The NVIDIA Pro-Am Hearthstone tournament came in for criticism in April over falsely reported scores and poor administration of its open amateur division. Now a number of players who took part in the pro division of the tournament claim that a significant number of unstreamed matches were not actually played.
Instead, the players flipped coins to determine who would win, according to a number of players who took part and others with direct knowledge of the situation.
Bentert isn’t the only player to make this claim. Other players have privately admitted that the games were falsely reported—though they never revealed this to NVIDIA.
Because all 16 players in the pro division were guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, the problems arose largely because of the tournament’s structure and scheduling. That meant that three months of games against the other pros were purely to decide seeding for that bracket. This lack of incentive was what motivated the players to forge the scores.
One player, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect their reputation, told 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.”
Another source said that all 16 players were involved. It is unknown how many or what games were falsely reported, with some pros estimating the majority with others suggesting the coin-flipping was confined to the final tournament days.
For its part, NVIDIA denies that any games were falsely reported, and claims that every game was actually played. When asked for comment, NVIDIA referred the Daily Dot to CEVO, the company it subcontracted to administer the matches.
“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,” CEVO president Charlie Pitt said.
All the pro players were also supposed to receive an NVIDIA Shield tablet, but most say that hasn’t happened yet. Cloud9 captain Marcin “Gnimsh” Filipowicz did confirm however that both he and fellow caster Dan “Frodan” Chou had received theirs.
This is not the first indication that pro players didn’t take matches in the tournament seriously. In one streamed game Bentert and Dima “Rdu” Radu both brought three very unusual decks, Mill Druid, Pirate Rogue and Murloc Warlock. They then proceeded to queue into three consecutive matches playing the same deck. The players denied that this was deliberate.