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Competitive Ruling: Shern “Shernfire” Tai

Shernfire had exhibited a pattern of being extremely toxic and used culturally insensitive language.


  • On September 23, routine player toxicity checks revealed that Shern “Shernfire” Tai had exhibited a pattern of extremely toxic and culturally insensitive language in solo queue on the Korean Server.
  • Shernfire is being issued a 2-game suspension and a $2,000 USD fine for this incident.


On September 23, during routine behavior checks the account of Shern “Shernfire” Tai was flagged for consistent and repeated negative behavior. On his Korean (KR) account, Shernfire was reported in 18 out of 165 games and he also received 5 in-game restrictions due to 3 instances of being AFK/leaving game.  After reviewing the chat logs, we determined that Shernfire’s behavior was extremely abusive and that he made use of culturally insensitive language. Specifically, Shernfire verbally abused family members of players in his games, which is considered incredibly insensitive and insulting in Korean culture. In addition, Shernfire has a history of negative behavior on the KR servers and was previously punished for this behavior by the OPL. We considered this previous history in determining the penalty in this case.

We expect professional players to maintain good behavior in and out of game and to demonstrate respect to other players and their cultures, and Shernfire’s actions clearly violated that principle.


9.1.2    Profanity and Hate Speech.

A Team Member may not use language that is obscene, foul, vulgar, insulting, threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, defamatory or otherwise offensive or objectionable; or promote or incite hatred or discriminatory conduct, in or near the match area, at any time. A Team Member may not use any facilities, services or equipment provided or made available by WCE or its contractors to post, transmit, disseminate or otherwise make available any such prohibited communications. A Team Member may not use this type of language on social media or during any public facing events such as streaming.

9.2.4    Discrimination and Denigration.

Team Members may not offend the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigrating words or actions on account of race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, financial status, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.


Shernfire has violated rules 9.1.2 and 9.2.4 of the WCE ruleset.

Shernfire is:

  • Suspended from his team’s next two matches at Worlds;
  • Fined $2,000 USD


Q: How does this differ from Svenskeren’s punishment during Worlds 2014, Road’s punishment during Worlds 2016 and YoDa’s punishment at MSI 2017?

A: This specific offense was fairly similar to that of Road in 2016. Shernfire’s suspension is two games (whereas Road was suspended for one game) based on Shernfire’s previous OPL competitive ruling for toxic behavior on the KR server. In all four cases, the general principle was consistent (offensive/inappropriate language), and the variance is based on the specific severity of the offense, hence a punishment that is more severe than Road but slightly less severe than Svenskeren or YoDa.

Q: Why not ban Shernfire for a game of OPL? Worlds is too important to affect a team that significantly.

A: As we’ve set the expectation previously, we address disciplinary infractions immediately upon investigation and determination of transgression. In this case, the offense was committed shortly before Worlds; suspending Shernfire immediately is consistent with previous punishments and is appropriate to our expectations of pro player behavior.

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