Next weekend is the last one for Arlington qualifiers, and we expect to learn very soon the name of the next city that will host Hearthstone Masters Tour! Here’s everything you need to know aboutthe conquest meta.
We have a new meta! First, Sathrovarr found it’s way into Malygos Druid and Holy Wrath Paladin, but something else had an even greater impact. Highlander Hunter rose noticeably in popularity (probably because of VKLiooon’s victory at Blizzcon?). As a result, Control lineups were less effective, and Aggro Warrior replace Combo Priest in a lot of the tempo lineups. The following data is from Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Arlington #76-90.
Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The ones that are in bold are Qualifier winners who have provided comments about their strategy. Scroll down past the tier list to read them.
There are a few reasons I chose to stick with this lineup. First of all I believe these 3 are between the very strongest decks of the current meta, and it’s very good to have 3 pretty strong all-around decks in conquest. I am a fast/tempo deck enthousiast as well, so the choice was obvious for me. In some earlier open cups I tested some decks like Aggro Warrior but they felt weak and inconsistent overall, without very good possible matchups. Another reason is that some people will maybe try to target Priest or Evolve Shaman, but due to their very high power level, that feels close to impossible. All my series could be played with very good chances to win. My main ban with my decks is Evolve Shaman. Given a mirror which is likely to be banned and 2 unfavourables, it feels natural to ban the deck. I think the only deck that is higher priority ban is Control Warrior. Sometimes, you have to think what your opponent is going to ban and change your ban accordingly. Main target is Quest Shaman since Combo Priest and Rogue both have very good matchups vs that deck. I don’t think there is something else that is being hard targeted with this lineup, maybe some uncommon lineups with highlander decks. It is more important to have 3 very strong decks in the format, since having to go 9-0 makes it unlikely that you find what you specifically target every round. Playing strong decks and piloting them well feels like the best strategy. Shaman: a must-bring. Either Quest or Evolve, Shaman’s powerlevel right now is absurd, with the evolve combo being quite unbalanced so it’s a crazy strategy to not bring any of those decks. Most decks will either ban or lose to Shaman. I prefer Evolve, because it has better matchups versus Druid/Priest/Rogue, some of the decks that are very common in lineups. Aside Control Warrior which is a very bad matchup, I don’t think there is a good enough control strategy to counter Shaman, with decks like Control Priest or Mage losing quite easily. Pretty standard list, Storms not that needed since you ban the mirror, Haunted Visions can find some tools that are good in specific situations and helps cycle the deck with Spirit of the Frog by picking cheap spells. Priest: Another very strong all around deck, with some draws like Amet or Cleric combinations that can win single-handedly. Very good vs. some common decks of the field like Quest Druid and Quest Shaman. Not good enough vs. Rogue, some queue order or draw highroll needed vs Rogue Lineups. Decks like Highlander Hunter or Face Warrior which are supposed to beat Priest are fake news, and you can easily beat them. Another pretty standard list, 2x Silence feels correct for mirror and Control Matchups with many taunts, Van Cleefs etc. Some people cut Acolyte for 2x Silence, I think having maximum draw is important, so I cut 1x Beaming Sidekick which feels like the worst card in the deck. Rogue: Rogue can win with many ways. Swashburglar helped a lot in terms of getting class cards for cheap cost, enabling some great tempo with Underbelly Fence and Vendetta. Edwin Van Cleef is one of the most broken cards in Hearthstone even today and can win by himself. Chef Nomi is just correct because combined with Myra’s, it enables another win condition and can win some otherwise unwinnable games. While it feels like Rogue doesnt fit very well aside 2 decks that are strong vs. Druid (Rogue not that great in the matchup), there are a lot of opportunities to beat Druid with correct, greedy mulligans and of course, luck. I prefer to play Rogue which is strong in most matchups, compared to a weaker deck that is better vs. Druid on paper but weaker overall in the field. Conclusion is to play good decks, play well and wait for the highroll. Good matchups and draw RNG is always needed since going 9-0 in a bo3 tournament will never be just a matter of skill alone. The grind of open cups requires patience and can be very annoying some times, try to give your best in every attempt and the win becomes more likely to come. It was also my 4th Top8 so it was really likely that I would be rewarded sooner or later.
The strategy with these decks is to setup 2 turn lethal and not die on the backswing, especially Aggro Warrior I think has a massive skill gap, I roped most turns counting damage 3-4 turns ahead and if trading changes the clock and if I trade what’s the odds of drawing more damage. I haven’t included Bloodlust in my Aggro Shaman deck as it’s a burst variant which I favour, still can snowball board with Hare, Mogus and Soul but instead it gives another game plan of killing them from hand with Doom Hammer, Rockbiters, Burst and even Electra. Gives an alternative gameplan which is more consistent I believe against decks such as Druid, Rogue and any tempo matchup where you can lose board in a swing. I have 1 Shark in my Rogue which looks odd but it’s there because I couldn’t find a 30th card and out of every card it had the ability to just carry otherwise unwinnable games, debateable to put 2 in or 0 as with Myra’s it can be clunky, but you don’t always draw Myra’s and this gives you an alternative refill and massive tempo turn or a 20/20 Edwin vs Druid which can just win a game by itself. I can ban Control Warrior, Resurrect Priest, Highlander Hunter and then Aggro Shaman, Control Warrior farms my lineup so if someone is running that it’s an insta ban, Resurrect Priest has favourable matchups against the lineup but not as drastic as Control Warrior, Highlander Hunter has the ability to snowball, develop and clears with zeph and offers a versatile approach and tempo swings that none of my decks can deal with. If my opponent isn’t running any of those decks I just ban Shaman because it can just auto-win if it has coin vs my lineup.
This lineup is pretty similar to the almost default Token Shaman + Vendetta Rogue + Combo Priest. However, instead of Priest, which feels like the worst deck of these three and has a handful of not-so-good matchups across the board, I opted to pick Aggro Warrior over it (credits to Psychodel for the list as well as the Rogue one and to FudoV for the initial idea). This decision also makes Combo Priest the main target of your lineup. Warrior still felt subpar comparing to Shaman (obviously) and Rogue, but managed to go 8-4. Facing control lineup, which you are hoping to dodge, you want to ban Warrior. Against Shaman/Rogue/Priest you can of course ban Shaman, but there is a solid point in banning Rogue as it lines up well against all of your decks. Versus lineups containing Druid it’s your primary ban almost in all cases. There are not many card choices to talk about, except maybe Myra’s Unstable Element over Toggwaggle and Haunting Visions inclusion in Shaman. The former one is dictated a bit by lack of control lineups on NA comparing to EU as many people do not have all the cards needed to build one; it also unlocks the possibility to play Eviscerates over Evil Cable Rats/Novice Engineers, adding up to deck’s burst potential. As for the latter, it’s essentially a 0- or 1-mana card, which provides a lot of flexibility, which is never a bad thing.
The lineup was a Target Combo Priest lineup. 3 decks with 60% winrate vs Combo Priest. I banned Control Warriors, Resurrect Priests, and Evolve Shamans. Other than that, would like to thank my practice partners: Nexok40, DouAhou, and Joth703.
I wanted to target the popular line-up that consisted of Token Shaman, Tempo Rogue and Aggro Warrior. My ban priorities were OTK decks > Token/Quest Shaman. Control Warrior seemed to be its biggest threat and I expected it to be banned most of the time so I decided to include Rez Priest in my line-up as I felt that it was favourable against the rest of the other archetypes after I ban Shaman. N’Zoth Rogue was the final addition to my line-up as I was comfortable with the archetype. I chose a tempo-orientated package to help out with most of the early game against aggro/tempo decks. Shoutout to those who helped me practice over at Hearthstone VN!
I built my lineup to target Shaman and aggro lineups. You should ban Druid, not the Hakkar decks. Also, Sathrovarr is a good choice for Paladin, but it was hard to play against VanCleef and Combo Priest without Subdue.
I decided to play 3 midrange decks to hardcounter control lineups and soft target the others combo/midrange lineups. As we can see there is no hard smorc/aggro lineups so this strategy has everything to go well. Worst deck against this lineup is Token Evolve Shaman so I always ban that. Another bad matchup is N’zoth Priest but I was not affraid of it because it’s not as common as Combo Priest. So the lineup is 2/3 favored against Combo Priest (1 50/50 mirror, that’s why 2 silence) it is fine against any Rogue and any Warrior or non Token/Evolve Shaman archtype. So i thought that if the field is Priest/Shaman/Rogue I will be okay and other lineups that don’t play Rogue I’ll be completlty favored. Tech choices Hunter: Wild Bloodstinger too destroy combo or midrange decks and even against (non Token) Shaman. Shaman: Plague of Murlocs because it’s too good against Priest, Rogue and even in Quest mirror it’s good. Priest : 2x silence because of the same reason of the lineup, good against Priest and Rogue.
Here are all the statistics about the Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Arlington #61 to #75! Don’t worry, next week we’ll try to get the report done earlier in the week because we are totally not addicted to Battlegrounds. We also can’t wait to see if Sthrovarr has an impact on the Conquest meta at all.
Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears. The ones that are in bold are Qualifier winners who have provided comments about their strategy. Scroll down past the tier list to read them.
