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Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #24

by BasedincNPH Pasca, and WickedGood

Hearththstone Masters Qualifiers Madrid week 2 (16-30)

After one full week in the Academy, some Heroes have started to clearly lead the class. But there is a lot of room at the top. Every Class made multiple top 8 appearances this weekend and only Paladin, Shaman and Warlock failed to cross the finish line and take a win. One of those is quite surprising, but we’ll address that later. One significant shift took place in our top 3 classes and the top tier line-up.

Druid remains the top deck with a little over half the players bringing Guardian Druid. Priest takes second place with all flavors of Galakrond Priest taking in about half of the line-ups. Paladin has dropped significantly as other lists have become refined and Paladin has stayed the same. Uther is no longer the meta-breaker he was last week and is too linear and targetable to hang out in the top 3. Paladin still has powerful on curve plays and is one of the premier midrange strategies which keeps it at a healthy population in tier 3. Warrior has returned to its rightful place atop the meta. Recent developments in the Bomb Warrior build have significantly improved its match ups across the board making it one of the highest win-rate decks in Qualifiers! Enrage and Big Warriors still make appearances in some line-ups but are likely tier 3 decks according to winrate.

Rogue stands atop the large tier 2 of classes with roughly a third of players bringing one of the many flavors of Rogue. The aggressive Stealth builds make up the largest portion of players but the Miracle-style Secret Rogue that only 7.3% of players brought was the best performing Rogue. And with an ever lower number of players (3%) bringing it, Galakrond Secret Rogue performed very well this weekend likely coming in to punish some of the greedier strategies like Priest. Demon Hunter was brought by a little less than a fourth of the players and was primarily Tempo strategies which performed very middling. However, Soul Shard Demon Hunters performed much better than their tempo counterparts suggesting there may be a shift coming next week in that direction. Mages round out these next three classes with 11.2% of players bringing Tempo lists and 8.0% bringing Highlander lists. Neither of them performed particularly spectacular with Tempo Mage hauling in just above a 50% win-rate on the weekend and Highlander Mage showing signs of being a tier 3 deck despite its solid match-ups against Priest.

As mentioned earlier, Paladin has dropped significantly and found itself declining in usage all weekend. Its win-rates don’t inspire too much confidence either. It is just not a tournament deck. Warlock is one of the most interesting classes this weekend. It was split primarily between Zoo (8.1%) and Galakrond (7.8%) and was one of 3 classes to not win a qualifier. However, Zoo was the best performing deck of the entire weekend! It’s decent match-up against Druid and strong match-up against Priest make it an excellent choice in a ban Warrior strategy, but we’ll see if it can handle its own success once it is a more expected deck. Galakrond Warlock also had a decent showing with an above 50% win-rate for the weekend. Don’t expect Warlock to be the 8th most popular class next weekend. Hunter was the 9th most popular class with most builds split between Face Hunter and Highlander Hunter. The win-rates of the two decks were both quite unimpressive, but Face Hunter took down 2 Qualifiers while Highlander Hunter took 1! Certainly finding success in aggressive line-ups anyways! Shaman’s population continued to shrink from last week. Control Shaman made a couple top 8s but the class does not look exciting in the current landscape.

The meta is still far from settled and the mismatches between the top represented and top win-rates suggest we’ll see another shift next weekend as people try to capitalize on the unexpected and powerful strategies still emerging in Scholomance Academy.

Data summary from Off-Curve:

We recommend going to off-curve for even more detailed data, statistics about bans specific to each lineup, and an interactive dashboard where you can click on what’s most interesting to you and dive into the numbers down to every single Hearthstone game played this weekend in open cups.

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are qualifier winners who were generous enough to write comments about the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior (Zeeland / MegaGliscor / Elefanti)

Proven Lineups:
Tempo Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Enrage Warrior (Matteo / Itzvan)
Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior (山下智久)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Stealth Rogue (Butterz)
Guardian Druid, Highlander Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue (TheTeacher/Reliquary)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Secret Galakrond Rogue (INER)
Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (あなる王子)
Guardian Druid, Highlander Priest, Bomb Warrior (NORE)
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Aggro Rogue (Siroco)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Stealth Rogue, Zoo Warlock (min / PDA)
Tempo Mage, Highlander Priest, Bomb Warrior (LLIoKoJIaD / 애대박)
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (Quebek / etovityusha / DenBut)
Face Hunter, Tempo Mage, Stealth Rogue (Dyer)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Highlander Rogue (현명한약강)

Interesting Lineups:
Galakrond Priest, Control Shaman, Control Warrior (LaN)
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Priest, Bomb Warrior (Kinertiyu / 하스스톤의망령)
Libram Paladin, Highlander Priest, Big Warrior (Dragonmaster)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Secret Rogue, Zoo Warlock (Felzak)
Control Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Bomb Warrior (哈利)
Guardian Druid, Quest Turtle Mage, Bomb Warrior (magicgeek)
Spell Mage, Highlander Priest, Galakrond Warlock (Soulmaker)
Token Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (VoidStacker)
Malygos Druid, Other Mage, Zoo Warlock (Dabs)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Turtle Mage (Debs)
Stealth Rogue, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (Yachster)
Face Hunter, Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest (ZheDude)
Libram Paladin, Galakrond Priest, Secret Rogue (gle)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Priest, Secret Galakrond Rogue (noblord)
Control Demon Hunter, Dragon Spell Druid, Aggro Rogue (哈利)

Comments from the winners:

MegaGliscor on Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior:
“Priest and Druid are so powerful, even they can win against unfavorable decks. Third hero, Warrior can fight against Priest or Druid. Ban hero is Priest or Warrior, which is better depends on other heroes. If an opponent’s Priest adopts Ooze or Stickyfinger, please ban Priest.
Priest: I took Galakrond Priest, not Highlander for consistency.
Druid: I piled up 2 Wild Growth and 2 Survival of the Fittest for mirror.
Warrior: I used Skipper and Armorsmith package for aggro decks. Weapon buff cards are for mirror.”

