For those who aren’t already aware of the Blizzard ruling, Jacob “Apxvoid” Coen was disqualified in the final round of Swiss during the 2019 HCT Winter Playoffs for sending a message to the admin that could be interpreted as cheating. Apxvoid claims “honest mistake” for cheating which helped clarify a lot of what happened considering all the Hearthstone Developer Blog shows is really only what rule was broken.
What Apxvoid did was good for his identity in the Hearthstone community. It helped make sure that he did not get labeled as a cheater. Blizzard’s judgement was completely fair however. A clarification of rules or more rules may be in order to further ensure these mishaps do not repeat themselves.
From Blizzard’s Perspective
Suddenly, the admin overseeing the match in the final round of Swiss received a message from Apxvoid. The message from the in-game client read out “In Warrior matchup do I play for hard fatigue?”. This immediately raised a red flag and the admin called attention to it for other staff to see.
After discussion, Blizzard ruled that Apxvoid had violated rule 7.11a. This rule states “Any form of cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating includes…attempt by a player to…get information from another person spectating the match.”
Technically the admin is one who is spectating the match between the players. Apxvoid posed a question to the admin which would give a form of information about the specifics of playing the game. So by definition, this action was a violation of the rules.
Subsequently, Apxvoid was disqualified from the Winter Playoffs. He was unable to play the rest of his match which may have resulted in him advancing to the top eight should he have won. Interestingly, this rule violation was the same of that violated by Chinese Taipei in the Hearthstone Global Games but a completely different action.
Apxvoid decided to shed some light on the full context of what happened on twitter. He admitted to the technicality of cheating but also confessed that it was a nervous mistake made by him.
Firstly, Apxvoid had no intention of cheating by directly asking the admin for advice. He let nerves get the best of him as he anxiously awaited his match and started typing up a message to show the player next to him. The player next to him identified himself as Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang and said that he didn’t see the message.
The information was neither relevant or useful to Apxvoid at the time he sent the message to the admin. Then, in the final match, he accidentally pressed enter after forgetting to delete the message before sending what deck he would play next to the admin.
It could easily be argued that discussing that information with Fr0zen during his match was in fact cheating. Though, Apxvoid was able to save face by being completely honest with the Hearthstone community. Everyone seemed to have responded well and there are no plans to further punish him as of now.
Overall, the situation was handled properly as outlined by the rules that Blizzard has put forth. It was unfortunate to see happen, but certainly the very positive Apxvoid will not make the same mistake again.