Pretty Good Lineups: Quest Druid, Quest Paladin, Quest Shaman (Fenom) Malygos Druid, Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman (Tars) N’zoth Rogue, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (BullBence / LastHopelolz) N’zoth Rogue, Quest Shaman, Highlander Warrior (자바) Resurrect Priest, Control Shaman, Control Warrior (Levik) Malygos Druid, Holy Wrath Paladin, Quest Shaman (Bravo) Combo Priest, N’zoth Rogue, Quest Shaman (Gunzerker) Quest Druid, Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman (myr) Highlander Hunter, Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman (DiegoDias / Tyfoon) Highlander Hunter, Holy Wrath Paladin, Tempo Rogue (Wilms) Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (Jaina / MJM) Quest Druid, Highlander Hunter, Tempo Rogue (Metafalica)
Interesting Lineups: Quest Druid, Holy Wrath Paladin, Quest Shaman (SaucisseSwan) Highlander Hunter, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (이스티) Combo Priest, Token Shaman, Control Warrior (Afterglow) Quest Druid, Token Shaman, Control Warrior (IlluminaTIN) Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman, Aggro Warrior (IllustBeast) Quest Druid, Nomi Priest, Control Warrior (PeaceHawk)
Comments from the winners:
The lineup is built knowing that people can’t counter aggro on Asia because most dont have cards for it. Hedged a bit for aggro with my tech choices like mct in rogue – it didnt actually steal anything but every single opponent played around it meaning they never had more than 3 minions on board. The lineup doesnt hard target anything but is flexible and has very few bad matchups. You mostly ban token shaman and rogue but you also priority ban ctrl warrior and you dont ban quest shaman. The way you ban with this lineup is that you find out how you get out ur worst deck vs his lineup. If you have to ban druid to get out rogue then you ban druid. Most of the time its how you get out priest vs aggro or rogue vs target rogue. On EU i would not bring rogue because most have cards to target it and bringing druid is very common on EU while its not on asia and NA. So the lineup you bring depends on the server ur on, how the meta looks and what predictions you make.
Well I mostly copied Zorkthar’s lists because I only had cards for the good decks on NA, with the only change being +1 Lightwarden in Priest for more earlygame. The decks are pretty much all teched against Shaman, Combo Priest and other board centric decks. You almost always have to ban Tempo Rogue with this lineup, having an unwinnable and two slightly unfavorables against it, and against people not running it you just scout what they ban and do a flex ban according to it.
The lineup is built with the strongest aggressive decks, the idea is to ban the Evolve Shaman and carry strong cards against the more control decks, so the full aggressive version of the Rogue and the inclusion of Visions in Shaman.
I built my lineup to play well (target) 2 decks: Combo Priest and Quest Druid. Also added some cards to better play with Quest and Token Shamans. In my Token Shaman I abandoned the Sea Giants (which only help with Token Shaman) in favor of the draw (Witchwood Piper, Lightning Storm and Haunting Visions to play with Spirit of the Frog) in order to play even better with Combo Priests and Quest Druids. With the Shamans the Giants are not so important, more decides the fact who has a second turn and have a coin. Play a coin with Spirit of the Frog begins to make a strong draw cards, then Evolution on Desert Hare on the turn 4. In my opinion, the Rogue plays quite a lot with the all agro decks and the Shamans. But I improved the deck against Quest Druids and put Chef Nomi, the Myra’s Unstable Element and Questing Adventurer, they help very well against the Druids. For all Qualifications and a Masters Tour Bucharest score with the Druids is 10-0. The Warrior plays well with Druids and Priests, and with the Shamans it plays perfectly! My general score in the tournaments is 17-3 against the Quest and the Token Shamans. Sometimes with Priests (and Control decks) the game is delayed, so I put one Battle Rage to get 2+ cards from it. My lineup does not like control decks with N’Zoth and Tempo Rogue. Therefore, I banned mainly the Rogue and N’Zoth Warrior. But it all depends on opponents deck building. Some N’Zoth decks were very heavy and slow, so I did not ban them, but tried to win faster. And some Rogue were week edited (with pirates), they quickly ran out of cards in their hand when playing with agro. And if they do not receive Myra’s Unstable Element, they almost always lose. So that Rogue with pirates I also did not ban. I am very surprised that there are few agro lineups without Combo Priests. After all, there are almost no lineups that counter them. For example, on a Masters Tour Bucharest, only a few players had such an anti-aggro lineup: Hunterrace, Silvors, Oldboy, etc. Therefore, my choice fell on such a lineup, since there are a lot of lineups targeting Combo Priests.
I wanted an anti-control lineup because I was sensing that control was getting better and more popular. At the same time, I could not afford to lose to Hakkar. Curator Quest Shaman and Phaoris Quest Druid were obvious picks. They have the additional perk of being good against Tempo Rogue. Their only common weakness is Combo Priest, so I could just ban that. But Combo Priest is nowhere near as popular as Shaman, so most of the time I could ban Shaman anyway. I had to dig deep to find a suitable third deck. Holy-Wrath Paladin was out of the question because it loses to Hakkar and Control Warrior. So I cobbled together a Quest Paladin. It fits the bill of having a lot of value against control while being weak to Combo Priest. I tried it on Friday but my list wasn’t good enough and I didn’t play well enough. I refined it and somehow came up with Blessing of Wisdom. That was what cemented the deck. And it worked on Saturday. Blessing of Wisdom gives cheap cycle and additional scam from Prismatic Lens. And it is good to copy with the hero power. And it can be put on a big enemy minion to at least give you additional chances to find an answer.