Elefanti on Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior:
“This lineup wasn’t really build to counter anything but rather just pick some of the best/strongest classes/decks in the meta right now. All my games and bans can be seen here, but I tried to ban Warrior most of the time as I feelt that deck performed really well againt both Druid and Priest, and I didn’t really wanna try to play in the mirror. If my opponent didn’t have a Warrior in the lineup I tried to ban classes like buff/aggro Paladin or other aggro deck like aggro Rogue. The list I used are just list thats been performing great over ladder and other people. I would’t change the Druid list, but if you run into a lot of Oozes you can change Zephrys for 1 Hoard Pillager to play around Ooze more. Some people like Zyrios play 1 Shield of Galakrond instead of Murozond but I like the value Murozond gives in some matchups and unless you get another Invoke card you won’t get max Galarkond with the 3 Galakrond cards if you play Shield so I decided to cut it.”

Matteo on Tempo Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Enrage Warrior:
“I went with a target aggro strategy because I didn’t have dust for Priest and Bomb Warrior on Asia. In the end, I was happy to not have Priest in my lineup because a lot of people tried to target it, and vs the target Priest decks, my lineup performed really well. Standard ban was Priest.”

Itzvan on Tempo Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Enrage Warrior:
“I was mainly focused on banning the Priest since my 3 decks loose to it. These decks are easy to create since most cards are free or inexpensive and are the only decks that I can afford on the Asian server. In the case of the Druid, I have Animated Broomstick to use with any of the Beasts, which I found very favorable, mainly against aggros. In the case of the Demon Hunter choose not to run the Skulls since 90% of the deck are low cost cards and for the Rogue it is enough with the Voracius Readers against the Druid choose to carry double Mana Burn and double Cult Neophyte. I hope this lineup helps you qualify or at least reach the top 8.”

山下智久 on Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior:
“My ban strategy is to ban Priest in priority, then Warrior. Priest opponents are not easy for my Warrior and my Mage, and Bomb Warrior is a very hard matchup for my Mage. I chose Spell Mage, Bomb Warrior and Galakrond Priest, no Druid because I thought that many people would try to go anti Druid. I think that my lineup is good against Druid but also against aggro, for example Zoo Warlock or Aggro DH. If my opponent has an all aggro lineup I ban Shaman, then Rogue (for example against Rogue-Hunter-DH I ban Rogue).”

Butterz on Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Stealth Rogue:
“Ban Warrior, target Druid lineup. You’re also happy to play against Priest and Secret Rogue. 2x Cult in DH is really good against Druids and Tempo Mage, you still play Bonechewer and Augmerchant package because that’s one of the ways you beat Priest, 2 Marrow Slicers is also good burst damage over 2 turns and allows you to Glaivebound on curve more consistently and Voracious Reader is a 1/3 most of the time so I cut it. I got the Stealth Rogue list from Glory’s Grandmaster lineup and Face Hunter is from @Maur1HS on Twitter and I didn’t have Dragonbane in the Face Hunter list because I didn’t have enough dust on EU lol.”

TheTeacher and Reliquary on Guardian Druid, Highlander Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue:
“Let’s start from the begining, this line up actually started because I had no cards to play the ‘better’ line ups on the American server so I asked Reliquary for help to do a decent line up with the decks I had at the moment. Since I had Highlander Hunter he suggested a play against Priest line up, I also had Druid, which doesn’t counter Priest but it’s a very strong deck so we decided that had to be in the line up.
So we were missing one deck, there was some banter on Twitter about Galakrond Rogue vs Priest so we decided to do some testing and Galakrond Rogue was beating Priest pretty easly, I had Galakrond Rogue on NA so this choice closes the line up. In the first cups only I played the line up and did pretty ok, so I decided to also play the same line up on the European server, where I actually won, naturally Reliquary decided to play the line up on Sunday because it looked pretty good after all, we were on vacation and playing at the hotel, so he didn’t play the European cup so we could enjoy some vacation time, but he never thought that he would win the American cup. So for the strategy we thought about playing mostly against Priest since it is very popular at the moment, we also had some other decks that were pretty good to play against like Paladin, our mainly problem was line ups targeting Druid, because of that we decided to play the 5 beasts version with double Thresher since most of them play board based decks. The ban strategy was actually not very staight forward, but at first our ban was always Bomb Warrior. When the enemy line up didn’t have Bomb Warrior we needed to see which was our worst deck (most times Druid or Hunter, Rogue was actually insane all the series), so after checking that we banned to protect our weaker deck, for exemple if the opponent is targeting Druid we let up the two decks that give our Druid more chances of winning, even if it means some worse match ups for our other deck. So we ended up banning a lot of Face decks since it punishes our Hunter and Druid a lot, I think that is all about this line up me and Reliquary created. Shoutout to Pinche, because we had the idea of targeting Priest because he did well with this strategy the week before.”

INER on Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Secret Galakrond Rogue:
“I didn’t have Druid and Bomb Warrior on NA so i took the decks I have and I like to play with banned Druid and struggled with Bomb Warrior but dodged them a bit. No certain strategy just improvisation.”

あなる王子 on Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior:
“I thought there would be more tempo decks. I chose decks that could beat them. The ban is Druid. I thought I was weak against the Druids. But I looked at the GM and Priest might be more of a threat.”

