Aug 10 2014 - 10:10 pm

Hearthstone streamer Trump fails to reach top of Legend with 50,000 watching

The most watched show on Twitch last night wasn’t a tournament with thousands of dollars on the line
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

The most watched show on Twitch last night wasn’t a tournament with thousands of dollars on the line. It wasn’t Team SoloMid’s superstar League of Legends player Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, who regularly pulls in 40,000-plus viewers. It was a dude playing a card game.

Jeffery “Trump” Shih is the most popular Hearthstone streamer on the planet. He regularly reaches 20,000 viewers, thanks to his infectious personality and ability to relate the intricacies of the game to fans in a way they can understand. This week, Shih was featured on Blizzard’s official Hearthstone blog.

Last night, he wasn’t just the most popular streamer in Hearthstone. He was the most popular broadcaster on Twitch. More than 50,000 tuned in to watch him make a run for the rank one spot in Legend, the very top of Hearthstone’s competitive ladder. As Shih inched closer and closer to the goal, his viewer numbers went up and up and up, with fans eagerly anticipating the moment he hit one.

Shih started at Legend 31 at around 2pm EST and climbed the rankings using his Priest deck. After two hours, he hit Legend 11. It took another two to reach Legend 2, putting Shih just one slot away from becoming the top-ranked player in the region.

The anticipation on the stream was palpable. The game shows no internal ranking, so there’s no indication of just how close Shih was to reaching the final spot. Every win could boost him to the top, every loss could potentially drop him. For the next two hours, Shih would struggle to reach that final goal. But he just couldn’t do it.

Shih managed to win most of his games, maintaining his No. 2 ranking throughout the night, avoiding the fluctuations that hit him earlier in the day. But no matter how many games he won, it just wasn’t enough to tick the number inside that little orange Legend gem to one.

His most common foe was the popular Miracle Rogue, a combo-based deck that relies on cheap spells to cycle through cards and draw a combo that can win the game in one turn.

Shih’s Priest deck seemed well-equipped to deal with most opponents, but some games didn’t go his way.

One match against a Rank 2 Rogue ended after Shih’s Ragnaros missed two one-in-three chances to win the game with its random attack. Shih couldn’t get the 8 damage he needed onto his foe’s face, and the Rogue drew his game-ending Leeroy Jenkins combination.

His final match of the night was probably the most frustrating. Shih’s foe, UneasyPaster, was a Rank 3 hunter—not even close to Legend. But he took Shih to the brink, getting the Priest down to just two health. It looked like the game would turn in Shih’s favor when the Hunter ran out of cards, and fatigue ticked away at the Hunter while Shih’s hero power enabled him to counter the Hunter’s own damaging power Steady Shot. But Shih needed to play the Auchenia Soulpriest to clear Loatheb from the board to avoid lethal damage.

“I think this guarantees a loss,” said Shih, as he played the card. The Soulpriest turns all healing into damage, meaning Shih was no longer able to heal with his hero power, the only thing keeping the Hunter’s own power Steady Shot from killing him.

The next turn, Shih drew nothing to help his situation. The Hunter, with zero cards in hand, zero on the table, and zero in his deck, hit Steady Shot to win the game.

Shih signed off for dinner after the game, happy he still held the second rank in Legend, and surprised so many people tuned in to watch his run.

“Thanks for watching,” he told the massive crowd. “Over 50,000 people! I’m extremely blessed to have you all. [Rank] two is a lot better than my wildest dreams anyway.”

Shih will likely make another run at the No. 1 spot tonight, after the Video Game Voters Network Naxxramas Release tournament. You can tune in on Twitch.

You can watch Shih's climb from yesterday below. At least until Twitch deletes the highlight as per their new video-on-demand policy.

Image via

Jan 19 2017 - 8:01 pm

G2 start Trinity Series with 6-0 Murloc sweep

It was a one-sided start to the hotly-anticipated league.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

G2 Esports got their ESL Trinity Series campaign off to a flying start yesterday, beating Alliance in assertive fashion.

Hearthstone's number one team dominated the Swedish Alliance lineup en route to a 6-0 sweep in the opening clash of the team league.

Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy and Dima "Rdu" Radu were able to simply sit back and make enthusiastic murloc noises, as two-time European champion Thijs Molendijk piloted his Anyfin Paladin deck to six straight game wins.

Alliance's all-Swedish lineup of 2015 world champion Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall, three-time major winner Jon "Orange" Westberg, and Harald "Powder" Gimre was expected to be a big player in this team league. But the initial loss will be a setback to their title aspirations.

As we know from experience, however, initial losses are no indicator of eventual success. The G2 trio, then known as Nihilum, finished fifth in the regular season of the Archon Team League Championships before going on to win the playoffs.

