Why People Believed A Top Hearthstone Player Was Tricking Everyone

Why People Believed A Top Hearthstone Player Was Tricking Everyone

Throughout the last week, an obsession overtook some of the Hearthstone community. Allegation after allegation started populating Reddit threads and YouTube videos — all about a top Hearthstone player called MagicAmy. The claim? That she wasn't who she claimed to be. That the player with the handle "MagicAmy" wasn't being played by a woman, as it appeared, but a man who was using an ex-girlfriend as a front.

It was a conspiracy theory, but one that proved to be seductive to many Hearthstone players. It all revolved around a woman named Hyerim Lee, who is a South Korean Hearthstone player that made a splash after winning a Hearthstone competition. Earlier this week, a post on Reddit started floating around, where a former teammate of Lee's stated outright that his words were "conjecture," but that he suspected that perhaps there was no singular person that was behind the "MagicAmy" account. Instead, he claimed that the account was likely actually a man, and that this person was simply using a woman as a front.

The evidence? The player cited the fact that it was strange that MagicAmy never participated in the Koren Hearthstone circuit, despite being Korean. He also cited the fact that she never seemed to stream, and that she didn't appear at offline Hearthstone events. Then, he hypothesized that it was likely in his eyes that she was actually deceiving everyone, with the purpose of exploiting the North American Hearthstone scene. They were, in short, strong allegations that didn't seem to have the necessary evidence to support them. But people ran with it anyway.

"Current speculation is that MagicAmy was really 2 people the entire time," the major post summarizing all the drama on Reddit said. "One would play Hearthstone (male) while the real MagicAmy's face (female) was used as a face to show up on streams or talk on the phone."

What set fuel to the fire here was that MagicAmy pulled out of a tournament recently.

"Little issue with the visa," Lee wrote on Reddit. "I'm upset and sad I won't be able to make it this time around, but I will do my best to participate in future LAN events including the next ESL. Sorry for all those who wanted to see me... I will make up for it somehow :("

Paired with the allegations from a former teammate that claimed MagicAmy was not real, and that you only had to look at the fact that she didn't go to tournaments in person for proof, made people suspicious of MagicAmy's sudden withdrawal. And so people started digging some more, as internet sleuths tend to do. What they found was that there seemed to be an overlap between two online handles, one of which belongs to a man named William Blaney. The Daily Dot looked into these claims further, finding the following: https://twitter.com/tempomagicamy

While it is not unusual for couples to sometimes share accounts online — Netflix, for example — given the allegations surrounding MagicAmy, these findings seemed suspect to some. But, again, it's important to remember that the entire thing that got people riled up was, and I quote, "conjecture." People were on a witch hunt, and the evidence was circumstantial at best.

Making matters worse was the fact that some other Hearthstone players started making claims about MagicAmy's trustworthiness: https://twitter.com/TempoMagicamy

Why People Believed A Top Hearthstone Player Was Tricking Everyone

Neither of these actually proves that MagicAmy is not a woman with lots of skill in Hearthstone, but they did give people reason to be wary of MagicAmy — and this made it easier for some to distrust that MagicAmy was who she claimed to be.

People even started picking apart the way that MagicAmy played games online — here's a player called Kripparrian skewering MagicAmy because "she was looking very very bored during a pretty intense match-up, probably because she wasn't actually playing, she just turned the camera on and told some dude to play for her."

Eventually this entire thing bubbled up so much that the team that MagicAmy belonged to, Tempo Storm, started looking into the matter. After some investigation, Tempo Storm has cleared Magic Amy of their suspicion:

We believe that MagicAmy is one person and that Hyerim Lee is indeed who she claims to be. This is based on multiple eyewitness and firsthand testimonies claiming that they interacted with her individually without William Blaney, her ex-boyfriend seen in cached pictures sharing the same username. We went through great lengths to cross reference travel records, personal information, and testimonies of accounts from her recent past. The personal information she has given us, combined with her employment records with Lunarch Studios, relationships with players, and the fact that she has met people face-to-face is enough to confirm her identity.

