The Hearthstone Grandmasters 2019 Season 1 Playoff winners are the first three players to advance to the World Championship. Those players are Francisco “PNC” Leimontas, Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo and Chris “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos. Their paths to victory were far from easy and it was a long weekend of playing.
Euneil “Staz” Javiñas was making quite a run for himself into playoffs. He had to win several consecutive sets to qualify for playoffs and then started off with a 2-0 of Jang “Dawn” Hyun. He then went on to 2-0 first place in the division Yashima “Alutemu” Nozomi. Both times he was definitely favored with his Midrange Hunter against both of their Cyclone Mages. Alutemu did manage to hold off DawN in the decider match 2-1 in the mirror.
On the other side of the bracket, Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo started things off with a 2-1 victory over Tyler “Tyler” Hoang Nguyen in a Shark Rogue mirror. He went on to get swept 2-0 by Liu “Shaxy” Wei-Chieh’s Cyclone Mage in the Winners match. In the second set against Tyler, Surrender would sweep him 2-0 this time around. He would go on to face red hot Staz in the semifinals.
Staz was definitely favored versus the Mages, but faced Surrender’s Rogue and suddenly became at a disadvantage. Surrender would prove the strength of the match up and sweep the set 2-0. Alutemu would face Shaxy in the other semifinal match and also complete a 2-0 sweep.
In the final best-of-five, Surrender would face off against Alutemu’s Cyclone Mage with his own Shark Rogue. Alutemu took the first game, but would then lose three consecutive to the aggression that Rogue provides. Surrender has been away from the spotlight for a while, but a World Championship appearance has him looking in top form.
Linh “Seiko” Nguyen would face off against Raphael “Bunnyhoppor” Peltzer in the initial European set. Seiko would take it 2-1 with Shark Rogue over Cyclone Mage and advance to face Chris “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos. He couldn’t beat Cyclone Mage again and Feno took the match, winning 2-1. Seiko’s third time playing Mage would be a rematch against Bunnyhoppor, where he showed dominance over Bunnyhoppor, sweeping him 2-0.
On the other side of the bracket, Jon “Orange” Westberg and Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh would duke it out in the initial match. Kolento’s Cyclone Mage would take him to Casper “Hunterace” Notto in the winners match. In this Mage mirror, reigning World Champion Hunterace would take the set 2-1. Kolento wouldn’t do so well the second time around against Orange, losing a hard fought 2-1 set.
Feno would sweep Orange’s Rogue in the semifinal after a very unfortunate set of decisions made by Orange made in Game 2. With over 24 damage from hand, Orange played for the board instead of pushing damage and Feno was able to freeze him out of the game. Seiko would be able to overcome the World Champ Hunterace in a full three game set 2-1.
Feno would put on a great performance in the final versus Seiko. With Seiko’s Rogue tech cards he should have been able to win at least one game, but Feno swept the set 3-0 with Cyclone Mage. Feno put on possibly the strongest performance in the first season of Grandmasters, and capped it off with a ticket to the World Championship.
PNC would take on Jerome “Monsanto” Faucher in the initial match of the Americas. He would sweep Monsanto’s Shark Rogue with Cyclone Mage 2-0. He would then be halted by Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang’s Pogo Rogue in a 2-0 loss. The second time around against Monsanto, not much would be different as PNC won 2-0 a second time, proving dominance in the matchup.
On the other side, Eddie “Eddie” Lui would take on Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root. Eddie’s OTK Paladin would be un-favored versus Purple because of his playing Warrior. Surprisingly though, Eddie would sweep Purple 2-0. He would then use the Paladin to sweep Las Vegas Masters champion David “Dog” Caero’s Shark Rogue. Dog really struggled on the day, as he would then lose to Purple’s Warrior 2-0 in another unfavorable match up for Rogue.
Fr0zen would take on Purple in the semifinals. Fr0zen’s Pogo Rogue would be favored versus Warrior, but queuing up a wrong deck in Game 1 led to a disastrous forfeit loss of Game 1. Then in Game 2, Purple would get a good aggressive start and take the set 2-0. PNC was an unstoppable beast throughout all of playoffs, Sweeping Eddie’s OTK Paladin in a match up considered favorable for the Paladin.
In the final, PNC would not stop versus Purple’s Warrior. Mage definitely has the edge in the match up, but PNC did definitely not give an inch. He swept Purple 3-0 and punched his ticket to the World Championship.
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