Siroco on Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Aggro Rogue:
Here’s the VOD of my tournament. Priority ban is Warrior, then Priest. Target is Druid. I played those 3 decks because they’re the only ones I have.”

Meet The New Grandmasters, Part Two: TIZS

by NPH Pasca

This series of interviews by Team NoProsHere vows to help fans discover the new Hearthstone Grandmasters promoted for the season of August 2020.

Ching-Li “TIZS” Li is a 27 years old player from Taiwan who earned his ticket to Asia-Pacific Grandmasters by finishing in the top 8 of Masters Tour Arlington, 6-3 in Los Angeles and 6-3 in Jönköping.

Twitter

NPH: Congratulations on making it into the Grandmasters program! How does it feel?
TIZS: It feels excellent. All the hard work is worthy.

NPH: When did you start playing Hearthstone? Where does your game name come from?
TIZS: I started playing Hearthstone from beta. My game name is similar to numbers 7, 12, and 5, which are numbers of stroke to write my Chinese name.

NPH: Were you competitive from the beginning?
TIZS: It is easy for me to get high legend from the beginning. However, I decided to start participating in tournaments two year ago.

NPH: How would you describe your style as a player? What are your favorite types of decks? What can viewers expect from you in Grandmasters?
TIZS: I like all types of decks except aggro. However, I would bring aggro to Grandmasters if it is needed. So, the viewer can see all kinds of strong lineups from me in Grandmasters.

NPH: How do you prepare for the upcoming season? Who do you practice with?
TIZS: I prepare with tom60229 and GivePLZ.

NPH: What is the competitive scene like in your region or country? Are there a lot of tournaments? Is the community very engaged?
TIZS: There aren’t many tournaments. Most players don’t have teams.

NPH: What advice would you give to players who are just starting to be competitive in Hearthstone?
TIZS: If you play well, never give up.

NPH: Good luck with the season! Are you anxious?
TIZS: I am so anxious. I will try my best to overcome the anxiety and have good performance.

Lineups analysis: Grandmasters 2020 Season 2 Week 1

by Basedinc

Hearthstone Grandmasters is back! With just over a week since the launch of Scholomance Academy, the meta is still a shifting puzzle. These are the players most likely to solve that puzzle and there are some clear directions that the pros have found. I created a Google Sheet with some brief information about their line ups as well as links to each players’ line up. You can access that here to see all the decks and swiss performance!
This article discusses the Grandmasters’ deck choices, the bans, and the differences between the 3 regions.

The Global Meta

GlobalBroughtAverage
Demon Hunter41.33
Druid4414.67
Hunter31.00
Mage3612.00
Paladin72.33
Priest4214.00
Rogue206.67
Shaman00.00
Warlock72.33
Warrior299.67

Druid and Priest were almost unanimously agreed on as must brings (EU agreed on Mage where all 16 players brought the same archetype!). Mage, Warrior and Rogue followed up as the next tier of popularity and likely these choices is where each player’s line up direction was truly decided. Finally Paladin, Warlock, Demon Hunter and Hunter were added to line ups for very specific strategies (or possibly quiet meta breakers?). Shaman sees another week without play. Quest Flinger Shaman is unfortunately not pinging pens this week.

There were some notable differences between the regions this weekend and some interesting meta reads even in this completely unsolved meta, but before we talk about those. We have to understand some of the line up building choices that led these players to their 4 decks.

The Ban Meta

GlobalPrimary BanAverage
Demon Hunter00.00
Druid62.00
Hunter00.00
Mage00.00
Paladin00.00
Priest227.33
Rogue10.33
Shaman00.00
Warlock00.00
Warrior196.33

These numbers are incredibly rough. You cannot accurately distill ban strategies to a single class. There were many line-ups that banned quite flexibly and were able to better take into account both their opponent’s techs/likely ban to make a better choice in particular match-ups or may have had to leave up a dangerous deck in an attempt to get a deck targeted by their opponent its best chance at a win. Many identical line-ups (in terms of archetypes) made different ban choices overall as well. This could be a result of tech choices or just pilot preference.

There were two primary strategies. Ban Priest or ban Warrior. A handful of players banned Druid and NoHandsGamer appeared to ban Rogue as his highest priority. Ban Priest appeared to be the default position. Players found success with every strategy.

Priest is quite powerful and with nearly everyone bringing Priest it is also a consideration to plan on limiting your Priest mirrors to help maintain your focus as they become very grindy attempting to play optimally. This isn’t ladder where it is a race to concede the Priest mirror. These line-ups tended to bring Guardian Druid, Tempo Mage, Galakrond or Highlander Priest and Bomb Warrior. Interestingly, two line-ups bringing Control Demon Hunter chose to ban Priest over Bomb Warrior and had success doing so!

With banning Warrior appearing to be the secondary strategy, there is often a bit more variance in the line-ups taking the secondary ban approach. Banning Warrior allowed players to bring more aggressive board based strategies to better pressure Druids. This opened up players to bring Aggressive Demon Hunters, Malygos Druid, Hunters, Rogues and Warlocks.

Most of the players I identified as banning Druid commonly had a flexible ban strategy and often had unique decks such as Tortollan Mage and Enrage Warrior (yes Enrage/Egg Warrior are now considered unique to lineups, welcome to Scholomance). These “ban Druid” line-ups were likely built with flexibility in mind and found themselves hitting the highest base power level deck in Druid. The other two strategies often found themselves banning Druid as a second priority to give a bit more credence to this theory.

Ban priorities are chosen during line-up building and both are selected based on meta reads. So what did this lead to in the different regions?

