It only took five shots, but finally QLASH got its first Top 16 in an Hearthstone Grand Prix Main Event, thanks to Dario ‘Pool8’ Ripa and to his fantastic Swiss run of 9 wins and 0 losses.

But the so-called “Swiss curse” - as Hearthstone players define it - stroke again: it’s not the first time that the best Swiss players got eliminated in the first round of Top 16. Nevertheless, this Swedish adventure has been more that positive for QLASH.

Pool8's ride

Dario started his Hearthstone Grand Prix Main Event with a double 3-2 against Hany and Nonorme. After a 3-0 win over Matty, Pool8 had to work a lot to get the better result against Deathsie.

When the match was at 2-2, Deathsie managed to reduce Dario’s Combo Priest with only 1 life, but Lady Luck gave our player some help to transform his Cabal Shadow Priest in a gigantic 18-18 minion with lifesteal. A couple of turns after, the match was over and Pool8 now had a record of 4-0.

After ending his Day 1 with the score of 5-0 (with the last game being a 3-1 win against Justsaiyan), Dario started Day 2 from where he had left off - winning. First casie and then AKAWonder were overwhelmed with 3-1 wins - the match against the Spanish player was streamed on the DreamHack official Twitch channel and propelled Pool8 into the Top 16 two rounds before the Swiss round had finished.

The 3-1 against Seko and the 3-0 over BoarControl translated into a clean sheet for Pool8 throughout the whole Swiss round and he was the only player to achieve this in the whole tournament.

Pool8 vs Faeli

Dario opened the Top 16 again on stream, this time against Faeli - one of the hottest Hearthstone players right now. Winning this match would have meant getting to the Top 8 and in the money - €1.000 at least.

Dario chose to ban his opponent’s Mage, while Faeli banned Dario’s Priest. Pool8’s Even Lock got the worst of it against Faeli’s Shudderwock Shaman, which was then beaten by our player’s aggressive Odd Paladin evening the match score.

Faeli won again with Token Druid, leaving Dario with his life hanging only on his Quest Warrior. Garrosh did his duty against Malfurion, but then had to bow down to an unstoppable Cubelock that gave to the Copenhagen Flames player the 3-2 win and an unfortunate elimination for Pool8 in his first elimination match.

GG, Dario!

When you end up undefeated in the Swiss round and then you lose your first match in Top 16 getting eliminated it is something very difficult to cope with. But this is the “Swiss curse”...

“We worked very hard these past months, and I say ‘we’ because this good result it’s the right reward for what the whole team did in 2018”, said Pool8 right after his loss against Faeli.

“When you have won 9 matches and you’re just 3 matches away to play for a DreamHack win, but then you lose and you’re out, it hurts like hell. But this is Hearthstone and we have to accept that something like this may happen”.

Next stops: Hearthstone Nationals and HCT Italy

There’s no time to think about the past, ‘cause the future is coming. And pretty fast. Next weekend, Pool8 along with his teammates Federica ‘MaeveDonovan’ Campana, and Gabriele ‘Wolcat’ Catterin - and of course also with the help of captain Luca ‘Bertels’ Bertelli - will take on the Hearthstone Nationals, which is a €5,000 prizepool tournament.

Then, two weeks after, QLASH is going to fight in the HCT Italy, the first Hearthstone Championship Tour ever played on Italian soil. And who knows, maybe Varese will be the theatre of another first time for QLASH!