Esports Arena: Pro 'Fortnite' Player Banned for Cheating, 'Hearthstone' Crowns First Female Champ

Fortnite Art - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Epic Games

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Fnatic teams with Hello Kitty; Team USA spoils South Korean Overwatch dynasty; and 100 Thieves signs a CS:GO roster.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

Seventeen-year-old professional Fortnite player Jarvis "Jarvis" Kaye, a member of esports organization FaZe Clan, has been permanently banned from official competition by Epic Games. In a series of videos Kaye uploaded to his alternate YouTube account, he is seen using an in-game aim-assisting program, which is against the rules for competitive play in the game.

"I’m not sure how many of you know this, but I’ve actually [been] banned on Fortnite for life," Kaye said in a Youtube video revealing the news. "It didn’t even cross my mind I could be banned for life from Fortnite for this."

“We have a zero tolerance policy for the usage of cheat software," an Epic Games representative tells The Hollywood Reporter. "When people use aimbots or other cheat technologies to gain an unfair advantage, they ruin games for people who are playing fairly."

Kaye claims that the videos he uploaded using the aim-assist bot were not from a competitive mode of the game, saying he uploaded the videos because they were "entertaining and interesting" for his audience. 

The hashtag #FreeJarvis has since gained traction on social media, with many members of the competitive community — as well as Kaye’s FaZe Clan teammates — voicing support for Kaye. Some critics of the decision have cited a similar situation this summer when esports athlete Damion “XXiF” Cook received a two-week ban for cheating at July's Fortnite World Cup, claiming Kaye was being punished too severely.

Elsewhere, esports organization Fnatic has announced a new partnership with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty. While details of the collaboration, set to begin Nov. 15, were not revealed, Fnatic did advertise a giveaway for a Fnatic x Hello Kitty pro jacket, suggesting the partnership will introduce an apparel line. 

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

Hearthstone Crowns First Female Grand Champion

The Hearthstone Global Finals, held at the BlizzCon convention in Anaheim over the weekend, ended in historic fashion as Chinese pro player Xiaomeng "VKLiooon" Li became the first woman ever to win both a major Hearthstone championship and a major BlizzCon championship. Li qualified for the Global Finals via open tournaments in her native China, which does not participate in the worldwide Grandmaster series hosted by Blizzard. Li shared some advice with up-and-coming female players after her win, saying, "If you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it."

Team USA Spoils South Korea's Overwatch World Cup Dynasty

The South Korean dominance of the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon has ended, with Team USA winning the crown after defeating the powerhouse in the semifinals over the weekend. Team USA, which went on to defeat Team China 3-0 in the finals, was led by San Francisco Shock standouts Jay "Sinatraa" Won and Matthew "Super" Delisi, Corey Nigra of the Washington Justice and the Los Angeles Valiant’s Kyle "KSF" Frandansia. Team USA’s victory marks the first time any team other than South Korea has won the Overwatch World Cup, which began in 2016.  

100 Thieves Signs Renegades’ CS:GO Roster

After months of speculation that the team was looking to get back into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, esports organization 100 Thieves has signed the Oceania region Renegades roster, which includes Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai, Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad, Justin "jks" Savage, Jay "liazz" Tregillgas and Aaron "AZR" War. 100 Thieves made the announcement via the team’s Twitter page last week, with Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunovic and Chris "GoMeZ" Orfanellis also joining as coach and manager, respectively.