As everyone knows, a terrible thing occurred which has completely tainted this amazing DreamHack event. RDU was sent some messages during his DreamHack run, most notably in the finals. I have come out strongly in RDU’s defence, and I’ll go over why that is, but first we should look at what happened.
No matter what happens after those messages, everything is most definitely messed up. What did happen is that DreamHack admins reviewed the case and decided to let it go, and allowed RDU to have his win. Let’s go over what we all saw:
(Please note that I saw and heard exactly what everyone else did. I watch the fully produced stream while commentating)
- RDU was messaged things like “Hi mom”a few times
- RDU was messaged something in a different language (I’m guessing Romanian), which had the English card name “Hunter’s Mark” in it
- RDU had the game won, but he couldn’t have known for sure
Another little piece that should be taken into consideration, is that as soon as the game ended, he looked upset and called over an admin. I hope and imagine that this was to inform them about what happened. They could have factored this into their decision. I would imagine that this is the case. If I was the admin, and you immediately told me about someone trying to help you cheat and you were very upset about it, that would definitely make me think a bit differently about it than if you just sat there and said nothing about the messages. Obviously both are bad though. I would like to know exactly what he said to the admin at that time.
About RDU having the game won, but not being able to know for sure
As we all saw, RDU had the game won against Amaz, but of course he couldn’t have known for certain that this is the case. If he knew that Amaz had Flare that turn, he would have certainly Alexstraza’d himself, and then lost a turn or two later. Because the game was not winnable vs a Flare, he took the (correct) risk to decide the game then by Alexstrazaing Amaz. This was really the only line of play that made sense. I’m not the best Hearthstone player in the whole world, but I saw and thought this. I talked to the other pros, and they have all agreed with this line of play. I’d like to hear if any pro disagrees and thinks using Alexstraza on himself was a reasonable play in that spot.
About the “Hunters Mark” message
This, alone, is the weakest point of proof about RDU cheating, simply because it’s the most obvious. A direct message saying the exact card name in English while live on stream is such ridiculous, obvious cheating, that no one would ever ever get away with it. This is so stupid that it makes me think of the Darwin Awards — those terrible stories about people dying in the stupidest ways anyone has ever heard of. It’s just too stupid.
With the previous two points as they were, you can’t end someone’s career
Again, I’m not an admin, and I don’t get to make choices on how rulings are made. I voice my opinion and then wait to see how things go. In my mind, these were the only two points going on at the time (it turns out that they weren’t, but we will get to that in a moment). After the finals finished, the interviews were over, and I closed out the show, RDU talked to myself, Admirable, and ChanMan. He was extremely shaken and, in my opinion, looked like he was about to cry. He was confused about what was going on, and was clearly very upset. We tried to calm this 17 year old kid down, and told him not to go online and read whatever was being said at that moment.
After leaving the venue and getting on Twitter/Reddit/etc, I saw that the situation was even worse than I had imagined. The world had decided that RDU had cheated, and was destroying him completely. Most of the top Hearthstone players were around me at the time, and I asked them honestly what they thought. The people I asked agreed that the Alexstraza play, as I previously mentioned, was the only real play. One player even mentioned he had played vs the person who sent the “Hunters Mark” message in a tournament a while back (before custom games had turn time limits), and he was such a poor sport that he just wouldn’t end his turn for minutes just to get his opponent mad.
After examining this all slightly more, I saw that…
RDU was messaged things like “hi mom” a few times
I barely noticed this happening in any of the games. I have casted countless events, and streamed my own stuff for countless hours. Messages of affection and, specifically, “hi mom”, are so common that I seriously barely notice them any more. It’s really incredibly common. I can’t stress that enough. At first glance, using something like this as proof that RDU was cheating looked completely ludicrous.
This is when I wrote a post on /r/Hearthstone to attempt and stem the hatred towards RDU. I asked all the pros who were with me to go in and give their honest opinions and told them to say whatever they like, and not be influenced by my sometimes outspoken thoughts.
