A new Hearthstone World Champion has been crowned in Amsterdam. He is Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin from Taiwan, coming back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Michigan native Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang to win the Hearthstone World Championship in a thrilling five-game series.
The final game of the series saw both players lay down their Jade Druids. Both players went back and forth, with Fr0zen getting his Malfurion the Pestilent Death Knight out first, while tom60229 countered with Fandral Staghelm and Jade Idol. From there, tom60229 built up massive Jade Golems, with Fr0zen unable to keep up.
The first game of the series started off great for Fr0zen. The Michigan player had his back against the wall against tom60229's Jade Druid. Even after a Skulking Geist play that left the Druid in fatigue state, Fr0zen's Mage was down to a single health point and in range of a lethal Ultimate Infestation. But a fortuitous Arcane Artificer draw allowed Fr0zen to play Flamestrike for 7 Armor, putting him completely out of the Druid's range and propelling the Mage to victory.
While Fr0zen jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, tom60229 climbed back quickly. After winning with Highlander Priest, he wrecked Fr0zen's Jade Druid with Tempo Rogue and a massive 10/10 Edwin VanCleef on Turn 2. That allowed tom60229 to tie the series in short order.
"Pretty much, to beat Druid, first you need the Keleseth buff and second, you have to have a very big VanCleef," tom60229 said in the post-game press conference. "So once I saw the opportunity, I knew this was my chance."
Earlier in the day, the first semifinal game saw Fr0zen take on China's JasonZhou. This series went all five games and came down to a Warlock/Druid matchup. While JasonZhou was able to draw both of his Living Mana spells to fill the board, they weren't enough to penetrate Fr0zen's 3/9 Voidlord. Fr0zen followed this play up with Faceless Manipulator and Doomsayer, knowing that he could resurrect his Demons with the Bloodreaver Gul'dan in his hand, while his opponent's minions would stay dead. JasonZhou realized he was going to have his resources completely wiped out and conceded.
As for the other semifinal matchup, tom60229 faced off against HCT Summer Championship winner Kim "Surrender" Jungsoo in a tense four-game set. Surrender went into the series riding a record 15 HCT match win streak. His hopes for a world championship were dashed in the final game, where tom60229 started the game drawing Prince Keleseth and Shadowstep, giving his minions double +1/+1 buffs. Surrender didn't go down easy, drawing removal spells like Dragonfire Potion and Psychic Scream. But an SI:7 Agent and its "Deal 2 damage" combo effect were enough to send the Summer Championship winner home.
With his first place finish, tom60229 takes home $250,000. Runner-up Fr0zen wins $150,000. In total, an even $1,000,000 were issued across the weekend's 16 competitors.
This marks the end of the 2017 Hearthstone competitive year for the Year of the Mammoth. Next season will see players compete under a new Standard rotation, which will see the Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansions all shuffle to Wild. The Hearthstone Championship Tour itself is also receiving a noteworthy revamp, as first revealed back in December.
(Photo credits: Helena Kristiansson)