Yesterday, competitive Hearthstone player Radu "RDU" Dima won the DreamHack tournament for Blizzard's digital card game, going home with $10,000.
But the big win comes with an asterisk: during the second match of the finals, observers saw Dima's in-game Hearthstone friends sending him in-game messages that included information about the cards in his opponent's hand. Screencaps taken by Redditors during the tournament, like the photo above, reveal an observer telling Dima that his opponent has "a bow and a Hunter's Mark [card]."
In a game like Hearthstone, where much of a player's strategy can depend on what cards their opponent is holding, that kind of information can be invaluable.
After reviewing what happened, DreamHack organizers decided that the information would have not affected the match's outcome, and that Dima's victory would stand. But over the past day or so, Hearthstone fans on Reddit and elsewhere have been outspoken about what they see as cheating in one of the world's biggest eSports tournaments.
In a lengthy post on Reddit this morning, Dima said he did not willfully cheat, and that the person who sent him the message was a stranger that he'd added to his Hearthstone friends list just before the final match.
"I never thought people would do that kind of bullshit but I did not expect somebody to tell me [opponent] Amaz's hand in the point where that information was useless and all the Reddit to start making me a cheater and stuff and ruin all my reputation that I think I deserve," Dima wrote. "Conclusion: Never add randoms after games because they can ruin your whole reputation after you win DreamHack in a legit way."
Jason "Amaz" Chan, who played against Dima in that final round, addressed the situation on his YouTube channel, saying he doesn't think Dima cheated, and that he believes DreamHack should have been better about organizing and communicating during the tournament: