The concept of redemption is an all-time classic in society. Movies are made about it, singers and songwriters like Johnny Cash and Bob Marley sang about it - second chances are appreciated. While they are still unique in the eSports setting, the ESL Legendary Series went with it anyways. 25 fallen heroes had the chance of redeeming themselves, fighting for one of four slots to Burbank, California to participate in the Season 2 LAN Final. For the open bracket standouts it was the rare chance for a second first impression, while established players like Savjz, Chakki and the Season 1 Champion SilentStorm had their eyes set on returning to the ESL Legendary Series Grand Finals stage.
Starting off the four day extravaganza in the name of redemption were fan favorites like Savjz and Trump, paired up in a group with up-and-coming stars like Ignite or the two-time Challenger Series winner TooWet. Unfortunately for the American, yet another dream shattered right away. TooWet has shown tenacity and a never-give-up mentality throughout this season of the Legendary Series, but once more his efforts went up in flames. This time it was the first round against Chinese player Chiang that crushed his dreams. A 3-1 loss marked the first ever third elimination from an ESL Legendary Series event in just one season - a milestone TooWet could have done without. In the end it was Savjz and Trump, the two big stars of the scene, fighting for the one spot to Burbank, California. For Savjz a trip back to the ESL Legendary Series LAN was at stake, the very same place that sparked up “unsportsmanlike” controversy around the humble Fin last time. A chance for a do-over, in both the performance and controversy department. On the other side Trump, the Mayor of Value Town and Arena specialist. The TSM star was on the verge of qualifying for his first big LAN event himself. Usually the popular streamer and fan favorite reaches events through the invite system, this time he could punch the ticket on his immediate performance and show he is a contender to be respected. The Grand Finals turned into an absolute “slobberknocker” as Jim Ross might say. After grabbing a quick 2-0 lead, Trump was only inches away from sunny California, while the frustration was clearly visible on Savjz’ face. Despite that, the Fin rallied back against Trump’s oldschool Control Warrior deck, finding a win with both the aggressive Mech Shaman and Zoolock. 2-2 equalizer, everything hanging by a thread. Only one person would seize the chance for redemption, the other one would suffer the horrible agony of defeat. It all boiled down to Control Warrior against Grim Patron Warrior. Savjz tried to get everyone in there, tried to get the big advantage with the popular combo deck, but to no avail. Trump reigned supreme, understood the necessity of the matchup, utilized his hero power and walked away with a ticket to Burbank, California.
The struggle of Chakki has been well documented in the history of Hearthstone. The Dignitas pro is one of the best Hearthstone has to offer, yet he can’t overcome the final barrier. This tragic element came into play once more - Chakki the second place finisher. “Forever second” might be a quote to describe Chakki’s performance in a lot of recent tourneys the best. During the first season of the ESL Legendary Series, the American player already showcased that uncanny ability to go for Silver. In Burbank, California even, back in the first ever big ESL Grand Finals, he played his way all the way to the final dance - finding himself on the losing end against SilentStorm. At this point in time, his Silver medal display has reached a high in the Hearthstone community, showing not only the Burbank runner-up spot, but also his second place finish in the Root Invitational and the Kinguin for Charity Easter Edition. During the regular season he came close to a second place, but ultimately had to settle for 3rd-4th with a loss to Savjz in the Semifinals of Week 3. Now it was time for redemption, time to break the curse and go for the throne. Unfortunately for him, Hearthstone showed it’s cruel side once more. After grueling and intense matches against BunnyMuffins and Indian player Gcttirth, Chakki found himself in the Grand Finals once more - one victory away from redemption - maybe one victory away from breaking the curse once and for all. Squaring off with him was Leadpaint, a former Challenger Series winner, who reached the Legendary Series twice with outstanding performances in the Open bracket. Ultimately the tenacity of Leadpaint was rewarded, as opposed to the eternal struggle of Chakki. His run in the second season of the Legendary Series stops one win away from reaching the ultimate redemption, while Leadpaint rises from the ashes and into his first big LAN competition.
In Day 3 it was time for the Champion’s attempt at redemption. Ever since the ESL Legendary Series, SilentStorm has been put on the map. The current member of Team Celestial started the first season as an unknown player, making his way to Burbank from the Open Qualifier, only to end up winning a big $25,000 USD LAN event. Ever since then, the Canadian is chasing that “next big title” to avoid the tag of a “one-hit wonder”. The ESL Legendary Series Redemption tournament was the perfect setting for it, ideally ending with his title defense still a possibility. That it wouldn’t be an easy task was clear once the participants were released. Next to SilentStorm were some of the toughest opponents the ESL Legendary Series had to offer. Not only was Taiwanese newcomer Roger in the mix, but also Hearthlytics Japanese star Koroneko, as well as revered NA talents like LuigEzz and Luffy fighting for the LAN seed. For SilentStorm the cruelty of Hearthstone was showcased, coming off a high and a great lethal play against koroneko with his Priest, only to fall short against his next foe Roger. From a Lightwarden lethal in the Semis, to the ceremonial second place finish in the Redemption Cup. In the end it was Roger from the Asian team Wayi Spider to clinch the LAN seed over SilentStorm, replicating their scoreline from an earlier match between the two. Back in the second week of the ESL Legendary Series both strong competitors already clashed in group stage. Back then, just like this time, Roger made it out by the slightest of margins, defeating the fierce Canadian opponent with 3-2. Back in the group stage the victory didn’t quite mean as much as it did now, seeing as Roger will be the third Taiwanese player to reach the ESL Legendary Series LAN Finals - following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen pinpingho and Weifu.
The proud Hearthstone nation of Taiwan even had the chance of sending two of their own to Burbank to compete for the prestigious Legendary Series title. One day after Roger had punched his ticket, Tom60229 had an incredible run through his redemption bracket. After sweeping Iceland's own Kaldi in the first round, the first clash of two Asian players occurred in the entire Redemption bracket. Hong Kong against Taiwan, fan favorite against newcomer, Archon against Yoe Flash Wolves, Amaz against Tom60229. This time Taiwan prevailed, as Tom60229 seemed destined to follow his countryman Roger all the way to the sunny West Coast of the United States of America. The only person standing in his way in the Grand Finals? Ostkaka from Root Gaming. The Swede had his eyes not only on Burbank, but also on the ultimate redemption. No other player throughout the four weeks of ESL Legendary Series competition had a bigger thrive to redeem himself than Ostkaka. Coming off the runner-up spot in the third edition of SeatStory Cup, Ostkaka played himself through the Challenger Series to qualify for the third week of the Legendary Series. It all lined up, all looked to be the “Ostkaka month”, the big breakout performance onto the big stage, straight into the spotlight. It was at that moment, with that setting, when things turned ugly and Ostkaka left the Legendary Series like no one before him - with a 0-6 scoreline in the group stage. From the high of SeatStory Cup, to the low of 0-6 elimination in the group stage. A rollercoaster of emotions. The Redemption tournament gave the Swede the chance to correct the past, put himself in a better light and back into the competition for the $25,000 USD prize at the LAN event. He did just that. With the combination of luck and skill, Ostkaka played himself through Liimujx and Tom60229 for the biggest and best redemption story of the season. From 0-6 to Burbank, from elimination in group stage to the main bracket of a major LAN.
With that, eight of the 16 spots in Burbank, California are taken. LifeCoach, Kolento, Kabi and Reynad won their weeks in ESL Legendary Series, Trump, Leadpaint, Roger and Ostkaka walked out of their Redemption groups victories - setting up for an international LAN event already. Eight players representing six nations, a total of six Hearthstone teams present. But eight players are still missing from the spectacle. The last hurrah will be the Last Chance Qualifier being held on May 23rd. In a massive open bracket everyone can join, only eight players will emerge victorious and go to Burbank. The last chance for SilentStorm to defend his title, last chance for Savjz, Chakki and Pingpingho to make it back to the LAN event - last chance for you to fulfil your destiny and let your dream come true. Everyone can join, everyone can sign up and try his luck - who will be the next SilentStorm?
Missed the Redemption tournament in action? Check out every match on demand on our Youtube Channel.