Blizzard has revoked the invites of two players, Thomas "Sintolol" Zimmer and Mats "P4wnyhof" Kathage, to the upcoming Global Games because of "recent, inappropriate, and unsportsmanlike comments", after at least one player protested the inclusion of P4wnyhof by withdrawing from the tournament.
The Hearthstone Global Games is a congregation of international Hearthstone players, a special tournament designed to bring together and highlight different regions of the world. Through a popular vote system, fans were able to elect players onto each nation's team -- and selected both P4wnyhof and Sintolol for Team Germany.
P4wnyhof is a Hearthstone streamer who has been involved in a number of controversies, including allegations of admin power abuse in tournaments, and claims of using bots -- or automated Twitch accounts -- to artificially inflate his viewing numbers. P4wnyhof has rebutted these claims, telling GosuGamers that the tournament issue was a slip-up rather than malicious action, and refuting claims of viewbotting. Many pros and fans have still remained sceptical, especially in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.
When Blizzard listed P4wnyhof as an eligible candidate for Global Games voting, Sweden's Sebastian Fors -- a pro player and streamer known as better as "Forsen" -- announced that he, along with Complexity's SuperJJ, would forfeit his prospective spot if P4wnyhof were voted in. Forsen has been vocal about issues surrounding P4wnyhof in the past.
The Global Games includes 48 teams, assembled from regions like Peru, South Korea, Germany and the United States, with a prize pool of over $US300,000 ($391,062). Each team has four members: The top-ranked player from its respective region, and three voted in via popular vote.
Teams were unveiled earlier this week, with Forsen making Sweden's squad, and P4wnyhof making the cut for Team Germany. Forsen, true to his word, ceded his spot on the team; SuperJJ has not announced anything yet. Replacing Forsen will be Sjow, from Team Liquid. In a statement on the matter, Forsen reiterated his frustrations (sic throughout) :
A lot of people will probably say that I shouldn't forfeit , cause he will still be in it in it regardless. But its very important to stand by your word and send a message. Because as I previously said blizzard couldn't take back p4wny's nomination even if they wanted to after finding out about all the shady shit, but if I keep playing this tournament and feed the drama, blizzard might just invite him to whatever other event in the future. Which is of course horrible. I'm sad that I'm one of the few players who can afford to forfeit a chance like this, and I dont really blame anyone of the others for sticking to their invites.
Other pro players, like G2's Thijs Molendijk, have come out in support of Forsen's decision, and their actions apparently got Blizzard's attention, as P4wnyhof and fellow German player Thomas "Sintolol" Zimmer will no longer be invited to the Global Games:
In the light of recent, inappropriate, and unsportsmanlike comments made by Thomas "Sintolol" Zimmer and Mats "P4wnyhof" Kathage, we have decided to rescind their invitation to represent Team Germany in the upcoming Hearthstone Global Games.
We're in the process of identifying replacement players, and will reach out to them privately.
However P4wnyhof and Sintolol don't seem to have gotten kicked out of the tournament for any of the things Forsen objected to, but because of a feud between themselves. In a Discord chat, P4wnyhof mocked Zimmer's invitation, following it up with a homophobic slight about his parentage. Zimmer responded by invoking Godwin's law and calling P4wnyhof "mentally handicapped", before asking "why are these people allowed to survive?"
We reached out to P4wnyhof and Forsen for comment, but had not heard back at time of writing.