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Vancouver Hearthstone sees Resurgence in Competitive Play

POSTED BY Matticus May 24, 2018

Behold the Glory of a New Sun

By Dwayne ‘RealTerror’ d.S.
Vancouver, Canada

Oh VanHearth, what happened to you in 2017?

By all accounts 2017, was the Year of the Puffin for competitive Hearthstone in Vancouver. There were no collegiate titles won, only one international result, almost no local talent attending HCT playoffs, and not one but two massive failures in the Tavern vs. Tavern tournament. This was in stark contrast to 2016 which was arguably the premier year for Hearthstone in Vancouver (multiple Vancouverites posting top 16 playoff finishes, UBC winning the now defunct CSL North American collegiate title, Allan "AllanDang" D. holding the Hearthstone ladder, Jacob "ApxVoid" C. filling the COPA America tourney). Despite the brilliant efforts of world #1 innkeepo Matt "Matticus" L. it seemed like the end was coming for VanHearth.

Unbeknownst to the local community, a catalyst for change was on the horizon. Late in 2017, local Trailblazer Eddie "SeoHyun628" L. started sweeping local tourneys and then went on to post a 2nd place result at DreamHack Montreal; losing only to RealTerror and Aviera’s eldest brother – Hearthstone Pro Muzzy (aka Muzele). The newly formed VanHearth Boyz (no, not a boyband), being the naturally competitive bunch they are, refused to stand by and let Seohyun and his trusty minion Francis “Fwan” W. win all their local titles and have all the glory to themselves. Their Inner Fire kicked in and their Competitive Spirit was Unleashed like Hounds. Thus far 2018 has been a Whirlwind year for VanHearth and the forecast only looks brighter from here. Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for - it’s time to highlight the best of 2018 thus far through the VanHearth power rankings.

But first, just like the Oscars, VanHearth pays tribute to our fallen competitive Hearthstone players, may they Rest in Pepperonis:

[UBC] Benton "ItzBolt" C. (aka ItzNoob) – 2016 NA CSL Collegiate Champion, the 23 year-old from Vancouver recently left his Kinesiology job and is now pursuing his true passion as the Asian Hugh Hefner.

Alex "Orokusaki" Y. (aka Oroguekusucki) – 3x Tavern Hero winner, the 29 year-old from Vancouver is now a full-time Canucks fan.

[ROG] Brennan "Brohnan" D. (aka Bonin’ Brohnan) – 2017 Moose Cup Runner-Up.

Sam "SuperSam" L. – 2016 HCT Summer Playoffs Top 16, the 21 year-old island dweller is now a full-time friendly bartender.

Trevore "Bocharenai" R. – Pokémon Master turned Hearthstone Player, the 22 year-old island dweller from Victoria is now in loss prevention and future star of the Paul Blart sequel.

17. [KYO] Christopher "BlueBomber" B.

“Wanna blow somethin’ up?” …

A relatively new commodity on the VanHearth scene, the 26 year-old BlueBomber from Richmond was the surprise winner of a local UBC Tavern Hero. Also known for being the head of Kyoto esports’ Stream Team, he showed that he has the game play skills to complement his entertainment skills. However, after a disappointing 0-1 drop performance in the Summer Challenger Finals, BlueBomber looks to rebound in the upcoming season.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT Summer Challenger Finals Qualifier
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

16. [ONS] Brandon ‘MLGAnakin’ D.

"Drink with me friend!" …

Known for his ‘MLG PLAYS’ VanHearth’s very own Youthful Brewmaster has shown some serious promise this year. After multiple top 4 finishes in online Challenger Cup qualifiers, MLGAnakin, the 26 year-old from New Westminster finally broke through and won one. Once world renowned for putting Mirror Entity in his freeze mage, long gone are the days of such quality memery. 2018 marks the first time he is playing with full meta decks and the difference in performance is noticeable. Look for MLGAnakin to post some decent results this year as long as he isn’t seeing triple.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT Fall Challenger Finals Qualifier
Next Major Tournament: 2018 HCT Fall Challenger Finals
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

15. [SFU] Tristan ‘StanTheYeti’ B.

Hailing from Deep Cove unlike his brethren from Chillwind, this 23 year-old yeti has had several strong performances to start off 2018. Gifted with strong mechanical skills he has a good understanding of both micro and macro lines. After a disappointing performance in the Summer Challenger Finals, look for him to only get better as the year progresses.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT Summer Challenger Finals Participant
Next Major Tournament: Unknown
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

14. [HD] Justin "Kraxximus" C.

“Bring out your dead” …

No he’s not a Dungeon Run boss, but Kraxximus aka Kraxx is one tough opponent. A member of the undisputed top local team HafuDudes, the 27 year-old software engineer from Fremont recently steam-rolled a Tavern Hero tournament in the Bae Area. With his passion for the game reignited after serving as team manager for the Vancouver contingent at HCT Summer Playoffs in Santa Ana, Kraxx is back. Look for his gucciboi attitude and dyed white hair to carry him to the NA HCT Fall Playoffs – this time as a competitor.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT Fall Challenger Finals Qualifier
Next Major Tournament: 2018 HCT Fall Challenger Finals
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Challenger Top 8)

13. [UBC] Oon ‘Trbl’ G.

