It’s nearly that time of the year again: BlizzCon is upon us. Once more, the Hearthstone Global Games top 8 teams will play against each other. They will compete for the title of HGG 2018 Champion and their share of the $410,000 record prize pool. The HGG matches will be played live with an audience in the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The matches will start at 8 p.m. CET/ 12 p.m. PDT / 3 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2. On Nov. 3, the games continue with the semi and final matches starting at 6 p.m. CET / 10 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. EDT.
The first of the top 8 teams is the Spanish team, led by Ricardo “riku97” Mata Otero, the highest point earner of Spain. He is joined by Dalesom of team SK Gaming, Jacobo “Jac0b0” Sanchez, and Spanish legend Esteban “AKAWonder” Serrano. Jac0b0 and riku97 don’t have as much international experience as the players from SK. However, overall the performance of the Spanish team this year is much better than last year, when they finished near the bottom only winning a few matches.
Hong Kong will be facing Spain in the first match of the event. The Hong Kong team is quite stacked for the Asian regions, led by “blitzchung,” who is undeniably among Asia’s best. His teammates Pak Kan “Shy” Leung, Winfield “losefield” Tsun, and Lo Tsz Kin “kin0531” all have international experience. Though they haven’t had their breakout performances yet, this might be their time to shine. Improving from last year’s 25-32nd place finish, they are a real contender to take this all the way.
New Zealand is the region that has the most to prove. Together with China, they are the only countries to make back-to-back top 8s in the HGG. The team is led by ladder legend, Ki Yin “Mage” So. On the team with him is the streamer, Pathra Cadness; Jack “Jakattack” Gifford, the winner of the HCT Syndey event earlier this year; and a new player to the scene, “TingTong.” While they have a hard road ahead of them, they will be looking to improve on last year’s top 8 placement.
China might be the single most stacked team represented at this year’s HGG to make it to the top 8. They are led by Gao “Leaoh” Yang from team Royal Never Give Up. Leaoh is one of the best competitors in all of China. He is joined by Zheng “OmegaZero” Lin, “Trunks,” and Zhang “YouLove” Lichen, who have all competed and won Gold Series events. These might be some of the most experienced players in the world, though Trunks and OmegaZero had somewhat poor performances at the last championship events they competed in. This time is likely to be different. The Chinese streamers have had time to prepare and are looking stronger than ever.
After just falling short of the top 8 last year, Team Bulgaria is back this year to compete once again. The team is led by Dzhengiz “Jengo” Kadir, a competitor in the HGG two years in a row. Jengo just last month finished top 16 at the HCT Oslo 2018 Tour Stop. Alongside him are Kaloyan “BestUdyrEu” Petkov, and Petar “SilentStorm” Radev. The main thing SilentStorm is known for is competing at last year’s HCT Europe Summer Championship. Also joining the Bulgarian Squad is “friki.” While we don’t know much about friki, his performance in the Global Games so far is impressive.
Team Brazil is looking better than ever. It is led by Lucas “Rase” Guerra, winner of Copa América Summer, top 16 at Copa América Autumn, top 8 at HCT Buenos Aires, and a top 16 placement at the HCT Summer Championships this year. The year 2018 has been amazing for Rase. Joining him this year on the HGG are his teammates Rodrigo “Perna” Castro, Lucas “Neves” Figueredo, and Lucas “LucasCrt” Claudio. Last year Brazil lost out just before heading to BlizzCon, but this year they made it and are looking to take it all.
The Norwegian squad is all part of team Nordavind, Norway’s leading esports organization. The team is led by the two-star master, Casper “Hunterace” Notto. Hunterace currently has the record of highest point earner with a crazy 240 total points in one competitive season. Winning and making it to the top 16 of almost every event he attended this year, there is no one better to lead this squad to another victory. Joining him are his teammates, “ntR,” Jahn-Erik ” Zorkthar” Gangstøe, and Jens “Kolbein” Bratheim. Everyone on Nordavind has an impressive national and international resume. All of this together makes them our favorite to take it all, but first, they’ll have to beat their opponents, team Singapore.
Just like the Norwegian squad, Singapore is all part of one organization, Resurgence. Resurgence fields teams in most of the large esports titles. They also field two Hearthstone teams for the competitive season. This team is led by Samuel “Sequinox” Chan, a long-term competitor in the Asian HCT Scene, qualifying for both season 1 and 2 of the playoffs event. Joining him are Bryan “Crumpled” Ong, who played for last year’s HGG team; Jin “Katsucurry” Shuen Toh, who has had some impressive placements at international events; and last but not least, “Khaius,” who, while relatively new to the scene, managed to qualify for his first playoff event earlier this year.
To celebrate BlizzCon, the Hearthstone team is running multiple promotions both in the game and on Twitch. By simply logging into the game you will be given a free golden copy of both Star Aligner and Secret Plan. On Twitch there is now also the option to cheer for your favorite teams to win, who will get a share of the cheers you give them. Currently, the community progress is up to 32,350,000 bits cheered. This is the equivalent of roughly $400,000, which will be divided among the competing teams.
The cheering offers in-game rewards currently up to 30 packs of all sets and a golden card pack, as well as a purple unique card back. To claim these rewards you have to cheer 2500 bits, which is equivalent to around $30.
You can watch the stream live on Twitch later today, Nov. 2. For more coverage of Hearthstone events, check out our player profiles of the World Championships of America. Or if you are more interested in learning more about the game, try our Zoo Warlock Guide with Rank 1 Legend player, Norwis. Didn’t catch who qualified last month for the Hearthstone World Championships? Check out our coverage of Day 4 of the Hearthstone Fall Championships 2018.
I’m Arend Zijdenbos, from the Netherlands. Gamer for as long as I can remember. My current focus is further improving at esports journalism. Currently, I write for Daily Esports and PCInvasion. For more of me, find me on twitter @Azijdenbos.