The HGG finals are right around the corner with the final eight countries left in the competition squaring off in a highly anticipated LAN final in California. Can Brazil continue their hot streak? Will Norway’s star-studded roster live up to expectations? Can Singapore make use of their unexpected golden ticket? All will be revealed over the course of the final stage of 2018’s Hearthstone Global Games over the course of the next two days.

It doesn’t take much analysis to figure out that Group A offers a much easier path to the playoffs – while it features two sides that made just as far during last year’s competition in the form of China and New Zealand, not one of these teams managed to put up anything better than a 4-2 score during the initial Swiss round of the tournament – a feat the Kiwis only accomplished by getting a bye in the final round, too –, though the fact that the Spanish managed to draw first blood against the Brazilians is not to be underestimated. That is the first defeat of Lucas, Neves, Perna and Rase so far in this year’s HCT and perhaps the most impressive individual result of the second round. The potential meeting between Hong Kong and China could be a spicy affair even between the sanitized confines of a Blizzard-sanctioned event – and don’t be so sure about the Celestial Empire’s residents making it through this bracket. While it’s true that they’ve done fairly well throughout this tournament, the Chinese players have been quite underwhelming on the international scene recently, both at the high-profile EU vs CN event and the Season 2 playoffs.

Meanwhile, Group B features both favorites in the form of Brazil and Norway alongside the Cinderella story that is Bulgaria and the resurrected Singaporean side. Second-placed in the Swiss portion and only losing to Brazil, they were expected to make it to the business end of this year’s Hearthstone Global Games but ended up losing a close decider series against Taiwan. As it turns out, their opponents were stream sniping, an infraction only discovered after the winners themselves have uploaded a video from their perspective. They were promptly disqualified, giving the Singaporeans another chance at redemption. While the obvious headliners are Brazil with their incredible winrate and Norway with their great individual players, don’t underestimate Bulgaria: they’ve also only lost a single match in the Swiss portion and went 2-0 in the second round, technically giving them a better chance to progress than the Scandivanians who ended up 14th in the starting portion of the Hearthstone Global Games.

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