Blizzard Issue Apology After Blacklisting Hearthstone Pro

Published 06/24/2020, 8:55 AM EDT


Janne ‘Savjz’ Mikkonen is a professional Hearthstone player from Finland for Team Liquid. He is a well-known personality within the Hearthstone community, streaming the digital card game on Twitch, as well as creating content on YouTube.

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Recently he disclosed that Blizzard, the developer of the game, has blacklisted him from participating in Hearthstone esports tournaments. Savjz and his wife, ZernaX, have revealed the reason behind the blacklisting on Twitter.

UPDATE:

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Since publishing the article Blizzard has reached out to give us a statement on the same.

“Savjz was not excluded from yesterday’s Battlegrounds Brawl event due to his relationship or any type of blacklist. We didn’t consider him for it due to a discussion where he did not agree to our request for confidentiality. We reveal unreleased information at our events, so it’s important to us to have agreements in place with all partners that prevent the sharing of that info with anyone who isn’t approved to receive it, including friends and family. This is a team policy, not an individual’s decision. We strive to support and treat fairly all of our partners, content creators, and streamers.”

 

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Hearthstone pro blacklisted over wife’s comments

In a June 23 tweet, Christina ‘ZerinaX‘ Mikkonen shed light on the current blacklisting her husband is facing. She had criticized Blizzard’s practices after the company fired 800 employees in 2019, including herself, and ended up offending a community manager. In her tweet, she also stated the blacklist is affecting her husband’s mental health.

After that, Savjz backed up his partner’s claims in a tweet of his own. Blizzard had told him he was a liability because of his marriage with ZerinaX,

Later, credible esports analyst and insider, Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau, provided additional insight into the situation. According to one of Breslau’s sources, Blizzard approached Savjz in December last year and informed him not to share information with his wife. Savjz declined, and since then, he has not been invited to Hearthstone esports tournaments.

Chris Attalus, a Blizzard community manager for Hearthstone, tweeted out about a job opening at Blizzard in July 2019, shortly after the company mass fired employees. ZerinaX replied to the tweet, “Are you f***ing serious right now Chris,” and this is where the blacklisting stemmed from.

As seen in the tweet below, the job opening was for the role of a community manager at Blizzard. Not for the laid-off positions.

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Blizzard issue apology to Savjz

Although Blizzard hasn’t commented on the situation publicly, Savjz has confirmed that he received an apology from the Hearthstone community lead.

As a result, the company has revoked the blacklisting, and Savjz can go back to participating in Hearthstone events in the future. His partner can also accompany him to the events as a guest.

A Blizzard representative consequently released the following statement,

“Savjz was not excluded from yesterday’s Battlegrounds Brawl event due to his relationship or any type of blacklist. We didn’t consider him for it due to a discussion where he did not agree to our request for confidentiality.

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“We reveal unreleased information at our events, so it’s important to us to have agreements in place with all partners that prevent the sharing of that info with anyone who isn’t approved to receive it, including friends and family. This is a team polic.”

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Apparently, the Hearthstone pro refused to sign an NDA; thus, the company wasn’t considering him for events. However, Savjz says there were no mentions of NDA in his conversations with Blizzard.

While ZerinaX’s criticism might not have gone down well with Blizzard, it was a ridiculous decision to blacklist Savjz, to say the least.

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Souhardya Biswas

494 articles

Souhardya Biswas is an eSports writer for EssentiallySports. He joined the organisation in 2020, wanting to explore the sphere of professional eSports journalism. His passion for gaming started with titles like GTA San Andreas, Far Cry 2, Modern Warfare 2, FIFA 09, eventually developing an interest in Battle Royale games like PUBG and Apex Legends.

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