The general consensus amongst me and some other Hearthstone pros was that this tournament meta for the Last Hero Standing (bo5 1-ban) format would be full of control lineups meaning that bringing both Rogue and Jade Druid would not only be a common thing to see, but was also was necessary evil in order to counter them. I practiced with a few people and thought that 3 “anti-control decks” with 1 deck that’s decent vs aggro and control (Burn Mage) would be viable if we didn’t run into too many aggro lineups. The problem was, however, that only my first opponent Genghis out of the entire 9-round swiss had this anticipated control/anti-control lineup.
TLDR: Expected more control, but only 1/9 of my opponents were control. Lineup is bad versus aggro, but I thought I could get by if I only faced a little bit here and there. I didn’t though and ended up going 4-5. Will reapproach strategy for Dreamhack Valencia
I brought Jade Druid and Quest Rogue which should be good versus control decks as they can only ban 1 of them, and then in addition, I have my Midrange Paladin which is great vs Jade Druid, Rogue, Mage, and Warrior. In theory, overall my lineup is great versus all Mages, Control Paladin, Taunt Warrior, all Priests, in addition to other Rogue+Druid lineups. I’m weak to aggressive decks as I have to rely on my Mage to get me there while I usually ban Rogue/Druid to protect my own Mage/Druid. Teched my Mage/Pally decks to also be better versus other Mage/Pally. Quest Rogue list with no Stonetusk Boars and with Swashburglar/Tar Creeper instead is meant to be better versus aggro.
Round 1 WIN vs Genghis: Warrior (Taunt), Druid (Jade), Paladin (Control), Rogue. I ban Rogue
I hadn’t heard of him before, but he’s a pro for the Spanish team, KPI Gaming. I’m extremely happy seeing his lineup Round 1 as I get confidence that my lineup, preparation, and meta call were correct! I ban Rogue as it can beat all of my decks. Game 1, unfortunately I queue Mage and he queues Jade Druid. I lose my Mage for free, then play my Midrange Pally which farms his entire lineup. I beat his Jade Druid as expected, then he manages a win with his Control Pally. I finish with Jade Druid and win as expected. Even though I lost a deck for free, I still come out easily on top (lineup-wise). The series was super close due to him getting me by queuing Druid first and in addition he played amazingly.
Round 2 WIN vs MaynardTcoX: Warrior (Taunt), Mage (Freeze), Druid (Unknown), Shaman (Control). I ban Druid
He’s a good friend and pro for Penta Sports. I see Warrior and Mage and once again am extremely happy in my lineup decision. If the Warrior is a Taunt Warrior, it can’t beat any of my decks. And usually if they don’t ban my Rogue, I queue it first to catch them off guard with their queue. He queues Mage and it turns out to be Freeze (bad matchup), so unluckily I lose my Rogue for free. I queue my Mage and proceed to beat sweep his classes in three favoured matchups: Freeze Mage, Control Shaman, and finally Taunt Warrior. He took some unnecessary damage in the Mage vs Shaman game, but I think overall I should win versus that lineup most of the time.
*SPOILER ALERT* I’m extremely happy at this point being 2-0 up winning against two good/known players with lineups that were within realm of my predictions. And then a Cinderella story in reverse occurs… I end up losing the next 4 rounds to unfavoured lineups and some weak RNG.
— Johnny Stone (@JohnnyStoneHS) June 17, 2017
Round 3 LOSS: JohnnyStone. Mage (Hybrid Burn), Paladin (Midrange), Priest (Dragon), Shaman (Evolve). I ban Shaman
Sad to face another good friend right off the bat, but he’s a great German pro and streamer for Flow Esports. Usually I wouldn’t ban Shaman, but he took a really long time thinking about his ban so I was expecting him to do something weird and leave both my anti-control (Rogue and Druid) decks up. I was correct and he ended up banning my Paladin. Long story short, I get 2-0’d by his Midrange Paladin almost getting swept in 3 unfavourable matchups. I highroll the Rogue vs Paladin Game with Vinecleaver + Quest spitting out free 5/5 Recruits, but then he easily finished me off with his Mage. Some sick highrolls though in Mage vs Paladin 😂 Turn 7 topdeck Curator, Firelands giving me Bittertide while I’m dying and then 2nd Firelands giving me a 2/2.
