There were no upsets in the debut matches of the 2018 Hearthstone Global Games, as two teams took their first step towards a strong tournament run.
Sweden and South Korea had the task of kicking off this year’s tournament with both having different performances last year to reflect on. South Korea made it all the way to the offline finals, but fell in the semifinal to Ukraine.
Sweden meanwhile were hugely favored on paper, with all three members of Alliance and Jeffrey “Sjow” Brusi part of a star-studded lineup. But after losses to Brazil, Bulgaria, and Switzerland they crashed out in the first group stage.
In the opening match of the whole tournament the new Sweden lineup, with Jon “Orange” Westberg and anchor “Bozzton”, tried to show that disappointment was behind them. They kicked off against Japan, and narrowly avoided an upset.
The two teams traded games back and forth until it came down to Japan’s Aggro Mage against Orange piloting the Shudderwock Shaman. The Aggro Mage deck was derided by casters Simon “Sottle” Welch and Alex “Raven” Baugley, and their opinions were borne out in the result. Although it got close, Sweden closed out a 3-2 victory to get their first win on the board.
South Korea got a little bit fortunate in their match against Turkey. After a win with the Control Warlock they faced down an Egg Hunter mirror and won out with a strong card draw. That put Korea 2-0 up, but their Malygos Druid ended up going down to the Quest Priest in a marathon game that lasted nearly 30 minutes. With the prospect of game five on the horizon, South Korea did well with the Control Mage and took out the Taunt Warrior to win 3-1.
Offstream, there were wins too for Belarus 3-1 over Australia and Slovakia over Israel by the same scoreline. With the new Swiss format for the first round of the Global Games, teams can only afford two losses. A 4-2 record is required to qualify for the second group stage.