I knew you were trbl when you walked in”…

The newest UBC talent is known for his prodigious aggro plays. Apparently this sm0rc-king only knows how to go dome. With his godly APM you may be wondering why this mechanically gifted 18-year Korean doesn’t play combo or control. Rumour has it that he’s equally prodigious with all decks but he simply can’t afford the cards. If Trbl stumbles upon a sugar mama to fund his Hearthstone collection, watch out world, we may have another SeoHyun628 on our hands. But for now, look for him to continue to win games on turn 6 and leave his opponents yelling - “Holy Gwakamole”.

Major Accomplishments: Recruited to UBCEA development team
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

12. [UBC] Johnny ‘BigBlackDeck’ L.

“I’ve got a huuuuuge gun!” …

No one is quite sure how the 23 year-old student from East Vancouver came up with his BattleTag. Known for being a meta-slave, BigBlackDeck is known to pound (no pun intended) his opponents with dank pastas from Tempo Storm. Often referred to as ‘the anomaly of the East’ by several ex-girlfriends, look for BBD to have a bust-out (sorry, I mean breakout) performance this year. Results aside, one thing is for sure, big BigBlackDeck never fatigues and you can always count on his deck to be thicc’er than his opponents. 

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT Summer Challenger Finals Participant
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Challenger Top 8)

11. [SFU] K. ‘KGo’ Gomez (formerly Madhatted)

“Build a (frost) wall and make them pay for it” …

The 23 year-old student is another Magic: the Gathering-turned-Hearthstone player. Despite being known for his stellar play and his even better waifu-farming abilities, no one can predict what 2018 holds in store for Mr. Gomez. If he does make it to the fall HCT playoffs, the Canadian Embassy has recommended that he attend the Toronto venue for fears for passport issues at Donald Trump’s border. Similar recommendations have been made to Aviera, Zapgaze, and RealTerror.

Major Accomplishments: 2017 Red Bull Brawl Finalist
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

10. Mani ‘Zapgaze’ D.

Forget about a silver spoon, rumour has it Zapgaze was born with a golden card in his hand. This  professional card slinger hailing from Point Grey is a Magic: the Gathering Grand Prix winner and has made several appearances on the Pro Tour. Despite only dabbling in Hearthstone part-time, he is one of the top local players, a testament to his natural ability for card games. His 2018 results will be entirely dependent on how badly he wants to win.

Major Accomplishments: 2017 MTG Modern GP Las Vegas Champion
Next Major Tournament: DreamHack Austin
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

9. Teebs ‘Teebs’ A.

Teebs is not a frequent VanHearth participant, but has occasionally shown up to local events. The 27 year-old is currently living in Mexico. After decent international performances in 2017, Teebs has struggled so far this year and looks to rebound over the latter half of 2018.

Major Accomplishments: 2017 DreamHack Montreal Top 16
Next Major Tournament: Unknown
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

8. [SFU] Francis ‘Fwan’ W.

“Shiny! Troggle, troggle” …

Once hailed as the future of VanHearth, the 19 year-old who masquerades as a 12 year-old cyberbully from Coquitlam has posted disappointing results, relative to his high skill-cap thus far in 2018. Known for his patented quad-quest lineups Fwan is known for cyberbullying friends and foes alike about their inferior lineups. No one is safe from his online antics, not even his GamerSenpai, SeoHyun628 who often takes the brunt of his insults.

Major Accomplishments: 2017 Moose Cup Champion, 2017 Red Bull Brawl Finalist
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: No

7. [HD/UBC] Adrian ‘KingofKimchi’ L.

“We’re gonna be rich” …

Easily one of the most brilliant minds in VanHearth, the 20 year-old fun-employed edgelord from Shaughnessy barely even plays the game. As defacto captain of the UBC collegiate team, KingofKimchi has a knack for picking up the game after long hiatuses and using his dank memes to melt his opponent’s playoff dreams (link 2016 article HD signs KoK). Unfortunately, the Pre-Law Political Science major is easily the laziest of all VanHearth competitors and has the attention span of a murloc that forgot their ADHD meds. Your guess is as good as mine as to what 2018 will hold for team HafuDudes prodigy.

Major Accomplishments: 2016 HCT NA Spring Playoffs Top 16, 2016 CSL NA Collegiate Champion
Next Major Tournament: Unknown
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Challenger Top 8)

6. [UBC] B. "BobbyEx" Du

“Much a Du about something” …

Yet another one of UBC’s stellar young players, the 19 year-old from New Westminster currently sits atop the VanHearth standings and has made playoffs in every single local tournament this year. Known to his friends as BobbyXXX because of his explicit plays, he awaits his breakout performance. General consensus is that it’s going to happen in the not so distant future. BobbyEx posted a top 100 finish on NA ladder in April and is well on his way to qualifying for NA HCT Fall Playoffs on points.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 Vancouver Battle Royale Champion, Current VanHearth points leader
Next Major Tournament: UBC Tavern Hero #1
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Points)

5. [UBC] Abhinav "Aviera" B. (formerly Rex and Hawkeye)

