VKLiooon first female crowned Hearthstone Global Champion after dominant run

Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li made history at BlizzCon 2019 with her dominant run at the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals, etching her name in the record books as the first female Hearthstone Global Champion.

Li was the first woman to qualify for the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals, after winning the Gold Open Tianjin Master Group Season 1 Playoffs. She had to compete in a qualifier because the Chinese Hearthstone circuit functions differently, starting a stretch towards the championship.

Li finished 4-0 in the weekend tournament, ending with a flawless 3-0 victory over her opponent in the finals, Brian “bloodyface” Eason. In the third round, Eason’s Quest Druid succumbed to Li’s Highlander Hunter, a deck choice that is popular in competitive play in the Asia Pacific region but has been questioned by Western players and casters.

“I want to say to all the girls out there that have a dream for esports competition: If you want to do it and believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it,” the 23-year-old Li said through a translator after the match. “As long as you want to play well you can, no matter what gender you have.”

Two years ago, Li was told that the game was “not for you” while she was waiting in the backup sign-up line for a tournament. Such toxicity and harassment have turned off many women from pursuing professional esports careers. However, Li persevered, culminating in her raising the trophy as Hearthstone Global Champion at BlizzCon 2019, with $200,000 in winnings.

Li’s victory at BlizzCon 2019 is just one of many major storylines at BlizzCon 2019. The annual event also featured the announcements of Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, World of Warcraft‘s Shadowlands expansion, and Hearthstone‘s Descent of Dragons expansion.

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, however, started the event’s opening ceremony with a much-anticipated apology for the company’s controversial actions that started with the suspension of Hearthstone professional player Chung Ng Wai, aka Blitzchung, after he expressed support for protesters in Hong Kong who were standing up to China.

Brack’s apology helped set a positive tone for BlizzCon 2019, and Li’s triumph as the first female Hearthstone Global Champion capped off an eventful weekend.

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