The idea of the lineup is to target control decks such as N’zoth Warrior and N’zoth Priest so I usually play Malygos Druid alongside Quest Shaman and N’zoth Rogue. As a European, I do not have all the cards on NA server so I chose to replace Druid by Combo Priest, knowing that it would be more complicated against Control warrior with this deck. Fortunately, I only played twice this match up and won both. Then, Quest Shaman is known as a top tier deck able to win against everything. Only Quest Druid is kind of a threat but still winnable. Let us focus on N’zoth Rogue which is less known and more recent. One of the key cards is Togwaggle’s Scheme, allowing me to play a very large number of N’zoth so that slow decks do not have answers for all of them. The only condition is to keep a Shadowstep to get an 8-mana N’zoth in your hand. So, the Karthut/N’zoth/Scheme package offers an insane win condition during the late game. The rest of the deck is tempo oriented with the Lackey and Vendetta packages. That makes the deck adaptable to every matchup, the worst being Quest Druid and Evolve Shaman. An important thing with the deck is to draw but your only cards allowing that are Novice Engineer and Togwaggle so it is often necessary to play Novice with Shark and to use one of the Shadowstep on these cards against control decks. My N’zoth Rogue was undefeated during this open cup with a total record of 7-0. As regards the ban phase, it is not easy with this line up because it often depends on your opponent’s ban. For instance, if your opponent plays Druid and if you anticipate that your Priest will be banned, you must ban Druid but if he does not ban druid, you should let Druid open to give your Combo Priest a good match-up. Evolve Shaman is probably the most popular ban with this line up. If you play with Malygos Druid (which I recommend) instead of Priest, Quest Druid and Evolve Shaman are the most popular bans which is interesting because they are rarely played together in the same lineup. Wishing good luck to every player trying to get a ticket for MT Texas.
Click on the player names to see the decklists and copy the codes on Yaytears. The ones that are in bold are tournament winners who shared pro tips with us. Scroll down pst the tier list to find what they had to say.
Meta Defining Lineups: Combo Priest, Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman (Memory) Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman, Aggro Warrior (gle)
Proven Lineups: Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (GamerRvg) Combo Priest, N’zoth Rogue, Quest Shaman (Gaby59) Midrange Hunter, Combo Priest, Tempo Rogue (Fujitora) Quest Druid, Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman (MarkusCap /DashingHenry) Quest Druid, Holy Wrath Paladin, Token Shaman (撒旦降臨) Combo Priest, Tempo Rogue, Quest Shaman (matff) Resurrect Priest, Control Shaman, Control Warrior (TechnoGoose) Combo Priest, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (Flasch) Resurrect Priest, Quest Shaman, Control Warrior (Warma) Holy Wrath Paladin, Tempo Rogue, Token Shaman (znp)
It was just a free to play aggressive lineup that I could make on the Asia server. Although with my lineup, my strategy was mostly targeting Combo Priest and banning either Token Shaman or Control Warrior. My Shaman list wasn’t the best list without Vessina in my collection but my Shaman got banned all 8 rounds anyways.
The deck archetype choices were pretty standard: I just took some of the best decks and tried them to play as well as I could. There wasn’t a real strategy involved in choosing them besides them being the best. As for the card choices, I had to cut some legendaries here and there because my NA collection didn’t have them. Most notable are Bwonsamdi in priest and Shudderwock in shaman. I did not feel I was missing the cards in most of the games, but I would still advise to play Shudderwock if you have it. The hunter can swap a ton of different cards, it’s most important that you find 30 cards you’re comfortable with. For example, I didn’t like the secret package since I felt I was relying a bit too much on my opponent’s misplays, so I swapped it for a more board/removal-oriented approach. Lastly, the ban was Miracle Rogue, Evolve Shaman or Resurrect Priest, in that order.
The lineup came from the decks developed by me & Hatul for Masters Tour Bucharest. It is a refined version of it for BO3 Conquest. The lineup expects to find an overwhelming majority of Token-Evolve Shaman decks in various lineups (primarily paired with Combo Priests, & Highlander Warrs/Palas/Rogues etc.) while giving a big nod towards controlling lineups that aim to counter these aggro lineups (aka Control Warriors, OTK Paladins & Ress Priests). We expected fewer Quest Shamans, Highlander Hunters & Quest Druids – these are bad matchups for this lineup. So how does it work? 1. Druid is our ace in the hole – we made it less greedy but way faster on the draw (to still consistently beat Warrior & control) & included double Pyromancer, double Pounce, which made it way better vs aggro & favored vs. Token Shaman. We knew aggro lineups won’t ban it because our Warrior still soaks these bans. 2. Double Pyro, double Acolyte of Pain, double Power Word: Shield instead of the greedy ress package was inserted into Priest, making it too way better vs aggro. While double Seance, Elysiana & Thaurissan were included for the fatigue matchups. 3. Extra draw, The N’zoth package in Warrior (for aggro) + Brewmaster & Thaurissan were included in the warrior for same reasons (maximizing the aggro matchups while countering the traditional control lineups).
