Hearthstone is a game of ups and downs, where anything can happen at the drop of a card. That sentiment is even more true at competition level. This past weekend, China's Blizzard operator, NetEase, held the quarterfinals to their new Gold League e-sports event, and the HearthStone competition was fierce.
Announced and launched last year, NetEase's Gold League is a major StarCraft 2 and HearthStone competition held in Shanghai, China. The matches are simple one-on-one best of five matches. Each player picks three heroes they prefer and duke it until one player has lost all three summoners. Sound's simple enough.
Here's what the players are playing for, apart from prestige, internet fame and bragging rights: a big Hearthstone statue that's supposedly made of gold. NetEase claims the thing is 600 grams of gold — that's, according to goldgrambars.com, $US24,000. Other prizes include a nifty Hearthstone key statue, and prize pool of $US160,000.
Oh, the StarCraft group gets a nifty statue too.
So, here at Kotaku, yours truly watched hours and hours of the Hearthstone tournament and selected and uploaded one of the must watch matches. It's worth a look to see how international players play the game, should you ever want to try to dominate the league. There's also a proclaimed China versus Europe match after the competition. Ding Lei, CEO of NetEase, even promised the Chinese player that could take down the top European player a Ferrari!
The match features the only female contestant to make it into the quarterfinals, Tang Haiyun, aka 哀绿绮思 of team Douyu. Tang is famous in Chinese Hearthstone circles for her own Douyu (think Twitch) channel, and for her colourful cosplay. Her opponent is team World Elite's, Zhang "YouLove" Lichen.
This match is pretty good since Tang starts off losing big time in the first two rounds, but then comes back with a dominating performance, sweeping Zhang. The whole thing's a bit long so jump to the middle video to watch her take out her opponent.
Altogether, there were eight matches to watch over the weekend. At about an hour and change per match, that's over eight hours of Hearthstone! This coming weekend is the semi-finals and finals and things are bound to heat up! Here's hoping we see some more outstanding matches. Maybe the 31-year-old Tang can be the one who takes home the pot?