After a weekend of tough competition, the Hearthstone Americas Winter Championship tournament is over, and a winner for the region has been crowned: 15-year-old William "Amnesiac" Barton (pictured above), the youngest professional Hearthstone player in the world.
Amnesiac's path here wasn't easy. He narrowly won his first best-of-five series against Talion on Friday, then lost in a 3-0 sweep on Saturday against a dominant performance by Nostam. This pushed Amnesiac into the lower bracket, where he had to face off against Talion once more to kick off the final day of the tournament. He beat Talion again and then took down AlSkyHigh for a spot in the grand finals.
Amnesiac's finals match was versus Nostam, the same opponent who had defeated him on Saturday. Amnesiac quickly took a two-game lead, winning with his druid and rogue decks. Nostam clawed back a win with his own druid deck, but in a final match-up of Amnesiac's control warrior versus Nostam's Reno warlock, Amnesiac proved victorious and took first place in the tournament as a whole.
Amnesiac first became a name to watch in the Hearthstone scene last year when, at the age of 14, he managed a number one finish in the ranked format for the game's August 2015 season. Players began turning to the young competitor for thoughts on deckbuilding and the current state of the meta. Soon after, Amnesiac was signed Team Archon, a Hearthstone-centric esports team run by Jason "Amaz" Chan.
Amnesiac participated in the Hearthstone World Championship North American qualifiers last year but failed to progress very far. By winning the Hearthstone Americas Winter Championship, Amnesiac has guaranteed himself one of 16 spots for the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship, plus $25,000 from this tournament.
Interviewed following the final match, Amnesiac described the feeling of winning as "unreal" and "incredible." He thanked all the viewers for watching and supporting him throughout the weekend. During the interview, he was flanked by his mother, who accompanied him to the tournament and was interviewed as well during the broadcast, gaining the tongue-in-cheek name "Momnesiac" by the casters.
Hearthstone's winter tournament season isn't done yet. The Europe Winter Championship will run from March 18-20, and the Asia-Pacific Winter Championship will run from March 24-26. Similar Championship events will be held in those three regions in spring and summer, along with a Last Call Invitational in the fall. These will determine the competitors who will meet up at the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon in November.
You can watch Amensiac's final series with Nostam in the video below.