Chinese Hearthstone player Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li hoisted the Hearthstone Grandmasters Global Finals trophy on Saturday and made history.
After going out of her group undefeated and beating Kevin “Casie” Eberlein in a back-and-forth semifinal, Liooon faced USA’s Brian “bloodyface” Eason for the title. After three games, Liooon’s Shaman/Druid/Hunter line-up had trampled the American, igniting the crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Liooon’s victory is a monumental one for the game. She is the first female pro player to become Hearthstone World Champion in the game’s history — a tremendous achievement of its own. She is also the first player to claim a Global Finals trophy for China, a region that’s always been counted as one of the strongest ones in Hearthstone, but which always tripped over come playoffs time.
“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 just forget your gender and go for it,” Liooon, in tears, told the BlizzCon crowd.
But Liooon is not only the first female Hearthstone champion; she is also the first female pro gamer to be a World Champion in the entire BlizzCon esports history across all games.
With her victory, Liooon is sure to become a role model and an inspiration not just to her region, but to all aspiring female Hearthstone gamers. Blizzard’s digital card game has always counted as one of the most accessible to female players, and Liooon’s triumph might just be what the game’s esports scene needs.