Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk (Blizzard)
Blizzcon 2016 is right around the corner, bringing with its tons of game news, updates, and for Hearthstone players, the most lucrative tournament of the year.
This year Blizzard has upped the Hearthstone World Championship prize pool from the traditional $250,000 to an unprecedented $1 million. Sixteen players have qualified through acquiring HCT points and winning through their respective regional competitions.
While Hearthstone esports certainly leaves a lot to chance, there are a few consistent frontrunners in the pack.
The top contender would probably be Pavel “Pavel” Beltiukov, currently ranked #2 in the world according to GosuGamers after winning through the European last call tournament by dominating formidable opponents such as former Na’Vi card slinger Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen and Dima “Rdu” Radu from G2 Esports.
Also watch out for Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk. ThijsNL will be the only player returning to Blizzcon from the 2015 World Championship, and is one of two players to compete at Blizzcon twice (the other being Hakjun “Kranich” Baek, who made the cut in 2014/2015).
You’ll also want to keep an eye on IlMook “Handsomeguy” Kang from Korea. He’s currently on a hot streak and has won back-to-back APAC championships overseas. He posted marginal results in 2015, but has improved hand over fist in 2016, earning over $60,000.
You can find the full list of the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship competitors and how they earned their spot below:
William “Amnesiac” Barton – Americas Winter Champion
Julien “Cydonia” Perrault-Harvey – Americas Spring Champion
Edwin “HotMEOWTH” Cook – Americas Summer Champion
Hao “Bbgungun” Li – Americas Last Call
Olzhas “Naiman” Batyrbekov – Europe Winter Champion
Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk – Europe Spring Champion
Artem “DrHippi” Kravets – Europe Summer Champion
Pavel “Pavel” Beltiukov – Europe Last Call
Sang Hyun “DDaHyoNi” Baek – Asia Pacific Winter Champion
IlMook “Handsomeguy” Kang – Asia Pacific Spring Champion
Chun-Pong “Yuslic” Ng – Asia Pacific Summer Champion
Kim “Che0nsu” Cheonsu - Asia Pacific Last Call
“Breath” – China Champion
“Hamster” – China Champion
“OmegaZero” – China Champion
Zhou “Jasonzhou” Bin – China Spring Champion
The Hearthstone World Championship kicks off on October 26 during Blizzcon Opening Week. The players will be whittled down over the course of five days, setting up the quarterfinals on November 4 and and the semis and grand finals on November 5 at Blizzcon proper.
Dylan Walker is on Twitter @dyluuxx