Orange tops March's Hearthstone power rankings
February was a busy month for Hearthstone, likely giving a glance at what the tournament scene will look like going forward. With the first major, the ESL Legendary Series, the start of ESL Katowice and a number of significant online tournaments, a lot of players made an impact in February.
With a full calendar of events from February considered, it's time to wheel out the Daily Dot Hearthstone power rankings. Once again, this list considers everything that the players have done to make an impact on the pro scene.
The rankings are purely based on performance since the last rankings were released. As such if players are to continue to appear, consistency will be key. Four players stay on the list from last month, two rising and two dropping, with four of last month's top five disappearing entirely.
1) Orange, Darkstar (NR)Jon "Orange" Westberg is, arguably, the most in-form player in top level Hearthstone right now. After a number of minor successes online, Westberg really caught everyone's attention by winning a qualifier for IEM Katowice before going on to defeat Aleksandr "Kolento" Malsh in the round of 16 to book his trip to Katowice. Not content with one open qualifier win, Westberg then qualified for the second Viagame House Cup, meaning March will be a busy month for the Swede. His success attracted the attention of Kinguin, who added him to the Kinguin Pro League as a late replacement. Westberg now how has over $60,000 in prize money in his sights, and rumors are swirling that he may join a new team in near future.
2) Gaara, Tempo Storm (NR)
February was a difficult month for Tempo Storm, with the MagicAmy drama seeing the team go down to three players. But the team did just fine when it came to actual competition. Spearheading this success was the team's most decorated player, Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic, who had a month of consistent performances. After coming third in the Pinnacle and making it to the semi-finals of the Hearthstats League, Stevanovic helped his team to a 2-0 victory in the first match of their Chinese excursion to play in NEL Winter.
3) SilentStorm (NR)
Austin "SilentStorm" Li shocked a lot of people when he took victory at the first major of 2015. Defeating favourites Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen (twice) and Johan "Darkwonyx" Hansson on his way to the final, 17-year old Li won the ESL Legendary Series against all odds. Though he failed to follow up by making it through the round of 16 for Katowice, he certainly turned heads this month. Li also finished at no. 15 in the US legend rankings, and sits comfortably at the top of the World Championship qualification standings in that region.
4) Lifecoach, Nihilum (8)
Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy, long regarded as one of the most knowledgeable pro players, finally won his first significant title this month. In the Kinguin Spring 2015 tournament, Koy defeated Jason "Amaz" Chan, Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen and his Nihilum team captain Jakub "Lothar" Szygulski on his way to victory. Koy closed out the month with a victory in the ESL Katowice round of 16.
5) ARee (10)
Alex "ARee" Lee isn't particularly well known, but he makes it on to this list two months in a row with another impressive performance in the Hearthstats League. Topping a group that included his training partner James "Firebat" Kostesich, Lee defeated Matt "Dart" Orgel and Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic on his way to victory and $3,000.
6) Kolento, Cloud9 (3)
A slight drop for Aleksandr "Kolento" Malsh from last month, but he does manage to stay on the board. Malsh picked up victory in the first of the 2015 Heroes of Cards cups which make up the $40,000 Heroes of Cards tournament series. Malsh only dropped three games in the tournament, but performed less well in Kinguin and the ESL Katowice round of 16. It was also another good month on ladder for Malsh, finishing in the no. 7 spot in the legend rankings and sitting joint top of the World Championship qualification standings in Europe.
7) MaSsan, TSM (NR)
Completing the trio of tournament winners from the final week of February, TSM's Harry "MaSsan" Cheong triumphed in the third edition of Archon's Pinnacle tournament. The victory was Cheong's first in a major tournament and the first for the TSM Hearthstone team, as he defeated Sebastian "Xixo" Bentert and David "Dog" Caero on his way to the title. Cheong also won his first Kinguin Pro League game defeating Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic.
8) ThijsNL, Nihilum (NR)
Thijs "ThijsNL" Molendijk made headlines this month by becoming the first top level pro player to qualify for the European side of the EU vs CN Masters. That tournament will take place in China later this month, and Molendijk will have to be on top form if Europe is to have any chance of standing up to the experienced Chinese line up. He also made the quarterfinals of the Heroes of Cards cup. Molendijk also managed to finish the ladder season ranked no. 30 in the legend rankings, advancing his campaign for World Championship qualification.
9) StrifeCro, Cloud9 (6)
Cloud9's Cong "StrifeCro" Shu also stays on the list for a second month, after winning the second Inven Invitational, beating James "Firebat" Kostesich and Janne "Savjz" Mikkonen in the process. The former StarCraft 2 pro also defeated Liquid's Yevgeniy "Neirea" Shumilin in a showmatch, but did lose 0-3 to open qualifier Kristján Atli Adolfsson in the Katowice round of 16.
10) Dog, Complexity (NR)
David "Dog" Caero was the runner-up in the third Pinnacle tournament, only losing out to Harry "MaSsan" Cheong after having beaten him earlier in the tournament. Caero then left for China as a guest player with the Tempo Storm team, as they compete in the NEL Winter competition.
Screengrab via PlayHearthstone/YouTube