Europe

EUBroughtGlobal Avg. Diff.Prim BansGlobal Avg. Diff.
Demon Hunter1-0.33Demon Hunter00.00
Druid150.33Druid31.00
Hunter0-1.00Hunter00.00
Mage164.00Mage00.00
Paladin0-2.33Paladin00.00
Priest13-1.00Priest7-0.33
Rogue4-2.67Rogue0-0.33
Shaman00.00Shaman00.00
Warlock30.67Warlock00.00
Warrior122.33Warrior6-0.33

Europe, the land of Mage and Warrior. I mentioned earlier that Europe is the only region that all 16 players brought the same class and the same archetype for that class! Everyone agreed that Tempo Mage was necessary. Europe also had the most Warriors and was about average on banning Warrior. They showed respect for Garrosh by Rogue’s lowest numbers. All of the players also decided Paladin and Hunter were not good enough in Conquest making them the region with the least class diversity. They’d really established what the top meta was and stuck with it.

Asia Pacific

APACBroughtGlobal Avg. Diff.Prim BansGlobal Avg. Diff.
Demon Hunter31.67Demon Hunter00.00
Druid150.33Druid0-2.00
Hunter21.00Hunter00.00
Mage9-3.00Mage00.00
Paladin41.67Paladin00.00
Priest151.00Priest7-0.33
Rogue70.33Rogue0-0.33
Shaman00.00Shaman00.00
Warlock2-0.33Warlock00.00
Warrior7-2.67Warrior92.67

APAC had the largest variety in classes at the cost of its Mage and Warrior population. The lower Warrior population was likely predicted at the higher brings of Demon Hunter and Rogue and a higher number of players banning Warrior (lucky for them). Control Demon Hunter was brought by only 3 players this weekend all in APAC and they took the top 2 placements after Swiss. Control Demon Hunter performs nicely against everything not in the big 3 (Druid, Priest and especially Warrior) and likely enjoyed this diverse meta and low Warrior population.

Americas

AMBroughtGlobal Avg. Diff.Prim BansGlobal Avg. Diff.
Demon Hunter0-1.33Demon Hunter00.00
Druid14-0.67Druid31.00
Hunter10.00Hunter00.00
Mage11-1.00Mage00.00
Paladin30.67Paladin00.00
Priest140.00Priest80.67
Rogue92.33Rogue10.67
Shaman00.00Shaman00.00
Warlock2-0.33Warlock00.00
Warrior100.33Warrior4-2.33

The Americas’ unique stamp on the format lies in its high Rogue population and some unique deck and line-up brings beneath the surface. Eddie and killinallday brought an identical 120 cards after prepping together including the highly controversial Tortollan Mage. Briarthorn and NoHandsGamer brought the two most unique line-ups of the weekend. The rest of Americas’ numbers suggest it was fairly in line with the global trends, but they didn’t pay the same respect to Warrior as the other regions with a much lower focus on banning the Warrior and a lot more flexible bans.

The Meta Revisited

The meta was highly varied this week. The primary 4 decks were certainly found in Guardian Druid, Tempo Mage, Galakrond Priest and Bomb Warrior, but this wasn’t the only successful line-up from the weekend. Players were able to find success with nearly every class with the exceptions of Hunter and Shaman. The next meta will begin to revolve around these top 4 decks and these players may seek the weak link of them and target them.

Next week is Last Hero Standing where ban strategies can be used to open up and prevent sweeps and sometimes decks can be brought and hard teched for very specific match-ups. Expect a lot more creativity and variety out of players.

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #23

by Basedinc, NPH Pasca, NPH SnakeFawdz and WickedGood

With a minuscule 8 hours between the release of Scholomance Academy and the first Master Tour Madrid qualifier, the first dominant line-up of the qualifiers was born. The first 3 events were won by an identical 90 Hearthstone cards. Guardian Druid, Dragon Galakrond Priest and Egg Warrior which set the pace for the weekend and took the tier 1 place on the lineup stats over the entire weekend. But with such a massive shake up literally hours before the weekend. There were meta shifts every day.

In qualifiers 1-3, the five most popular decks were Enrage/Egg Warrior (48.5%), Ramp/Guardian Druid (47.8%), Tempo Demon Hunter (27.5%), Galakrond Priest (19.5%) and Aggro Rogue (16.1%). A natural transition from the previous meta, the new most feared deck in Druid rising to almost eclipse the previous top dog in Warrior and some aggressive strategies to likely beat the Druid. Priest was a natural fit to combat the returning Warrior presence and was able to be slightly adjusted from previous lists. Notably adding a Dragon package to fight a bit better on board.

In the next set of 4-9, the five most popular decks were now Ramp/Guardian Druid (62%), Enrage/Egg Warrior (34%), Galakrond Priest (25.2%), Pure Paladin (19.7%) and Tempo Demon Hunter (19.5%). Players had started to accept this week’s meta king Guardian Druid and the meta had evolved into ban or target the king. Warrior began to drop because of the following two classes’ rise, despite still being a strong deck to fend off any aggro coming Druid’s way. The rise of Paladin and Priest are to be expected as they both received powerful new tools and could combat the high presence of Warriors and Druids at the top. The newly created Aggro Rogue is a fair option to target Druid (and did manage to win #6), but because of the much less refined state of the deck, it fell off in favor of decks that adapted to the new set rather than were born from it. Tempo Demon Hunter finds itself in a similar state because it was struggling to find its same footing at the end of the last meta and is undergoing a lot of testing and refinement itself.

