RIT Esports wins Hearthstone Collegiate Championship

RIT’s Hearthstone student team named best in North America and wins $6,000 in scholarships

Chad Weeden

Alex Markoe, left, Jake Christoforo and William Anderson raise the first-place trophy at the 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall Finals.

Students from RIT Esports bested more than 300 teams from across North America to win the 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall Finals on Dec. 14.

The RIT student team took home the top trophy and $6,000 in scholarships for playing the digital card game Hearthstone. The live event brought together the final four teams in the tournament to play on stage at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., and online for Twitch streamers.

In the semifinals, RIT’s Hearthstone team started off with a 3-1 win over University of California, Berkeley. Matches in the tournament were played best of five games.

Moving on to the final match, team members found themselves in trouble with a 0-2 start against Simon Fraser University, in Canada. RIT’s team then pulled the reverse sweep to win the finals 3-2.

“After two recent finishes in the top four, including a trip to the ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship last year, it was great to see them bring home the victory,” said Chad Weeden, director of RIT’s Esports and the CyberSecurity Range (CSR) in the Global Cybersecurity Institute. “Many compliments were made toward the players not just in terms of their abilities but also their character by the likes of Blizzard and Tespa.

“Our student team is truly seen as leaders in the national Hearthstone community,” said Weeden.

The RIT Hearthstone team includes captain Jake Christoforo, a second-year computing and information technologies student from Canandaigua, N.Y.; Alex Markoe, a second-year game design and development major from Blauvelt, N.Y.; and William Anderson, a third-year computer science major from Howard Beach, N.Y.

Hearthstone is a digital collectible-card game set in the Warcraft universe that is available on PC, Mac, Android and iOS. In the turn-based card game between two opponents, players can use constructed decks of 30 cards along with a selected hero with a unique power. Players use their limited mana crystals to play abilities or summon minions to attack the opponent, with the goal of destroying the opponent’s hero.

Nearly 300 million people around the globe are engaging in electronic sports, called esports. Many universities, including RIT, are creating club or varsity teams to support students who want to represent their schools at the highest collegiate levels.

RIT Esports currently has about 160 students playing in 15 different competitive esports. The university has won four national championships in the games Dota 2, Dropzone and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. In early 2019, RIT announced that it is joining the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF) and adding a new esports lounge on campus for competitions and practice.

On the academic side, RIT has been a pioneer in the field of video game design and development, creating a master’s degree in 2006 and a bachelor’s degree in 2007. The university has been ranked one of the top schools in the world to study video game design for the last five years, according to international rankings from The Princeton Review.

A video of the 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championship Fall Finals is available on Twitch. For more information, go to the RIT Esports website.

Recommended News