With her 3-0 win against US player Brian "bloodyface" Eason of Lazarus Esports at BlizzCon 2019 China's Xiaomeng "VKLiooon" Li has become the first woman to be crowned Hearthstone Global Champion.
VKLiooon was already the first woman to qualify for the Hearthstone Global Finals, having won the Gold Open Tianjin Master Group Season 1 Playoffs, and had an incredible run of 10 tournament victories in the lead-up to this final. She went unbeaten throughout the event at Blizzcon before clean sweeping the deciding series.
VKLiooon's Malygos Druid deck performed well against bloodyface's Quest Shaman early on, and her Highlander Hunter defeated his Quest Druid in the third round to close out the victory. That game was particularly delicious—the Asia-Pacific region's fondness for Highlander Hunter in competitive play has been questioned by Western pros and casters.
Though not a familiar name in the West—VKLiooon hasn't been part of the Grandmasters programme so far—off the back of this win we can expect to see much more of her impeccable play in the future. Clearly emotional in her after-match interview, she thanked the fans for their support over the past two days.
She also went on to tell an anecdote about how, at a major tournament a couple of years ago, a male player told her she was in the wrong queue because "this isn't for you". Finally, she was asked what it meant to her to be the first woman to win Hearthstone's biggest prize: "I want to say for all the girls out there who have a dream for esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself you should just forget your gender and go for it."
VKLioon goes home with both the title of world champion and $200,000 winnings.