Online qualifiers for Hearthstone Masters Tour Jönköping have continiued last weekend with open cups 16 to 30. This report explores the data from these 15 conquest format tournaments. We are also extremely pleased to be able to feature the explanations from 10 of the 15 tournament winners about the decks that helped them get there!
Data summary from Off Curve:
Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are Qualifier winners who generously sent us an explanation of the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.
Meta Defining Lineups:
Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Zuhex)
Embiggen Druid, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Wizllire)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (DashingHenry)
Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue (Burr0)
Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue (Sintolol)
Pretty Good Lineups:
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Warlock (Smaug)
Quest Priest, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (L3bjorge)
Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (MegaGliscor)
Embiggen Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Captain)
Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (jwrobel)
Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Fujitora)
Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock (PadrePio)
Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (IrvinG)
Treant Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior (reqvam)
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (DrEddy)
Holy Wrath Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (Jozelui)
Quest Hunter, Mech Paladin, Galakrond Warrior (AngryToad)
Quest Hunter, Galakrond Warlock, Highlander Warrior (martim)
Quest Druid, Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage (CoravStenom)
Treant Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Warlock (갓윤나)
Malygos Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue (Habugabu)
Face Hunter, Aggro Shaman, Galakrond Warrior (Pardub)
Highlander Druid, Highlander Quest Hunter, Murloc Paladin (란탄)
Comments from the winners:
Cursed on Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I played this lineup with the strategy of leaving Rogues and Hunters open in mind. I consider this Galakrond Rogue list to be one of the strongest ones and I like the flexibility of 1 Questing Adventurer and 1 Shark. In my opinion, Devoted Maniac is the weakest invoke card and you can easily get away with running only 1 copy. The Galakrond Warrior I used was a forced budget choice, since I was playing the qualifier in the Asian server, despite my main one being the European one. I would have went with a more standard Galakrond Warrior, with Skippers and Armorsmiths, if I had the option. My third deck was Face Hunter and it was the best performing by far, going undefeated and getting banned in a couple of series. In my opinion, Face Hunter is heavily underestimated, despite being in a very good spot in this meta. It has very good matchups with Rogues and other Hunters, so in a bo3 conquest environment where you can just ban your opponent’s third deck Face Hunter really shines. My ban priority was Highlander Warrior, Resurrect Priest, any Druid deck and finally Mech Paladin, anything else did not worry me too much.”
Coolkid2001 on Face Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“My lineup being aggro targeted decks like Highlander Mage/Galawarlock. The Hot Air Balloons in Rogue is an idea i got from Rezdan, it helps a lot against aggro decks like the other two in my lineup and Dragon Hunter etc. the Dragonmaw Poacher helps a lot in the Dragon Hunter matchup and the Embiggen Druid matchup if you end up having to let it through. Main bans were Quest Priest, Highlander Warrior and Quest Druid. Against lineups similar to mine the opponent always banned Warrior which i think is wrong, I banned Rogue in these scenarios as my Rogue i believe is favoured against all Hunters except Quest Hunter. Start running Hot Air Balloon peeps it’s the nuts.”
Rase on Quest Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“So when I saw most of the people playing some Hunter and Galakrond Warrior, I tried to build a lineup that was good against it. So Priest is super good against both, and I also had 2 Albatross + 2 Grave Runes to help against the “bad” matchups.
About the Quest Druid, I think it is favored against Galakrond Warrior and also good against Hunters (I was using 2 beetles to gain armor and help at this matchups) Highlander Hunter is a bit tricky, but kind of a 50-50 And the deck also have Cenarius, Ysera and Phaoris, to help at the mirror and against the “bad” matchups.
And then I had Galakrond Warrior, that I think is favored against all Hunters (I was also using 2 armorsmiths to help).
About the ban, it is kind “flex” Even tho you want to ban Rogue (because of your Priest), sometimes I just left Rogue open, expecting my Priest was going to be banned and then I had Druid and Warrior against Rogue (that I think is fine). You mostly want to ban Priest (because you have 2 bad matchups and a mirror) Druids (specially Embiggen) was my ban sometimes, so I could have better matchs for my warrior. Warlock/Mage are also annoying but winnable. So you are expecting to face Warrior and Hunters and you don’t like to see the Rogue+Galakrond Warlock+Highlander Mage lineup (even tho it is winnable).
