The pro Hearthstone scene in China is rife with cheats who traffic in win-trading and pay-to-legend schemes to boost themselves up the rankings, a new report claims.

Gosu Gamers writer Radoslav Kolev put together the piece, wherein he suspects that the size of the competitive field in China, alongside the struggle that is earning money as a pro gamer, has seen a group of at least 14 pros form a cartel of sorts that offers cheat schemes to others in exchange for cash.

Kolev bolsters his claims with some damning screenshots, although some of the captured conversations are coded.

“The group uses the phrase 'RenMai,' originally meaning 'Human Networks' in Chinese, as well as 'Yan', or 'act' in English, to never explicitly reveal what they are doing,” he writes.

“They do not limit themselves to ladder only either, and have organized themselves to compromise the integrity of the Gold Series Open, one of the most respected and high-paying Blizzard-ran cups in China.”

The problem is so widespread that according to one source, only about one-third of the 30,000 legend rank accounts on the Chinese server are legitimate.

“The current measure to greatly devalue the ladder rewards is also just a partial solution which causes more problems than it solves,” Kolev writes.

“As offline tournaments still yield the normal amount of points a disbalance in the competitive climate in China and huge discrepancies between the different regions are created as a result.”

Cheating is hardly a new phenomenon in the world of e-sports. Even high-profile pros involved in big tournaments like DreamHack's CS:GO have been caught out in the past.