queue and because we were not able to find scrim partners often, the time was spent on elo boosting.
This question is for Demeter. The head coach stated that you come to the team house in the evening and that your claims are false. Since you are currently a student, do you not have to go to school in the morning?
The first part is true. When I come to the team house after school ends it is usually 6 p.m. After I eat, I have to boost accounts immediately. The official practice time ends at 3 a.m. and I have to keep boosting accounts until then. That is why it was difficult for me. My school is far away and I have to wake up at 6 a.m. to get there in time which gives me no time to sleep. I basically sleep at school.
The head coach said that the records of practice can be seen on the stat-tracking website.
(The stat-tracking website mentioned is op.gg)
The dates and times of the games are also shown. If you do the search, you will be able to see that not many actual practice games are played. But some members of the team may have records of games played as when we are not boosting accounts, we have to stream with conditions such as becoming challenger in a month.
Were there no scrims? No team ranked games or in-house?
Team ranked queue takes too long for us to use it to practice. And there is a noticeable skill difference between the main team and B-team so in-houses rarely happened. We either had to solo queue or scrim, but scrim partners were hard to find and we could not solo queue due to pressure. The main team was able to scrim few times, but the B-team players had to spend all their times on elo-boosting.
Elo boosting usually starts from low ranks and does not help you improve. You guys just did it without saying anything?
Of course, it did not make sense for us to elo boost. But elo boosting was a “natural” part of the team atmosphere. Everyone is part of elo boosting and it felt like we had to also do it as well.
Did you know that you would be elo boosting when you were joining the team?
We had no clue. The team management only told us that we had potential, that we would be provided for with full support. Even when we joined, we were not told to boost accounts immediately.
Then how did the elo boosting occur?
The staff told us that in order to acquire sponsor and put out results as a professional team, we needed money immediately. Our dreams are to become professional players and after hearing that, we were convinced that we had no choice and from then on, elo boosting became a natural thing in the team.
In some ways, it can be said that your skills were slowly dropping. Did you enjoy elo boosting?
Of course not.
Then you could have left the team house or were you bound by contracts?
There were no contracts written, but we were unable to leave even if we wanted to. The team staff talked about being part of a gang casually. We were scared. When we tried to leave, the head coach convinced us to stay. Because we are young, it seems that we were persuaded again and again.
If the elo boosting happened at the team house, did other members know about this? Did team coach Lee “Tatu” Min Woo know about this as well?
Everyone knew what was going on. The team management seemed to know each other from playing World of Warcraft together. Coach Min Woo even told us directly to elo boost when we were taking a break.
How did you join the team? What was the approximate time period during which you joined?
Karner: Monster Gaming contacted me saying that the team lacks a top laner for Champions qualifier. We dropped out of the tournament, but the team told me to join the team house. I had no intention of joining at first, but Head Coach Kim-Jin told me that he is a good friend of the KT Coach and that that if I do not join, then he will make sure that I am never able to be part of the competitive scene. That left me no choice, but to join. That happened at the end of June.
Demeter: I joined roughly the same time as Karner.
Koon: I was contacted originally in June and joined then. But the team made me elo boost accounts so I left. I recently went back again after the team contacted me when they saw that I became Challenger.
You said that the team atmosphere forced you to stay. Is there a reason for leaving now?
Originally, the situation did not allow us to say anything in regards to leaving the team house. But, we learned that the players all shared the hate for elo boosting. That we were able to confirm each other’s thoughts was a big part in leaving.
You all left the team in different ways.
Koon: The team contacted me again to come, but I was asked to elo boost again. So I told the head coach that I am leaving and left.
Demeter: I knew my skill was lacking in the main team. The new jungler played better than me without a doubt. But my goal was to becoming a professional player and I felt that through practice I can improve my skills. But playing on elo-boosting accounts everyday did nothing to improve my skills. After being demoted to the B-team, I kept thinking that boosting accounts were not going to help me at all. The B-team has to only focus on elo-boosting and I could not handle the thought of only boosting accounts during my summer break. I said I was going home and left the team house.
This question is for Karner. Did you leave the team house after seeing yesterday’s articles on the controversy?
That is true. I read the articles on Inven and the head coach’s response as well. After the head coach posted his response, I had a conversation with him. I asked what he was going to do and he told me that he had a scenario planned as he talked with Riot already. I could not trust him anymore after a response like that and left the team house this afternoon.
How are you feeling?
We are scared that people may bad-mouth us. We also worry about the elo boosting.
What worries you?
It is true that we did elo boost. Riot stated that players who boost accounts will be banned from tournaments and we worry that we will really be banned. We did not even ask for payments for the elo boosting that we hated to do. We never thought of elo boosting when we were joining the team and did not want to do it.
Do you have plans for the future?
We honestly do not know. Our team members were really good. We won all of our scrims against TPA and TPS. We are just disappointed that things have turned out like this.
Do you still have the dream of becoming a professional player?
We did everything we did to try to become a professional player. But, we do not know how the situation turned out like this. It has only been a short period of time, but it definitely felt long and difficult. We will continue to move on forward with our dream of becoming a professional player.
KT Coach Lee Ji-Hoon’s response to the controversy
“ I have never met and did not know the name of the head coach mentioned in the articles until now. To have my name even mentioned in such a controversy is an extremely unpleasant circumstance for me. I do not know why my name was mentioned by the head coach of Monster Gaming, but if it is true that the head coach used my name to the players, he must apologize”.