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Nerves and nostalgia for professionals at first Hearthstone® event in two years

TrumpSC, languagehacker and Monsanto win

Los Angeles stop of inaugural Global Esports Tour

(From left) Monsanto, languagehacker and TrumpSC went from bottom of the bracket to champions at the inaugural Global Esports Tour, beating three other teams to win the Hearthstone® Classic Mode event.

It took a wait of 20 months, and an arduous climb from the bottom of the bracket to the championship. That only meant that when victory finally came for Team Kraken, it was all the sweeter.

The trio of Jeffrey “TrumpSC” Shih, Mihai “languagehacker” Dragalin and Jerome "Monsanto" Faucher made history as the first-ever champions of the Global Esports Tour, winning the Hearthstone® event held in the City of Angels.

They beat Team Gryphon — made up of David "Killinallday" Acosta, Jeffrey "Tarei" Liu and Mark "Ant" Trevino — 4-2 in the grand final, taking the lion’s share of the US$50,000 prize money.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited about winning something. (I was) jumping for joy out there,” said TrumpSC, captain of Team Kraken.

Part of the thrill came from the fact that Global Esports Tour 2021: Los Angeles was their first in-person competition in almost two years. Seeing opponents and competing alongside teammates in real life, and not just across a screen, meant even grandmasters felt the jitters.

Said languagehacker: “I was kind of nervous coming in initially, but all the precautions you guys took made the event feel safe. I’ve missed being at these sorts of events. To be able to see everyone, it’s quite a big difference from doing everything online. It felt surreal.”

For keen Hearthstone® fans, the event stood out as one that was played in a classic format, an ode to the original 2014 era of the collectible card game.

It brought together past and present top Hearthstone® players, as well as Brian "Kibler" Kibler, Nathan "ThatsAdmirable" Zamora and Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, who took on casting roles for the event.

Said TrumpSC: “It was really great for me because probably my most active time in terms of playing tournaments was around six, seven years ago when it was this classic mode. That’s probably part of why the win felt so good. Also, I got to bring a few of my favourite decks from the past.”

Monsanto, meanwhile, had just a few days to get up to speed with the classic format.

He said: “I wasn’t a good player back in classic. This wasn’t nostalgia for me, it was a new thing. It was a challenge of this new game mode, and trying to learn it really quickly because we really didn’t have time. It was a big challenge and I’m glad that we were able to successfully do it.”

Team Kraken had a seemingly comfortable lead of 3-1 in the best-of-seven grand final, only to feel Team Gryphon hot on their heels to make it 3-2.

Said languagehacker: “It was very nerve wracking. I’ve been a competitor for a few years now. I like to say that it gets easier, but it doesn’t, especially when you’re in a spot like that when the team is relying on you.

“It’s really cool, honestly. This entire tour that you’ve set up is really incredible. For the first edition to be Hearthstone®, and for us to be a part of it, it’s incredible. We didn’t really expect to win it all, and that’s just speaks for how cool this event is.”

The Global Esports Tour moves to Saudi Arabia next month. Riyadh will host the next stop from Oct 24-26 and feature PUBG MOBILE. It will be followed by Dubai from Nov 26-27, featuring Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The GEF will also host its inaugural Global Esports Games in December in Singapore.


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