ShtanUdachi is Hearthstone's 2017 Winter Champion
After long being considered a candidate ripe for a breakout performance, Russia's Alexey “ShtanUdachi” Barsukov has truly arrived as a major player in the 2017 Hearthstone Championship Tour.
ShtanUdachi bested 15 other regional champions from around the globe to take home the 2017 HCT Winter Championship and the $60,000 first prize.
Along with the other three players in the top four, ShtanUdachi has now booked his place in the next Hearthstone World Championship set for early 2018.
In front of a record audience for Hearthstone esports, Shtan defeated America's best Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang in a seven-game epic in the final. Another player predicted for a major breakout performance, Fr0zen's unconventional lineup choices such as not bringing Warrior were justified in a stellar performance.
The pair repeated the result from their group stage clash, where Shtan had defated Fr0zen 4-1.
ShtanUdachi also defeated one of the pre-tournament favorites, China's Bohan "lovelychook" Zhang, in a one-sided 4-0 drubbing that knocked China's best hope out of contention for a World Championship place.
The Americas region claimed two spots in the World Championship, with Canada's "DocPwn" eliminating reigning world champion Pavel Beltukov en route to his semifinal finish. The final spot went to SamuelTsao of Taiwan and the APAC region, leaving China as the only region to miss out at the Winter Championship despite an incredibly strong cohort.