Sep 7 2016 - 4:50 pm

Na`Vi shuts down its Hearthstone department

Four of Hearthstone’s top players are looking for a new home after European organization Natus Vincere (Na`Vi) suspended its operations in the esport today
Saira Mueller
Dot Esports Managing Editor

Four of Hearthstone’s top players are looking for a new home after European organization Natus Vincere (Na`Vi) suspended its operations in the esport today.

Na`Vi has been in the Hearthstone scene for almost a year now, picking up Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall, Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert, and Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen on Sept. 18 and expanding on Jan. 21 with Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo. The organization is one of the biggest in the European region, and its Hearthstone department was top-tier, with Ostkaka winning the Hearthstone World Championship just months after being signed, Hoej placing in the top 3 at DreamHack Winter last year, and Xixo taking out first at the StarLadder i-League StarSeries season two in July.

“Despite the success of Hearthstone division Natus Vincere G2A decided not to prolong the contracts with the players and focus on other divisions instead,” a statement from the organization read. “The decision was really hard, as nobody wants to part with the world’s best squad, however, sometimes you need to sacrifice the best to keep moving.”

Na`Vi’s esports director Eugene “HarisPilton” Zolotarev expanded on the decision, saying that the organization wants to focus its resources and efforts on “the top disciplines” and on the region of its main fan base—the countries making up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The players are still under contract until the end of September, with HarisPilton saying that Na`Vi will help them find new organizations. All four players are hoping to continue playing competitively. Although it appears that none have yet signed, some have already entered talks with new teams.

“It was an amazing year with Na`Vi, a great experience, and we were always treated well,” Ostkaka tells Dot Esports. “I think a few things didn’t line up perfectly with what they wanted though—the game’s development as an esport, and split fanbase with the org mainly in the CIS region. I’m still planning on playing Hearthstone full time, and streaming too.”

Xixo and Hoej will represent Na`Vi for the final time at DreamHack Bucharest from Sept. 16-18.

Jan 13 2017 - 4:48 pm

Orange, Xixo, and Neirea headed to WESG playoffs

The first big tournament of the year is almost over.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via DreamHack/Flickr

The first major Hearthstone tournament of 2017 is drawing to a close, with three European favorites leading the way.

Despite being placed in what was called the "group of death," favorites Eugene "Neirea" Shumilin and Jon "Orange" Westberg emerged from Group A with four wins and just one loss.

Neirea stumbled just once, against third place finisher Fran "PNC" Leimontas, but bested Orange in the deciding game, beating up on Orange's Priest deck with a favored lineup to finish top of the group on head-to-head records.

Orange had to overcome an anxiety attack on day one of the tournament, with Neirea postponing their match until today in a show of sportsmanship.

Josh "Impact" Graham, North America's best hope for the tournament, finished fourth.

In Group C Sebastian "Xixo" Bentert, who was one of the most consistent performers of 2016, finished top of his group to claim a top seed in the top eight. Like his fellow Europeans, Xixo finished 4-1 in the round robin stage, dropping just one match against Korea's Renekuroi. Shy of Hong Kong claimed the second qualification spot.

Xixo is representing Counter Logic Gaming for the first time, having been picked up last week by the North American organization.

Virtus Pro's Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer is the fourth European to reach the quarterfinals after finishing second in Group D behind China's "CLHuang".

In Group B Mikhail "Korvus" Portyansky and former HCT Winter APAC finalist Euneil "Staz" Javinas claimed the top spots.

The WESG Hearthstone competition concludes on Sunday, with a total prize pool of $300,000.

Jan 15 2017 - 10:59 pm

Staz bests Orange in WESG Hearthstone final

It's the first major win for an SEA player.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Screengrab via Starladder_HS_en/Twitch

At the first major Hearthstone event of 2017, Euneil “Staz” Javinaz bested European star Jon "Orange" Westberg to win his first title—and the first for his region.

Staz and Orange went the full seven games in the stunning final set, trading games back and forth before Staz eventually came out on top 4-3. The final game was a grinding affair, a Reno Mage mirror that played over close to an hour.

Representing the South East Asia region, Staz is the first player from that region to win a major title.

Staz reached the final after beating out a pair of Europeans—Orange's countryman Elliot "Fluffy" Karlsson and the impressive Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer—arguably having the toughest road through the bracket stage.

Orange's run was no easy feat either as he had to take out Sebastian "Xixo" Bentert, one of the most successful players of 2016 playing in his first tournament since joining Counter Logic Gaming.

The loss meant that Orange was unable to string together back to back major victories, after winning his second Seat Story Cup title in December.

For his victory Staz takes home a whopping $150,000, one of the largest prizes ever awarded in Hearthstone. For second place Orange will have to make do with $70,000.