Yesterday, Hearthstone Liooon, real name Xiaomeng Li, became the first woman to win a BlizzCon title after defeating Brian “bloodyface” Eason 3-0 in a best-of-five series at the 2019 Global Finals.
Liooon also became the first woman to ever win a major Hearthstone tournament in general, even counting competitions hosted outside of BlizzCon.
According to a report from ESPN, Liooon had the following to say to the audience after her victory:
“I want to say for all the girls out there who have a dream for esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it.”
Liooon was also quoted on the official Hearthstone Esports Twitter page after her victory, saying:
“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.”
“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.” – Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li pic.twitter.com/1PQczUHwim
— Hearthstone Esports (@HSesports) November 2, 2019
As well as being a massive victory for Liooon, it is a massive victory for women in esports all over the world. This is evidenced by the monumentally positive response to Liooon’s victory on social media:
“I was waiting in line for backup signups, and there was a guy who told me you are a girl, you should not wait in line here. This is not for you.”
— Sarah K. (@sarahwhatsup) November 3, 2019
I cried watching this history happen live. I don’t know if I will ever be able to put into words how much it means to see a female player win a huge tournament. I am sure this will not be the last time we see a female player take home the big ones. #VKLiooon https://t.co/4AGHKXHYur
— Nekkra @ BlizzCon (@NekkraGaming) November 3, 2019
What an absolutely monumental day. I was truly brought to tears during that victory speech from Liooon. I’m incredibly inspired as so many others are. I feel so lucky to have witnessed it. My favorite BlizzCon thus far. #VKLiooon pic.twitter.com/Tsdm1dk69b
— Alliestrasza ➡️ BlizzCon (@Alliestrasza) November 3, 2019
I’m crying, I’m so happy she won. Every single woman playing games can relate to this most likely. Big motivation. <3
— sunglitters (@snglttrs) November 2, 2019
Liooon took home a whopping $200,000 in prize money out of a total pool of $500,000, with the rest being distributed among the runner-up, the semi-finalists, and the quarter-finalists. Now the reigning Hearthstone GrandMaster champion, Liooon will be given the opportunity to defend her title at next year’s BlizzCon, where she will be looking to emerge victorious again.
Hearthstone has been incredibly controversial as of late, with the banning of Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for expressing solidarity with Hong Kong, and the subsequent banning of a collegiate team. Amidst a messy weekend of tension and insincerity, Liooon’s inspiring win serves as a much-needed breath of fresh air.