Well guys, the Hearthstone World Championship (Free) is almost upon us! The time has come to separate, well, the winners from the losers I suppose. This week’s been all about BlizzCon and HWC, as was expected, but we still had some interesting interviews and smaller tournaments going on. Kibler had some opinions on the role of Silence in the game while Reynad talked about the role of RNG in the professional scene. We also had the always-entertaining Challengestone tournament and also some other little events here and there. As for the state of the meta, well, the absence of Patron Warrior is definitely being felt at the top ranks of Ladder, and there’s a search for stability.
Not that I’m hoping for the meta to stabilize so early on, but as is always the case in Hearthstone, it doesn’t take too long for that to happen. We also got some interesting spoilers into the upcoming (?) Co-Op Tavern Brawl which many players have been anxiously waiting for. So, overall this wasn’t a dry week, but with the first leg of HWC coming up in a few days, the Hearthstone world is definitely looking towards Anaheim, CA.
Hearthstone World Championship Approaches
After a whole year of Hearthstone matches, discussions on the format of the game, debates about nerfs and overpowered cards, the time has come to see who’s going to reign supreme in the HWC. From October 28th to October 31st, sixteen of the best Hearthstone players in the world will meet in the group stages. The players come from the Americas, Europe, China, and the Asia-Pacific Region, and they had to go through a tough qualification process to make it this close to the grand HWC Prize. In the Group Stages, the players will compete in four groups with two players advancing from each group to form the Top 8 that will advance to the single-elimination bracket.
The Top 8 will meet on November 6th and 7th to fight it out for the title of Hearthstone World Champion and their share of the $250,000 prize pool. As you can expect, the players have been preparing for the tournament for weeks; however, they’ve had to deal with the very recent meta change (caused by Warsong Commander getting tossed at the bottom of an ocean), so we’ll see which one of the Top 16 will be able to adjust better to this change. As always, you’ll be able to watch the action on Hearthstone’s official Twitch channel.
Linkin Park Will Close Out BlizzCon
Blizzard decided that the best ending to its huge Con will be Grammy Award-winning Linkin Park. The band will play on November 7th, and the band’s performance can be watched live by those who bought the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. As SoCal natives, Linkin Park won’t have to travel far to get to BlizzCon, and the band stated that they are excited to give all the gamers out there a killer rock show.
Falling in Love With Hearthstone in 2015
Lucy O’Brien wrote an entertaining account about how it felt to start seriously playing Hearthstone in 2015. She describes how it feels to be all proud of your skills while playing against the AI, and then the shock of getting smashed by human oppoonents. She decided that maybe spending money on the game would improve her chances and bought many dollars worth of cards, but the results didn’t change until she started talking to other Hearthstone players who put her on the right track and taught her the basic patterns of Hearthstone like how does an Aggro or Control deck play. She realized that Hearthstone is a lot about reading the other person and that focusing too much on your own cards means you aren’t paying attention to what the opponent is playing and when. It’s always entertaining to see how most of us went through the same process of flying through the tutorial, getting bashed in the early games, and then slowly figuring out how the game’s played.
ThijsNL Talks HWC
The European champion gave an interesting interview that reinforced what many players have been saying: Europe is the most challenging region to compete in. The interview was done right after ThijsNL knew he was going to Blizzcon but before he was declared the European Champion. He said that he and the other members of his team are using a “conquest calculator" like the one a game theory guy built for Ostkaka. This program lets you put in decks and see the results. The current meta suits ThijsNL well, but he feels sad for not being able to bring his favorite Freeze Mage to the party. He’s fine with bringing Handlock and Druid though because he’s played it a lot and feels that in mirror matches, he’s a bit better than the opponent (this was all before Patron Warrior went bye bye. With Patron Warrior gone, we might see him bring Freeze Mage after all).
He then went on to talk about Patron Warrior, saying that if Warsong gets a small nerf, the deck will still be playable, but a large nerf to that card would kill the deck (and so it did). He was happy that he was in a different group than Lifecoach during the HWC Europe because they had trained a lot together and playing each other would be weird. It took him some time to adjust to the Conquest format (and the change from Last Hero Standing), but he has adjusted well now and he feels comfortable with the format. He’s still not a fan of Conquest, though, because there are better modes that can ensure that the better player wins more often. As for Hearthstone teams, he feels that Team Archon and maybe Cloud 9 have some issues because, in his opinion, a team tournament needs more than just good individual players. He ended the interview by saying that in his opinion, Europe is the strongest region and qualifying in Europe might even be more difficult than playing at Blizzcon.
Interview With South-East Asia Champ Neilyo
LiquidHearth continued its interviews with the HWC Top 16, and this time was Neilyo’s turn. Neilyo likes to play on the NA server even though he’s from Vietnam, and he says that most South-East Asian players do too. He knows though that the Asia server is easier than NA or EU and knows that many good players play in the Asia server to get easier HWC points. He didn’t have enough cards in his Asia account to play on that server and also felt confident enough that he had earned enough points to secure a place in top 8 in SEA standings. So, he decided to play on NA.
Going into the Blizzcon APAC qualifier, he researched his Taiwanese and Korean opponents and ended up removing Harrison Jones from his decks because he expected everyone to play Druid. He teched in Shield Slam to deal with Druid’s midrange minions, and had Ancient of War and Loatheb, which are good cards against everything so he doesn’t even consider them “tech" cards. He believes that a representative of Asia will Win HWC 2015, but does believe that EU is the strongest region and the rest are equally strong. Individually, he wants to face Neirea or Thijs but isn’t scared of anyone.
