Raphael ‘Hosty’ Tsantili has been summarily released from Team Archon following accusations that he cheated in a tournament earlier today. Archon, which was created by popular streamer Jason ‘Amaz’ Chan, tweeted from its official account:
“Archon has decided to release Hosty from the team. We in no way condone anything that would compromise the integrity of the game.”
Here’s where things get confusing though. On his own account, Amaz tweeted:
“.@ArchonHosty is a great guy and friend, and I do not believe he cheated. Releasing Hosty isn't based purely on Pinnacle 2.”
Given that Archon is for all intents and purposes Amaz, it seems odd for him to say he doesn’t think Hosty cheated, especially since the official team account is making a point about not bringing the game into disrepute.
The specific accusation againsty Hosty is that during his matches against Lifecoach and Forsen at Pinnacle 2, (which is also run by Amaz), he had the tournament stream open on his second monitor, the reflection of which could be seen in a picture behind him, and was regularly glancing at it to see what cards his opponent was holding.
Well, what cards his opponent was holding 10 minutes ago. Pinnacle was streamed with a 10-minute delay, meaning the information would have been out of date, but still potentially helpful. In a long enough game, it would be easy enough to deduce what cards your opponent still had in hand based on what you’d seen him play.
Twitch chat cottoned on to the second monitor fast, and it didn’t take long for a Reddit thread carrying the accusation to explode. That thread was subsequently deleted by the mods, (presumably on the ‘no witch hunting basis’), but has been reinstated since his release from Archon. So far Hosty’s response has been to tweet that he’ll be responding soon, (that was two hours ago), and offer this defence on Reddit, in which he admits he had the channel on ‘idle’.
I watched the matches play out live in the office this afternoon and, for what it’s worth, couldn’t say with any certainty that I think something was awry. If Hosty was cheating, it was a particularly inept attempt. The reflection was obvious, and he managed to lose both series anyway. What the incident does confirm is that Hearthstone tournaments need to be policed more clearly, with longer delays and strictly enforced rules about any sort of stream sniping.