Amidst all the digital chaos surrounding the 6-months ban of Hearthstone’s elite player Blitzschung after his political outcry on a Twitch live-streamed interview, and Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan cutting ties with Blizzard Entertainment, 23-year old Xiaomeng ‘VKLiooon’ Li stormed the Hearthstone Grandmasters and managed to shock everyone at the convention this weekend by being the first woman to win at BlizzCon finals. A report from ESPN stated that she brutally thrashed her opponent Brian Eason, U.S. player popularly known in the gaming world as ‘Bloodyface’, she indeed gave Brian a bloody face by a score of three-nil and walked away with a grand prize of $200,000 cash and the Global Games trophy at Blizzcon 2019. She also happens to be the first woman to win in a major competition at BlizzCon across all Blizzard games.
Brian “Bloodyface” Eason also walked away with $100,000.
Everyone immediately knew Xiaomeng ‘VKLiooon’ Li and victory had kissed when her Highlander Hunter brought Eason’s Quest Druid to his knees in the third round and the best-of-five series was completed in a sweep.
Earlier on Saturday, Kevin ‘Casie’ Eberlein was also defeated by Li 3-2 in the semi-finals, with Brian “Bloodyface” Eason also advancing with a 3-2 victory over Gao ‘Leaoh’ Yang.
Kevin ‘Casie’ Eberlin and Gao ‘Leaoh’ Yang, who both played amazingly well, also went home $50,000 each from the $500,000 prize pool.
Casie and Bloodyface had both survived the elimination match a day earlier and prevailed 2-1 to the semi-finals in a decider match on Saturday morning.
VKLiooon about being a womain playing against men
During her victory speech on stage, she inspired girls all around the world who have the dream, passion for esports competitions and yearn for glory to go out there and get what they want regardless of their gender. She said, “You should just forget your gender and go for it.”
“It proves that I’ve made the right career choice,” VKLiooon told Tom Hoggins of The Telegraph. “Nobody believed I could make it as a pro player after my graduation last year. I did stake all I have.”
The irony of it all, two years ago Xioameng ‘VKLiooon’ Li just, like everyone else, waiting in line at the Hearthstone event for signups when a fellow gamer told her it was not a place for her, emphasizing on Li being a woman- “It’s not for you,” he said.
“And now I’m here, with all the support from the fans,” VKLiooon said using a translator, and further went on to motivate girls everywhere who believes in their dreams to go and get it regardless of their gender.
The convention opened with Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack rendering his apology on behalf of the company for how the punishment for Pro Hearthstone gamer Chung ‘Blitzschung’ Ng Wai was handled after he cried out publicly in support of the Hong Kong protests given the recent controversies surrounding the company and Hearthstone tournaments.
There are a lot of women involved in varieties of esports, but the gender disparities between pro players is an issue that has been there for a very long time. Yes! Since women are not denied entry in esports or their competitions, sociological barriers have proven to be the key reason women are discouraged from competing. The gender discrimination Li faced two years ago is most likely similar to what other women, whether casually or even at elite levels, go through when competing in esports and could have been enough to discourage her from competing but she defied the odds and emerged winner. She has been involved in the Hearthstone community for years. Xiaomeng ‘VKLiooon’ Li was not just the first woman to be crowned esports champion at BlizzCon and the first Chinese player to win a Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament but also the first female to emerge victorious at a sprawling BlizzCon event, Li had made history.
Prize pool listing according to Field Level Media
- First Place: Xiaomeng “Liooon” Li — $200,000
- Second Place: Brian “Bloodyface” Eason — $100,000
- Third and Fourth Place: Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, Goa “Leaoh” Yang — $50,000
- Fifth and Sixth Place: Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo, Christos “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos — $25,000
- Seventh and Eighth: Francisco “PNC” Leimontas, Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin.