The four groups to narrow down the field in the Hearthstone Global Games round of 16 have been decided. Teams will need to win only two games in order to advance. It is a double elimination bracket so teams will have one extra life if they lose a match. The path to the top eight means beating some of the best countries in the world.
Group A features Brazil, Portugal, Chile, and Spain. Brazil probably has the easiest path to the final in this group. They went undefeated in the Swiss stage with Red Canids team mates Lucas “Rase” Guerra and Rodrigo “Perna” Castro. They face Portugal in the first round, who lost both of their games in the Swiss stage to the two top eight teams they faced, New Zealand and Norway.
The one team that might be able to beat the Brazilians is Spain. Spain lost a very close 3-2 set versus Brazil previously in the Swiss Stages. Spain has a 1-2 record against teams in the top eight but are definitely one of the stronger rosters with SK team mates Esteban “AKAWonder” Serrano and Ignacio “Dalesom” Cosano Perea.
Portugal and Chile are no teams to sneeze at but they have their work cut out for them. Chile had a lot of sets against top eight teams in the Swiss rounds, going 2-2 against them. Both teams hope to prove their worth against the favorites of their group.
Group B contains Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, and Netherlands. This group has three teams with top pros representing them. Bulgaria has the odds against them and have to prove their worth against the stacked field.
With three favorites in this group, it will likely come down to the results of the first match. The United Kingdom has already beaten Hong Kong 3-2 and Bulgaria beat Netherlands 3-1. The only combination of teams that can’t advance from this group is Hong Kong and Netherlands together.
The United Kingdom is all but a lock to advance. With Fade 2 Karma’s George “BoarControl” Webb and Jack “J4CKIECHAN” Hutton, combined with Sentinels’ James “Greensheep” Luo, there is a decade’s worth of professional experience on the UK team.
Group C is another group where all teams have immense talent with Singapore, United States, Taiwan, and New Zealand. It’s hard to distinguish an overall favorite, but with the initial matches being played it looks like Singapore is that favorite after beating the United States 3-2.
Taiwan contains reigning world champion Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin, but lost their initial match in a 3-0 sweep to New Zealand. New Zealand snuck into the Global Games round of 16 after a last week bye in the Swiss stage, but they are proving that they deserve the spot.
Singapore has veterans Jin “katsucurry” Shuen Toh and Samuel “Sequinox” Chan, and the team has already secured a win over the US. This is a showing of their strength as the US has both of the Americas region top points earners with Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam and David “JustSaiyan” Shan, who just came off of a big victory, qualifying for the Fall Championship.
The Group D lineup has Norway, Ukraine, China, and Switzerland. Norway and Ukraine have to be the favorites despite facing each other in the initial match. China is the threat to that plan, and Switzerland is a heavy underdog in this group.
All four of the players from Norway are team mates of Nordavind. Leading the way is Casper “Hunterace” Notto, who has been playing absolutely lights out Hearthstone all year long. They already took a win off Ukraine 3-1, and are one more game away from the top eight.
Despite losing their first match, the Ukraine team will definitely not be deterred going forward in the group. They finished second last year and are hungry for more. Both Eugene “Neirea” Shumilin and Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh had seats at last year’s World Championship, and were at the helm of last year’s Global Games team.
After the Global Games round of 16 play, the teams will go on a long break before the BlizzCon tournament starts on November 2.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.