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TouchStone Tavern #23 – Your Weekly ‘Hearthstone’ News Roundup

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Well, this was a very fun Hearthstone (Free) week, wasn’t it? Before you know it, we got our first taste of the Hearthstone World Championship, and it was fantastic, full of unexpected results and unexpected classes making an impact. While I won’t spoil anything here (I’ll save the spoilers for further below), I can tell you that you should watch the VODs because there were some incredible top-decks and some amazing moments overall that really highlighted how much fun it can be to watch great players fight against each other. Now that we have our Top 8, we can start speculating about who the new World Champion is going to be. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for Blizzcon after watching the Group Stage. In other news, we have some interesting interviews that talk about the current state of the game, the end of the current Ranked season, and some new Tournaments starting. Oh, and maybe a hint at a new expansion? Well, let’s get started.

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The 20 Best Legendary Cards

PC Gamer has put together a list of the 20 best Legendaries to help you with your crafting decisions. It enlisted the help of top pros, streamers, and prominent community members and asked them to rank their top 20 Legendaries. Keep in mind that many times a Legendary card’s value depends on the deck it’s played in, so there really isn’t such as thing as the “best" Legendary around because while in one deck it might be amazing, in another it might be really bad. Still, there are some Legendaries that are better than the rest overall.

According to this list, the top five are Tirion Fordring, Archmage Antonidas, Sylvanas WindrunnerEmperor Thaurissan, and number 1 is, of course, Dr. Boom, the famous Dr. GG. Although the majority of the polled players placed Dr. Boom at #2, it was never rated below that, which goes to show how respected this card is. It’s also a very versatile card that can find a place in so many different decks. Do you agree with the top 5, or would you replace one for another? If you want to see the whole list and the reasoning behind each choice, go here.

 

Neirea Saws When He Builds a Deck, He Wants to Change the Meta With It

In a recent interview, one of the Blizzcon 16, Neirea talked about how he has had a good ending to a year that didn’t start out very well. He feels that he got unlucky, but also that he often brought the wrong decks to tournaments. He felt that the whole qualifying process for BlizzCon is good for the viewership but not for all the players. Those who worked all year and got into top ranking should have more of a benefit. Maybe a top 16 Round Robin tournament for some seeding spots would work well. So, there is room for improvement in his opinion. As for Archon Team League, he felt he personally did well even though the team as a whole didn’t. He thinks it’s their strategy that failed, not their plays.

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As for his favorite class, Rogue, he feels that Emperor Thaurissan, Dr. Boom, and Piloted Shredder killed Rogue. Since Rogue is focused on tempo plays and not big minions, those very strong cards are useless for a Rogue deck. Instead, what the class needs is a very strong 2-drop. A new Rogue archetype like Control Rogue would need at least 5 new cards, and he believes that a deck should have as few tech choices as possible so it can be as consistent as possible. His process for building a new deck is putting together the core of the deck, then picking cards that support his core, and then the hardest part comes, teching correctly. In general, he wants to build decks that change the meta, not just fit in it. As for RNG, he feels there is healthy and unhealthy type of RNG. Nearly all RNG that happens early game is unhealthy RNG because it can decide the game way too early (like Knife Juggler). Late-game RNG is healthy, like Ragnaros the Firelord for instance.

 

You Can Submit Questions to Blizzard

HearthPwn plans to interview a Hearthstone producer during BlizzCon, so they’ve decided to add community questions to the interview. That’s always a fun proposition because passionate communities like Hearthstone‘s always have a lot to ask about the game, and the developers have proven time and time again that they want to be in constant contact with the game’s fans. If you want to add your question to the mix, go to this thread and post it there.

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November’s Card Back is…..??? Might Be Related to Still-Unannounced Expansion

Blizzard pulled a trick on us this month, and instead of announcing what the card back for November’s Ranked season will be, it decided to keep it a secret until BlizzCon. That’s interesting, but I do hope we get a very nice card back to make up for having to wait to find out what it is. As GosuGamers writes, fans are speculating that the upcoming card back might trumpet the arrival of Icecrown Citadel, a new Adventure. Time-wise we are within the window for Adventure/expansion announcements if we go by what Blizzard has done in the past.

