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Kenta “glory” Sato is the winner of the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship. With the new title, he received $200,000 USD and earned a spot in the Hall of Champions.

“The only word that was going through my head was “happy,” he said. “I’m so happy. That was the only thing I could think of. That was the only thing I could say.” Rika Takahashi Chen translated his responses to press questions.

“Thank you very much,” he told Daily Esports. “I couldn’t really react to all of the support I was given, but I noticed not only in Japan — there were people overseas that were really supportive of me through his whole thing, and that just made me really happy because it’s kind of like, there are people that would be supporting someone like me — like even me, so [it] gave me the feeling that I really have to try harder. I just want to say thank you.”

This year’s Hearthstone championship was different in terms of the center stage. As opposed to being at BlizzCon with a live audience, for example, glory played from home. Leading up to the championship, glory said that he practiced 10 hours a day on ladder.

“In overall preparations, it was a lot easier for the work at home scenario because [of] food, thinking about jet lag — of all those things considered, it’s easier to play from home,” he told Daily Esports. “But, at the same time, BlizzCon is a huge stage, so I’m kind of sad that I wasn’t able to attend such a big venue. I would loved to have played games in front of [a] large audience, but I’m sure I would’ve been nervous as hell doing it.”

Prior to glory’s win, the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship’s semifinal matchups were heated as four players duked it out to get into the finals.

After a 3-0 victory against Jerome “Monsanto” Faucher, glory earned his spot. Meanwhile, Jaromír “Jarla” Vyskočil and Vladislav “SilverName” Sinoto battled against each other with Jarla being victorious.

The final matchup in the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship consisted of glory and Jarla. While glory played his Control Warrior deck, Jarla opted for his Paladin one.

In the first game, Jarla had to carefully consider his opponent’s removal cards while not losing out on important resources. After glory played Brawl for the board clear, Jarla was still able to get more minions.

When glory used Battle Rage, he ended up drawing another Battle Rage, which was unable to help him deal with his opponent’s minions. Trading was done, which made him lose a bit of tempo. Seeing that glory was unable to deal with the board for a couple of turns, Jarla buffed his minions and started to set up lethal.

Brawl was then used again in the game, however, with the continuous stacks of Libram of Wisdom cards coupled with Pen Flinger value, it was soon over for glory.

Jarla's Paladin deck against glory in the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship finals.
Jarla’s Paladin deck against glory in the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship finals.

In the second game, glory’s Rogue deck went against Jarla’s Priest. Jarla had to not only deal with a buffed Edwin VanCleef, but also a growing Questing Adventurer. By his turn seven, the game was won by glory.

Match three of the Hearthstone game consisted of glory’s Control Warrior and Jarla’s Control Priest. It was a battle of saving resources while trying to not fall behind as they both considered their moves for the long game. When glory began to gain significant armor thanks to Kargath Prime, Jarla had to copy it to both get rid of the minion and game armor himself.

After playing Rattlegore, it looked tough for Jarla, as glory was able to get ahead by summoning another Rattlegore minion. The game went into fatigue for glory, and by that time, he won against his opponent.

The Soul Demon Hunter deck played by glory in the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship.
The Soul Demon Hunter deck played by glory in the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship.

Round four was Hunter against Hunter, however the deck archetypes were different. While glory used Soul Demon Hunter, Jarla chose the OTK Demon Hunter deck. By turn six, Jarla had to find a way to stabilize his life total.

Meanwhile, glory had Skull of Gul’dan as both his left and right Outcast cards. The card drew him three cards and reduced their cost by three mana. His second Skull of Gul’dan resulted in an Il’gynoth in his hand. It looked great for him until Jarla played Acidic Swamp Ooze, his tech card, to get rid of glory’s weapon. Jarla was able to escape the jaws of defeat. However, it wasn’t enough as glory was able to find Soulshard Lapidary, heal with Soul Fragment cards, and push for lethal.

With the win, glory became the winner of the Hearthstone 2020 World Championship.