Last week, we took a look at the players that will represent China. This week is the 2019 HCT Winter Championship Asia-Pacific analysis. Two of the players in the Asia-Pacific region are returning from previous Seasonal Championships. All of the players are going to be fierce competition for the rest in the Winter Championship.
Shuhei “Tansoku” Aomura
The Japanese player Tansoku is making a return from the Summer Championship. He will look to improve on that performance as he was unable to advance from the group stages there. He hasn’t attended any Tour Stops, but has qualified for every playoffs through ladder points.
At the Summer Championship, his run met an unfortunate end as he was only able to win a single set. In the deciding match for who would advance from the group, he was taken down by Torben “Viper” Wahl. Tansoku came very close to completing a reverse sweep, but Viper closed it out in the final game five.
Tansoku’s path to the Winter Championship was quite clear cut. He finished the Winter Playoffs Swiss rounds with a perfect 7-0 record. In the playoff rounds, he lost the first game, but then won the last two in a row to qualify. He only lost one set in all of playoffs and will look to carry that momentum into the Championship.
Alongside Tansoku, Viper will also be making a return to the Winter Championship. If Tansoku wants to punch his ticket to the World Championship, a rematch will more than likely be necessary. Two expansions and many balance changes have occurred since then, so we will see if Tansoku has the made proper adjustments.
Tyler “Tyler” Hoang Nguyen
Vietnamese player Tyler is making a return from the more recent Fall Championship. He came so close there losing one game away from the World Championship in the top eight. He had quite an inspiring 2018 and looks to cap it off with a World Championship birth.
None of Tyler’s opponents from the Fall Championship are making a return for the Winter Championship. He will have a clean slate going into this tournament and is in a good position to make the top four. He has a handful of Tour Stop appearances over the last year and has made the top eight multiple times. Tyler has shown he has the consistency to be a champion.
His path to the Winter Championship was quite rough. He wasn’t too well prepared for playoffs and barely made top eight on the back of a 5-2 record. In the playoff rounds he got reverse swept by Jiyong “Definition” Yoon. He came back in the deciding match to qualify with a 3-1 set score.
Tyler and Definition might be slated for a rematch in the Winter Championship. Tyler will definitely reevaluate his deck options for the Championship to suit the field better. He went for a very aggressive lineup in playoffs which likely had many weaknesses. Tyler is a leading candidate to qualify for the World Championship in this tournament.
Sheng Yuan “Roger” Luo
Roger represents Taiwan in his first ever Seasonal championship in his five year career. The veteran had an okay performance in 2018, but qualifying for the Winter Championship is definitely his biggest mark so far.
He sparked some controversy late last year with him being a part of the cheating Taiwanese team in the Hearthstone Global Games, leading to their disqualification. He would like to try to separate himself from that event and clean up his act for a shot at the World Championship.
Roger had a couple missteps in the Swiss rounds during the Winter Playoffs. He managed to be the last seed in the top eight to make the playoff rounds. From there he played pretty well, sweeping Tansoku and taking the winners match to qualify.
Roger might have some people in the crowd cheering against him. Taiwanese fans have supported him, but internationally many players and fans have been very disapproving of his continued participation. He will look to win over some people and head on to the World Championship.
Jiyong “Definition” Yoon
Definition is the newcomer when it comes to international play. He has been a rising Korean talent as shown by his qualifying for the Winter Championship.
Definition played pretty cleanly throughout the Winter Playoffs. He finished the Swiss rounds 6-1 and then won two in a row in the playoff rounds to qualify for the Championship. He’s shown that he can beat the other Asia-Pacific talent in the pool.
A top four finish for Definition would be an incredible rookie run for the Korean. Many Koreans have been showing flashes of greatness throughout the year, but no one has stayed consistently at the top. Definition is certainly a threat and has a chance to play against the top talent around the globe to test himself.
The Asia-Pacific region has only had one player advance to the World Championship by way of a Seasonal Championship. These players will hope to join him through this event. Watch Winter Championship action unfold live starting February 28 on the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.