In the final set of 10-15, the five most popular decks were now Ramp Druid (66.8%), Pure Paladin (33%), Enrage Warrior (23.8%), Tempo Demon Hunter (20%) and Galakrond Priest (18.9%). Druid continued its upward trend and rightfully so as only 2 line ups that qualified excluded the king. Pure Paladin took it’s right place as the number 3 deck with another large jump in population (don’t worry the math will make sense later). Its powerful snowballing capability was recognized and rewarded. Throughout the weekend, players moved away from running Consecration and Libram of Justice to buffs in those slots in Blessing of Kings/Authority to just run away with games. Enrage Warrior continued its downward trend dropping nearly 25% from the first set of qualifiers where it won all 3! You can thank the 2 & 3 most popular decks for the downward spiral of our fallen king. Tempo Demon Hunter stabilized around 20% with solid match-ups against the top 3 despite still going through refinement and will likely rise if the meta continues along this path. Finally, our second most popular class. Priest appears to have fallen in this set but that’s because the 6th most popular deck is Highlander Priest (17.7%) which effectively split Priest’s population (36.6% between the two) in half when in reality the decks operate the same. However, Highlander proved to have a higher power ceiling and was the most powerful deck of the entire weekend! Long live Priest.

About archetype classification

For the purpose of the statistics featured in this report, all decks played in Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers are sorted through an algorithm that acts like a list of yes/no questions with outputs along the way. There is no machine learning, those criteria have to be manually updated every time the meta changes. As a general example, the first step is to label “Highlander” the decks without duplicates and “Quest” the ones with a Quest. Then comes a list of key cards (Malygos, Galakrond, etc.) that are curated to provide the best characterization, and reviewed as often as possible. Any list that goes through the whole process without finding its name falls into “Other [Class]”.

Sometimes, one player has success with a very unique deck, and we choose not to change the algorithm unless more players start playing it. It is the case this week with Trec’s Soul Fragment Demon Hunter, which our system labels as the Tempo version even though it’s not exactly the list you probably think of when you read Tempo Demon Hunter. If it becomes a part of the meta we will add an output for it, but not if it’s unique to one deckbuilder. Sorry, Trec.

One more thing to note is that when lists are unrefined and in flux they can be harder to split. Right now, a lot of different builds of Guardian Druid are being played. We looked for ways to separate them, for example between builds that run Kael’Thas and Survival of the Fittest and ones that have an Exotic Mountseller package, but there are still a lot of lists with both, and all the card options seem to be considered independently. We will continue to monitor this and split them if actual different archetypes emerge. In comparison, our classification of Rogue is much more refined, with Galakrond Rogues separated based on the presence of the Stealth package, Secret package, or none. When reading the data, please keep that in mind if you want to compare the popularity of archetypes from different classes.

Data summary from Off-Curve:

We recommend going to off-curve for even more detailed data, statistics about bans specific to each lineup, and an interactive dashboard where you can click on what’s most interesting to you and dive into the numbers down to every single Hearthstone game played this weekend in open cups.

Over the course of the weekend, Enrage Warrior declined in popularity and was replaced by Pure Paladin.

Tier List:

Click on the players names to get full lists and deck codes from Yaytears. The names in bold are qualifier winners who were generous enough to write comments about the strategy behind their lineup. Scroll past the tier list to read them.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (Pilou / Win / Paradox / BlizzconJan)
Guardian Druid, Pure Paladin, Highlander Priest (Hawkeye / Alkaiser / GrJim / TechnoGoose)

Proven Lineups:
Soul Fragment Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Enrage Warrior (Trec)
Guardian Druid, Pure Paladin, Galakrond Priest (Kinertiyu)
Guardian Druid, Zoo Warlock, Enrage Warrior (myao)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Token Druid, Face Hunter, Tempo Mage (molino)
Guardian Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Nova)
Spell Druid, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Alza)
Pure Paladin, Highlander Priest, Big Warrior (BruTo)
Guardian Druid, Libram Paladin, Aggro Rogue (MrMartial)
Spell Druid, Aggro Rogue, Enrage Warrior (RaFaEl)
Guardian Druid, Highlander Hunter, Pure Paladin (PapaJason)
Guardian Druid, Highlander Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (Pinche)
Guardian Druid, Tempo Mage, Aggro Rogue (DDoANi / Shelu)
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Warlock, Enrage Warrior (Vybon / Mysterious)
Guardian Druid, Tempo Mage, Cube Priest (DDoBaGi)

Interesting Lineups:
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Priest, Stealth Rogue (Kalàxz)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Quest Warlock (BatidoDeOreo)
Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Quest Warlock, Big Warrior (Fryze)
Guardian Druid, Other Mage, Highlander Shaman (Shadowe12)
Spell Druid, Pure Paladin, Quest Warlock (pianokiller)
Guardian Druid, Stealth Rogue, Control Warrior (Findan)
Pure Paladin, Control Priest, Big Warrior (goodwill)
Tempo Mage, Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (kagome)
Token Druid, Galakrond Priest, Stealth Rogue (GogmagSC2)
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Warlock, Bomb Warrior (Pierrot)
Guardian Druid, Tempo Mage, Highlander Rogue (Noflame)
Highlander Mage, Highlander Priest, Highlander Rogue (Capuch1no)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Highlander Rogue (Lokyin)
Control Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Pure Paladin (HMHRyan)
Guardian Druid, Cube Priest, Galakrond Warrior (taroimo)
Guardian Druid, Galakrond Warlock, Galakrond Warrior (Kuonet)
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Highlander Priest (Amlaith)
Guardian Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Bomb Warrior (Sergiy)
Guardian Druid, Zoo Warlock, Big Warrior (Gromthinker)
Guardian Druid, Libram Paladin, Enrage Warrior (Diyoukh)
Guardian Druid, Control Shaman, Quest Warlock (ТихийШторм)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Guardian Druid, Galakrond Warlock (ShadySlayer)
Guardian Druid, Pure Paladin, Quest Warlock (pianokiller)
Galakrond Priest, Quest Warlock, Enrage Warrior (N8BIZ)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Murloc Paladin, Aggro Shaman (KNMDehua)

