A relatively unknown 17-year-old Canadian took home the title in Hearthstone‘s first major of 2015.
Austin “SilentStorm” Li took the upset victory in the ESL Legendary Series season one finals, taking home $8,000 and booking himself a spot in the $30,000 Legendary Series major in Katowice next month.
Not only did Li take home victory, he took out the three biggest names in the competition and did it with his own decks—the only midrange Shaman in the tournament, and a demon-focused Warlock deck.
In the final, that Warlock deck really propelled Li to victory, as he won 3-1 over Keaton “Chakki” Gill of Team Dignitas. The final game pitted Li’s signature Warlock deck against Gill’s signature hyper-aggressive Hunter.
In an indication of what was to come, Li scored a huge upset in his first game as he swept Janne “Savjz” Mikkonen of Team Liquid 3-0. Despite losing his next against Paul “Zalae” Nemeth, Li beat Mikkonen once again to advance to the top four. He then took out one of the other big favorites in his semi final, beating out Johan “Darkwonyx” Hansson 3-1.
Li’s first victory over tournament favourite Mikkonen caused controversy. After the 3-0 blowout, Mikkonen stormed off stage without shaking hands—something he apologized for on Twitter within minutes.
Coming out of the first day it was Hansson and Nemeth who advanced straight to the semifinals as group winners. Hansson showed off a number of unconventional deck choices including Priest, a class most consider to be one of the weakest in the game right now.
Image via ESL Hearthstone/Twitch