Germany and China set out their stalls today as two of the teams to beat in this year’s Hearthstone Global Games.
Week three is a crucial week for 12 teams. Those without a win so far will be eliminated with another loss. Meanwhile the teams at the top of the standings can move within touching distance of stage two.
China were the first time to move to 3-0 in the swiss portion of the tournament, one win away from the four wins needed to guarantee a place in the group stage. They survived a strong challenge from Poland to win 3-2. With the series going to a fifth game, China had to survive the Aggro Mage of Poland with their Even Warlock. The team have a ton of experience, and will be looking to improve on the country’s quarterfinal finish from 2017.
While they aren’t undefeated, Germany looked perhaps the most impressive so far in today’s games. Last year Germany were a mess, beset by infighting and players who were checked out of the game entirely. This year they are a highly-skilled and motivated quartet determined to live up to their potential.
The conquest format makes close games and five-game series more likely, because teams can’t sweep with a single powerful deck. Germany didn’t seem to get that memo as they destroyed Greece 0-3. It wasn’t a great week for the Greeks to play such a strong team—Chris “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos was absent due to travel, and Kostas “tholwmenos” Sakellaridis was barely back from the HCT Tour Stop in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Croatia and Malaysia earned themselves an unenviable honor—they were the first two teams to drop out of the tournament. The two teams condemned themselves to elimination with losses to Japan and Hungary respectively. Oddly these games weren’t chosen to be on stream, meaning the two teams were left to slink off without so much as a goodbye.
The Global Games continues tomorrow, with the United States facing an elimination game of their own against Turkey.