Comments from the winners:

Pilou on Ramp Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior:
“Well as it was the first qualifier in the new expansion I focused on bringing good decks with small changes . I expected mostly 2 aggro with Druid, or 1 aggro deck like DH plus Egg Warrior and Druid. I knew Egg Warrior and Galakrond Dragon Priest were good against this expected field so I put Beast Druid as a third deck because the deck was just so strong 6 hours into the expansion I felt like most people would not be able to counter it. I also chose to always ban Druid because of its power level. Most people didn’t ban my Druid thinking they coule beat it with aggro and chose to ban my Warrior. At the end Druid finished 8-0, priest 7-3 and warrior 3-0.”

Win on Ramp Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior:
“First of all it was pretty early to build decent lineup so i looked at qualifier #1 to see what is the meta right now then I saw Pilou’s lineup who won first. It was perfect for day 1 because a lot of people were trying to bring aggro decks and Egg Warrior (since Egg Warrior was dominating the previous meta). So basically this lineup is targeting aggro decks and Egg Warrior, strategy is to ban Druid because you can’t keep up with its broken Kael’Thas turns. I changed only 1 card in Warrior, cut Cache and added Cruel Taskmaster, i think Cache is not that strong after nerf and you need more enrage activators in Warrior right now. I would like to say that this lineup won’t be good next week because people adjusted their lineups to counter this one pretty fast, right now there are much less Warriors and aggro and this lineup is pretty bad vs Libram Paladin (best deck in tournament meta right now in my opinion).”

Paradox on Pilou’s Ramp Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior:
Paradox wrote down his thoughts in this document. He also documents the open cups metagame in this spreadsheet.

Trec on Soul Fragment Demon Hunter, Ramp Druid, Enrage Warrior:
“My first and obvious choice for the cups was Warrior ; it’s still the best deck of the metagame. You can take the same as the previous meta with 2 new legendaries that are amazing (Lord Barov and Doctor Krastinov). Depending of the match up you can play the deck as a control, aggro or combo deck. Keep in mind that you can OTK with the Coin (Grommash ; 2 Inner Rage ; Mercenary and a Weapon equipped). The New Shield of Honor can help Kor’kron’s big damages ; This is better than Rampage but I’m not sure if we can’t just run both. I’m not a big fan of the Egg version, i prefer have Upgrade, the card is cheap and give a lot of damages and value, i usually run 2 but i put a second Armorsmith to answer the aggressivity of a new meta.
Druid is Highroll land but you must have it to force opponent’s ban. I hesitated a lot between ban Druid or Warrior but I thought that Warrior was way harder to play so I banned Druid when I saw a good list of it. For the list i took Pilou’s one, he won the first cup with it ; the list seemed OK so I changed nothing but it needs to be refined (2 Overflow is core and still not sure if Mountseller version is better or not).
I wanted a Control deck for the last slot and tried Priest and Demon Hunter. Priest seemed not flexible enough for me so i took my homemade DH Control (Yes you control by hitting your opponent’s face ; let’s say it’s a Life Control). It has the same ideas and match up of the DH control of the previous meta but way faster, you have Heals and board control (Mystic a.k.a the new Duskbreaker is op) so aggressive decks are easy and you have a lot of Face Damage without board to kill slow decks. The new mechanic of Soul Fragment is really cool but you don’t have a lot of cards to generate them and you use / draw a big part of them so I didn’t put Malicia.
This extension is really interesting, I’m happy to qualify quickly so i can now test a lot of decks.”

molino on Token Druid, Face Hunter, Tempo Mage:
“I came up with the idea 7 minutes before the tournament so my lists are not refined, especially Hunter and Mage. My strategy was to target Paladin and soft-target Druid (you can’t really hard-target Druid). I played Frost Nova and Conjurer’s Calling because they were better vs those two. Token Druid (aka Kuriboh Druid) is close to what I think is optimal for the archetype, spells are way better than 1 drops. Also people not playing Consecration in Paladin helped me a lot. The Hunter had Hyenas because I copied Maur1 but I’m playing Sidequests and Demon Companion now on ladder. The Secret package is just the nuts in the meta, vs Paladin, Druid and Priest.”

BruTo on Pure Paladin, Highlander Priest, Control Warrior:
“My idea was to target Druid because it was the most popular deck. According to stats, Highlander Priest and Libram Paladin were favoured against it and people were winning qualifiers with them so I just took those 2 decks. For the last slot I decided to play a Big Warrior that I made with some techs against Druid (Ramming Speed for their Guardian Animals) and because I found it to be a strong deck overall. I banned Paladin or Priest because my lineup is favoured against Druid and Egg Warrior.”

MrMartial on Ramp Druid, Libram Paladin, Aggro Rogue:
“I picked which I considered the strongest decks, and always banned Druid since it can get out of control. I considered Paladin my weakest deck but somehow people still banned it. The most broken cards are found in Druid and Rogue, Lightning Bloom and Secret Passage, which where a huge help in winning, those cards cheated me some wins. In my opinion I won mostly because the lineups of my opponents were not complete.”

Meet The New Grandmasters, Part One: AyRoK

by NPH Pasca

This series of interviews by Team NoProsHere vows to help fans discover the new Hearthstone Grandmasters promoted for the season of August 2020.

