The Czech Republic squad at HGG 2017.

The 7 teams to follow in the Hearthstone Global Games

© Blizzard

The Hearthstone Global Games is about to get underway for 2018 – take a closer look at some of the teams that could prove themselves to be the best in the world.

The best thing about the Hearthstone Global Games is that we get to see a whole different side of Blizzard’s collectible card game, compared to the usual Championship Tour events. Sure, there are some familiar faces from the biggest tournaments, but there are also so many players we’d never get the chance to see from all across the globe.
It also brings with it a wholly unique viewer experience thanks to its set-up as a team tournament. Instead of watching two stoic faces stare down their computer monitors, we get the chance to listen in on the players as they discuss strategies and plays between themselves. It’s a cool and insightful behind-the-scenes look at how some of the game’s best players think about every single move they make and read their opponent’s upcoming turns.
But, there are so many teams competing that it can be hard to narrow down who are the ones to follow. Luckily, we’re here to help with that. Whether it’s the individual skill of players on the team, their past experiences in similar tournaments, or just a bit of a gut feeling, we’ve highlighted seven of the countries we feel have the best chance to go far in the Hearthstone Global Games 2018.

Czech Republic

A photo of the HGG 2017 winners, Czech Republic
Two players return for the Czech Republic
Perhaps the easiest pick to include on this list, the team from the Czech Republic, were last year’s winners of the Hearthstone Global Games and their line-up is just as strong for 2018. Jaromír ‘Jarla’ Vyskočil and Mikuláš ‘Pokrovac’ Dio both return as HCT veteran players to lead the team.
The loss of the talented Stanislav ‘StanCifka’ Cifka is definitely a blow, as his expertise played a huge part in guiding the team to victory last year. Still, new blood is ready to refill the ranks, including a relatively inexperienced Vašek ‘Findan’ Prosser.
On the other hand, Oldřich ‘Faeli’ Mahdal knows all about playing at the highest level having come into his own in the first half of 2018, with podium placements in multiple HCT Tour Stops and just missing qualification for the HCT Summer Championships. He’ll be turning up with a point to prove.

Canada

Team Canada doesn’t have just one, but two HCT World Championship finalists. That should be more than enough to have other countries running scared. Julien ‘DocPwn’ Bachand, regarded by many as an underdog going into the 2017 finals, proved he more than deserved a place at the top by beating players such as Frederik ‘Hoej’ Nielsen and Chen ‘tom60229’ Wei Lin during his run at the tournament. And he wasn’t even playing full-time!
A photo of DocPwn at the Hearthstone World Champs
Team Canada has some very experienced players
Meanwhile, double World Championship finalist Ryan ‘PurpleDrank’ Murphy-Root brings his deeply analytical approach to Hearthstone to the team, so you can be sure the decks Canada fields will have been thoroughly tested across various match-ups to find even the smallest edge. Top ladder player, Jerome ‘Monsanto’ Faucher, and long-time card slinger Jordan ‘TheJordude’ Hong Tai round out a fearsome squad.

Germany

In terms of name power alone, Germany has the most intimidating line-up in this year’s Hearthstone Global Games. Their anchor, Linh ‘Seiko’ Nguyen, has made regular appearances on the Hearthstone tour for the last two years, but it’s his three allies that sport even more pedigree.
First up, there’s Torben ‘Viper’ Wahl, who recently finished in 3rd-4th at the HCT Summer Championship after many years grinding the game. Next to him is Raphael ‘BunnyHoppor’ Peltzer, a familiar face to anyone following the Hearthstone scene from 2016 onwards and who won the Summer Championship earlier this month.
Last up is Thomas ‘Sintolol’ Zimmer: a World Championship contender (probably still recovering from the above insane series against Frank ‘Fr0zen’ Zhang) and also one of the most entertaining voices in Hearthstone. Expect to see some kooky decks, the team chat to be a barrage of memes and in-jokes, but also a fair amount of deeply serious shotcalling.

New Zealand

Although their roster isn’t filled with players who make regular big tournament appearance, the New Zealand team could actually big one of the big underdogs in the Hearthstone Global Games. Leading them is Ki Yin ‘Mage’ So, who's gained some experience playing at the highest level from his run in the 2017 Spring Championship and only lost due to an absolute nuts draw from Anthony ‘Ant’ Trevino in their fourth game.
A photo of Pathra at Blizzcon 2017
Pathra won the 2017 Hearthstone Inn-vitational
Meanwhile, Pathra ‘Pathra’ Cadness already has a team tournament win to her name from the Hearthstone Inn-vitational at Blizzcon. It may have been a more relaxed environment to play in, but many of the same analytical and discussion skills will be vital in the Global Games for her second run.
TingTong is another of the team’s returning players and joining the three is Jack ‘Jakattack’ Gifford, who claimed his first Hearthstone tournament win back in February of this year. Considering New Zealand finished 8th last year they’re definitely a group of players to keep an eye on.

Ukraine

Most professionals are humble about achieving second place, but at the end of the day that’s just the first team to finish last. No doubt they’ll be looking to correct that this year.
The Hearthstone deckbuilding and ladder climbing god, Aleksandr ‘Kolento’ Malsh, is back as the team’s anchor and coming off the back of a very strong 2017 that saw him compete in both the Spring and World Championships. Eugene ‘Neirea’ Shumilin returns too, having had his own monumental year in the game, including two seasonal Championships and a World Championship appearance.
A photo of the Ukraine team at the HGG 2017 finals
Ukraine finished second last year
Two new players have stepped up to fill the remaining slots: Borys ‘OldBoy’ Hlotov and Roman ‘iNS4NE’ Romanchenko. The former has been making a name for himself throughout 2017 since qualifying for the Summer Championship, while the latter is an up-and-comer who should thrive being surrounded by such talent.

Brazil

Brazil comes to the 2018 Global Games with a completely new roster compared to last year, though it’s one that has some huge tournament potential. Their anchor player is Lucas ‘Rase’ Guerra – a player who is starting to come into his own after a tough grind in 2017. He’s already won Copa América 2018 Summer and reached this year’s Summer Championship.
Rodrigo ‘Perna’ Barbosa is the team’s next biggest name. A Copa América 2017 Summer winner, who has also made a decent start to his 2018 in HCT Tour Stops and regional qualifiers. Lucas ‘Neves’ Figueredo and ‘Lucas’ are more unknown quantities, though they do have some HCT experience between them that could transfer well to the Global Games.

Philippines

Although their run in last year’s competition was a little disappointing, the team from the Philippines has enough talent between them that they should find more success this year. Their chances are greatly helped by the fact that the same four will be returning to play together again in 2018.
Once again they’re led by the excellent Euneil ‘Staz’ Javiñas, a player who always seems to go far when he decides to invest time into a tournament. He’s backed up by one of Southeast Asia’s most consistent tournament players, Dustin ‘WaningMoon’ Mangulabnan.
There’s Chalk ‘Chalk’ Zaldivar too, who’s been competing in Hearthstone since the game’s first season, though a lot of early success were denied due to unfortunate travel issues. Last but not least, the team has Cara ‘CaraCute’ Vergel De Dios, who only just narrowly missed out on spot in the HCT Winter Championship last year after finishing in ninth. Keep your eyes peeled here, as they’ll sure to be playing to win.