Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li started off her Global Finals run with a statement, sending 2017 World Champion Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin to the lower bracket with a 2-0 win. The 23 year old then bested European veteran Chris "Fenomeno" Tsakopoulos 2-0 to earn her spot in the semifinals. There she went blow for blow with Kevin "Casie" Eberlein, edging out a 3-2 win to earn her spot in the Finals.

While many are familiar with how the Grandmasters program works in the West, China has a different system for qualifying competitors to the Global Finals. In China, there are four live events in a season, with two major tournaments taking place in each—a ‘Masters Group’ consisting of 64 elite players, and a 1024-person open bracket. VKLiooon placed Top 6 in the Masters Group at three of these events before punching her ticket to BlizzCon at the fourth and final event of the season in Tianjin.

In what seemed like fate, VKLiooon defeated Brian "bloodyface" Eason in a clean sweep to become the first ever Global Champion from China, also making history as the first woman to take home a trophy at BlizzCon. You can find the deck lists from the finals here

“I want to say to all the girls out there that have a dream for esports, for competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it,” said VKLiooon.

Congratulations VKLiooon!