We are just under two days away from the 2019 HCT Winter Championship. We have made it to our final regional breakdown, the Americas. The Americas has currently the most representatives at the World Championship. Some of these players at the Winter Championship are likely to increase that total even further. Here is the 2019 HCT Winter Championship Americas Analysis.
Brian “bloodyface” Eason
Bloodyface is one of the three United States representatives in the Winter Championship. He has already punched his ticket to the World Championship. He will use this event to keep his practice up against the world’s best talent and maybe spoil the hopes of some other competitors.
Bloodyface only played in a handful of Tour Stops in 2018, but was able to hit pay dirt in the Fall Championship. He did have some decently strong showings in the few Tour Stops he played in, just wasn’t able to make that top eight.
In the Winter Playoffs, Bloodyface took a control lineup and went 6-1 in the Swiss rounds. In the playoff rounds, he beat another World Championship qualifier, David “killinallday” Acosta two times to qualify. He was only beaten by his friend Matt “noblord” Koutsoutis who he could face again in the Winter Championship.
Bloodyface faces a tough group in the Championship, but is still favored to advance. Even if he doesn’t make it out of the group, he will have some practice against another World Championship qualifier in his group. He has opted for a mix of control and midrange in his lineup, bringing Quest Rogue, Clone Priest, Midrange Hunter, and Even Paladin.
Mark “Ike” Eichner
Ike is another player from the United States making his first Seasonal Championship appearance this year. The Shaman specialist, he hopes to make it to his first World Championship.
Ike had a pretty solid 2017, winning Dreamhack Denver and coming top eight in the Americas Summer Championship. His 2018 was much quieter but he did manage a top eight finish at HCT Austin. He recently participated in the Specialist Showdown, only using Shaman. He came second there only losing to the best class, Hunter.
His performance on the road to the championship was quite strong. He barely made top eight in the playoffs with a 5-2 Swiss round performance, but came through in the playoff rounds. He beat another player in the Winter Championship, Bobby “bobbyex” Du with a set score of 3-1. He then went on to sweep his opponent in the winners match to qualify.
Ike is a young talent and this could be his first big chance in competitive Hearthstone. Though interestingly, the Shaman specialist decided to leave the class out of his lineup for the Winter Championship. He will try to make it to the World Championship on the back of Mindrange Hunter, Even Warlock, Odd Paladin, and Clone Priest.
Matt “noblord” Koutsoutis
Noblord is probably the one American player with the most expectations from the spectators. His competitive Hearthstone career goes back to 2016 when he played in the Americas Summer Preliminary. He has been a go to player for a lot of game and match up knowledge, especially his expertise with Kingsbane Rogue.
Noblord made it out to only one Tour Stop in 2018, HCT Toronto. He went 5-3 in the Swiss rounds and finished 38th. He played in all three of the Seasonal playoffs but didn’t see success until the final one in the Winter playoffs.
In the Winter Playoffs he lost a single game in the Swiss rounds. He made it to the playoff rounds and won two consecutive sets to qualify, including against fellow Championship competitor Bloodyface.
He brought a very control style lineup to playoffs, and has done the same in the Winter Championship. He will try to make top four with Odd Warrior, Quest Rogue, Topsy OTK Priest, and the auto-include Midrange Hunter.
Bobby “bobbyex” Du
Bobbyex is the player the international community knows the least about. He has hung around the Americas for competitive Hearthstone, but now makes his first appearance on the grand stage. Representing Canada, he hopes to win in a monster of a group.
Bobbyex made it out to a few of the Tour Stops that were played across the Americas region. He didn’t have overwhelmingly great results, but he made sure to keep up his continued practice. He actually managed top eight at HCT Oakland before losing to the player that would go on to win the tournament.
Bobbyex has opted for probably one of the slowest lineups in the entire Winter Championship. He has decided to bring Quest Rogue, Malygos Druid, Clone Priest, and Deathrattle Hunter. Hopefully, he will be able to get away with his decently greedy lineup and not queue into too many bad match ups.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.