Yes, a Hearthstone esports event is what put Blizzard into a humongous mess, but let’s take a moment away from that for the sake of Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li of China, who won the game’s Grandmasters final in a clean sweep to take the crown and become the first woman to win a Hearthstone global championship.
Lion made a meal of the competition leading up to the grand finals, cutting through 2017 World Champion tom60229 and EMEA Grandmaster Fenomeno without dropping a game and earning a hard-fought 3-2 win against Casie. The Grandmasters final would see Lion against Brian “bloodyface” Eason of Atlanta, GA, where she took the match in a clean 3-0 sweep.
After the win, Lion let her emotions spill forth as well as offered some words of encouragement to other female gamers. “This is the best way to strike back at those people who doubted me only because I am a girl. It proves that girls can be strong pro players, just as guys do,” she’s quoted as saying. She also had some further encouragement in a post-match statement:
“I want to say to all the girls out there, who have a dream for competition: If you want to do it, and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it.”
Lion walks away with an impressive-looking trophy (that lights up!) and a sizeable $200,000 prize. ESPN Esports has further thoughts from Lion in a post-match interview, which we’ve embedded below.