And of course you don’t want to face the “mirror lineup” like I did on Saturday finals facing Pinche :P”
Zuhex on Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue:
“It was my first qualifier with all adventure cards so I just tried to play the most broken decks I have seen in ladder. The main ban was Dragon Hunter but I met 0 Dragon Hunters so I ended banning Embigen Druids and Highlander Mages. I decided to ban Embigen because it counters my Rogue and most of my games were to protect my Rogue. I feel like a lot of people tried to target Rogue and ban Hunter so I just ban the deck that counters my Rogue. Also I decided to play normal Rogue list with Snip and Zilliax because Gala Warrior and Face Hunter, I feel like Bullies are overrated and it is a bad card for Rogue. I think Druid you must play Cenarius and Phaoris because only with Ysera something you lack of win conditions and you let your oponent come back in board.”
DashingHenry on Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warlock:
“I just played 3 decks that I like and are strong. My ban strategy was simple: Just ban Rogue.”
Burr0 on Highlander Quest Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Rogue:
“The purpose of the lineup is pretty simple: target Rouges and always ban Hunter. If your opponent doesn’t have Hunter you can be very flexible what you ban (just make sure to leave Rogue open). Sometimes I imagine what my opponent will ban and queue first so I try to ban and pick accordingly to get a favorable in the first game. The Rogue is heavily teched for the mirror with 2x Bullies and 1x Skyvateer. The Bullies are also good against the other Galakrond and Highlander decks, Snip+Zilliax are not needed because you ban Hunter. Mage is a standard list, I don’t like The amazing Reno because he’s better for your opponent than for yourself. My hunter is pretty unique, the mix of Highlander and Quest is really good against Rogue and Quest Druid. Another advantage of the Hunter is that people understimate it and don’t ban it so you often get a free win in the first game with it.”
Sintolol on Highlander Hunter, Combo Priest, Galakrond Rogue:
“Muzzy sent me the decks because I asked for a lineup without adventure cards. I banned Rogue or Warrior most of the time. Not really targetting anything but fine against Druid, Mage and Highlander Hunter. I had to play opens because I was’nt sure if I’d have enough time for ladder.”
Smaug on Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Warlock:
“I used 3 decks – Highlander Mage, Highlander Hunter and Galakrond Warlock (non-Zoo version). All three of these decks are very vulnerable to all Hunters (be it a Quest, Face or Highlander), so it was quite easy to decide on a ban every time. You see the Hunter – you ban the Hunter (although each time I checked the winrates of my decks against the opponent’s decks anyway, but each time I was convinced that there was nothing worse than a Hunter.
And as a rule, such three matchups as a Hunter do not have all three decks. For all 9 rounds, I only had to play a bad matchup in 1 game. And against a strong player, and also it was a game for top 16 (for me top 8 was already an excellent result that would satisfy me). This was perhaps the most difficult moral and mental plan for me – the game was decisive, the opponent would not make a single mistake (like the players can do at the beginning of the tournament) and most importantly – my Warlock has 40% winrate against the opponent’s deck (this was a Galakrond Warrior). It was very scary to start the game with the idea that according to statistics, I have to lose the game and fly out in round 5 … But I was lucky, my opponent made a not-so-good start, and I found answers to all his threats and even played excessively carefully.
All other games were either 48-50%, or 55%. So I am very pleased with the choice of decks, and most importantly, I was able to find the ban against which I was extremely unpleasant to play my decks.
As for the other decks, when compiling the lineup, I realized that there would be a lot of Rogues at the tournament, and somehow I need to build on this. Either ban it by picking up the decks accordingly, or play purposefully against them. But the Rogues are now such that even if it is written in HSReplay – that you have to win the Galakrond Rogue in 99% of cases (I will exaggerate, of course), this does not mean that you will win it very easily. So the strategy game – to take decks that are good against the Rogue – did not suit me.
Spending a ban on a Rogue means letting your opponents play even more unpleasant decks (for me personally, these are Priests, Hunters). So I decided that I would simply pick up decks that play either plus or 50% with Rogues and ban something else – with my set of decks, it was Hunter.
