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Continued his world domination with a new title and a spot at the World Championship
July 10, 2017
Hoej continued his dominant 2017 with a 3-0 sweep against Kolento in the grand finals to be named champion of the Hearthstone Spring Championship. Hoej also clinched a spot in the World Championship.
ANALYSIS
Coming in as the hottest player in the world with two major Hearthstone tournament victories already under his belt in 2017, it was a surprise that he wasn't as popular as a pick to win it all. Looking to become to first player to win both his region's championship and the global championship, Hoej had to fight through the stacked field to get there. However, the biggest win Hoej had came before the games even started. He was able to construct a greedy aggressive lineup to target the exact decks he anticipated facing. With that strategy, he was able to put himself in some pretty favorable spot, with his perfect play being able to close the games. Hoej earned $60,000 with the victory and earned his spot at the World Championship in January 2018.
Finished as runner-up, clinched himself a spot in the World Championship
July 10, 2017
Kolento looked like vintage Kolento, but finished in second place as he lost to Hoej 3-0 in the grand finals of the Hearthstone Spring Championship. Hoej also clinched a spot in the World Championship.
ANALYSIS
Revered as one of the greatest Hearthstone players ever, it was odd that he was being overlooked when it came to choosing a champion. Maybe it is because he is not the most outgoing or talkative, but Kolento means business. He made that clear as he not only defeated his competition, but did so in heartbreaking manner. On multiple occasions, Kolento was in a 0-2 hole in a series only to win three straight to advance. His magic ran out in the finals though, as Hoej's aggressive lineup completed the 3-0 sweep. Kolento had what it took to be champion, but achieved his ultimate goal of making it to the World Championship.
Free Agent
Clinched his spot at the World Championship
July 10, 2017
Ant made it to the semifinals of the Hearthstone Spring Championship and clinched himself a spot in the Hearthstone World Championship.
ANALYSIS
Thanks to video packages made by Blizzard documenting Ant's life and what he has gone through to become a professional Hearthstone player, Ant quickly became the sweetheart of the tournament. He was also America's best chance of winning the tournament as Muzzy had an early exit. However, the fan favorite came to play in a major way as his ultra-aggressive lineup surprised a lot of players there. He was able to sneak his way into the top four with the unique lineup and clinch a spot at the World Championship. He lost to eventual champ Hoej 3-0 in the semifinals, but can be proud of his performance and they name he made for himself in the community.
Clinched his spot at the World Championship
July 10, 2017
Neirea made it to the semifinals of the Hearthstone Spring Championship and clinched himself a spot in the Hearthstone World Championship.
ANALYSIS
After falling a series short of clinching his spot in the World Championship in the Winter Championship, Neirea had another chance to qualify. It looked bleak after a convincing loss in his first series of the tournament, but in typical Neirea fashion, he went on a hot streak to the point where he won each of his next four series to make it to the semifinals. Neirea ultimately lost to Kolento in the semifinals, but he can leave proud that he accomplished his ultimate goal of qualifying for the World Championship in January 2018.
Fell a series short of the World Championship
July 10, 2017
Rdu put together a strong tournament showing, but was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Hearthstone Spring Championship.
ANALYSIS
The most prevalent theme of the Spring Championship was the dominance of the European region. All four representatives made it out of the group stages, Rdu being one of the two undefeated players. Unfortunately the Europeans had to face off against each other in the quarterfinals as Rdu and Kolento battled it out with a spot in the World Championship on the line. Rdu fell victim to friendly fire as he lost a thrilling series 3-2 to Kolento. Rdu did not get his sought after spot in the World Championship, but we can expect him to get right back into things come Summer season.
Was the biggest let down of the tournament
July 10, 2017
Muzzy took an unfortunately quick exit as he failed to make it out of group stages at the Hearthstone Spring Championship.
