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Following a series of intense games, and some shenanigans with the Angry Chicken card, Huang “KZGXiaobai” Dehui took home the gold in the Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge tournament. Here’s how it all played out.

During the quarter-finals, KZGXiaobai duked it out against Kenta “okasinnsuke” Sekiguchi. While KZGXiaobai had an aggressive Pain Warrior deck against his opponent in the first game, okasinnsuke secured the win with a clutch Soul Mirror, managing to gain some armor.

However, KZGXiaobai did not give up in the second game. He brought Pain Warrior into play again against E.T.C. Warrior and tied the score 1-1. The third match was a close one, with his Libram Paladin against okasinnsuke’s Whirlkick Rogue earning him a score of 2-1.

The fourth match went to okasinnsuke, but KZGXiaobai was able to achieve victory in the next game with Zoolock. After drawing Kanrethad Prime and creating a full board, KZGXiaobai finished with a score of 3-2, which secured his place in the semi-finals.

Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge
KZGXiaobai versus okasinnsuke at Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

Onto the semis

The Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge semi-finals were just as intense for KZGXiaobai. He played four games against Marco “Turna” Castiglioni, before earning a place in the finals.

During the first game, Turna had a slow start and wasn’t able to get the Libram cards early on. KZGXiaobai pressed the advantage and won with combo after combo. Although KZGXiaobai won the second game with his Zoolock deck, he didn’t perform a clean sweep with the next one.

KZGXiaobai versus Turna at Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

This was because Turna put up a fight with his Token Druid against Libram Paladin. Although KZGXiaobai was able to clear a couple of his opponent’s minions using two Pen Flinger cards, it was not enough. KZGXiaobai’s turn five was high stakes, as he had to watch out for Savage Roar followed up by a potential lethal. He put taunts on the board in his next two turns. However, Turna was able to get through them and go face with a Gibberling.

Despite the score of 2-1, KZGXiaobai was able to win the fourth game with the help of a buffed Angry Chicken. Turna had the option to summon a Silver Hand Recruit, but the risk of enraging the Angry Chicken card was too high.

By the time it was Turna’s third turn, he still did not have a board. The Angry Chicken continued to deal damage and helped KZGXiaobai get into the finals.

KZGXiaobai’s Angry Chicken stays on the board. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

The final showdown

In the first game of the finals against Michaël “Maverick” Looze, KZGXiaobai played Zoolock against Secret Rogue. By Maverick’s eighth turn, the game was almost over as Zooloack gained control of the board.

Although Maverick was able to get rid of a couple of minions later on, it was not enough, as KZGXiaobai played Wicked Whispers to buff his minions and win the game. 

Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge
KZGXiaobai versus Maverick at Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

Maverick opted to play his Secret Rogue deck again in the next Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge game. This time, it was against KZGXiaobai’s Whirlkick Rogue. Maverick needed a clear board in order to safely play Edwin Vancleef, but his opponent did not wait up for him. Instead, KZGXiaobai generated extra value while Maverick was running on fumes.

The third and final game between KZGXiaobai and Maverick at the Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge involved two more picks. KZGXiaobai and Maverick went with Libram Paladin and Secret Rogue, respectively.

KZGXiaobai had an aggressive start, continuing to dominate the board. By his fifth turn, it was the return of the Angry Chicken and KZGXiaobai wasted no time buffing it. The card continued to get buffed in the next turn, helping deal seven damage to his opponent’s face.

Maverick needed a card to stop the damage. He eventually got rid of the Angry Chicken and although he was able to create a strong board, KZGXiaobai used a series of Pen Flingers to help achieve lethal. 

KZGXiaobai wins Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

With a 3-0 sweep over his opponent, KZGXiaobai became the Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge champion. 

Standout plays

Taking second place, Maverick had some notable games throughout the day as well. One of his stand-out games happened during the quarter-finals. There, he duked it out against his opponent’s Token Druid with Secret Rogue. On turn three, he managed to summon a 14/14 Edwin VanCleef.

Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge
Maverick playing a 14/14 Edwin VanCleef on turn three. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

During the semi-finals, Maverick also fought against Masaya “Trahison” Sasaki. In order to win against his opponent’s Whirlkick Rogue with his won Highlander Priest deck, Maverick used Mind Vision to get Fireball.

A deadly combination of Eviscerate, two Coins into Zephrys and Lava Burst, won him the game.

The different Hearthstone Masters Tour regions and schedules. Image provided by Blizzard Entertainment.

With the conclusion of Hearthstone Masters Tour Ironforge, players can begin their preparations for the next tournament. The next Hearthstone event is scheduled to go ahead between April 30 and May 2.


Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!


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