The clash betweeh the East and the West is coming next month and Europe has already started recruiting its team. Interestingly enough, the roster might end up without any famous Hearthstoners in it.
China versus the world has been one of Hearthstone's most entertaining traditions. Since Hearth2P first hosted the China vs NA showdown all the way back in December 2013, the big esports nation of the east has been welcoming challengers from all over the world, fighting them both offline and online.
Even though the Chinese Hearthstone scene was constantly growing, it remained largely untelevised to the western audience and for many of the European and North American heroes, the east was a terra incognita. This didn't stop them from knuckle-punching China in the early events, however: NA took the first tournament 4:3 while Europea absolutely dominated the second episode 4:0. China's only cross-scene success was earned in June when NetEase hosted the CN vs SEA challenge, which the latter lost 1:3.
With time, though, China became synonimous with the lavish LAN events and enormous prize pools and the westerners had to take the competition slightly more seriously. The WEC in August also went to the hands of a foreigner, namely Tempo Storm's Drew "TidesofTime" Biessener but the victory wasn't with flying colors to say the least. Two Korean and one Chinese player trailed behind Tides, leaving decorated names like Rdu, Darkwonyx and Alchemixt behind.
If WEC was the first cold shower for the western audience, the real wake up came during the $190,000 WCA tournament, featuring the largest prize pool in Hearthstone outside the world championship. After four days of offline arena battles in China, it was home turf players LiBo and TiddlerCelestial - the latter would later go on to become the BlizzCon 2014 runner up - who snatched away the lion's share of the prize pool, leaving the wetern opposition somewhat disappointed.
And while the face to face battles are still statistically in "foreigners'" favor, China has not given up on its pursuit to rule the west. With the announcement of the second season of CN vs EU, NetEase's CEO William Ding announced a juicy incentive for the Chinese players - a Ferrari!
Europe has heeded the call and qualifications for the team has begune. Four representatives have been selected already by the virtue of being winners in said qualifiers... but they don't necessarily represent what one could consider a dream team.
The most accomplished name of the four is Method's Max "Max" Simpson. A BlizzCon EU top 16 and DreamHack Bucharest top 8 finisher, Max has some televised experience on his account, though he's still searching for his first major victory.
Next to him is another known name, though not of Hearthstone fame. Magic: The Gathering pro tour champion Stanislav Cifka managed to win the first qualifier and will play for the first time on a big Hearthstone stage.
The other two players are yet to write their own stories as neither EntryFee from Switzerland nor Skylink from Portugal are known in the Hearthstone community. Denying the Chinese a Ferrari however - now that would be a great first chapter.
The eight European winners will go against the Golden Series grand finalists on March 19th.