My strategy was a soft target on Priest and Highlander Hunter with primary ban on Control Warrior then usually Shaman. My lineup was relatively standard with card choices besides the addition of 1 Spellbreaker on Tempo Warrior to help beat the Khartut Defenders in meta and also helps the Priest matchup.
Hi, my decks were Tempo Rogue (7W-1L-1ban), Evolve Shaman (6W-2L-2bans) and Holywrath Paladin (3W-2L-5bans). I wanted to play Rogue and Shaman because in my opinion those are the two strongest decks in conquest at the moment. I added Holywrath Paladin to the lineup because I love playing the deck and I was confident with it. Plus the meta in the EU qualifiers is more control oriented, I expected some Nzoth Rogue after gaby’s win the previous day so I didn’t wanted to bring Control Warrior. Sadly I didn’t get to play it much as it got banned a lot. I didn’t have any particular tech cards. I chose to run The Storm Bringer in shaman because I think the card is very good in the deck. I also added an extra copy of Truesilver Champion in my Paladin deck and took out the Subdue to have a better matchup against Rogue. The strategy was to ban Warrior or Druid but i didnt face a lot of those, so I ended banning Evolve Shaman a lot. I felt really confident playing against Quest shamans and Rogues with this lineup, even if the Rogue mirror was often decisive.
I ban Evolve Shaman, Tempo Rogue. Everything else is fine, there are some lineups that let me ban Quest Druid. I built the line up to counter aggro and Priest in Asia cups. That’s why I run double Silence over Bwonsamdi and Hunter beats most aggro decks (when you ban Evolve Shaman), only Rogue is problematic.
The lineup is made up of the three decks that are stronger and with the greatest potential of highroll for me in current tournament meta, I didn’t think to target a specific deck but the lineup works good against Combo Priest and Quest Shaman. I generally banned Control Warrior and Evolve Shaman but sometimes it is very important to read what the opponent is going to ban to build a strategy to win with the two remaining decks.
I noticed that a lot of people were bringing a controly lineup because someone won a qualifier with that before, so i tried to make a lineup with decks that generate more value than they can remove and at the same time, do well against aggro, because there’s always people bringing full-aggro lineups. The biggest problem with my lineup was that it was bad against decks that make powerfull boards, like Shaman, Resurect priest, and druid, and also against OTK decks, like Shirvallah Paladin, but noone was bringing an OTK lineup, so it wasn’t a big problem, so i was basically banning these kind of decks.
Here’s all the metagame data about Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Arlington #31 to #45. These tournaments are in Conquest Bo3 format, as opposed to the Bo5 that we have seen in Masters Tour Bucharest. That’s why this report doesn’t include any statistics from Bucharest. Our content regarding the Bucharest metagame can be found here, here, here and here.
Hi! I’m LostHead, a competitive Hearthstone player from Ukraine representing the team Swagoi Gaming. I’ve been playing since early 2016 and so far my achievements include qualifying for Fall Play-offs 2018, finishing Rank 5 Legend in December 2018, and qualifying for all three Masters Tours this year. Last weekend I played in Masters Tour Bucharest and finished Swiss with 6-3 score.
My prep for this tournament actually didn’t go that well. Back when they just announced the tournament was going to be best of 5 Conquest my immediate thought was to bring aggro because I was confident there was no good 4 anti-aggro decks in the game at the moment. But re-introduction of Wild cards changed a lot since they generally made anti-aggro strategies stronger. Druids started to play Kun, Nzoth priest became a thing, etc. I was still trying to make aggro work and played it a lot in qualifiers. I had a decent winrate with it but couldn’t even make top-8. Single elimination is the worst but it obviously made me question my strategy. I played some Bo5s against a few high level players and neither aggro or non-aggro (midrange-y anti-druid luneup I was also thinking about) were not working. I was very stressed about the lineup up until the evening before the tournament but decided to go with aggro after intense testing with my former teammate Rebobson (big shout out to him) we learned that despite not being able to consistently beat Priest aggro decks are actually alright against a few other tier 1-2 decks (e.g. Quest Druid and Holy Wrath Paladin).
Notes on lists: Evolve Shaman list is just the one I played the most. I really wanted double Bolt vs Priest and Soul vs Druid (also that’s why Evolve and not Quest). I netdecked Zoo and Warrior from BabyBear. I didn’t test them much but she won an Arlington qualifier a week before so I assumed the lists are good enough. I really liked Amani Berserker in Warrior. I think this particular Rogue list was made by J_Alexander although I’m not sure. It had a very high winrate on hsreplay and Questing Adventurers made the Druid matchup so much better. My ban strategy was simple: ban Shaman unless they have Control/Nzoth warrior, in that case ban Warrior.
Round 4: got matched with a fellow Ukrainian, Neirea. That was my first opponent with anti-aggro lineup, and I told him I really don’t want to play vs his lineup right before the round started. Somehow I managed to beat his Shaman and Mage with Warrior and Shaman respectively. Then I proceeded to lose two games with Zoo. His last deck was Priest (Combo, not Nzoth) and I was really close to losing it but Shadowflame discovered from a Lackey saved me that game. So 3-2 in the end. Going forward, highrolling anti-aggro decks would become a theme for me at thattournament.
