The groups for the Winter Championship are out, “Pick your champion” is back

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 17 March 2017 17:24

Neirea, Palmblad, and Lovelychook form the group of death.

There’s less than a week left till the first HCT Championship for the year commences. Pairings for the group stage have now been drawn and once again Hearthstone fans have the option to pick their champion and earn packs as he progresses down the tournament.

The first installment of the “Pick your champion” initiative became a booming success as over 300,000 viewers tuned for the 2016 World Finals to make it the most popular Hearthstone event in history. As three months of competition over the winter season are about to conclude March 23-26, Blizzard hope that the promise of Hearthstone packs will draw appropriate viewership.

The event itself is almost as stacked as the last World Championship. Europe is seen as the favorite region to take the majority of the top spots with three of its four players having Blizzcon experience, but China has locked a strong roster, too. The red flags are led by three-times Gold Series champion Zhang “OmegaZero” Lin, considered the current strongest player in his country, and veteran Bohan “Lovelychook” Zhang, who took down Europe in the latest CN vs. EU Championship.

Even the Americas is looking formidable and is looking forward to redeeming the flop at last year’s quarter finals. Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang is seen by many as the young new king of his region, coming into the tournament as the top swiss performer of 2016, but up-and-comers such as “DrJikininki” and “DocPwn” have also showed promise.

The group stage will happen on March 23-25, overlapping with the quarter finals on Saturday. March 26 is championship Sunday.