Posesi became the world champion after winning a Quest OTK Demon Hunter mirror match. He earned a score of 3-2 against his final opponent, who is also his friend and practice partner. Not to mention the reigning world champion.

Wataru “posesi” Ishibashi has won the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship! The victory earns him a spot in the Hall of Champions and the lion’s share of the $500,000 prize pool. He claimed the title after going up against Kenta “glory” Sato in the Grand Finals, who is a fellow competitor from Japan, a friend and also a practice partner.

Post-victory posesi looked clearly in shock, but his run in the tournament speaks volumes for his ability.

The 2021 Hearthstone World Championship consisted of the game’s top eight players duking it out against each other within the Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion. 

Competitors battled under the conquest with a ban format. This involved bringing four decks and four unique classes into the fray. Each player banned one deck from their opponent, and the best-of-five winner advanced to the next stage. 

2021 Hearthstone World Championship standings
2021 Hearthstone World Championship standings. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

How posesi reached the top

The decks that helped posesi claim victory included Quest OTK Demon Hunter, Garrote Rogue, Celestial Druid and Face Hunter. 

Throughout the weekend, posesi went up against players such as Gabriel “Gaby” Jeanne, Facundo “Nalguidan” Pruzzo and Kyle “McBanterFace” Spigelman. 

And come finals, we were like, ‘I can’t believe we’re actually going against each other in the finals.’

Posesi

When posesi reached the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship grand final, he went up against Kenta “glory” Sato. 

Not only do posesi and glory both hail from Japan, but they’re also friends and practice partners alongside Yashina “Alutemu” Nozomi. 

Both glory and posesi represented Japan in the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship
Both glory and posesi represented Japan in the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

“So since we were [on] the complete other side of the bracket, we were like ‘Oh, we’re not gonna hit each other unless we’re in the finals, so let’s share some information,’” posesi said in a post-match interview.

Before the games against glory began, the two had a conversation as well. “And come finals, we were like, ‘I can’t believe we’re actually going against each other in the finals,’” he revealed. 

Posesi versus glory in the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship

In the first game against glory during the grand final, posesi earned a point by playing Garrote Rogue against Celestial Druid. This was followed up by another victory thanks to Celestial Druid against Quest OTK Demon Hunter.

When it came down to the third game, glory prevented a clean sweep using Celestial Druid against posesi’s own Quest OTK Demon Hunter deck. In the following game, glory tied the score 2-2 with Face Hunter. 

Posesi’s Quest OTK Demon Hunter deck
Posesi’s Quest OTK Demon Hunter deck. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

The final game between posesi and glory consisted of a Quest OTK Demon Hunter mirror match. Although posesi had combo pieces during the mid-game, he needed the card draw against glory’s hand. 

Posesi persisted and soon drew into Il’gynoth and the rest of his combo pieces. After placing Il’gynoth on the board, he played two Mo’arg Artificer minions, a Talented Arcanist and a Felscream Blast for 36 damage to the face.

Posesi versus glory in the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship grand final
Posesi versus glory in the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship grand final. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

With a score of 3-2, posesi won the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship, taking home $200,000 and earning a well-deserved place in the Hall of Champions.

Group A standings before the semifinals. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.
Group B standings before the semifinals. Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

While posesi took home the lion’s share of the prize pool, his fellow competitors also received their share. Since glory claimed second place, he earned $100,000. Meanwhile, McBanterFace and Gaby won $50,000 for their performances in the semifinals. This meant Nalguidan, David “Frenetic” Neila Quiñones, Huang “Xiaobai” Dehui and Zhu “Tianming” Xinyu received $25,000.

This marks the end of the 2021 season, but the Hearthstone Esports team have already revealed their plans for 2022.

Amy Chen -

Amy Chen

| Twitter: @AmyChenOfficial

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!