Round 8: won 3-1 again vs another Brazilian and former GM Rase. His lineup was similar to NaySyl’s but he had Druid instead of Paladin and that was his major weakness I managed to exploit. What was interesting about that series is that I also managed to guess the pick order correctly. I lost game 1 with Rogue vs his Quest Shaman but went with Warlock for game 2. I knew he really wants to queue Druid into Rogue and most players queue the same deck after losing with it. So I managed to get an easy win in a very favorable matchup, otherwise I would struggle to get a win with Zoo vs his other decks.
Round 9: won 3-2 in a very intense series against OTK specialist Zananananan who surprisingly didn’t bring any OTK decks. He was playing Secret Highlander Paladin, Quest Druid and Combo Priest. It was another series where I managed to queue Zoo when my opponent expected me to play Rogue and queued Druid. The 5th game was Rogue vs Priest, I had bad draws (sapping Pyromancer just so I don’t die level of bad) but right when I was about to concede I played Tog and evolved him with a lackey into 5/8 taunt which allowed me to survive a few more turns during which I had perfect topdecks and discovers and eventually won the game.
So 3-2 Day 1, 3-1 Day 2, 6-3 total.
I still think aggro wasn’t the best strategy (although a decent one) for that tournament and my relatively good results were mostly due to extreme luck in a fewimportant games but at the same time it was probably the correct choice to submit something I felt comfortable playing and had enough practice instead of completely changing everything last minute. At least this approach allowed me to get to the point where I had getting good RNG as an out and was able it to fully utilize it. In general I feel like my mistake was heavily relying on playing qualifiers as my main practice/testing. It worked with Specialist back when MTs had the same format as qualifiers and Specialist itself being way simpler format (at least in my opinion) also helped a lot. I hope I’ll be able to qualify for Arlington and other 2020 MTs and keep improving both my gameplay and lineup building skills.
Hello, I’m Thanh Dang Duc alias “SaltOPepper”, 24 years old, living and grew up in Berlin, with Vietnamese roots and currently studying Mathematics at TU Berlin. Currently I am playing under the Team Athaim. I’ve been playing Hearthstone since the release from time to time. Hearthstone is the first TCG I really played, except childhood TCGs like YuGiOh and Magic, which I just played for fun. Other than that I am playing literally everything, from RTS, MMORPG, Shooter and a lot more. Never have I settled on something and felt really really got at anything, but I was in my opinion above average in everything. Also did I never play anything competitively. I started playing Hearthstone competitively after Las Vegas Masters Tour 2019, when I found out about this new Hearthstone Masters format. I didn’t like the format before, because I couldn’t get myself to invest that much time, to ladder and travel around the world at my own expense. With a sponsor, I would travel around, but finding one is very difficult. This new format allowed me to show off my skills in online qualifiers and attend these past 2 Master Tours. My biggest achievement in Hearthstone would be qualifying and attending the Masters Tour. Although I did pretty poorly in the first Masters Tour Seoul (1-4, I didn’t sleep the night before), because of lack of sleep and nervosity, but I still had a great experience and have learnt a lot. The Masters Tour Bucharest went better, but still not good enough. I went (4-5) and therefore made it to day 2, but I could have easily gotten (6-3).
How I prepared
The most obvious way to prepare is to play ladder and especially the qualifiers. They are giving an idea, what kind of meta will be played probably, which is pretty much aggro and Shaman. I prepared with some of my friends and teammates (e.g. WowMit, Shroominator). To be frank, I didn’tpractice a lot, outside ladder and qualifiers, but training partners help, finding ideas and fixing mistakes, which I really appreciate. Especially after the release of the 23 wild cards I spent a lot of time in ladder and reading other people’s tweets about their decks.
My lineup was almost the same as the Masters Tour Winner Eddie, with some kind of variation. It was also the most common lineup in the Masters Tour, which just shows that I read the meta pretty well. I finalized my line up on the day 1 of the tournament. I always have a lot of crazy ideas, and would like to integrate them, but sometimes I shouldn’t do that. E.g. should I bring Hakkar into my warrior, maybe Archivist into Rez Priest instead of Séance, should I play Plague of Murlocs in Shaman to counter Combo Priest. A lot of ideas, but I can’t fit them all. I expected the field to be full of highlander aggro decks and shaman, which also came true. Also did Iexpect people, to counter these aggro decks with similar control decks as mine. That’s why I teched slightly greedier than normal control decks. The first 3 decks I wanted to bring were Rez Priest, N’zoth Warrior and Druid. I just took the last as Quest Shaman, because it was the strongest and most balanced (vs other decks). In hindsight, would have played 4 Control Decks, so Control Shaman instead. The idea behind this lineup is to be good against slightly slower decks than full-aggro. If the opponent had any slower aggro decks or midrange/control, then I had a good chance to beat them in a series. Also one of the most important factor for me, was to be able to beat OTK Paladin with this lineup. Unfortunetely I met 2 people in my run with full aggro decks, which my Druid couldn’t beat. Just ban the most aggro deck, and win the series, was my game plan. My game plan in general worked out, but some people didn’t bring any slow decks, and hence I had bad chances to win against them in a series. Most of the time I banned Shaman, because I didn’t want to get high rolled by Evolve, which may have been a mistake. I did respect Shaman way too much, which sometime costed me the game. After banning phase I always looked at their and my remaining line up, and came up with the plan, which deck to bring first. I considered likely picks from them and what deck would perform bad and good against that deck. So basically I wanted my least performing deck (on average), to play against the deck which it has a chance at, but I also wanted to bring my strongest deck early, to get an advantage. Difficult to explain, but just go with your guts.
