Steven R. February 5, 2019
A player was disqualified for cheating at one of the world’s largest mobile game tournaments.
During the Clash Royale playoffs at the Red Bull MEO World Finals 2019, Team 404 player Gregory “GregEmpire77” Haloin was ejected due to possible cheating following his match against German player Schwarzen.
The exact nature of his infraction hasn’t yet been clarified, but according to ESL Clash Royale on Twitter, the player is alleged to have “communicated with a person in front of the stage and gained insights to his opponents plays.”
Clash Royale fuses together elements of tower defense and collectible card games, tasking players with overwhelming their opponent’s base with units enhanced by randomized power-ups. As with most card games, having information on a rival’s hand and plays bestows an unfair advantage.
Though ESL’s wording implies the use of something like hand signals to alert GregEmpire77 of Schwarzen’s tactics, the player released a statement to Dexerto where he admitted to being on a phone call with his manager over earbuds during the game. "My manager wanted to call me when I was playing so I answered, but it was difficult to play with him so I decided to stop,” he said, claiming that he was “only in the call for two minutes.”
During the event, GregEmpire77 was seen wearing wireless earbuds underneath his headset during competition. He can be seen removing them following the game with Schwarzen in a clip posted on Twitter by ESL.
Regardless of the intent, receiving outside communication over the phone would likely violate the same rules and carry the same fairness concerns. There have not yet been any long-term sanctions leveled against the player.
Despite the potential outside help, GregEmpire77 was defeated by Schwarzen 3-1 in the round of 16. The tournament was won by 17-year-old Scottish player Liam “ThunderStruck” McCarron.