The NVIDIA Pro-Am Hearthstone Tournament was under scrutiny a couple months back due to scheduling issues in the amateur side of the tournament and allegedly falsely reported scores on the pro side of the tournament. This latter claim has now been confirmed by some pros.
The idea behind the NVIDIA Pro-Am Hearthstone Tournament was that amateur players would get a chance to compete with the pros after earning their place through an open qualifier. Anyone could sign up to this open qualifier but a set of more well-known Hearthstone personalities were directly invited so that they would play against the most outstanding of amateurs.
The amateur division was already criticized for poor scheduling and organizing which left many of the amateurs disappointed as they were unable to play their match because the time had been randomly changed or that they were informed of their match time 5 minutes before the match.
However, these claims have already been proven true and tournament organizers issued an apology. This time the issues reside in the pro side of the tournament. Since the matches in the “pro qualifier” didn’t actually matter as they would only decide the seeding for the brackets (all the invited personalities would be in the playoffs regardless), many players believed that these matches had simply been staged and never played (as they weren’t streamed either).
This has been confirmed by Team Archon’s Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert last week in a tweet:
Other pros have also come out anonymously like the one quoted in the article from the Daily Dot:
“I did [flip a coin], but only when requested by the other player. It’s not something I was happy about doing. However, the seeding games didn’t mean much.”
The tournament organizers still deny these claims, it is hard not to believe when there is so much supporting evidence. CEVO President Charlie Pitt had this to say,
“While we would like to think that players wouldn’t act in such a deviant / unsportsmanlike manner, we find it highly unlikely that ‘coin flip’ match results were reported during the official Hearthstone Pro/Am Tournament as all matches were closely monitored by the administrative staff.”
Considering Hearthstone’s current status as an eSport is constantly questioned due to the incredible amount of RNG involved within the game, these kind of scenarios do not help it acquire legitimacy whatsoever. However, I hope this is just a simple hiccup and not a regular occurrence.