Last year it was an American, James “Firebat” Kostesich, who walked away as Hearthstone world champion. But fast forward 12 months and no Americans are in the running for the title.
Though Europe was widely predicted to be the strongest region in the tournament, in the end Asia-Pacific will have the biggest representation, as three of that region’s players—Hakjun “Kranich” Baek, Ho “Pinpingho” Kow-Ping and “Kno”—have made it out of their groups.
Adrian “Lifecoach” Koy, despite being one of 2015’s top performing players, failed to defeat Baek in two attempts and finished outside the qualification spots. His G2 teammate Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk managed to top Group A, and will face Baek in the top eight on Friday. Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall also topped his group.
In the final day of group play APAC dominated, with only Lan “Neilyo” Tran failing to win his group decider. He was defeated by Canadian Dylan “Hotform” Mullins, who will be the only Americas player in the top eight. Fellow Canadian and tournament favourite Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root lost to Pingpingho in his decider.
All four decider matches were rematches from the first group play matches, with all the results the same on the second attempt—meaning that four players dropping out due to not being able to beat just one other player.
If you thought the double elimination groups were cruel, the single elimination playoffs are even more so. The eight remaining players are now just three matches away from $100,000, but one loss will bring their campaign to an end.
Image via Blizzard
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