When the opponents didn’t have a Hunter in the lineup, I likewise compared the percentage of victories against all opponent’s decks and chose the most negative for me (all statistics are available for free on the HSReplay website). In the fifth round (which I mentioned above), I didn’t ban the Galakrond Warrior, which was supposed to be banned by the percentage of victories (there was no Hunter in the enemy’s lineup), but the Galakrond Warlock (this is the only time I deviated from my strategy). This happened only because I realized that my decks well suffer very much from the Bad Luck Albatross, which in the Warlock deck were already as many as 2! (By the way, I advise everyone to play with them. Highlander decks interfere very much with life). Well, and as a result – I had to play a negative matchup for myself in the decisive game with a score of 1-1.
But in general, to be honest, the tournament was surprisingly easy for me. For me there were absolutely no winnings matchups, somewhere even I allowed myself to make mistakes, but the game on the same strategy, strong concentration and wild motivation to get to Sweden did the job!”
Fujitora on Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior:
“I have targeted aggressive decks such as Mech Paladin, Galakrond Warrior and Hunters because people play those in Asia cups due to lack of cards. You always have advantage while in the pick/ban phase because everyone bans Priest even when they are favored against it. (8/9 banned in my run) I mostly ban Embiggen Druid because that is Warrior’s worst match up. I have used a Snip-Snap/skyvateer version of Rogue to get a better chance vs aggro. I used this kind of rogue because I did not have Quest Druid in my Asia account. And my Warrior has double Armorsmith / Anchar to be better in the mirror and and it is already super good versus all other aggro decks. Not much to say about my Priest card choice. The same morning I was playing face hunter and my opponent got Ancestral Guardian to beat me, and in the finals I did the same as Rogue vs Face Hunter. It was poetic. In conclusion, It was gg.”
reqvam on Treant Druid, Galakrond Priest, Galakrond Warrior:
“After tanking hard in early rounds I decided to change up my strategy and try to target Hunter with this lineup. As Gala Warrior had been doing very well for me on ladder vs a plethora of Hunters it seemed like a natural fit. I basically made a hybrid of BoarControl’s and Wirer’s lists from a couple of days ago. Armorsmith improves the already favorable Hunter matchup, while Ancharrr substitutes an Acolyte of Pain as card draw and tutors Risky Skipper (a key card that made the deck a lot better than before). 1 Sky Raider is there to make Ancharrr more consistently draw 2 cards while providing a cheap minion to combo with Skipper. (In addition, sometimes it’s nice to have a turn 1 play.) To make room Korkrons have to be cut. – I didn’t run into matchups where I needed the OTK/burst potential to close out games (e.g. Resurrect Priest) so they weren’t missed. Ancharrr is still busted, run it in every Warrior deck if you can. (Gala) Resurrect Priest has been a classic Hunter/aggro counter for a while now so I copied this list from NoHandsGamer, the resident Resurrect Priest expert. Pretty straightforward choice that took the brunt of the bans, very good vs aggro in general, and all Hunter archetypes. Try to shuffle a lot of Albatrosses vs slower decks. That’s about all the insight I can provide for this deck as it was my first time playing this iteration. If you want to learn the deck, NoHands is your guy. Token Druid was a sketchy, last second pick but it worked out. I was frustrated with Quest Druid letting me down in previous qualifiers, so guided by the thought of beating up on Highlander Hunter I turned to Token Druid. I found a list I liked from MT Arlington and went with it. The deck also has a passable Warrior matchup but with the addition of Risky Skipper it’s obviously worse than in the past. I would definitely not suggest playing Token Druid in the future as the deck’s power level is just not that high. Quest Druid should be a better fit in this slot (in line with what Pinche and Rase did in a later qualifier where they finished 1st and 2nd respectively). With this lineup, I defaulted to a Rogue ban vs most lineups I faced (a lot of aggro), but adapted when necessary (e.g. vs NikolajHoej in top 8 when I banned Gala Lock). Ban priority for this lineup should probably be Res Priest > Druid (Quest or Embiggen) > Rogue. Obviously, very dependent on the entire lineup your opponent is bringing.”