VKLiooon Wins Hearthstone GrandMaster Global Finals 2019
VKLiooon makes history as she becomes the first female winner.
Xiaomeng "VKLiooon" Li makes history as she becomes the first female winner of a Hearthstone GrandMasters event.
Hearthstone fans from across the world were elated as history was made at the 2019 Global Finals. Although fans from North America and Europe aren’t familiar with VKLiooon, she has been making waves across China as she dominated the region throughout the year.
She finished second at the QingDao stop on the China Gold Series, followed it up with a fourth-place finish at Nanchang, before finally qualifying for the Global Finals when she won the Gold Series Tianjin with an undefeated seven match win record.
VKLiooon is the first female to ever qualify for a Hearthstone Blizzcon championship and coming off the back of such a dominant professional win streak, she truly came to play.
She handily crushed all her opponents, including the 2017 world champion tom60229, to advance out of group B without dropping a single game.
It wasn’t until she faced the German player Casie in the semifinals that VKLiooon would face her first real test. Casie would be the first player of the tournament to take two games from VKLiooon, but ultimately lost the series 2-3.
In the finals VKLiooon met American player Bloodyface, who qualified out of group B as the second seed. Bloodyface has been a mainstay in competitive Hearthstone for years, recently winning Season 2 of the American GrandMasters league, but a major tournament win has always eluded him.
In the first game VKLiooon used her Shaman deck that focused on flooding the board with cheap minions that can then be evolved into more powerful units. With two evolves by turn five, VKLiooon had created an overwhelming board presence that allowed her to secure the win with little resistance.
In game 2 both players swapped heroes, VKLiooon playing her Quest Druid deck against Bloodyface’s Quest Shaman. With perfect play, VKLiooon eked out every bit of value from her cards as she navigated complex board states and ran circles around Bloodyface, taking victory.
Staring down a win on the biggest Hearthstone stage, VKLiooon elected to use her Highlander Hunter deck against Bloodyface’s Druid. On paper this would be an uphill battle for VKLiooon as Hunter is generally considered weak against Druid decks. But VKLiooon was here to win it all, and with her early turns lining up perfectly, she was able to inflict a lot of damage, reducing Bloodyface to just 11 Health before he had even had the opportunity to set up. VKLiooon's array of Hunter traps proved to be the perfect answer to overcome the unfavourable matchup.
VKLiooon becomes the first woman to reach the pinnacle of competitive Hearthstone. She is your 2019 Blizzcon champion and your 2019 Global Champion.
Almost as quickly as the finals began, they ended and Hearthstone crowned its first female champion after the dominant 3-0 victory.
VKLiooon now sits on an 11 professional match win streak, which in high variance games exemplifies just how skillful she really is. This win is a milestone on many different levels, not only was she the first woman to qualify for a Hearthstone GrandMasters finals, she was the first female to win a Blizzcon tournament. Moreover VKLiooon became the first woman to win a world championship for any digital card game.
The win earned VKLiooon $200,000 and the title of Hearthstone Global Champion.
In her winners interview, she had words of encouragement for women thinking about competing in esports:
I want to say to all the girls out there with a dream for competing in esports, for competition, for glory. If you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it.
Fans across the world are now eagerly wondering where VKLiooon will decide to compete next.