During an official Mortal Kombat 11 Pro Kompetition tournament on January 16, finalist Titaniumtigerzz was disqualified after jokingly calling out developer NetherRealm Studios by labelling his Sheeva variation — a personalised moveset that displays a custom name to opponents — as “WhyDidNRSdoThis.”
The disqualification made for an awkward moment on the stream. When the official broadcast cut away from the top 8 match after just a few minutes, commentators Housam “Mitsuownes” Cherif and Miguel “Darth Arma” Perez were left fumbling for words to explain what happened.
“Unfortunately, it looks like we have a little problem here, and someone is being…we got a situation,” Perez told viewers while he and his partner appeared to listen to producers in their headphones. “I don’t know what we can publicly say but we definitely have a situation here.”
Shortly after, Perez said that Titaniumtigerzz’s opponent would be advancing despite the match having not been officially decided. No reason was given, but Perez went on to remind everyone to “abide to the rules…everybody’s gotta be respectful,” implying that that was the reason Titaniumtigerzz had been disqualified without coming out and saying so. NetherRealm Studios and parent company WB Games have not responded to Kotaku’s requests for comment.
The variation name, Titaniumtigerzz told Kotaku, was supposed to be a very mild criticism of Sheeva’s strengths.
“It was meant to be funny since the character I was using is basically extremely easy,” Titaniumtigerzz explained to me via DM. “The joke was, ‘Why would they make such an easy character?’”
Sheeva has been a hot topic in competitive Mortal Kombat 11 lately due to her Dragon Drop stomp attack. Titaniumtigerzz says that the move, which is unblockable, can be used in just about any situation to put Sheeva in a more favourable position. It’s become such a problem that top players have dedicated entire videos to explaining how to beat out this one attack.
Titaniumtigerzz and his opponent weren’t told about the disqualification immediately and continued playing their set off-stream for a few minutes. After being notified, he was allegedly left in the dark as to why he had been disqualified and wasn’t given a chance to rectify or challenge the situation. Titaniumtigerzz says that a tournament moderator has since told him the decision had to do with his variation name.
“They banned me in the very first match where I used the name,” Titaniumtigerzz said. “No opportunity [to change the name] was given and no one reached out to me. I’d have changed it instantly if I had been given the option.”
While the official Pro Kompetition rules don’t specifically mention these kinds of protests, the code of conduct section does give the organisers discretion to disqualify players for just about any reason.
Since the disqualification, the hashtag #WhyDidNRSDoThis has spread through the Mortal Kombat community on Twitter, and Titaniumtigerzz told Kotaku he’s received a bunch of support from fellow players who disagree with the decision. He also said problems with Mortal Kombat 11 and last week’s disqualification won’t keep him from playing in future tournaments.
“It’s the pro competition and I’m a competitive player,” Titaniumtigerzz explained. “I might hate how they do things but at the end of the day it’s their game and I don’t have any other options.”