A new Hearthstone World Champion was crowned on Sunday afternoon as Kenta "Glory" Sato took down Jaromír Vyskočil three games to one in a grand final unlike any in the competitive scene's history. In an event held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sato pumped his fists close to his chest before folding his face in his hands in front of him as Vyskočil conceded for the final time.
Overcome with emotion, all Sato could feel in the moment was the singular word on repeat within his head.
"The only word going through my head was 'Happy. I'm so happy,'" said Sato through an interpreter. "That was the only thing I could think of, the only thing I could say."
Even moments after the event concluded in a post-match press conference, Sato was still gitty with joy, as he laughed, answered questions, and sat upon his throne as the champ.
"To be honest, it hasn't completely sunk in yet that I am World Champion so I am trying to let it sink into my brain while thinking 'I'm so happy. Oh my God, I'm so happy," said Sato.
Sato fell behind Vyskočil in the first game of the best-of-five after the latter's Pen Flinger Paladin proved too strong for the champion's Warrior. From that moment forward, Sato never looked back. With a relatively painless victory on Rogue and Rattlegore Warrior, Game 4 pit the foes against one another in a Demon Hunter mirror match where the burst potential for both decks to end the game quickly added tension to each draw.
With both players' decks exhausted, Sato was able to push the final points of damage towards Vyskočil's face, forcing him to concede.
Along with the title of Hearthstone World Champion, Sato, from Japan, will receive a card in the game in his honor and a check for $200,000 for taking down the rest of the field. For coming in second, Vyskočil, from the Czech Republic, will receive $100,000.
While Sato is looking forward to everything that comes with winning an event of this caliber, there are some perks he prefers.
"Would it be bad for me if I'm being super honest and say the prize money makes me the happiest? Because as a player I'm not really seeking a dedicated card all that much so being called World Champion and getting all that prize money is what generally makes me happy about all this," said Sato.
After the match concluded, Vyskočil shared the following on his Twitter account:
Sato is the seventh World Champion in the game's history and the first from Japan. Information regarding what the professional circuit will look like in 2021 has not been made official as of yet.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.