Edwin “HOTMeowth” Cook is the HCT Americas Summer Championship 2016 following a 4-3 victory over Jeffery “Tarei” Liu in the Grand Final.
Tarei and HOTMeowth were among the eight players who qualified for the best-of-seven, single-elimination, Conquest tournament after the Summer Preliminaries in August.
While HOTMeowth only narrowly beat Jérôme “Monsanto” Faucher 4-3 in the quarterfinals, he managed to sweep Manny “dude7597” Eckert 4-0 in the semis to make it to the final battle against Tarei.
Tarei beat Abar 4-1 in the quarters and Rooftrellen 4-2 in the semis.
The Grand Final began hard and fast with Tarei's Zoolock against HOTMeowth Aggro Shaman. Tarei closed out the first game with the classic Power Overwhelming-Soulfire combo. Next was a Hunter-on-Hunter matchup that also ended in Tarei's favor.
HOTMeowth kept the Hunter deck for the next game against Tarei's C'thun Warrior. The Hunter's Deathrattle minions helped keep HOTMeowth on the board, despite the Warrior's numerous removal options, ultimately letting him close it out in Turn 9.
HOTMeowth brought his Shaman back out for Game 4 while Tarei stuck with his Warrior, which once again couldn't last long enough to bring out C'thun. HOTMeowth won on Turn 8.
C'thun Warrior's third outing was the charm, thanks to drawing both its Fiery War Axes early and thus able to keep HOTMeowth's Zoolock from snowballing.
With Tarei at match-point, HOTMeowth risked his Zoolock once more against Tarei's Malygos Druid. Ultimately, HOTMeowth was able to burn down Tarei before he could draw Malygos or Yogg-Saron.
The seventh and final game saw both players using Malygos Druid. Ultimately, Tarei put his faith in the power of Yogg and that faith was...not rewarded, as the Old God destroyed his Arcane Giant, leaving HOTMeowth's buffed 8/5 Stranglethorn Tiger alone on board as well as drawing him three cards. HOTMeowth closed the match with a nine damage Swipe, courtesy of Malygos, followed by 4 face damage from the Aspect of Magic.
With that victory, HOTMeowth qualified for a spot at the HCT World Championship at Blizzcon and the tournament's $25,000 grand prize.
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.