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Esports Hearthstone

Hearthstone Championship Tour Orange County: Fenomeno’s Amazing Run

HCT Orange County

The Hearthstone Championship Tour made its way to the Santa Ana Esports Arena in Orange County, California. 191 HCT points and a share of $15,000 is the prize pool as always. A lot of international competition is in town, especially since BlizzCon is next week, so we got to see some special matches. HCT Orange County was a great tournament to see after getting a few weeks off from any Tour Stops.

Christos “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos wins his first Tour Stop of the year. He came so close in Montreal, losing to David “JustSaiyan” Shan in the final there. He finally breaks through and had an emotional moment on the stage following the victory.

Top 16 Stacked as Usual

A lot of the big talent made the top 16 at HCT Orange County. A few of the guys at the top 16 at HCT Singapore have made the top 16 once again. The players on the top of their game continue to travel and prove that they are the best.

At the top of the bracket was Josh “Impact” Graham, who went undefeated in the Swiss rounds, against Francisco “pnc” Leimontas. Impact breezed through pnc 3-1.

Casper “Hunterace” Notto has made back-to-back top 16 performances, and faced American ladder grinder “N0lan”. Hunterace played a very close set against N0lan, but came out on top 3-2.
HCT Orange County
Hunterace vs. n0lan
Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, also making back-to-back top 16s, faced off against HCT Buenos Aires winner Jim “Lii” Liu. Casie swept Lii easily 3-0.
Also in his second top 16 in a row, Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam faced off  “SoLegit”. He swept him 3-0, not unsurprising for the Tempo Storm player.

The Final Four

Impact continued his undefeated run all the way down to the top four. Fenomeno stopped him in the top four at Montreal, and Jeffrey “Tarei” Liu stopped him in the finals at Oakland. Impact was finally looking for his tour stop win but was once again stopped short, this time by Casie in a very close 3-2 set.

HCT Orange County
Casie vs. Impact

Casie battled it out against everyone on his path to the final. He had to play a five game set against Monsanto and Impact, and would go on to play a five game set in the final against Fenomeno.

Fenomeno was absolutely on fire throughout the top 16. He swept his opponent in every match 3-0 all the way until the final. This included victories against both of the Tempo Storm players, the best team in the world. William “Amnesiac” Barton couldn’t get anything going against him in the top 16, and Muzzy also fell without a win in the quarterfinal. He then swept “Swidz”, a player who was not expected to make it so far in the semifinal.

An Appropriately Close Final Battle

Feno and Casie were all set with very different approaches by their deck lists brought. Feno banned out of the Evenlock of Casie, and Casie banned Feno’s Odd Paladin.

HCT Orange County
Casie vs. Fenomeno

Game one saw Casie’s Malygos Druid versus Cubelock. Both players took very defensive lines of play. Casie was able to snag a Anti-Magic Shell off of The Lich King, which combined with Spreading Plague, winning him the first game.

Game two saw Feno come back with his Token Druid against Shudderwock Shaman. Casie was unable to go infinite with his Shudderwock play, as Grumble’s Battlecry came out before the Saronite Chain Gang’s Battlecry. Feno was able to play Whispering Woods plus Soul of the Forest on back-to-back turns and Casie couldn’t clear both boards.
Game three was a pretty easy game for Feno’s Cubelock over Shudderwock Shaman. Casie had very little draw early and played a relatively dead Shudderwock. Feno played a Carnivorous Cube and a Faceless Manipulator to generate four Doomguards which caused Casie to concede.
Game four saw Casie play Brilliantly with Shudderwock Shaman and finally win with the deck against Deathrattle Hunter. The turn Shudderwock was played swung tempo on board so hard, that even though Feno had six Houndmaster Shaws at one point, he lost.
The final game five was a fitting end to the set, a mirror of Deathrattle Hunters. Feno made the difficult decision of killing Casie’s Devilsaur Egg on turn three. He had a great followup play which led to his victory.
Feno played hard for board and tempo, forming had an insurmountable board state with a Carnivorous Cube containing Devilsaurs.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.

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