Ban: Shaman, especially since this is the non-Quest version. I expected, that he’d ban one of mycontrol decks, either Warrior or Priest, which he did (Warrior ban). Pick: I decided to start with my Priest, which is especially favourable against all of his decks.
Matches: My Priest vs his Druid ( W ) My Shaman vs his Druid ( L ) My Druid vs his Priest ( W ) My Shaman vs his Rogue ( W )
Notes: Nothing really to say, but you need to know how win with your deck against certain types of decks. E.g. I won with my Priest vs his Druid, while he lost against mine. The idea as a Priest is to get Hakkar out as soon as possible, in order to disrupt Elise & Zephrys, other than that, you can also bruteforce it. Druids don’t have a lot of answers for sticky minions (e.g. playing Nzoth quick, reviving Ragnaros and other stuff…) As Druid you should try to either, tempo them down fast with threats, in order to force them to use their clears & unable to play Hakkar OR you should try to Elise floop & King Pharaoris asap, assuming that you force out at least some AOEs. If you get Hakkar’ed early, you can take it slow. Maybe even try to mill some or all bloods. Another good idea is, to just Zephry’s-> Hex Hakkar. But obviously there is a lot of luck involved.
Ban: Shaman, and he banned my Priest. In hindsight, I should have banned ComboPriest or even Highlander Secret Paladin. Pick: I wanted to start strong, and picked Warrior, which is decent against any of his decks.
Matches: My Warrior vs his Paladin ( L ) My Warrior vs his Druid ( L ) My Warrior vs his Priest ( L )
Notes: After losing I wanted to stick with Warrior. I figured, I’d have to play it anyway. Other than that, I got pretty unlucky. He had good curve, and I basically got locked out of the game, as far as I can remember.
Ban: Shaman on both sides Pick: I thought my Priest is pretty strong against his decks, especially since his Warrior & Priest didn’t play Archivist & Hakkar.
Matches: My Priest vs his Hunter ( L ) My Priest vs his Warrior ( L ) My Priest vs his Priest ( W ) My Druid vs his Priest ( W ) My Warrior vs his Priest ( W )
Notes: Crazy series. Especially the Priest mirror. At the end we had like 15 bloods each in the deck. Same idea here. Since he didn’t play Hakkar, I only had to deal with his threats and play it out. Eventually he wont be able to play anything anymore (Nzoth, Zerek’s and 2x Mass Resurrections are his only board-refills).
Ban: Both Shamans banned Pick: Priest is strong against all his decks, go that one first.
Matches: My Priest vs hisWarrior ( W ) My Druid vs his Warrior ( W ) My Warrior vs his Warrior ( W )
Notes: I think playing vs Mechathun Warrior is easy. You just need to count, which cards he has left in hand. The best tip I can give here is, if they still have 1 or 2 Brawls in the hand, until the end of the game, just don’t play anything. Most likely they wont be able to play their Brawls, and need to find another way to win, which is unlikely to happen. As Priest, you just need Hakkar and pressure them (so that they can’t mill the bloods). Druid should do fine, with their high tempo plays and threats after Quest completion.
Bans: Both Priests Pick: I have bad matchups against hyper aggro decks, and wanted to play my worst deck (Druid) against it, to have multiple attempts.
Matches: My Druid vs his Paladin ( W ) My Warrior vs his Paladin ( W ) My Shaman vs his Paladin ( L ) My Shaman vs his Warrior ( L ) My Shaman vs his Shaman ( L )
Notes: First 2 games went smooth, Last 2 games went horrible. The game I should have won is game 3, where he had 9 life, and I had Wasp in hand. I top decked Evil Cable Rat, which gave me Spell Lackey and Taunt Lackey (Kobold Lackey would have won me the game there). So I searched for a spell (Lightning Bolt), but I couldn’t find it and ended up with Rockbiter Weapon, which was 1 mana off lethal. Nothing else to say to this series.
