Over the weekend, the final Seasonal Championship of the Year of the Raven concluded. The final four seats for the World Championship have been filled. The qualifier spots had to be decided by additional tiebreakers since two players in the top four were already qualified for the World Championship. Here is how it all went down in the 2019 HCT Winter Championship Review.
Reaching the Top 8
In a surprise to some, Chinese player Xu “LFYueying” Kai came out on top in Group A. This included a 3-1 set over Torben “Viper” Wahl, a player who is already in the World Championship. In the decider match, Viper won 3-1 over Matt “noblord” Koutsoutis, preventing noblord from a chance at reaching the World Championship.
Group B actually had an extremely similar result to Group A, with a Chinese player winning the group and a player already qualified for the World Championship advancing in the decider match. The player who won the group was Guan “SNJing” Zhendong. Jing actually swept Brian “bloodyface” Eason in the winners match 3-0. In the deciders match, bloodyface came back and beat Oldrich “Faeli” Mahdal 3-1. Certainly a disappointing end for Faeli who fails to make the World Championship. Many think he is one of the most underrated talents in the game right now.
Group C was won by the Korean Jiyong “Definition” Yoon. He beat Mark “Ike” Eichner 3-1 in the winners match. The American Ike went on to win in the decider match 3-1 over the Chinese player Zhao “Caimiao” Haixiao. Ike has made an inspiring run after being in and out of the hospital for his bone disease.
Group D got ran by the doctor, Raphael “Bunnyhoppor” Peltzer, who went 3-0 and 3-1 in both of his sets. The second player to make it out of the group was Sheng Yuan “Roger” Luo. He eliminated Zhe “GoeLionKing” Wang in the decider match quite easily 3-0.
World Champs Qualifiers
The top four saw the return of two previous World Championship qualifiers. Bunnyhoppor defeated Ike 3-2, and bloodyface defeated Yueying 3-0. Because both bloodyface and Bunnyhoppor have already qualified for the World Championship, Ike and Yueying were entered into a tiebreaker bracket to see who would take the two remaining spots.
Jing defeated Viper 3-1 to become the first Chinese player this year to qualify for the World Championship by way of Seasonal Championship results. Viper being one of those already qualified, he was not put into the tiebreaker bracket. Roger completed a clean sweep of Definition 3-0, qualifying as the second Taiwanese player in the World Championship.
Definition would get a second chance to qualify in the tiebreaker bracket. He would need only one win to qualify as Ike and Yueying would play one another in order to face him.
In the initial tiebreaker match, Yueying was able to take down Ike 3-1. Yueying then had to take on Definition to decide the first World Championship spot. Yueying was able to come out on top in the five game set 3-2 and become the second player in the tournament from China to qualify. In Definition’s third chance to advance, he lost to Ike 3-1 and Ike gets to go to the World Championship.
Roger was able to complete a clean sweep of Bloodyface in order to make it to the Grand Final. In a combination of bad draws and maybe some questionable lines of play, Bloodyface failed to find any success. On the other side, Bunnyhoppor battled out a five game set against Jing. Jing’s off-meta Zoolock was unable to win a game out of two played in the set and Bunnyhoppor was through to the final.
The final itself between Roger and Bunnyhoppor was quite anti-climactic. Bunnyhoppor went at it twice with his Hunter but failed to find any wins against Roger. He then switched to his Tempo Rogue to attempt to beat the Clone Priest of Roger. Roger was able to be more aggressive with his deck than Bunnyhoppor surprisingly, resulting in a 3-0 victory for Roger.
With that, the $50,000 first place prize was Roger’s. Still, Bunnyhoppor had an incredible year with a Summer Championship victory and a Winter Championship runner-up finish. That’s $90,000 in prize money from just those two events.
The stage is set now for the World Championship. For those who don’t know, the final four positions for Regional Points Leaders went to Casper “Hunterace” Notto, Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam, Tyler “Tyler” Hoang Nguyen, and Wu “XiaoT” Juwei. We will see that go down April 23-25.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.