They also noted that the drama surrounding MagicAmy didn't really make sense:

As a final point, we asked ourselves throughout the entire investigation "If she/he is a fraud, what is the end game?" because eventually the MagicAmy persona would have had to show up at an offline event as Hearthstone/Tempo Storm continued to grow. It made no logical sense to move from her homegrown team, which collectively placed top 8 at BlizzCon, to work extremely hard with our organisation to get results, then "dash" when she's getting paid for the good work she's done. That would be the worst con of all time.

Tempo Storm says that they "offered to fully support MagicAmy in an attempt to clear her name," but that Lee decided that she was going to leave the Hearthstone scene, at least temporarily.

"During the six week period which Hyerim was signed with us, we greatly appreciated her effort and camaraderie with the team," Tempo Storm said. "We have nothing but glowing reviews of all the work she put in from watching her cheer along with fans in chat to publishing her renown Meta Snapshots. She has been an ideal team member with Tempo Storm during her short stay and we wish her the best of luck in the future."

Lee also had nothing but good things to say about Tempo Storm, based on her statement on the situation:

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.

Truthfully, a lot about this situation feels uncomfortable — a woman has been driven out of the Hearthstone community, over seemingly flimsy accusations. The undercurrent falls in-line with some of the shittier parts of gaming culture, where some people can't help but call into question the legitimacy of women gamers. You see it in the way people talk about MagicAmy in the first place. The Daily Dot, for example, said that MagicAmy seemed to "come out of nowhere." It seems easier to believe that a woman is tricking everyone, and that this explains her sudden rise to fame, than it does to believe that she might actually just be a good Hearthstone player.

For now it's worth noting that while we personally cannot actually prove that MagicAmy is who she says she is, we have reached out to Hyerim Lee, and will update this post should we hear back.


    A woman kicks arse, men complain. I think TISM had something to say about this:

    If you're looking for the breaks
    But you ain't got what it takes
    Just come down with the shakes, and

    Spit the dummy
    Chuck a wobbly
    Have a paddy
    Spit the dummy

    Or am I reading that wrong?

    I don't understand what all the whinging is about. If its not and it's a women playing wouldn't it be really, really easy to prove? Like go to one or two local tournaments - nip it in the bud? Is it really just because they said it was a bloke playing as that's what the evidence pointed to? Seriously?

    Maybe the reason she never went to offline events is because of shit like this? :/

    Last edited 21/02/15 12:16 pm

    From what I can tell a 12 year old hearthstone player whos balls haven't dropped yet got sad because they were beaten by a girl and now they have gone on the internet to say "NUH UH! I WASN'T BEATEN BY A GRRL, IT WAS A BOY! THAT'S WHY I LOST!".

      I love how most of the ppl commenting here think MagicAmy(MA) is a girl despite there being a lot of doubt and evidence to the contrary.

      I have known a lot of great female players, both personally including friends as well as witnessing them live in public tournaments via stream(like Adelheid Stark). But with MA, that's not what people are up in arms about. "She" has never appeared live, so there is suspected fraud. It's a lot like Donald Trump calling out Obama over his birth certificate. MA doesn't need to "come clean" and that's perfectly "her" right, but what has "she" got to hide by not demonstrating "her" skill publicly as most other legitimate Hearthstone players would? I think it's probably just some Canadian guy too. This would not be the first time it's happened on the internet.

        Can you explain why it even matters in the slightest whether a player is a male or female? You may as well just be playing against a disembodied name, does it matter who's behind it?

        And why is it that person's "duty" to join a tournament just so you can gawk at them?

        If I bothered playing Hearthstone and I became an extremely good player, I wouldn't even be bothered going to a tournament. Would you start claiming that I was a girl because I never showed my face? It's retarded lol.

          The issue is more a case of fraud than gender. That being said, the video game industry/player base is mostly dominated by males. If you watching a fighting game tournament, the Dota2 tournaments, etc, the top players are almost always male. If I fight a disembodied name in Hearthstone, then no it doesn't matter. I might get my ass kicked by a girl and never know. But when you are a great player, you are put in the limelight regardless of your gender. You are no longer disembodied. In the case of Adelheid Stark, she is a good female player, and that is verified. I don't need to gawk at her to verify that. The gaming community has done that. She is not a fraud. The same is true of a little male kid called Noah who was beating people. That is cool. By the same token, there was a video on Kotaku awhile back of a little girl who was pretending to kick peoples' butts in public in Smash Bros, but there was actually a professional gamer playing while hidden. That was fraudulent, but still entertaining because you don't tend to see little girls kicking peoples' butts. By "breaking the norm" with a different demographic by being outstanding, you draw attention to yourself.