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I expect some kind of an announcement at BlizzCon (what better place to announce new content?), and a new Adventure wouldn’t surprise me at all. What I do hope to see are new cards that will actually get played by most players because in most of Hearthstone‘s expansions up to this point, only a few cards make it into competitive decks and the rest fall to the wayside. Well, not many days to go until we know.

 

World Champion Doesn’t Like Hearthstone’s Fixation With Minion Trading

As you might know if you’ve been following Hearthstone developer interviews, the team behind the game wants matches to take place on the board between minions rather than huge combos directly to the face. Firebat, last year’s Hearthstone World Champion, took issue with this philosophy in a recent video of his. Firebat feels that this focus on trading battles between minions as the ideal way to play the game is making Hearthstone dull because it’s forcing players to just play the best stat-for-stat minion on curve. Any other type of deck (like the Patron Warrior) that’s a combo deck with big finishers is nerfed out (or almost out) of existence.

He feels that decks now don’t even have to have any real finishers because Blizzard keeps removing finishers from the game. That results in a deck like Secret Paladin ruling the meta simply because it has the best stat-for-stat minions. According to the PC Gamer story about Firebat’s video, the game seems to be too skewed towards one style of play, and it privileges classes with high value creatures on curve. Do you agree with Firebat’s complaints?

 

The 10 Most Frustrating Decks

This story will describe your worst Ladder nightmares, all the decks that irritate you in Hearthstone. While Blizzard stepped in to nerf Patron Warrior, there are still some “lovely" decks that most of us hate to play against. This story is useful for everyone because not only does it talk about those annoying decks, it also gives you ways to counter them. First is, of course, Face Hunter, then Control Warrior, Control Priest, Zoolock, Mech Mage, Secret Mage, Healing Paladin, Combo Druid, Freeze Mage, and Oil Rogue. While I think this story overdoes it a bit by including pretty much every popular deck, I can’t disagree with the choice of Oil Rogue and Face Hunter; those decks irritate me. If any of these decks has been giving you a hard time, check out the list for ways to counter them.

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This Week’s Tavern Brawl Was Captain Blackheart’s Treasure, and Then it Wasn’t

This week we got two Tavern Brawls, though the one was only around for a few minutes before getting yanked by Blizzard. The Brawl for this week was supposed to be Captain Blackheart’s Treasure, a reference to a Heroes of the Storm NPC. In this Brawl, you would be able to see three cards from your deck each turn, choosing the one you liked the best. The decks were premade, so I expect the Brawl to have been fun; however, because of a bug, you weren’t able to actually find an opponent to play. So, Blizzard pulled the Brawl and, instead, gave us Webspinners again, the Brawl where each player has only Webspinners and random spells in his or her deck. Not a bad Brawl, but still a repeat.

 

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Hearthstone Open League Autumn 2015 Europe Announced

European Hearthstone players have a new League to compete in. The Open League is open to all European players, and it starts with a round-robin format with players being split into groups of 8. This stage lasts 7 weeks and at the end of the season, the best players from each group will qualify for the play-off stage. The League allows players to postpone matches to whenever both players have time, but they should have a fixed day at the end of each play week. You can join the Hearthstone Open League Autumn 2015 until 17th of November, and matches are going to start a week after. Go here to submit your deck lists and register.

 

Hearthstone World Championship Group Stage (Spoilers)

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Now, that was fun! The group stages of the Hearthstone World Championship have concluded, and we have our Top 8 who will go to BlizzCon with the hope of becoming the World Champion. The final eight are ThijsNL (EU), Kno (APAC), ZoroHS (CH), Kranich (APAC), Ostkaka (EU), Hotform (AM), DieMeng (CH), and Pinpingho (APAC). As you can see from this list, there were some surprising eliminations and some equally surprising performances during the Group Stages. Let’s take things one group at a time.

