The Hearthstone Winter Championship turned out to be a much busier Sunday than anybody could have expected. When the day ultimately ended, Luo "Roger" Shengyuan emerged victorious over HCT Summer Champion Raphael "Bunnyhoppor" Peltzer. But with half the Top 4 already having punched their ticket to the World Championship, that meant some extra Hearthstone needed to be played.
Roger hit the ground running in the Grand Finals, winning the Game 1 Hunter mirror. Bunnyhoppor tried to respond with his own Hunter in the second game, but Roger's Quest Rogue was ready to fire back with Preparation and the completed quest, overwhelming his opponent with a parade of 4/4 minions.
Bunnyhoppor changed up his strategy for Game 3, going with an aggro Rogue lineup. The HCT Summer Champion looked to threaten Roger with an 8/8 Edwin Van Cleef. Roger drew Shadow Essence on his next turn and had to think about it for a minute before remembering that his only remaining minions are Malygos and Prophet Velen. Regardless of what he pulled, Mind Blast represented lethal damage and allowed him to clinch the Winter Championship.
Though they made the Top 4, Bunnyhoppor and Brian "bloodyface" Eason have previously clinched a spot at April's Hearthstone World Championship. That meant a special "Tiebreaker Tussle" needed to be held between Mark "Ike" Eichner, Xu "LFYueying" Kai, and Jiyong "Definition" Yoon. Those three would play in a special three-person bracket, with Definition receiving a bye because of his HCT point total. (Torben "Viper" Wahl sat this out because he has also previously qualified for the World Championship.) This gauntlet proved no problem for Yueying, who defeated Ike and then took a gamble with Shadowreaper Anduin against Definition, one which paid off with a trip to Worlds.
That left Ike and Definition to battle it out for the final spot at the World Championship. This was not Definition's series. The third game was particularly heartbreaking for him, as the Wall Priest vs. Odd Paladin matchup favored him immensely. But Ike was able to put on enough pressure and draw a perfectly-timed Leeroy Jenkins to go up 2-1.
Definition was able to respond with Even Warlock pressure, with Nerubian Unraveler preventing Ike from clearing the board with any spells. Ike cleared the board with Mass Hysteria, but it with 2 Health remaining, a comeback looked highly unlikely. But Ike drew a Holy Smite that opened the door for a lethal turn off a Coin + Zerek's Cloning Gallery. Definition could only watch as the powered-up Mind Blast and Holy Smite ended his hopes for advancing to Worlds.
Here are the four players who advanced to the Hearthstone World Championship this weekend:
- Guan "SNJing" Zhendong
Here are the competitors from the HCT Summer and Fall Championship set to compete at the Hearthstone World Championship:
- Mihai "languagehacker" Dragalin
- David "JustSaiyan" Shan
- Wu "Bloodtrail" Zong-Chang
- Kacper "A83650" Kwiecinski
- David "Killinallday" Acosta
The field of 16 will be rounded out by the Regional Points Leaders for each of the four main regions: Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and China. The regional points leaders are:
- Casper "Hunterace" Notto (Europe)
- Muzahidul "Muzzy" Islam (Americas)
- Tyler Hoang Nguyen (APAC)
- XiaoT (China)
For his win, Roger takes home $50,000 out of the $250,000 prize pool. The Hearthstone World Championship is up next and will run on April 25-28 from Taipei.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Roger wins 2018 Hearthstone Winter Championship
That was a great series!