Tempo Storm and MagicAmy part ways following investigation


Tempo Storm has parted ways with its South Korean player Hyerim ‘MagicAmy’ Lee, following what’s described on the team’s website as “a full blown investigation, gathering a large amount of evidence from dozens of sources including former employers, ex-teammates, fellow players, and personal friends.” The statement regarding her departure is here. The investigation was triggered by claims earlier this week, made first by disgraced former teammate Eric ‘Specialist’ Lee, and then by two pros on Team Dignitas, which questioned the identity of MagicAmy. Those claims were followed by separate accusations, one made by another high level player, the other by the founder of Prismata, calling her character into question.

I’m not going to link to the specifics of those here, because they’re hearsay and, as Tempo Storm’s statement notes, private matters between her and the affected parties which have precious little to do with her ability as a Hearthstone player. Indeed, the most notable thing about the statement is that Tempo Storm’s sleuths appear to have found no concrete evidence of wrongdoing, and yet both parties have felt it best to sever ties. Quite why isn’t entirely clear, presumably beyond the overall unpleasantness of the process, but the section dealing with MagicAmy’s status as a top level player feels worth reproducing in full:

"Hyerim’s performance and accomplishments as a player have been called into question due to the possibility of account boosting and win trading. Tarei was identified as a possible accomplice under suspicious circumstantial evidence, such as when she posted a picture showing an account named LoveMagicAmy as rank #1, indirectly implying it was her achievement. Later it was confirmed by Tarei that he used his own account and then renamed it to LoveMagicAmy. This brought up the question whether she was taking credit for other’s ranks, or if she was getting assistance to reach high legend. We looked into this issue as far as we could, but were not able to produce proof that someone else was responsible for any of her high legend rank finishes. The only people who truly know the answer are Blizzard and the involved individuals."

"On a side note, win trading is an unlikely scenario considering how aggressively Blizzard banned notable win-traders, including Specialist, the spark of the entire controversy. They even accidentally falsely accused players. It feels safe to assume Blizzard would have caught such an action between Tarei/Hyerim or anyone else if this were the case."

"This finding also relates to the alleged botting allegations, because we could not figure out exactly how her account remained untouched throughout the ban waves despite its high profile and activity. Again, whether she is clear of these allegations or not is an issue that we cannot determine, It would require action to be taken on Blizzard’s end to determine the matter."

There’s more speculation and assumption in there than I feel comfortable with from a statement that’s billed as the final word on the matter. But I suppose that’s the nature of things given that whatever investigation has occurred has been conducted across continents and carried out by detectives who are, by definition, amateurs. (My understanding from talking to Tempo Storm is that the investigation was handled by the Team’s founder Andrey ‘Reynad’ Yanyuk and VP of Operations Dan ‘Frodan’ Chou.) As for why the split has occurred, this paragraph appears to be the telling one:

“Upon learning the entire story, Tempo Storm offered to fully support MagicAmy in an attempt to clear her name by addressing the public immediately by having her compete in an offline tournament. Hyerim, however, has decided to take a leave of absence from Hearthstone and answer these issues on her own.”

The statement also includes a single quote from MagicAmy:

“I want to thank Tempo Storm, Reynad, and Frodan for giving me the opportunity to join the team and allowing me to explain myself among the chaos. I am happy that I was given a chance to prove myself to the people that I cared for. Tempo Storm has been supportive of me since the beginning and I am glad we can end on good terms.”

Inevitably, there will be those (looking at you here, r/hearthstone), who assume the worst based on her decision not to appear at a LAN event. But equally it’s perfectly reasonable to imagine that she may simply not relish the thought of having to provide proof of concept for her own existence and ability in a high-pressured live environment. Ultimately, and despite over 1,000 words of explanation, we’re left little the wiser in terms of what has actually occurred here, beyond the certain knowledge that the mess will be a setback for women competing in top-flight e-sports. The mantle for writing MagicAmy’s popular ‘meta snapshot’ articles will now pass to Tempo Storm’s Hyped, who I expect will do an equally excellent job.

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.