          MagicAmy is not a verified female, but has indicated that they are by the name and questionable footage(person who is supposed to be playing does not actually look like they are playing). So people think the real person is pulling a swifty on everyone, with the motive of attention. Hell, if you say you're female in World of Warcraft, people sometimes will give you gold, etc.

    How much of a scumbag would a guy have to be to take attention away from women trying to succeed in the competitive gaming world by pretending to be a woman? Surely no-one could stoop that low? Or does that make it the perfect crime?

    People who believe that MagicAmy is actually two people have never based that belief on anything related to the issue of sex. It's purely an issue of fraud. To suggest otherwise, as the author seems to do, is irresponsible, harmful and shameful.

    Last edited 21/02/15 3:44 pm

    It's worth noting that this might not simply be a gender issue but also one of insanely deep-seated insecurity in the gaming community, since this sort of thing even happens to high profile male players. It seems like if a moronic player's self indulgent perception of his value is at all threatened, he will find the basest and most accessible way to harm someone. If its a girl, its almost always gender. They will continually reinforce their own actions into belief through completely ridiculous anecdotal accusations. It's almost like a virus that spreads from person to person forming ignorant opinions.

    Seriously, how do you fix that on such a grand scale?

    Ah classic sexist basement nerds! "A player with a female handle beat us! Cannot be a woman, girls suck at games! Obviously it's a man! And obviously the actual gender of this person somehow matters at all in this game!"

    As much as it seems like a gender issue it is primarily not a gender issue. The primary issue is the integrity of herself as a player. The only reason this ever came up was due to her consistent inabilities to appear at proper offline tournaments and the refusal to stream or to even cast with others who offered her opportunities to do so.

    Basically she was acting shifty as a pro, and was not doing the things that the other pros were doing. Instead she tended to just host other professional players on her twitch stream and tended to lurk in their stream chats, interacting (I would honestly say to the level of flirting sometimes) with people and basically soaking up a lot of attention.

    The part about her using her womanly charms to be more likable and receive more popularity almost definitely played some role in the backlash, however primarily it seemed to be an issue of fraud and competitive integrity.

    TempoStorm did a decent job of nipping the problem in the bud, with a very even and diplomatic solution. By setting up a way for her to prove herself as a professional player in an offline LAN event, she instead preferred to leave the scene, allowing TempoStorm to release her without any significant controversy.

    There is a significant amount of evidence pointing to a lot of shady goings on, which she may have previously been involved in or was still currently involved in. She so far has not addressed any of the evidence that has been presented which has made many suspicious. It's akin to being presented to a weapon with your prints and a suspect doesn't bother even proclaiming their innocence or trying to provide and alibi or explanation.

    If the previous hearthstone drama event of the month was to be taken for context, which was the cheating allegations involving Hosty, a player who was signed onto TeamArchon, the reaction to his alleged cheating is a far more classic response. He maintains that he is still innocent. Though almost everyone else has decided that he is guilty. And it's not because he's a Male or a Female. It's because it looks suspiciously like he's cheating in the video. This is a similar situation, cheating creates enough drama as it is, lets not add unnecessary gender drama to this.

    Read between the lines in Tempo Storm's investigation. They gave her a simple out in the form of an offline tournament, and she passed. Listen, if you or I were on trial and had a chance to exonerate ourselves by taking a lie detector test (read: offline tourney), and you or I decided not to, it would be an indicator of guilt. Why else would TS kiss her ass throughout a post yet still part ways with her?

    There are plenty of awesome female gamers across the eSports spectrum; this author chose the wrong female to try and make a victim out of.

    Male or female, who cares? The point is, the only reason anyone got upset - all other details aside - is simply because they may/may not be a girl. That's it. Think about it. It's pretty sad.

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