Professional Hearthstone player is a title that’s incredibly difficult to obtain.
Pros spend countless hours theory-crafting and playing Hearthstone at a level most of us probably wouldn’t comprehend.
So what does the life of a Hearthstone pro look like? For Hearthstone World Championship contender Brian “Bloodyface” Eason, it’s all about hard work and dedication. Bloodyface flew somewhat under the radar during the early days of his professional career but burst onto the scene in a big way after winning back-to-back seasonal championships in 2018.
Bloodyface’s performance over the last year earned him a spot in the HCT World Championship and also resulted in an invite to join the Hearthstone Grandmasters roster for the Americas. As far as professional Hearthstone is concerned, Bloodyface is as close to the top of the mountain as you could possibly be. This weekend, he’ll try to reach the tip-top of the mountain by becoming the Hearthstone world champion.
Before he could compete for the title of world champion, however, Bloodyface had to discover his love of trading-card games. Like many who grew up in the ’90s, Bloodyface’s introduction to the world of TCGs started with Pokémon.
“I was obsessed with Pokémon,” Bloodyface told Dot Esports. “I got my first Game Boy when I was seven years old.” After playing the original Pokémon games on Game Boy, Bloodyface sought out the cards based on the popular franchise. Although he admits that he was too young to play the Pokémon TCG competitively, his interest in the game eventually led him to Yu-Gi-Oh!
Bloodyface discovered Yu-Gi-Oh! around age 10 and said it felt like “the teenage version of Pokémon.” During the years that followed, Bloodyface found decent success playing Yu-Gi-Oh! competitively. But even though he enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh!, around age 14, Bloodyface drifted into Magic: the Gathering.
After playing MTG competitively for a few years, Bloodyface was able to qualify for his first Pro Tour in Honolulu. He didn’t do fantastic at the tournament, but the trip was the first time he remembers really feeling like he wanted to pursue the life of a competitive gamer.
As time marched on, Bloodyface found himself going to college while still dedicating considerable hours to MTG. During the same period, a new game called Hearthstone launched and Bloodyface found himself highly interested in it. After figuring out what he needed to do in order to compete in the first Hearthstone qualifier, Bloodyface set MTG aside and dedicated his non-study time to Hearthstone.
“Eventually I got my top 16 and qualified for the first qualifier tournament,” Bloodyface said. “Unfortunately, I was so nervous during the qualifier, I missed lethal once and lost a series.” Bloodyface said he felt like this particular tournament summarized the next few years for him with regards to Hearthstone—it seemed like he had a lot of near misses.
Although he qualified for nearly every playoff in the years that followed, he couldn’t quite seem to find the breakout performance he was looking for. “It was frustrating for me because at the time I was a full-time student,” Bloodyface said. “I just wasn’t able to dedicate that much time to Hearthstone.”
After graduating from college, however, Bloodyface was ready to take his Hearthstone career into the stratosphere. Bloodyface said he felt that perhaps if he put the extra hours in that he previously couldn’t, it would result in the breakout performance he was chasing. And his calculations were correct.
After winning back-to-back seasonal championships in 2018, you could make an argument that Bloodyface is the favorite to walk away as this year’s Hearthstone world champion. Bloodyface has a next level understanding of competitive card games that he’s been developing since his childhood. Pair this understanding with his intense dedication and it’s not hard to see how a young aspiring Pokémon master grew to be a prospective Hearthstone world champion.
You can watch Bloodyface and his fellow pros compete for the title of Hearthstone world champion on the Play Hearthstone Twitch channel from April 25 to 28 starting at 9pm CT.