Romaric “AyRoK” Dubois is a 19 years old player from Lyon, France who earned his ticket to Europe Grandmasters by finishing second in Masters Tour Arlington. He will make his debut this coming weekend.

TwitterTwitch

NPH: Congratulations on making it into the Grandmasters program! How does it feel?
AyRoK: It feels really good! That wasn’t easy to be here but damn what a cool thing! I wasn’t expected to qualify to Grandmasters and get there so early. So I’m just happy right now and really excited to play in the league.

NPH: When did you start playing Hearthstone? What games were you playing before? Where does your game name come from?
AyRoK: I started playing video games like a lot of young teenagers with game console (from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft), and then mobile games with Supercell. Games like Clash of Clans or Clash Royal (where I started playing tournaments), and I finally discovered Hearthstone in 2016. It was unique and it mixed everything I liked. I watched a lot of streams, tournaments, and really liked the game. When I began Hearthstone tournaments, I wanted to change my game name (that was something like Dark numbers) to be more professional. AyRoK is a mix between different elements linked to me but it doesn’t mean anything. And it sounds good (I think)!

NPH: Were you competitive from the beginning? How hard did you grind the ladder? What are some amateur tournaments, circuits or teams you played in?
AyRoK: In 2017 I took part in my first offline event in France after trying some online qualifiers, and then in 2019 my first international tournament with Master’s Tour Las Vegas. I’m a young player without a lot of experience. Before Vegas, I participated in the Blizzard circuit only with Challenger Finals in 2018. I didn’t play a lot in ladder, I don’t like it so never tried to push a high rank at the end of the month. The new format for 2019 with qualifiers was the start of my involvement in the international scene with offline events.

NPH: A lot of people know you for your performance in Arlington, what are some other breakthrough events you performed well at? What is your favorite moment from the stream of a competitive event?
AyRoK: I got some good results in French tournaments, but compared to Arlington this is nothing. I’m very anxious when I play high stakes matches, it cost me some games in tournaments in the past (missing last matches for a good result) but with my good run in Arlington, it’s like breaking the curse, and gave me more confidence.
My favorite moment was the semi final against Felkeine at Arlington. I played a Box on 5 and the game was crazy, we just looked each other and laughed even if it was a high stakes match. And game 5 vs Totosh in quarter final was really close, going to fatigue after a long match…

NPH: How would you describe your style as a player? What are your favorite types of decks? What can viewers expect from you in Grandmasters?
AyRoK: I’m an aggro / midrange player, but when I’m going to participate in a tournament, I play tier 1 decks most of the time and try to be better than other players. But I have some practice partners who have crazy ideas maybe I will pick some of them to surprise other players.

NPH: What is your occupation outside of Hearthstone? Do you have projects that you put on hold to focus on your gaming career? How many hours per week do you play the game?
AyRoK: With GrandMasters I decided to take a break from my studies (in Economy) and try to do my best in the league. I’m 19 years old, I have time to try to live my dream and if it doesn’t work go back to studying. I don’t know how much time I play every day but to prepare GM, it’s like 12 to 15 hours a day, just sleep, eat and play. When I don’t have tournaments it’s more like 3 to 6 hours a day.

NPH: How do you prepare for the upcoming season? Who do you practice with?
AyRoK: Playing a lot to test a lot of decks first in ladder to learn the basics and after in custom games with practice partners to train some match ups, mulligans… I practice with other very good French players, like Warma, Totosh, Guntofire, Trec, Gaby59.
I don’t play with all of the French GM because we are going to play each other every week. It’s an issue if you train with the half of the field!

NPH: What is it like to play for Glory4Builds? What kind of support do they provide to you?
AyRoK: They’re doing everything they can to help me to focus on the game, my streams, and myself. There is a lot of staff in the team for every request I can have. With the virus I didn’t travel in offline events but even if it was online events they are very helpful in my daily work.

NPH: What is the competitive scene like in your region or country? Are there a lot of tournaments? Is the community very engaged?
AyRoK: The French scene is insane. I don’t know if any other country (except China maybe) have this kind of online and offline tournaments. There are a lot of organizers and a big WebTV with Solary who made a good work to unifying all French players and be an ambassador of competitive Hearthstone in our country.

NPH: On top of playing competitively, do you also create content? What kind? How much time do you spend on that?
AyRoK: I started Streaming on Twitch since last month (AyRoK_HS). I try to stream everyday but with Grandmasters it will be more like 3-4 streams per week I think. I need to find a balance between competition and streaming. But I love streaming and want to develop the channel (and I have some cool emotes). And like many other players I share all my news on Twitter like tournaments results, streams, decklists….

NPH: What advice would you give to players who are just starting to be competitive in Hearthstone?
AyRoK: You need to play a lot but with a healthy lifestyle (sleep well for example) to not be disturbed when you’re thinking about the game and be focussed. When I started competitions I watched a lot of streams, tournaments and tried to do same plays as top players. You will gain experience faster. Try to make your plays before and learn all of the thinking process. Last thing, you have a lot of tools to help you on the game like HSReplay, Yaytears, or some Twitter accounts like Pasca, Ahirun with a lot of decklists, stats…

NPH: Good luck with the season! Are you anxious ?
AyRoK: I’m excited but nervous at the same time. High stakes on the line, top players, an insane challenge for me as an outsider. I will do my best to keep my spot first and then maybe qualify for Worlds, the ultimate dream for me as a kid.

