The 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Championship (HCC), sponsored by Republic of Gamers, will conclude with an epic blowout!

Hundreds of teams from colleges far and wide clashed in 3v3 matches through multiple group stages and the quarterfinals of the final single-elimination bracket. It will all come to a crescendo when the final three matches play out at the Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC), taking place in Houston, Texas from May 10-12.

Alexander “Azex” Ranallo, John “Yugioh” Schwab, and Isaac “Shadeslayer” Murray-Stark make up the three-man Hearthstone team that will be representing the University of Minnesota at CEC.

“I’m still in shock we've made it this far,” said Yugioh, the team’s dedicated Priest player and self-described mind reader. “Getting to the semifinals of the national [Collegiate] Hearthstone League is something I never dreamed we could do!”

The team formed through the Tespa-partnered UMN Esports club at school. Yugioh, the only Freshman on the team, is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Azex and Shadeslayer, who are both in their Senior year, are majoring in Biology and Astrophysics respectively.

Shadeslayer takes on the strenuous role of team captain. “I am the leader,” said Shadeslayer. “I start the conversation when it comes to both deck-lineup strategy and in-game decisions. If there is a disagreement, I have to make a decision and stick to it.”

They made it to the LAN finals under Shadeslayer’s leadership, but the team hit a snag in terms of results when playing from home over spring break. That said, their first-round opponents, hailing from the University of Oregon, have overcome some obstacles of their own on their way to Houston.

“We had to play some pretty big decider matches during our finals week,” said August “Srpen” Harrison, Captain of the University of Oregon squad. “It was difficult to prepare for the games as well as study.”

Srpen and team won their finals-week match, despite the circumstances. “I really consider us underdogs this year, seeing as it is our first time,” Srpen said. “We have put an incredible amount of work to be where we are so it would be great to see that hard work pays off.”

Who will win between U of M and U of O? With thousands in scholarship money on the line, as well as the ultimate title of Hearthstone Collegiate Champions, rest assured that every team in contention is brushing up on their knowledge of matchups, interactions, and intricacies.

"This has been an exciting year for collegiate esports,” said Yen Hoang, Community Manager at Republic of Gamers. “Republic of Gamers has supported collegiate esports from the beginning. Our goal is to be a part of the student journey and support their needs with state-of-the-art hardware to help them perform at their best during tournaments throughout the school year. We're excited to join forces with Tespa and ESPN at the Collegiate Esports Championship!”

Tune in to the Collegiate Esports Championship when the broadcast goes live at 10am PT Friday May 10 over at

About the CEC

Tespa and ESPN are excited to team up for the Collegiate Esports Championship! Schools from across the U.S. and Canada will compete live in Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft II at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, from May 10–12.

Tickets to the event for Tespa Members can be purchased here.

As our exclusive PC and monitor partner for the year, ROG’s Strix GL12CX  and ROG Strix XG258Q will be powering all of the on-stage action at the event. In addition, teams will have access to more ROG products in the official player practice area.