Bans: His Mech Paladin & My Rez Priest Pick: Wanted to start strong against his aggro decks and started with Shaman
Matches: My Shaman vs his Warlock My Warrior vs his Priest (L) My Warrior vs his Warlock (L) My Warrior vs his Shaman (L)
Notes: E.g. vs Priest: He played nothing T1 and T2. T3 he played Injured Blademaster with Circle of Healing. I could have cleared, but figured that he’d Psychopump it and I couldn’t deal with itafterwards. T4 he played Amet, which I cleared. T5 he played not-top-decked Psychopump. Ibrawled, and his Injured Blademaster Survived, with that he double DS & Inner Fire’d me to deal 28+2(Amet) damage, which were my total hp+armor pool. If anything else would have survived, I’d win probably, since I had on T6 Whirlwind+Plague. If that didn’t happen, I’d figured I’d have a chance.
Matches: My Druid vs his Shaman ( L ) My Druid vs his Paladin ( L ) My Priest vs his Priest ( L )
Notes: I’m not sure if these matches are correct (probably not), but I was expecting to win out against his Priest. In the Priest Mirror it’s almost only about who dies to Hakkar’s blood first, which happened to be me. Tip: Decide if you want to be the aggressor or to play passive. This is decided by who has more clears/threats left and how many cards in hand one has. If that wouldn’t have happened, I would have a good chance to win out the series, since he didn’t play Hakkar.
Ban: Maly Druid, because it can win against my Rez Priest. He banned my Shaman Pick: Start with Priest, because it is strong against all of his decks.
Matches: My Priest vs his Paladin ( W ) My Druid vs his Paladin ( W ) My Warrior vs his Paladin ( L ) My Warrior vs his Priest ( W )
Notes: As expected to win most of the time against his Paladin. As Priest Hakkar is the win condition, and Druid a lot of armor through Kun. In the Warrior match, I just didn’t have enough draw power to draw all my armor cards & Dr Boom. As Warrior against Priest, you can play it slow. If they don’t want to do anything, you don’t have to do anything. The Priest is on the clock, because you can play Archivist to remove the blood and win in fatigue.
Ban: I banned his Warrior, because he played Hakkar & Archivist. He banned my Priest. Pick: Warrior is strong against all his decks.
Matches: My Warrior vs his Shaman ( W ) My Druid vs his Priest ( L ) My Druid vs his Shaman ( L ) My Druid vs his Druid ( W ) My Shaman vs his Druid ( L )
Notes: Really really crazy series. We both were tired and did a lot of mistakes. I tried to tempo out his Priest, but he had all the answers, and I lost. I remember drawing the blood the turn I wanted to play Elise or Zephrys as Druid. In the Druid mirror, I tried to tempo him out yet again, especially since he used all his starfalls. But he had Zephrys already active and punished me by playing Twisting Nether, while I played my Floop (King Phaoris). He also made the mistake and wanted to end the game early (play Phaoris withoutElise/Floop) and got punished. At the end he forgot to banker his Elise, which made it impossible for him to win the game, since my game plan was to play Elise-> Banker-> Loti (10 Mana rotation), while I always Elise’d my Zephrys too. My Shaman vs his Druid was crazy. I drew very good and evolve’d early, which resulted in me having a 5/6, 5/5 and Spirit of the shark on the field. The turn after I double evolved my mogu through the Shark, which gave me the 9/6 Anubis (inbetween the evolves, it went to ragnaros, which I would have preferred). Turn after I Barista’d my evolve Lackey and evolved my newly drawn Mogu, which was a mistake. It gave me 7/7 Archivist. Insteadof evolving my mogu only, I should have evolved my whole board with my Evolve spell. Now comes his crazy turn: He had 9 mana, and through my minion he got some coins. His turn was as following: Coin->Kun-> Starfall my Archivist-> Floop (Kun)-> 3/5 Defender for 0 Mana-> Cenarius. He almost cleared my board, gained 20 armor and had 3 taunts, which locked me out of the game, since I had no real cards in hand. Evolving my whole board would have probably increased the average stats of my board, especially with Shark on field, which does nothing. But other than that, I was too sure, to win this game, which was my demise.
All in all, I had a lot of fun at the Masters Tour, and I learnt a lot, and met great people. This is what I will remember for next time: 1. Take your time and spend your whole turn, thinking about everything. 2. There’s always a way to win/lose a game. Play out the game, and never be cocky. 3. Don’t get upset about games. The game smellsyour negativity and will give you even worsedraws. 4. Have fun. Being there is a privilege. Being one of the 300 qualified played is an achievement itself.
I didn’t have RDU as tour guide, but Bucharest is just alright. There wasn’t much to do, or at least Ididn’t know what to do. I was there with friends, and we just chilled and relaxed, and went aroundthe city. I met a lot of people, and played against good players I see on stream and on twitter, whichI am grateful for, to meet them and play againstthem. Most notably are Mryagut, Oliech, Rase, Jia & BabyBear.Most of the pictures I made are on my Twitter. My next plan is to qualify for Arlington. I want to take Hearthstone serious and I hope I will berewarded eventually. I will keep improving and will do better next time.