Hearthstone team investigating accusation over player’s identity


Well, this got weird fast. Despite its relative youth, the Hearthstone scene is no stranger to Reddit drama and accusations of impropriety. This morning saw a lengthy post on r/hearthstone, since removed by the mods, by Eric 'Specialist' Lee (who, it should be noted, has himself been banned by Blizzard for ‘win-trading’), in which he accused team Tempo Storm’s South Korea-based player Hyerim ‘MagicAmy’ Lee of not being who she claims to be.

Or, more specifically, of being two people. Specialist, who’s a former teammate of MagicAmy, makes the claim again, in truncated form, here. The original post mostly involved hearsay, speculation and circumstantial evidence related to MagicAmy’s lack of streaming and never appearing at LAN events, including cancelling her scheduled trip to the ESL Legendary Series Season 1 Finals in California at the last minute.

Shortly thereafter, Keaton ‘Chakki’ Gill, a Hearthstone pro on Team Dignitas, tweeted a link to an Imgur album which purportedly showed—again, it must be noted, circumstantially—that the MagicAmy identity across various online channels, including Skype, Facebook and Steam, is owned by (or at least shared with) a Canadian man living in South Korea. According to this Daily Dot piece, which outlines the connections in detail, Lee and the man dated. In response, she is quoted saying: “we shared the same ID name on a website where we met.”

Despite the lack of concrete evidence of wrongdoing, her team has felt compelled to respond: “We will do a full investigation on these accusations and report back once we have definitive conclusive evidence,” wrote Dan ‘Frodan’ Chou, VP of Operations at Tempo Storm, on Reddit. “That said, while it may look circumstantially suspicious, we support Amy as we believe people are innocent until proven guilty. She's been a valuable member of the team thus far and done everything we have asked of her.” Subsequently, the team's founder and owner Andrey 'Reynad' Yanuk tweeted: "Can't stream until we get the Amy thing cleared up unfortunately since it'll be all questions and cancer. Should have it sorted in a day."

MagicAmy joined Tempo Storm late last December, following the high profile departure of Andrew ‘TidesOfTime’ Biessener for Cloud9. At the time of her arrival, Frodan wrote: “For many seasons, Hyerim consistently finished as a high legend player in both the Asia and Americas regions, placing as high as rank #1. Prior to her signing, she formed Team MagicAmy with a group of friends to assist Tarei to a Top 8 finish at BlizzCon 2014. Among her peers, Hyerim, is widely regarded as the best female player in Hearthstone.”

MagicAmy’s ‘tier list’ articles, which break down the most popular decks and classes in the Hearthstone metagame, have proved particularly popular since she signed for Tempo Storm. She also won week 6 of the ESL’s Legendary Series shortly after joining the team, which was streamed, beating Trump and her Tempo Storm teammate Hyped on the way to victory. (VOD can be found here.)

If it does transpire anything untoward has been involved in her career to date, it will come as a blow to both Tempo Storm and pro Hearthstone in general, which in terms of high profile tournament play has been largely male dominated so far. However, it’s worth reiterating that nothing whatsoever has been proven at this point. I have contacted Tempo Storm and MagicAmy for further comment and will update this story as it develops. Say it ain’t so, Amy.

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.