ANALYSIS
As it seems to happen every season, the American Hearthstone fans jump on the bandwagon of their seasonal champion and then are quickly disappointed. Muzzy seemed to be the player to break the curse as he is revered as one of the greatest Hearthstone minds in the game, but he was not even able to make it out of group stages. After losses to CitizenNappa and Neirea, Muzzy was eliminated on Day 1. This was Muzzy's first test on the biggest stage and he should be back in events like this very soon.
Missed a chance to qualify for his third World Championship
July 10, 2017
Kranich had a disappointing showing as he failed to make it out of group stages at the Hearthstone Spring Championship.
ANALYSIS
Already as the only person to ever take part in multiple World Championships, Kranich had the opportunity to compete for a third title with a semifinal berth. Always a tough opponent, he fell short this day as he ran into the hottest player in the world in Hoej. Hoej defeated Kranich twice to eliminate him from the tournament, a tournament Hoej would later go on to win. Kranich is still one of the world's best players and is worshipped in the Korean Hearthstone scene.
Works his way to runner-up finish at LifeCoach's Summer Mansion tournament
July 6, 2017
Powder put in work as he pushed through the stacked field to ultimately lose to ElMachico 4-3 in LifeCoach's Summer Mansion. Powder's lineup consisted of Mage, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior.
ANALYSIS
The year 2017 has proven to be tumultuous for the Alliance Hearthstone team members. Still mostly known for their embarrassing showing in the ESL Trinity Series, each player has been able to get back to finding success on their own. Orange won a DreamHack, Ostkaka had a great SeatStory Cup VII finish and now Powder is getting himself back into tournament contention as well. In a meta where the lineup is pretty consistent from player to player, skill is able to shine through as a lot of slow control matchups are the norm. Powder looked very comfortable on his mixed-pace lineup, being able to show his veteran prowess over some of the newer players. Ironically enough, Powder was defeated by rookie unknown player ElMachico in the championship, but still can feel great about his showing.
Keepd hot streak going with another top-four finish
July 6, 2017
MrYagut put together strong series after strong series as he grabs a top-four finish in LifeCoach's Summer Mansion. MrYagut's lineup consisted of Druid, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior.
ANALYSIS
Fresh off of a top-four finish at SeatStory Cup VII, the lesser-known MrYagut got right back to business in the very next tournament. MrYagut has been able to break out in a major way in 2017, with tournament performances like this only helping his cause. Still trying to emerge out of the shadow of his CompLexity teammates, MrYagut has thrived in this control--oriented metagame, taking advantage of those who brought aggro decks. MrYagut ultimately ended up losing to eventual runner-up Powder in the semifinals, but showed that we can expect to see him in contention for a lot more titles going forward.
Continues to make noise in the year of Pavel
July 6, 2017
Pavel placed high again in another crowded tournament field in LifeCoach's Summer Mansion. Pavel's lineup consisted of Mage, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman and Warrior.
ANALYSIS
Still basking in the glory of his World Championship, Pavel has been one of the most frequently seen faces in 2017 Hearthstone tournaments. Unlike earlier in the year, Pavel is not winning each event, but his strong finishes show that he is still one of the top players in the world. His performance in the unique LifeCoach's Summer Mansion was another solid performance as he continues to rack up the prize winnings. What is great about what Pavel is doing is that he is still referenced as the worst World Champion ever due to his immense luck on his run, but the top showings continually prove his haters wrong. Pavel lost to eventual champion ElMachico in the semifinals.
Crowned champion of SeatStory Cup VII
July 5, 2017
Mitsuhide put together an incredible tournament run and capped it off with a 4-3 win over MrYagut to be named champion of SeatStory Cup VII champion. Mitsuhide took home $10,000 for the win. His lineup consisted of Mage, Paladin, Rogue and Druid.
