Jacob “Apxvoid” Cohen has been disqualified from Hearthstone's HCT Winter Championship for a violation of tournament rule 7.11a, titled Cheating.
This is described in the official rulebook as “Stream sniping, or any general attempt by a player to spectate his or her own match or get information from another person spectating the match.”
While Blizzard has not provided much further detail about the case, it was initially reported by witnesses that Apxvoid had allegedly conferred with a friend through in-game chat about match-up strategy.
The message, however, was apparently broadcast to a match admin rather than the person in question.
Late yesterday evening, however, Apxvoid posted a lengthy explanation covering his side of events.
According to Cohen, he had found himself - along with a competitor sat next to him - selected to be a spectated side match at the live event.
While both players were waiting, Cohen typed a general meta strategy query into the Hearthstone client, hoping that his nearby companion would see it and give some small reassurance.
While even this general query represented a breach of the rules, it wasn't until Cohen attempted to message a tournament administrator at the end of his first match, confirming his deck selection for the next, that the breach was discovered.
By accidentally hitting the Enter key twice, his pre-match query was unintentionally broadcast to the administrator and an investigation was begun.
Beyond disqualification from the HCT Winter Championship itself, it's not known whether or not Cohen will face further competitive sanctions as a result of the rule breach.
As mentioned in his statement, however, it looks as though his future with the Pittsburgh Knights team has also ended. Although Cohen's contract had expired recently, it seems as though the events at the HCT event have ruled out an extension.
We'll update this story if Blizzard provides any further comment on the incident.