The first week of matches for the 2018 Hearthstone Global Games has been revealed, and one match immediately stands out.
On Wednesday, July 18, the United States and China will face off in their debut tournament matches. Both teams will be looking for a strong start to their campaigns, as the two nations will look to make deep runs in the tournament.
Last year’s U.S. squad, led by luminaries like James “Firebat” Kostesich and William “Amnesiac” Barton, reached the final four event at Gamescom, but they lost to eventual winners the Czech Republic in the semifinal. China meanwhile fell one game short of the offline rounds.
Zheng “OmegaZero” Lin, who was part of the 2017 squad, returns for China this year. He’s joined by anchor Gao “Leaoh” Yang, Zhang “YouLove” Lichen, and “Trunks”. For the U.S. it’s an all-new team led by David “JustSaiyan” Shan. Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam, Terrence Miller, and Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang make up the rest of the team.
The July 18 broadcast is absolutely stacked. After the U.S. and China match, 2017 quarterfinalists the Netherlands will face off against a Germany team hungry for redemption. Defending champions the Czech Republic open their account against Canada later that day.
Instead of a group stage like last year, for 2018 all the teams are competing in a Swiss bracket. That means that once week one is done, teams will be drawn against teams with the same record for week two. The pairings have yet to be officially announced, but Ole “Naiman” Batyrbekov of Kazakhstan posted them on Twitter. Naiman’s team will open their campaign against Taiwan on July 20.
Sweden and Japan will open the whole tournament at 3am CT on July 17.