I do not regret making this post and getting a large mixture of hate and agreements. Although it’s stupid for my career and my image to do so, I’d rather step in and take some heat off of RDU rather than let the masses burn him at the stake. I still believe that RDU is innocent of all charges against him, but there are some more facts that have come to light about the situation that should be looked at and considered:
RDU was messaged things like “hi mom” in other series as well
People are currently trying to claim that in many series, RDU was messaged during the game at key points. This should obviously be looked into. You cannot, as it seems that some people have, just conclude that cheating occurred because in another game a message popped up when a Leeroy Jenkins was drawn. Every piece of every game which was recorded should be combed over.
Someone claimed that the ruling was made because of time constraints.
It’s hard to run an event. It’s hard to keep things on time. It’s even harder to find the right balance of production, time, fairness, etc. Obviously if this is true (which I seriously would doubt), then that’s a big problem.
NO ONE TOLD AMAZ WHAT WAS GOING ON
This is by far the worst part of everything. I am in complete shock and disbelief that Amaz was not told about this situation while they were looking into what was going on.
Amaz is one of the nicest and fairest guys that I’ve met. I really do not think that he’s the type of guy who would use a technicality to get a regame, or an advantage. When it was decided that the series would continue, I thought (as everyone else must have thought) that Amaz was told what was going on. You have to inform the players. In my opinion, they have he right to argue and possibly lodge a complaint about a ruling. Amaz was not given this chance to lodge a complaint (which, and I’m just guessing here, he may not even have done) .
How do we fix this situation?
In my opinion, all footage recorded of RDU’s games should be released. People should look it over. It should be done carefully and responsibly. Other peoples’ games should be looked at as well. I bet there are a couple “hi mom”s in there as well. Once actual data has been gathered, the case can be looked at.
In addition to an investigation, the hardcore haters need to stop. Even if, after reading this, you still think that RDU cheated, then I guess you can have that opinion. What you can’t do, though, is endlessly attack and slander RDU. If you are one of these people, I want you to consider this:
What if, despite your strong feelings otherwise, RDU is completely innocent? This is a 17 year old kid who goes to school and practices Hearthstone, the game that he loves, all the time. He has gotten really good, and now, on what should be the happiest day of his life, he is being destroyed on the internet. All he’s worked for and accomplished is being wiped away without any proof, due to a big time mob mentality attack on him. Not only that, but what is being said is hurtful. I hope that none of you have to read terrible things that aren’t true being said about you on the internet by people who don’t know you. It’s awful. Speaking from experience, even as a 31 year old man, it hurts. And I’ve been in eSports for 12 years, during which I’ve built an extremely thick skin. RDU is 17.
How to prevent this in the future
Obviously, a lot of things went wrong. To be honest, when you think about it, something like this was eventually going to happen at some point. More and more Hearthstone content is being produced every day. It’s really unfortunate that it had to happen at such a high profile and important event, but at least we can learn from it and make sure it won’t happen again.
They should have been playing on tournament accounts. Blizzard does have Hearthstone accounts that just have 9999999 dust on them, I’ve used them before. I don’t know why these accounts weren’t used, but in the future they should be.
Tournament accounts during certain tournaments can be a problem though. It takes a lot more setup time to make decks and switch accounts around. The player names won’t be accurate. There’s even the argument that players in stream would get an advantage because of all of the cards being unlocked.
So, you could just have people remove their whole friends list. Of course, this is quite annoying. Hopefully Blizzard just releases a patch which helps the functionality of competitive play.
There should be rules covering certain circumstances where games should be restarted, forfeited, or won.
When something goes wrong in a tournament setting, both players should be informed of what is going on. Again, the fact that Amaz wasn’t told might very well be the biggest failure of all.
A note on admins
Being a tournament administrator is one of the most thankless jobs that I can think of. Often times, they are volunteers or paid very little. Their job is literally to fix things when they go terribly wrong. When things go really wrong, such as this case, there is no right answer. Mistakes were definitely made.
Innocent until proven guilty
Let’s get the information together and look at it as a whole. Let’s hear good, reasonable arguments instead of the clattering of pitch forks.