RECAP: Jakattack Represents Team NZ @ Blizzcon 2018
In late October and early November, Breakaway’s very own Jack “Jakattack” Gifford was a member of the New Zealand team competing in the Hearthstone Global Games at Blizzcon 2019. A phenomenal performance from him alongside fellow Kiwi Hearthstone players Ki Yin “Mage” So, Pathra “Pathra” Cadness and TingTong was well rewarded as the team placed in the Top 4 at the event for the first time ever.
We had a chat to Jakattack about the trip and the event, and it was clear he didn’t let the stage get to him.
“HGG was the biggest event I’ve attended. Blizzcon was absolutely massive and while Hearthstone wasn’t stealing the show at the convention, the online viewer base was giant”.
With a 4-2 record in the Group of 48, taking down Portugal and Sweden 3-2 before dropping to Taiwan and Singapore and then finally beating Italy 3-2, the team secured their spot in the next round with a 10th place finish.
The team’s first match as part of Group C in the Round of 16 was against Taiwan, and it wasn’t long before the Kiwis took them out as Jakattack’s victory with his Paladin deck was followed up by Pathra and TingTong taking wins with a Hunter and Priest deck respectively. They had to wait a while for their next game however, as the match against Taiwan was the first in the entire round and their next would be the very last.
With the 3-0 win and their first measure of revenge under their belts, New Zealand would advance to the round of 8 with a win over Singapore. They didn’t hesitate as they closed out the match 3-1 to lock in a spot in the next round. Jakattack mentioned
“I feel like I made some great decisions on Day 1, especially coming up clutch on some of the calls vs Hong Kong in our elimination match up.”
That series against Hong Kong came about after the New Zealanders went down against eventual champions China 1-3 before bouncing back in a thrilling best of 5 against Spain to go 1-1 in the group. Top 4 was on the line, and it started off with a loss in the series against Hong Kong as Jakattack went down against blitzchung. TingTong took the second game to put the series at two apiece.
It certainly got dicey for the Kiwis, as Mage lost to Shy and subsequently put the Chinese team on match point. However, as Jack said, a few clutch calls in the two games Pathra and Mage then played against losefield and blitzchung respectively gave them the 3-2 victory in thrilling fashion.
With Top 4 secured, it got very tough for the New Zealanders as they went down 0-3 in their semi-final match against the Brazilians, and our Kiwis tied with Norway for 3/4th. Jack had a final comment on the event.
“As far as our performance went, our preparation for the event was definitely flawed and we went into the weekend with a bad read on our opposition, preparing our decklists for an aggressive field when it turned out to be overwhelmingly greedy. Despite the shortcomings in decklists and some fairly mediocre ingame RNG, we did manage to make top 4 on the back of favourable queue orders and some clutch decision making in back to back 5 game series. In terms of my own game play, I wasn’t happy with the sloppy mistakes against Brazil, losing what could have been a favourable series. Overall it was a great trip and I think we made the best out of the hand we were dealt on the day.”