Following three exciting Masters Tour events in 2019 in Las Vegas, Seoul, and Bucharest, seven players proved to be the best in their respective regions and earned a promotion to Grandmasters. With the imminent launch of Grandmasters 2020 Season 1, we are excited to introduce the newest Grandmasters competing for a spot at the Hearthstone World Championship this fall.
Ever since joining Team Mexico in the 2017 Hearthstone Global Games, Empanizado has been a staple of the Latin American competitive scene. Later that year, he went on to reach Top 8 at the HCT Summer Championship, only falling to Surrender who went on to win the event. After qualifying for Masters Tour Seoul in 2019, the community held a fundraiser to cover his costs to travel to the event. He rewarded this effort by finishing in 11th place, picking up $3500 and qualifying for Bucharest in the process. In Romania he once again finished in the top 32, which was enough to convert his strong results - and the LatAM community spirit - into a spot in the Americas Grandmasters.
Lnguagehackr first joined the competitive scene in 2016. He had a strong desire to be a professional player, however because of studies for his degree at that time he had to operate on a reduced schedule. As such, it wasn’t until his win at the 2018 HCT Fall Championship that he established himself as a top global player. Despite falling in the 2019 Hearthstone World Championship in the Quarterfinals, Lnguagehackr maintained strong consistency last year in the Masters Tours. He was invited to Grandmasters after placing 24th at Masters Tour Las Vegas, 47th at Masters Tour Seoul, and 11th at Masters Tour Bucharest.
PapaJason has built a strong community around his stream. His positive attitude and strong play have led to him being one of the players that the viewers often ask to see more of in big events. He made his competitive debut in the 2018 HCT scene, competing in HCT Season 1 - Americas and ultimately placing 10th at HCT Philadelphia. He played in every Masters Tour in 2019, and started the ball rolling by qualifying for Las Vegas, where he finished 12th. He added some money to this in Bucharest to earn his invitation to the Grandmasters Americas division. This will make sure Jason’s fans get a whole lot more of him in 2020.
Lo Tsz “Kin0531” Kin, Hong Kong
Following a Top 8 placement at the SEA Majors 2016, Kin0531 made a name for himself in the Asia-Pacific competitive scene with a string of Top 20 finishes in the 2018 Hearthstone Championship Tour. He also took home the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, the only Olympic sanctioned Hearthstone event in history. His quest to join the most recent top-tier of Hearthstone competition started strong after finishing 19th at Masters Tour Las Vegas, but it was his 2nd place finish at Masters Tour Bucharest that solidified his spot in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.
Wataru “posesi” Ishibashi, Japan
A relative newcomer to competitive Hearthstone, posesi first made a splash after placing 3rd at the 2018 World Electronic Sports Games (WESG). He later went on to place 17th in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018 HCT - Season 1. In 2019, he established himself as a front-runner for an invite to Grandmasters after placing 4th at Masters Tour Las Vegas. Despite an early elimination from Masters Tour Seoul, his strong standing of 21st at Masters Tour Bucharest secured him a spot in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.
The only Masters Tour champion in 2019 who was not already a Grandmaster, Felkeine secured his spot after claiming victory at Masters Tour Seoul. He initially joined the competitive scene in 2017 with strong showings in Arma Cups and the 2017 Hearthstone Team League. Since his win in Seoul, Felkeine has set the stage for a dominant French competitive scene at Masters Tours, even continuing his streak with yet another Top 4 showing at Masters Tour Arlington.
Furthering the emergence of a dominant French community, Zhym secured his spot in Grandmasters after coming in 2nd at Masters Tour Seoul to fellow French competitor and new Grandmaster, Felkeine. Despite being a relative newcomer to the competitive scene, he quickly made his mark by qualifying for the HCT 2018 Season 1 European Playoffs. 2019 proved a strong year for Zhym as he followed up his 2nd place in Seoul with another 2nd place at the Konix All Stars Playoffs.
Be sure to follow the seven newest Grandmasters as they compete for their shot at going to the World Championship this Fall. The 2020 Hearthstone Grandmasters Season 1 coverage begins on April 17 only on YouTube.com/HearthstoneEsports. Good luck, have fun, and we hope to see you in the Tavern!