“How long can this go on?” … It’s the very question that everyone from casters, to spectators, to teammates have been asking about Aviera’s recent surprise performances. Aviera is one of the most polarizing players on the VanHearth circuit. He plays certain decks with stunning proficiency (OTK Paladin, Big Spell Mage) and others with the skill of an Angry Chicken (OTK Priest, Control Warlock). His surprise qualification and subsequent top 4 placement in the 2018 COPA America Spring tournament earned him many fans and equally as many haters who were jealous that a seemingly weak player could reach the final stages of a major. Aviera is running and gunning with the mantra of Firebat – “the only misplay is losing”. If the meta is favourable for Aviera’s playstyle we are sure to see him post many solid results in 2018 … if not, we will be seeing a lot more Dark Pacting Rin on curve vs. Midrange Paladins to gain negligible life.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 COPA America Spring Top 4, 2017 VanHearth Invitational Runner-Up
Next Major Tournament: DreamHack Austin
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes

4. [HD/UBC] Dwayne "RealTerror" S.

"Yes, oh yes, they'll serve me now"...

It surely is a strange exercise to write about oneself in the third person. All you need to know is that RealTerror the pharmacist from Richmond is back. After booking a single lesson on Gamersensei with SeoHyun628, rumour has it that RealTerror’s skill level is now over 9000. Aviera would argue that he belongs in this spot, but I wouldn’t want the universe to collapse. I mean can you imagine a ranking in which Aviera appears above RealTerror? Look out for the Indian triplets (RealTerror, Aviera, and Muzzy) in the HCT NA Fall Playoffs, assuming they’re able to get through the "random" airport security and immigration checks.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT NA Summer Playoffs Top 32, 2016 VanHearth Champion, 2016 HCT NA Spring Playoffs Top 16, 2016 CSL NA Collegiate Champion
Next Major Tournament: Unknown
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: Yes
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Points)

3. [COL/SFU] Jordan ‘TheJordude’ T.

“I will hunt you down!” …

That’s exactly what the 21 year-old student from Vancouver did at the most recent HCT NA Playoffs. The Hunter-main used his favourite class, among others, to Deathstalk his opponents and earn himself a top 8 finish. More importantly he became the first Vancouver player to earn the prestigious Golden Celebration card back. The 50%/40%/10% Tinder/Shadowverse/Hearthstone player was on the brink of giving up Hearthstone for either Weebstone or Waifustone, but he has to be reconsidering after his most recent performance. TheJordude will be on exchange in Japan next semester to farm a new crop of waifus, so look out for him at the Asia HCT Fall Playoffs in a few months. Rumour has it that the golden celebration card back is his new Tinder profile picture, so he could just as easily miss next playoffs due to being *ahem* distracted.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT NA Summer Playoffs Top 8, 2017 VanHearth Points Leader, 2017 Red Bull Brawl Finalist
Next Major Tournament: DreamHack Austin
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
Asia HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Points)

2. [KNI] Jacob ‘ApxVoid’ C.

ApxVoid is a rare sight at local VanHearth tourneys, but the 23-year old Hearthstone Pro from North Vancouver has a track record that speaks for itself. In 2018 expect ApxVoid to try and shake his reputation of only being a ladder god, and fill one last void - the Golden Card back slot in his collection.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT NA Summer Playoffs Top 16, 9 straight HCT playoff, appearances, 2017 HGG Team Canada Anchor, 2016 COPA America Champion
Next Major Tournament: DreamHack Austin
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Points)

1. [KYO] Eddie ‘SeoHyun628’ L.

<insert K-pop lyrics here> …

Believe it or not, SeoHyun628 is ethnically 0% Korean making him our resident Koreaboo. The Hearthstone Pro from Surrey (yes, believe it or not) is without a doubt the best player in Greater Vancouver region. Known for his stellar lineup creation and for being one of the highest rated coaches on Gamersensei.com (sorry ItzBolt), SeoHyun628 also has both the micro and macro game knowledge to excel at competitive Hearthstone. Look for him to finally get his golden card back and perhaps even make an appearance at a Season Championship in 2018… that is if he doesn’t swell and explode from excessive consumption of NaCl first. Rumour has it that he’s considering changing his username to SeoHyun60229 to receive Tom’s blessing.

Major Accomplishments: 2018 HCT NA Summer Playoffs Top 16, 2018 COPA America Winter Top 8, 2017 VanHearth Invitational Champion, 2017 DreamHack Montreal Finalist, HGG Team Canada Nominee
Next Major Tournament: DreamHack Austin
VanHearth Invitational Prediction: No
NA HCT Fall Playoffs Prediction: Yes (Points)

If these rankings have offended you in anyway please do not increase your NaCl consumption - that will only increase your blood pressure which in turn may increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Please forward any complaints to Matt ‘Matticus’ L., sole proprietor of VanHearth and VanHearth.com.

If you’ve made it to this point of the article I seriously recommend you considering doing something with your life other than Hearthstone…

Until next time, RealTerror out.

(Editor's note: These opinions listed in the article above do not fully reflect the stance of Vancouver Hearthstone).

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