Revealing the Americas’ Hearthstone Grandmasters!
Over the past few weeks we’ve unveiled both the Asia-Pacific and European Hearthstone Grandmasters roster for the first two seasons. Today we’re ready to share 15 of the 16 competitors that will represent the Americas region! The 16th spot is reserved for the Americas player with the best placement at the HCT 2019 World Championship, which will take place in Taipei from April 25–28. If the player is already on this list, the invite will be passed to the next most successful point-earner or prize-money earner from the region.
The following players have been invited to join Hearthstone Grandmasters in 2019 based on criteria including lifetime earnings, points earned during HCT 2018, seasonal points leaders, contributions to the Hearthstone community, and more.
Here are your Americas Hearthstone Grandmasters, including their all-time favorite decks, cards, and cardbacks!
David "justsaiyan" Shan - Top Points Earner
Justsaiyan was born in China but lived abroad with his parents in Sweden and Germany before ending up in Indiana. After picking up Hearthstone in his Junior year of college, justsaiyan has had a meteoric rise to regional dominance, securing his first breakout win last year. He is currently the number one point-leader in North America and will be playing on stage at the HCT 2019 World Championship.
Muzahidul "Muzzy" Islam - Top Points Earner
Muzzy immigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old and has lived in rural Pennsylvania since the 2nd grade. He had not traveled much before falling in love with Hearthstone but changed that in 2016 when he journeyed the world many times over while competing for Hearthstone Competitive Points. He’s most proud of going 10-0 at the 2017 Americas Spring Playoffs and will be competing at the Hearthstone World Championship for the second time this year.
Jerome "Monsanto" Faucher - Top Points Earner
French Canadian Monsanto has earned a plethora of points without taking home a major trophy. He prides himself on being able to find his way out of tough situations in-game, and—on principal—never plays the most popular deck. When Monsanto was growing up, he wanted to be a goaltender on a professional hockey team.
Eddie "Eddie" Lui - Top Points Earner
Eddie, formerly known as Seohyun628, is a known risk-taker in his playstyle. His proudest achievement is winning the HCT Atlanta Tour Stop and defending the DreamHack Atlanta title on behalf of the Americas in the process. Once upon a time, he beat Hunterace by playing Master Oakheart on turn 5.
Brian "bloodyface" Eason - Top Points Earner
Bloodyface qualified for back-to-back Seasonal Championships in 2018 and is now headed to the HCT 2019 World Championship to represent the Americas. He considers his biggest strength to be his knowledge of matchups and the metagame. Bloodyface has four cats (Holo, Happy, Jili, and Tiny) and a sugar glider that goes by the name of Mochi.
William "Amnesiac" Barton - Top Points Earner
Amnesiac, also known as the Young Savage, became the youngest Red Bull sponsored gaming athlete in March of 2018. He takes a holistic approach to improvement which includes exercising regularly, eating properly, and maintaining a responsible sleep schedule. While he’s competed at the World Championship and garnered several exceptional placements, his win at DreamHack Austin in 2018 meant the most to him personally.
Francisco "PNC" Leimontas - Top Points Earner
History-buff PNC found his passion for esports watching Warcraft 3 from his house in Buenos Aires, where he’s lived his entire life. He’s most proud of winning Copa America in 2016 and is known for bringing risky and complicated lineups to tournaments in hopes of gaining an edge over his opponents.
Lucas "Rase" Guerra - Top Points Earner
Rase was a professional player in another esport, a console soccer game, where he found great success—even competing at the game’s respective World Championship. He quit and changed course upon discovering Hearthstone in early beta. He’s most proud of Brazil’s runner-up placement in 2018 HGG Global Games as it was a huge win for esports in his life-long home.
Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang - Top Prize-Money Earner
Fr0zen is a familiar face for most that have followed competitive Hearthstone over the years. He’s taken home over USD $250,000 in prize money, with his biggest win coming from placing second at last year’s World Championship. Fr0zen’s parents were initially unhappy with his choice to play games for a living, but eventually came around in a big way; going so far as to invest in a Hearthstone team in China.
James "Firebat" Kostesich - Top Prize-Money Earner
Firebat started playing Hearthstone in class at school in 2014 and went on to become the first ever Hearthstone World Champion in November of that year. His win is immortalized in the game with the flavor text for Fiery Bat which reads “He’ll always be our first.” Firebat has numerous other impressive placements, making him one of the all-time highest prize-money earners.
Ryan "Purple" Murphy-Root - Top Prize-Money Earner
Purple is a non-conformist: he takes the cards other people don’t play and experiments with them until he has something special that no-one is expecting. His rap sheet includes two World Championship appearances and a first-place finish at WESG recently, where he took home $100,000 in prize money.
David "Dog" Caero - Top Prize-Money Earner
Dog was introduced to Hearthstone through his brother in 2014 and has been playing competitively ever since. Dog is a deck-builder who possess a knack for theory crafting, priding himself on his knowledge of what will and will not improve a lineup. His accolades include multiple high placements in third-party tournaments, including runner-up at DreamHack Summer 2015. He is one of Hearthstone’s most popular streamers.
Cong "StrifeCro" Shu - Top Prize-Money Earner
Since competing at the 2014 Hearthstone World Championship, StrifeCro has become something of a third-party tournament specialist who has found a good deal of his success outside of the official HCT circuit. Before finding Hearthstone, StrifeCro was a professional StarCraft II player for Evil Geniuses and even competed with them at an IEM in New York. He has a cat named Mouse.
Paul "Zalae" Nemeth - Legends Spot
Zalae will be one of the hometown heroes at Masters Tour Las Vegas. He’s been playing Hearthstone competitively for years with almost all his big wins coming from outside of the official HCT circuit. Zalae’s stream has been picking up steam recently, where he frequently has pro players and other guests drop by to spectate his ladder climb.
Facundo "Nalguidan" Pruzzo - Legends Spot
Nalguidan started playing Hearthstone while queuing for other multiplayer games. In just a few short years, he found himself one win away from playing at the Hearthstone World Championship by cracking the bracket of HCT Summer. Nalguidan is currently studying architecture and likes to go swimming in his free time.
After season two of 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters, the player who finished last in each division will be at risk of relegation to the top cash prize-earners from the Masters Tour program. Who on this list will represent the Americas at the year-end finals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.