ANALYSIS
SeatStory cup is known for being a super laid-back tournament where everybody drinks, messes around and 'goes for the memes.' For the sake of getting attention, the stream focused on the more popular and recognizable names. Among the star-studded tournament, Mitsuhide was able to quietly destroy everybody he faced. It really wasn't until the semifinals that he was prominently featured on stream and talked up by the casters. Known only for his recent DreamHack victory, Mitsuhide was able to march through all of SeatStory undefeated, taking down names like Gaara, MrYagut, Forsen and Ostkaka. Mitsuhide played perfectly and deserves to be known as one of the top players in the game right now.
Shows signs of his World Champion form in second-place finish
July 5, 2017
Ostkaka got back to his world champion form as he stormed all the way to a runner up finish, falling to Mitsuhide 4-3 in the championship of SeatStory Cup VII. Ostkaka's lineup consisted of Shaman, Rogue, Druid and Warrior.
ANALYSIS
Ostkaka has flown under the radar since his World Championship victory over a year ago. The main reason he hasn't been in the limelight as much was because he just was not playing as well. He has been quoted as saying he has not felt as comfortable in recent meta games, but he still has as much skill as anybody else in the world. He proved that again in the loaded SeatStory Cup VII field as he rode his very slow and analytic play to the championship. Like vintage Ostkaka, he played slow decks and showed confidence in making those big picture macro plays that earned him the World Championship crown. Even if he isn't making as much noise as he used to, it is not due to a shortage of skill.
Shakes off nerves to grab top-four finish at SeatStory Cup VII
July 5, 2017
MrYagut had a dominant tournament run as he finished SeatStory Cup VII with a Top 4 finish. MrYagut's lineup consisted of Rogue, Shaman, Warrior and Druid.
ANALYSIS
Quite often in the shadow of his CompLexity teammates, Crane and SuperJJ, MrYagut has begun to emerge on his own. Normally renowned as a Rogue expert, fellow pros have started to notice that MrYagut can play every class as well as anybody in the field. It is still evident that MrYagut is not used to the attention that his play deserves as he admitted to being very nervous throughout the tournament. Luckily, some misplays did not cost him any wins as he had a great run to the semifinals. He lost to eventual champion Mitsuhide but helped his case as one of the world's best in convincing manner.
Crowned Champion of DreamHack Summer Grand Prix
June 20, 2017
Orange fought his way through the stacked field to defeat Espumito 3-0 in the grand finals to be crowned champion of DreamHack Summer Grand Prix. Orange earned himself $7,500 with the win.
ANALYSIS
For those who are not familiar with the DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix format, it is an absolute grind of a tournament. It starts with hundreds of players in open play and takes three days to find an eventual champion. With the tournament happening in Europe, all the biggest names in Europe came out to make an extremely competitive field. Orange was one of the biggest names in the field, as he usually is, and brought a strong anti-control lineup: Jade Druid, Nzoth Paladin, Miracle Rogue and Evolve Shaman. The anti-control lineup was a smart decision, but the championship can more be attributed to the beautiful play by the Alliance member. Orange completed the 3-0 sweep with his Nzoth Paladin deck in the last-hero-standing format as he displayed great recognition and understanding of the meta. This result was not a surprise for the well-known professional, but it was definitely earned in impressive fashion.
Targeted control decks, captured his first Major championship
June 12, 2017
Zalae capped off a very impressive tournament run in style as he defeated Rdu 4-2 in the finals of StarLadder Season 3 to be crowned champion. Zalae also won $11,000 with the victory.
ANALYSIS
There was a variety of strategies coming into the star studded tournament. Some designed their lineup to target aggro, some just brought the best decks, and then there was Zalae who targeted control. The choice did not look smart to begin with as he was quickly swept in his first series of the tournament, but it all worked out just as he planned in the end. In a meta where control decks are strongest, Zalae used his unique lineup of Jade Druid, Burn Mage, Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue and Jade Shaman to counter them. This was a huge win for Zalae as it is his first ever victory in a major tournament. He has always been known as one of the world's best players, so we do not expect this to be his last win.