After a grueling 128 player bracket, eight players have claimed their place in the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) Spring Europe Championship.
In the first HCT event since the introduction of Standard and the release of Whispers of the Old Gods, far more established pros have qualified than for the winter event.
Last year’s European champion and World Championship semifinalist Thijs Molendijk, IEM Katowice champion Esteban “AKAWonder” Serrano and practice partner to the stars Simon “Crane” Raunholst are among those who have reached the $80,000 regional finals.
For the winter finals the lineup was almost completely unknown, with only eventual winner Ole “Naiman” Batyrbekov being known to the majority of players in the community.
The rest of the Spring Championship field will still have the potential for underdog stories. Fifteen year-old Brit “georgec,” one of Europe’s top consistent ladder finishers, will be competing in one of his first tournaments. “Casie” from Germany, who defeated Jeffrey “Sjow” Brusi of Team Liquid en route to qualifying, also impressed with a dominant 3-0 win in the final round.
Last year’s world champion Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall failed to qualify, falling just one match short against Italian “Turna.” Stanislav Cifka and Gareth “Cipher” Rouse also lost just a couple of wins away from qualification.
The eventual winner of the Europe Spring Championship will win $25,000 and a spot in November’s $1 million Hearthstone World Championship.