Brian Kibler On Why Silence Isn’t Fun
Kibler wrote a very interesting article on PC Gamer about the role of Silence in Hearthstone as the game stands now. Silence is one of Hearthstone‘s original mechanics, and it’s sprinkled throughout the Classic set. We’ve barely seen any Silence cards since, and Kibler’s happy about that because Silence isn’t very fun. Without their abilities, Kibler says, Hearthstone minions are just a collection of numbers and with none of the fun abilities that make all the synergies happen. The more prevalent Silence effects are, the less interesting matches become. Kibler believes there’s place for Silence in Hearthstone so players can interfere with the opponent, especially with powerful decks. But the problem is that Silence acts the same on all types of mechanics, and Kibler would prefer more powerful but narrow cards that target specific abilitiies or specific classes of minions. That way different decks would have to use different Silence cards, increasing the diversity of cards and the way games play out.
Reynad Believes that RNG in Hearthstone is the Reason People Are Celebrities
PC Gamer’s interview with Reynad was entertaining, as always. He said that players on Ladder make subtle mistakes at the high ranks, like playing then drawing a card rather than the other way around. A lot of players are more defensive than they should and would rather lose slowly than playing and risking to win. Some players disregard certain cards too often and some play around too many cards. Also, players struggle a lot of times with the mulligan phase. If you choose to keep the wrong card, it’s like having one less card to play that game. He would want to see Big Game Hunter removed to see what would happen to the game. He also feels that very few players make very unique lists now, and the first legendary card he ever had was the first one he crafted, Edwin Van Cleef back when he had Stealth.
He feels that you can’t really avoid tilt, but you have to stop it from affecting your play. As for RNG, he believes that its what brings casual players to the game and allows people like him to be celebrities and play cards for a living. He believes the people developing the game know better than the players, and players should keep that in mind. Go here if you want to read the whole interview.
Co-Op Tavern Brawl Should be Coming
HeartPwn did some nice datamining on the latest Hearthstone patch and uncovered what looks like certain evidence of a Co-Op Tavern Brawl coming our way. The datamining uncovered the background image of the Brawl that clearly shows two heroes against one Boss. We also have the said boss’s name and stats: Gearmaster Mechazod, a 2-cost 95 Health, 2 Attack Boss. His text says “Mechazod wins if he defeats either of you," which clearly points to a Co-Op battle against Mechazod. I’m not sure how the Brawl will play out or when it’s going to be available, but it’s going to be fun. Go here to check out the Boss.
Latest Tavern Brawl Was All About Hero Powers
This week in the Tavern Brawl Who’s The Boss Now? we got to play around with Hero Powers. Players made their own deck and then whenever a player used the hero power, he or she got a new one. And just for laughs, you could use your hero power as much as you wanted as long as you had the mana. As you can imagine, the games were completely crazy with all kinds of crazy situations happening. And, as always, many players liked it and many hated it.
HS-Arena Brought Back Last Hero Standing
HS-Arena got 32 players to compete over three days in a Last Hero Standing format, which we haven’t seen in a while. This format means that the winning deck stays while the losing deck is locked out. This tournament is one of the first tournaments after the Warsong Commander nerf, so it was interesting if just for that. The tournament featured a $5,000 prize pool and 32 players in a double elimination group stages. Xixo didn’t have too difficult of a time winning the tournament, beating RDU 3-1, Zalae 3-0, and TwoBiers 4-2 in the final. Go here if you want more info on the tournament and watch the VODs.
All decklists from Starladder Finals
We talked about Starladder last week but now we have a bit more information about the tournament decks. The winner, StanCifka, was very control-oriented and brought Control Warrior, Handlock, and Freeze Mage. Go here if you want to check all 24 decks of the six finalists.
Challengestone #4: The Grand Battle Was Fun
As always, the Challengestone tournament demonstrated how entertaining it is to twist Hearthstone‘s rules a bit. If you aren’t familiar with this tournament, it’s organized primarily by Kripparian and uses original rules every time, making it one of the most entertaining tournaments to watch. Challengestone 4‘s participants had to build three decks of different classes for conquest format. All cards had to be Epic, Legendary, or part of the TGT set. If any of the players had errors in his deck, he had to use some very weak cards as punishment (Millhouse Manastorm being the first replacement card). The players were Kolento, Firebat, Lothar, Hotform, Ekop, Dog, Tiddler, and Gaara.
After some entertaining matches, Ekop met Firebat in the finals, with game one, Handlock Vs Aggro Hunter, won by Ekop. Firebat won the second one (Control Druid Vs Aggro Hunter), the third one (Control Druid Vs Aggro Paladin), and the fourth one (Control Mage Vs Midrange Druid), and finally the fifth one (Control Druid Vs Aggro Hunter), becoming the Challengestone 4 Winner! If you want to read more about the decks each player put together, go here.
I used two meta reports this week because of all the changes we are having after Patron Warrior surrendered the crown. LiquidHearth’s power ranks show a huge jump for Face Hunter, a rise for Midrange Paladin, Midrange Demonzoo, and Secret Paladin, and a pretty hefty drop for Handlock. The upcoming meta should consist of Secret Paladin, Midrange (Aggro) Druid, and Midrange Paladin in the top tier. Tempostorm’s Snapshot describes Aggro making a huge comeback as was expected with everyone’s favorite, Face Hunter, out-aggroing all other aggro decks. Patron isn’t completely gone from the meta yet, surprisingly. The nerf has increased Paladin power, which only made Shaman even worse than usual. Now, we are all waiting to see what decks the Top 16 will bring to BlizzCon. Fun times!
Epic Animated Legendaries
Let’s Nerf Some Cards
Funny Plays Episode #180
Best of Kolento
Saraad Lucky Moments
Cards That Didn’t Make The Cut
Aviana to the Rescue
What Goes Into a 12-Win Deck?
As always, we have some good resources on the site for you in case you are new to the game or simply want to sharpen up your game. There’s never such a thing as too much help in Hearthstone.