Brian Kibler and Thatsadmirable Step down from Casting Grandmasters Finals in the Wake of Recent Events

Following the recent events surrounding Blitzchung’s removal from Grandmasters, thousands of players are protesting against Blizzard. Most of them are vocal, some are even removing their accounts. The story got significantly bigger than it was when we first reported it – right now it’s covered by media all around the world and commented by politicians.

Following the Blitzchung’s ban, two Hearthstone personalities and casters – Brian Kibler and Nathan “ThatsAdmirable” Zamora – announced that they will no longer be casting Grandmasters 2019 Global Finals at BlizzCon. You can find their full statements here – Kibler & Admirable, but to summarize them, they disagree with the actions taken by Blizzard, stand for free speech and that don’t want to be associated with the bad things company does now (but at the same time don’t condemn people who decide to stay).

Another Hearthstone casters – Simon “Sottle” Welch – has decided to stick to casting and fulfill his contract (you can find his statement here). He has already received a lot of negative comments, despite clearly stating that he also disagrees with Blitzchung’s ban. (I have to say that I completely understand his point of view – not everyone can afford to quit his job just like that, especially given that it’s niche and finding another similar position might be incredibly difficult, maybe even impossible.)

More and more pro players and people related to Hearthstone are voicing their dissatisfaction. The most prominent recent example is from another Grandmaster – Amnesiac (you can find it here). He said that he does not agree with Blizzard’s decision and support Hong Kong protests. It’s unlikely that he will face any repercussions given that his opinion was voiced on social media and not during Grandmasters, but there’s no telling what will happen during the actual tournament.

It’s also worth noting that during Collegiate Championship, team American University held up a “Free Hong Kong” sign. The camera feed was quickly cut and remained off for the rest of the matches. However, given that they did not get punished any further, they said that it’s hypocritical and decided to forfeit the entire season.

Blizzard has not issued any new statements regarding the current situation. Grandmasters Playoffs start tomorrow, and it’s only three weeks until BlizzCon.

Update #1: Disguised Toast, one of the best known Hearthstone streamers and YouTubers who quit the game a while ago, said that he will come back if Blizzard reconsiders the ban. He’s most likely joking, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he actually did just that:

Update #2: Similarly to Sottle, two other casters – Darroch Brown and Alex “Raven” Baguley – decided to stay. Here are their statements:


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

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  1. […] acknowledged that he may face “consequences” for his statement, although as Hearthstone Top Decks pointed out, the fact that he made the statement on social media and not during a competition may […]

  2. […] acknowledged that he could face “penalties” for his assertion, though as Hearthstone Top Decks identified, the truth that he made the assertion on social media and never throughout a contest […]

  3. Raymoney
    October 11, 2019 at 8:53 am

    True hero’s!!!

    A card for Kibbler. Kibbler’s Principles. Preferably a twinnspell… Because of Admirable’s desicion to join..!!

  4. H0lysatan
    October 11, 2019 at 4:53 am

    IMO, the only thing relevant here is money, and Blizzard knew this.
    The risk of losing money is greater than anything.

    Blizzard knew the risks, and took it.
    whether I support HongKong democracy or not, whether I support freedom of speech or not,
    and whoever I support doesn’t matter at all.
    Time to make a stand. But I do hope Blizzard rethink about the punishment.
    Banning someone (for a year) and stripped their status as a punishments does seem too extreme.

    and again, It’s my opinions.

  5. Maximum
    October 11, 2019 at 3:10 am

    ThisIs getting bigger and bigger, now toast says he’ll come back to hearthstone if blizzard un-ban Blitzchung!

  6. Advocaat
    October 11, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Blizzard’s decision is completely rational. They are company that has one purpose – generating money. They cannot afford to lose support in China since there is a huge market and foreign companies are not free to make business there. People like Brian Kibler etc. are just acting emotionaly and silly. Losing jobs for no reason. In 3 weeks, maybe a month, nobody will talk about it anymore because people don’t actually care. But Blizzard will keep their status in China and Sottle will keep his job.

    • JoeBar
      October 11, 2019 at 12:37 am

      So it is rational to do everything to make money.

      Sounds like all the major companies in the world (Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Mondelez, Nestlé …).

      A good example 😉

    • HakanBeal
      October 11, 2019 at 6:25 am

      it is beyond rational, it is logical.

      Hong Kong wants to independence and China involved to the conversation. It can be some other country like Middle East ones nobody would react the same way. China is a serious partner for US and US couldn’t face against them. So Blizzard couldn’t either.

      Some emotional guys losing their jobs. pathetic.

  7. Skoopy
    October 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Iam not really deep into all that stuff. What i heard and read, Brian Kibler motivated others to do a statement too. And he used other platforms than twitch, or a live cast. Toast said, if they re-ban him, he will start to stream Hearthstone again, lol.
    I read a lot on twitter where i found out that blitzchung made a mistake by not following the rules. On the other hand i think, Blizzard made a huge mistake by banning him. I cant even discribe it in words and all the troubles coming from that.
    Good Job Brian! You are a hack of a man! I really like him and his statement. And admirable doin the same now, and many many others will follow.
    This is huge.

  8. […] acknowledged that he may face “consequences” for his statement, although as Hearthstone Top Decks pointed out, the fact that he made the statement on social media and not during a competition may […]