Admirable steps down from casting Hearthstone Grandmasters following Hong Kong controversy

“I cannot compromise my conviction.”

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

A popular Hearthstone caster says Blizzard failed to uphold one of its eight core values⁠—“Every Voice Matters⁠”—when it banned Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for voicing support for the Hong Kong protests during a post-game interview. And he’s stepping down as a result.

Nathan “Admirable” Zamora informed fans on Twitter yesterday that he will no longer be casting Hearthstone’s Grandmasters, as well as the Masters Tour in Bucharest or BlizzCon, in support of the suspended player.

“[Casting] is my passion,” Admirable said. “But I cannot compromise my conviction. Without change that would convince me that Blizzard will uphold their core value ‘Every Voice Matters,’ I cannot continue casting the game.”

The iconic caster shared his “wholehearted” support for Blitzchung, citing the player’s courage and sacrifice as an inspiration to people everywhere. Admirable also compared playing Hearthstone to making the right decisions in life with a fitting analogy.

“In Hearthstone, good strategic play involves making the right choice, even if that choice will sometimes cost you,” Admirable said. “With the hand you’re dealt, you make the best choice you can, even if the foreseeable outcomes hurt. That doesn’t mean you should make worse choices⁠—it means do the right thing, even if you pay the price.”

Admirable is the second caster to step down from Hearthstone tournaments. Former Magic: The Gathering pro Brian Kibler announced that he no longer felt comfortable casting Grandmasters in the wake of Blizzard’s “heavy-handedness” with Blitzchung.

Blizzard continues to face heavy criticism for suspending Blitzchung and making him forfeit his Grandmasters earnings, as well as firing the two casters involved in the post-game interview. Players have uninstalled the company’s games and canceled their World of Warcraft subscriptions. Blizzard employees reportedly staged a walkout in protest and fans flooded the Blizzard subreddit with memes critiquing the unpopular decision.