Before the start of Day One, the general consensus was that Europe and the Americas had the strongest lineups primarily because of their vibrant tournament scenes and also the support of some of the biggest esports organizations. Players from China wanted to prove that they are as good as the western players, while APAC players came in as the underdogs. In Group A, ThijsNL drew first blood for Europe, proving once more his current good form. He surprised everyone by not bringing a Druid deck and, instead, bringing Patron Warrior. That lineup helped him remain undefeated in the group. JAB beat NoTomorrow but lost to Kno.

In Group B, Kranich beat Lifecoach with the help of his aggressive midrange decks (Hunter, Zoo, Druid), which beat Lifecoach’s Druid and Warrior decks. ZoroHS beat Nias and Kranich, topping the group. Group C saw Ostkaka top the group by beating LoveCX and Hotform, even though the Swede brought a Rogue deck (which is on the weaker side currently). Hotform came second in the group, beating Neilyo. In Group D, DieMeng topped the group with Pinpingho coming in behind him and Purple a surprising third. If you want to check out VODs from the first day, go here.

The first to be eliminated were NoTomorrow, Nias, LoveCX, and Neirea, with China losing two players. The matches between NoTomorrow and JAB were filled with misplays, and NoTomorrow left the Group Stage first with Nias following soon after losing at the hands of Lifecoach. Chinese Champion LoveCX was the next to exit, losing to Neilyo. Finally, Neirea followed the other three, losing to Purple in a fantastic series that ended 3-2. The surprise of the second day was the success of APAC players who had a combined score of 4-1, even better than the favorites of Europe. On Friday, ThijsNL became the first to get a ticket for the Top 8 and also broke his own GosuRankings record (which we said he was going to do so). Zoro became the second to qualify followed by Ostkaka and DieMeng, who beat Pinpingho in a surprising Shaman mirror match.

Finally, on Saturday we got the other four who will compete in BlizzCon. Kno beat JAB, making it two out of two against American players, and Kranich sweeped Lifecoach 3-0, sending the fan favorite back to Europe. It came down to Groups C and D, and there was a feeling that both Hotform and Purple could lose, which would have left the Americas with no representative. Hotform managed to beat Neilyo in 5 games, sealing his place in the Top 8. Purple, though, didn’t manage to follow Hotform, losing to the “Shaman Master, Pinpingho. The surprise results mean that the underdog APAC leads in number of Top 8 players, with Europe and China tied at two players each and the Americas with only one. Who expected that?

When it comes to decks and classes, we had plenty of Midrange Druids and Freeze Mages, fewer Face Hunters than some expected to see, and in general a tendency towards more Control and Midrange decks rather than Aggro. A big surprise was how Patron Warrior stuck around despite the nerf and actually did quite well. Also, Shaman decks did quite well despite players considering Shaman to be in one of the worst places it has ever been. On the contrary, Mage decks didn’t really do well, which was a bit of a surprise. If you want to see all of the decklists, go here.

 

Meta Report

This has been a strange week for a Meta Report as we saw the meta fluctuate before our eyes during the HWC Group Stage. In the ladder we saw Mid-Range Paladin jump to Rank 2, although not everyone in Tempostorm Snapshot’s bunker agreed on it. With the threat of Patron Warrior pretty much gone, we saw Oil Rogues and Shamans in the HWC and they did really well. Still, in terms of a Ladder Tier List, both of those decks are way down. Overall, Secret Paladin, Mid-Range Paladin, and Aggro Druid remain solid Tier 1 decks, with TIer 2 led by Face Hunter, Mid-Range Druid, and Control Warrior. Go here to check out the whole report and the decklists.

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Story of Dr. Boom

 

Return of the Dreadsteed

Is Mysterious Challenger OP?

Funny Plays #182

Hunters Vs Paladins

Epic Plays #86

Inconcistency in Hearthstone

Unstable Portal Moments

Best of Nefarian

Bombers Gone Wild

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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.

Hearthstone Beginners’ Guide

Hearthstone Deck-building Guide

 

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