Round 4 Loss vs SomiTequila: Warrior (Unknown), Mage (Burn), Druid (Unknown), Shaman (Evolve). I ban Druid
Facing the 4th pro in a row, and Somi is no joke. He’s a Greek beast and in January he finished #1 Legend on EU. I continue banning Druid (or Rogue) as planned. First game I lose my Rogue to his Mage for free. I counterqueue with Jade Druid and win easily as expected. He queues Evolve Shaman and my Yogg Saron lowrolls Dinosizing his 0/3 Flametongue Totem to a 10/10 and freezes my own board. He didn’t have Bloodlust to kill me, but the 10/10 now is enough with a 2nd Flametongue and 2nd Jade Lightning in hand. I think his Warrior deck is Taunt Warrior therefore I win this series if I got the win here as I have 2 favoured matchups left.
In the last game, I lose to his Shaman since he got a 0/7 Public Defender from Evolve on Turn 4 which I was never able to get past. If that minion was nearly any other minion, I could trade with the 3/2, play Finja, and win that game almost every time from there. Rip me, 2-2 now.
Round 5 Loss vs FreddyKuhl: He’s also a player for Penta Sports. I ban Druid, he bans Mage. He queues Warrior first and I already know from his ban that I’m in trouble. Unsurprisingly, Pirate Warrior 3-0’s me 😐 I lose to nut draw openings and perfect topdecks and curve each game. Below: Topdeck Spellbreaker to silence my taunt, topdeck Mortal Strike after a slow Quest draw, topdeck Turn 5 Reaper to kill Fandral with two free 3/3 Dread Corsairs in hand 😑
Round 6 Loss vs iNPG: We both ban each other’s Rogue. He queues Token Druid and 3-0’s me. 2-4 now… feeling MAX salt and wanting to follow this guy out on the Ryanair diagram out.
Round 7 Win vs Hojken: Was a really nice guy, he came to Dreamhack with his kids and brought random decks pretty much with no plan 😂 He had Silence Priest, Midrange Hunter, Jade Nzoth Rogue, and some kind of Shaman while banning my Rogue. Was fun but my lineup beat his easily of course. 3-4 now.
Round 8 Loss vs S8ris: Was another nice guy with a nice haircut and hat. I got 3-0’d by his Midrange Pally and, in his words, “These three games were the best I’ve drawn all day” 😂 In the Mage vs his Pally game, there was a point where I win every time if he doesn’t go Megasaur -> Deathrattle Plants -> Sunkeeper Tarim. He topdecks Stonehill Defender into Tarim and I lose the game. 3-5 now.
Round 9 Win vs ChokladTomte: This is a guy who actually recognised me from my past involvement in the Tetris scene!! I actually had casted one of his games in a big online tournament before. Anyways, I lost vs his Token Druid with my Rogue and then my Midrange Pally cleaned up the rest.
I ended up 4-5 overall while losing three series 3-0 by aggressive decks: Token Druid, Pirate Warrior, and Midrange Paladin. Only my first 2 series were lineups that I expected to see while the rest were SO AGGRESSIVE!! I asked others and the field was so mixed. My friends Cydonia and Crane333 mainly faced aggro decks like me while others faced predominantly control lineups. When looking at the Top 16, Mage was the most represented deck with 11 players, Jade Druid in 2nd with 10 players, and Rogue and Evolve Shaman tied for 3rd with 8 players bringing it (Source: HearthPwn). Only 4 of my opponents had Mage, only 1 had Jade Druid (that I knew of), and only 2 had Rogue. I think it’s safe to say that my tournament experience was not very representative of the field.
Reflecting on everything, maybe there was a better way to be strong versus control decks as well as aggro decks. The issue is though is it seemed to be impossible to make a lineup that’s good against everything. Orange won with Jade Druid and Rogue as anti-control decks with two anti-aggro decks, one of which was also good versus control. I was also thinking of a lineup like this with the Control Paladin, but it seemed like the midrange Murloc Paladin I brought was better against what I was expecting. People ended up being aggressive and were willing to ban my Mage which left me with Jade Druid, Quest Rogue, and Midrange Pally which got farmed. I was really happy with my play and preparation, but clearly I will have to look at the winning lineups here at Dreamhack Summer to reapproach my lineup for Dreamhack Valencia next month in July.
— 💀 (@Deathsie) June 21, 2017