In the other game of the day, underdogs Tempo Storm emerged victorious against Virtus Pro 6-3. Three game wins with Rogue by David "JustSaiyan" Shan provided an insurmountable advantage for Tempo Storm.

Today's match day will see the other four teams make their debut, as Luminosity Gaming takes on Team Liquid and Cloud9 faces compLexity Gaming.

Jan 17 2017 - 11:07 pm

How to Watch the ESL Hearthstone Trinity Series: Players, Format, Times, and More

It's the biggest team league the game has seen in over a year.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

It's been well over a year since Hearthstone last had a major team league in the West—something fans have been crying out for. Tomorrow the wait ends, and the ESL Trinity Series begins.

Eight trios, flying the banners of some of the biggest franchises in esports, will compete in best-of-11 matches until Mar. 2. The top teams will advance to a live finals at the ESL studios in California, with $75,000 up for grabs for the winning team.

This is a big moment for Hearthstone esports. After growth slowed in 2016, this league could get 2017 off to a big start as the major players in the scene attempt to stabilize and consolidate their positions.

Here's everything you need to know about the league, the teams involved, and how the matches will play out.

What is the format?

For each match, the teams will submit nine decks—one for each class in the game. Each team will ban out two of their opponent's decks, leaving seven decks from which the teams pick a final lineup of six.

The teams then play a best-of-11 match in the Last Hero Standing format—once a deck loses a game it is locked for the rest of the match, and you lose when you have no decks left. Unlike the Archon Team League Championships where each player was assigned a couple of decks to play, all six players will be playing every game of every series. They will do so with open communication, which viewers will be tuned in to throughout the broadcast.

The format requires a huge amount of strategy, deckbuilding skill, and team work. The teams will have to argue out each individual play, make their move within the short timeframe of a turn, and try not to fall out in the process. Matches will be long, and real-life fatigue will play a part.

How will the league be broadcast?

The broadcasts will be presented from ESL's studios in Burbank, California, with TJ Sanders and Brian Kibler slated to call the action.

The players themselves will be playing from home, adding another level of difficulty to the communication, until the league reaches its final stages.

The matches will be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting tomorrow, with two matches per day. Games will start at 1pm ET (10am PT) for the duration of the seven week season and will be aired on ESL's Hearthstone Twitch channel.

Who are the teams?

The lineup features some of the biggest brands in esports. Two Hearthstone world champions, over a dozen tournament winners, and some wildcards too.

G2 Esports are easily the favorites to win it all. The trio of Dima "Rdu" Radu, Thijs Molendijk, and Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy is the most decorated in the game, with the Archon Team League Championships title also under their belt. The weight of expectation is firmly upon this European trio.

Although the team is relatively new, having just brought on a third member in time for the league, Alliance will be one of the teams to watch. The Swedish organization picked up a trio of players to represent the team and their country in three-time major winner Jon "Orange" Westberg, 2015 world champion Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall, and consistent journeyman Harald "Powder" Gimre.

Virtus Pro will be a force to be reckoned with. After starting out as rivals at the 2016 European Winter Championship, Artem "DrHippi" Kravets, Ole "Naiman" Batyrbekov, and Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer have formed a formidable unit. The team has been represented in countless major tournaments this year, with DrHippi finishing second in the world championship.

CompLexity will be looking to turn potential and underdog determination into results. Jan "SuperJJ" Janssen was impressively consistent throughout 2016, but did not win a major title. Simon "Crane" Raunholst has long been considered one of the best minds in the game but he has also not borne this out with results, while perennial prospect Tugay "MrYagut" Evsan will be looking to show just why he was so highly touted for so long.

The only all-American lineup in the tournament, Luminosity Gaming will also be hoping to live up to their billing. Branded a U.S. "super team" when they were formed last year, DreamHack Austin winner Keaton "Chakki" Gill and the experienced Paul "Zalae" Nemeth will be partnered by top young talent Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang.

The experienced but somewhat out-of-favor hand of Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic will look to guide Tempo Storm's young prospects David "JustSaiyan" Shan and Victor "Vlps" Lopez to success, while the veteran Team Liquid trio of David "Dog" Caero, Jeffrey "Sjow" Brusi, and Yevhenii "Neirea" Shumilin will aim to prove the value of experience.

Speaking of veterans, 2014 world champion James "Firebat" Kostesich, early leader Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, and 2014 World Esports Championship winner Andrew "TidesofTime" Biessener will round out the lineup for Cloud9. With Firebat having casted more than competed in 2016, StrifeCro having made just the odd appearance and TidesofTime having spent the past two years struggling with whether or not he loved the game anymore, this lineup will now have to deliver on a big stage.

Though 2017 is only a few weeks old, the ESL Trinity Series promises to be one of the most entertaining and competitive events of the year. The players will be tested to the limits of their skills—and Hearthstone fans will finally have another team league to get invested in.