Hearthstone is as many gamers would know the biggest online-CCG in the business. With the 2016 World Championship having a prize pool of a cool 1,000,000 USD, with the winner taking home $250,000, Hearthstone has cemented itself as an esport which is here to stay.
With the new expansion, released 07 April this year, already in motion and the Meta starting to settle down, the next big tournament is already well underway. Although the prize pool of 300,000 USD isn’t able to quite compare to that of the previous World Championship, the glory will this time be shared by an entire nation as opposed to a single player, as Global Games is a team-format tournament that pits 48 countries against each other.
After weeks with players and fans voting for their favorite players to represent their country, the first few punches has been dealt. Every represented nation have played at least one match, and so far the majority of the favorites seem to have come out on top. The biggest upset might be Romania losing miserably to The Netherlands, not being able to take a single game. As The Netherlands are one of the favorite teams for the championship, with the popular streamer and profile Thijs at the helm, most did not expect such a one-sided match.
A lot of people were, and still are, betting on Germany to emerge victorious. However, their first match left fans with some doubt, as they were defeated 2-3 against Ukraine, another favorite with one of the most highly regarded players in their rooster, Kolento.
Another favorite to take the entire championship, Sweden, managed to pull back from a 0-2 deficit against China in respective teams first match. Sweden, being represented by the entire rooster of the well-known esports-organisation Alliance as well as Team Liquid’s Sjow, have eliminated the largest threat of the group, and are looking more solid than ever.
One of few teams that have already had two sessions of sparring with the best is United States. Consisting of players that have already proven themselves, such as the 2015 World Champion Firebat , and players considered prodigies by some. Amnesiac, only 16 years old, placed in the top8 during the 2016 World Championship, only going down to the soon-to-be World Champion, Russia’s Pavel. With these outstanding players, United States managed to destroy the United Kingdom in their match with an unexpectedly one-sided 3-0, and then proceeded to take down yet another favorite, The Netherlands, with an impressive 3-1.
The tension is higher than ever when the rest of the group stages are being played out, and all e-sport-fans are turning their heads towards the Global Games.