Xiaomeng “Liooon” Li made history on the weekend by becoming the first-ever Hearthstone Global Champion from China and the first female to win a Blizzcon title.
The 23-year-old was flawless in her first two series, defeating Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin and Chris “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos without dropping a game in the best-of-three series. She traded games with Kevin “Casie” Eberlein in the semifinals stage but eventually came out on top in the best-of-five series (3-2) to gain entry to the Finals.
Liooon protected her Druid deck in the banning phase and was able to take Hunter and Shaman decks with her, as well, to round out her three decks for the best-of-five series.
However, the series didn’t require five games, as Liooon managed to sweep Brian “bloodyface” Eason’s Shaman, Druid, and Warrior decks in just three games to become the new Hearthstone Global Champion.
Following her impressive title-winning effort, Liooon shared a message with the fans in attendance.
“I’m here, with all the support from the fans,” VkLiooon said through a translator.
“I want to say to all the girls out there who have a dream for esports — for competition, for glory — if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should forget your gender and go for it.”
“I really love Hearthstone,” Liooon said in an interview with ESPN.
“I think it’s an incredibly great, well-made game that is very friendly to both genders. It doesn’t matter what gender you have, you can play it well, and you can succeed with the game. I’m imagining that maybe in five years, there’ll be half-half women and men competing at tournaments at this stage.”
Liooon was the only female player to qualify for the grand stage. The final eight players were made up of players from four regions, with two each coming from China, Asia-Pacific, the Americas, and Europe.
“I want to say to the girls that want to compete, that it could be challenging,” she said.
“You may encounter so many difficulties, but as long as you make up your mind, you should never give it up and try your best. Always try and work on your techniques, keep your chin down, be humble, learn, and progress.
“To be honest, I’ve been receiving a lot of help and support from other players, no matter if women or men. In rare cases, I got discrimination sometimes from male players, but what I do is just ignore them and prove them wrong with my achievement and performance.
“I didn’t expect to have so much value or meaning to the entire esports, but I want to encourage those women who wanted to compete. If I did that, it’s a success.”
Hearthstone Global Finals Prize Pool
- First: $200,000 — Xiaomeng “Liooon” Li
- Second: $100,000 — Brian “bloodyface” Eason
- Third-fourth: $50,000 — Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, Gao “Leaoh” Yang
- Fifth-sixth: $25,000 — Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo, Christos “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos
- Seventh-eighth: $25,000 — Francisco “PNC” Leimontas, Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin