The 322 meme comes from the first high-profile match-fixing Dota 2 incident from 2013 and has lived on ever since.
The day is June 14, 2013, the last day of the group stages at SLTV StarSeries Season 6. It is an ultimately meaningless match between Rox.KIS and zRAGE, with qualifications and seedings already sorted out in previous rounds. As such, it was expected that the teams would not take this match incredibly seriously, but the level of recklessness on display by Rox.KIS and specifically one of their players, Alexei "Solo" Berezin, caught the eye of viewers as they went on to heavily lose to the underdogs in a 27-minute match. He managed to die 50 times in a single match, almost twice a minute on average.
Turns out, he placed a $100 bet against his own team at 3.22 odds – with the assistance of his girlfriend but making little effort to cover his tracks –, hoping to make $322 out of this dead rubber of a match. It is said that he never received the money in the end, and once evidence surfaced of his match-fixing, StarLadder banned him for life, his teammates for three years and the RoX org for one. Solo was forced out of the team the team soon thereafter, with RoX posting the following statement:
“Unfortunately, all accusations regarding Solo were confirmed, and he confessed to the crime. Alexey used the tournament situation (that the match did not mean anything in terms of points), kept it from the other team members that he had bet money on their opponent, and then did his everything in order to make sure that the team lost the game (choice of heroes, in-game leadership). Despite the motives (whatever they are) and the fact that Solo had a great reputation and a great level of play, such an act by Alex has dashed all past achievements, and he has no place any longer among the players of ROX.KIS.”
In the end, Solo got lucky: his ban was commuted to just the one year and this incident ultimately didn’t impact his ability to play in the biggest Valve-sponsored events, including The International. He’s been a long-standing part of the Virtus.pro lineup, present for duty since August 2016 after a period in the wilderness. With a 5-6th finish at TI7 and TI8 and more than a million dollars won at each event, it’s safe to say he earned way more than that paltry 322$ sum he risked his career for a few years prior to that.
Today, Twitch chat tends to spam 322 whenever a team or player with a big advantage suddenly begins to slip up, jokingly suggesting that they are purposefully losing (also known as “throwing”) in order to win a bet. Thankfully, there’s little reason to suggest foul play in these scenarios nowadays, and it’s just a good bit of fun at the expense of the team that’s perhaps getting a little overconfident and is beginning to get punished as a result.
The term is surprisingly widely accepted in the Dota scene and esports in general. When Arrow Gaming was thrown out of The Summit 2 amongst similar matchfixing accusations, commentators and even the team’s own management staff referred to this as a “322 scandal”.
Photo credit: knowyourmeme.com