Spring Championship Recap
The Spring Championships have come and gone and to very little surprise Hoej reigns supreme. Let's break down the biggest upsets and breakouts of the Spring Championships.
Muzzy: My boy Muzzy couldn't quite get it done. His group was the most difficult for him to get past. OMXHope didn't prove to be too difficult of a challenge but both CitizenNappa and Neirea (my other favorite) were just too much to handle. He ended up losing every game he played against a quest rogue and vented his frustration to his good friend Amnesiac. After starting off strong with a 3-1 series versus Neirea he faltered against CitizenNappa losing again to quest rogue and failing to get a win with his paladin. If I have one frustration with the current tournament system it's that your first game doesn't truly matter if you lose your second. Muzzy found that out first hand when he faced Neirea again and lost the series 1-3 this time unable to get a win with his shaman. Muzzy saw some absolutely brutal draws and didn't honestly have a chance. There were a couple of "misplays" where he was slightly off on his optimal play, but the only reason we could possibly know that is by having all the information at hand and knowing that hind sight is one hell of a bitch. Muzzy may hate it but you have to wonder if him not bringing quest rogue ended up hurting him in the end.
China: Boy did China have a bad showing at the Spring Championships. I think Amnesiac put it best with this tweet. Not a single Chinese player made it into the top 8. Not one. Additionally only one Chinese player even got a win throughout the championship. OMJasonzhou, OMXHope, and ahqDogggg all went 0-2 in their matches and had a total win loss of 6-18 in their individuals games. Trunks was the only player who attempted to redeem the region going 1-2 and 5-6 in games. It's hard to find where the blame lies but in the end they just didn't play well. It's tough when the home team doesn't play well and even tougher when they all go home after Day 1. This is the second championship that China really hasn't shown up for and it's hard to take their contention seriously. Unless something drastic changes in the next expansion I won't be predicting any Chinese high finishes for the Fall Championship.
Rdu: This one is hard to call. By all respects he shouldn't have lost when he did. Additionally his loss was in the top 8 which means that it's hard to say that he truly was an upset, but none the less he's the highest finishing player in my upset category. He played each of his games flawlessly but in the end it just wasn't enough. RNJesus was on Kolento's side and he could not be beat. The hardest match to watch by far was game 5 when Kolento had an ideal draw for quest rogue and Rdu was left out to dry. Rdu's tweets afterwards were heartbreaking but it's good to know that he's still continuing on which he clarified in some follow up tweets.
Ant: I'll be honest I didn't have much faith in Ant. I thought it was a fluke he did so well in the qualifier and I thought without a doubt he would flop in the group stages. Boy was I wrong. Ant absolutely dominated. Not only that, but he won countless style points with how he carried himself at the tournament. I don't think there was a single individual who enjoyed himself more at the tournament than ant. His secret mage took a number of analysts by surprise with how effective it was against a number of different decks. I netdecked this particular deck and climbed to rank 5 with almost no resistance so yes... his decks were very very good. He was one of the few who didn't bring quest rogue but still ended up winning pretty handily in most of his matchups. His only loss came against the champion Hoej. Watch out for Ant in upcoming tournaments because I think he is here to stay.
Kuonet: I know I've talked about almost every player from the America's... sue me. Kuonet didn't make it past the quarter finals but in my book that's not half bad. Hell that's top 8 in the WORLD. That's pretty damn impressive. Sure Kuonet did well in the America's playoffs but I considered him to be along the same lines as Ant as a one and done player. Turns out he was the only one who beat Hoej in the entire tournament and he did it 3-1. It can't feel good knowing he was one win away from qualifying for worlds but at least he can take solace in the fact that he was the sole player to take down Hoej.
All in all this might have been the most impressive display of Hearthstone I have seen in a very long time. Europe continues to dominate by sealing up 3 out of the 4 worlds qualifiers but both America and Asia-Pacific are coming closer and closer to threatening their reign. I wouldn't be surprised if we see an America take home the World Championship this Novemeber, but at the current rate it's hard to imagine anything beating the dominance of Europe. Amnesiac? DrJikininki? Ant? Muzzy? Someone's gotta do it. Explore Un'Goro has been fun and I can't wait for Knights of the Frozen Throne to change the entire meta once again.