The State Of Hearthstone

by Den

About the author:
Den is a professional competitive player, coach, caster and content creator from France. Over the past five years, he has worked with Gamers Origin, Judge Hype, Gaming School, Crescent esports, and others. He currently represents Team beGenius. He went 5-4 in Masters Tour Arlington.

After running my mouth on Twitter, I felt fair to do what I was talking about and write down everything that I think could be improved in the current state of the game. This will be a mix of things that I felt were great previously but have been phased out of the game, in addition to some of my ideas to help push the game in the right direction. I’ve evolved in the competitive scene as a player and coach for a while now. There’s a big chance that this article is biased towards the more competitive audience, and it’s probably wrong to do so. However, I’ll try to keep this in mind while I develop my ideas.

For those reading my french articles on JudgeHype every week, there will be things that I already wrote over there. Keep in mind, some ideas I will express here have been widely inspired by comments or discussions I had following these articles. 

There will be a bit of everything, and I’ve divided this article into 3 main parts, environmental things, as in non in-games ideas, things directly related to the game but not specifically gameplay and then changes to actual gameplay mechanics. 

Let’s get into the actual thing. 

I. Around the Game 

I.a : Newly released content is not exciting anymore.

I think it’s been about a year now that this critic has been rising from different communities, and it has felt that way since they announced that they wanted to reduce the general power level of the game and ended up making the problem worse. The general feeling I see when new content is announced is leaning more towards “I hope they don’t fuck it up”  more than “Hey, new cards and things to do” like it was years ago. Of course, we got used to the expansion cycle, players got better at judging cards with rating streams becoming more and more popular from top players (alongside reveal streams), it feels that when the cards are available, the hype is already gone. 

While I don’t think it’s possible to change that trend entirely, there were things in the past outside of the expansion that helped make it hype, the best example I have is Ben Brode’s previous raps. It was stupid, it wasn’t going to make any cards or the game better, but it was damn fun. Seeing the game designer having fun and creating something around the game made us want to experiment and own the cards yourself. Bringing back unexpected things, and mostly more natural things instead of the same routine every single expansion could be a way to get the players more hyped about it. Everybody expects the same thing now, we get the theme, then a first stream reveals, then cards drop, then the final stream reveals and then the featured stream before the expansion launches. We also know that the expansion will have approximately 130 to 145 cards with 2 bundles you can buy to get cards and a new hero or card back. 

It’s a method that works, but habit is one of the worst enemies or excitement, and in the current state of the game, where players are already pessimistic about what’s coming, a bit of excitement could help to get things going in the right direction. 

I.b Casters don’t have enough materials to be entertaining for 10-hour broadcasts 

I think Hearthstone has the chance of having very, very good casters. Frodan has proved he could do anything from hosting to analyzing in-depth gameplay, Sottle and Raven have an unmatched synergy, Darroch is the funny guy that can make people laugh in pretty much any situation. We have talent at the desk and there are times where the casters are a reason to watch in addition to the actual content being shown. 

However, what I felt with this season of Grandmasters is that they just don’t have enough to talk about for the amount of time they are on air. There are very few stories about the new guys outside of what everybody knows already from just spending 5 minutes on their twitter. The  “legends” of this game are so well known at this point, and most of the streams so the audience already has a connection to them that I feel like I hear the same 3 or 4 facts on repeat about most of them. Also, there isn’t a wide enough metagame so that the caster could talk about matchups as much as it would be necessary. Even in a 6 to 8 deck metagame, the decks are too similar to be able to carry the broadcast. 

I don’t have a clean solution for this and maybe that’s just the thing with card games, since there are very few high-intensity moments, it’s harder to just get carried away. The little series during the grandmasters with the interview and such honestly feels like a missed try. And once we’ve seen them 3 or 4 times, it gets boring really fast. Maybe it needs to get more into getting to know the players instead of general questions asked to all the players. In France, we have Tars and he plays the trombone, and that has been featured on stream when he reached a championship some years ago. Well, I think I’d get bored of it if I saw every day 3 to 4 days a week while watching GM, but at least, this is something from Tars’ life and people either liking music or just liking his crazy attitude while playing it can connect to it. Mixing more personal interviews (which have happened too but more in the form of jokes) with general things could make it much more pleasant to watch and more diversified. 

Outside of the possibility of creating more content around the league, there is plenty of content created from independent organizers that could be featured. That would help to get more players in the discussion (and who knows, maybe future GM’s), promote Tier 2 tournaments which need it a hell lot, and just give more things to say to the guys in charge of entertaining us. And let’s be honest, the GM league will still be the ultimate goal for players and nobody will quit on it even if other tournaments are being talked about during those streams. 

These are the two main things that I wish could be worked on when it comes to the hearthstone ecosystem without actually touching the game itself. A lot of players have talked and explained why a Tier 2 and even a Tier 3 is necessary. I don’t feel like I have anything better than what these guys said about the subject so I will not develop on that. 

II. In game environnement 

Just to be clear, this part is about things that I believe are game-defining, which are part of Hearthstone’s Identity but I will not talk about actual gameplay mechanics in this, the third part will. 

II.a Class identity needs to be reworked or gone. 

Since that atrocious article about class identity and how they were defining the strength and weaknesses of each Hero in Hearthstone, I think I’ve only seen bad comments about it (and made some myself). Class identity as a concept needs to disappear, it can only lead to 2 things: less design space to try and fit the description they made, or the same design space as if it didn’t exist but people making fun of cards that make the article look silly: please, erase that thing. 

Outside of the article itself, class identity makes the game stagnant and some everlasting problems have never been addressed because “But that’s what that hero does, what do you want to do about it ?”. Well Malfurion, you and your mana ramping have destroyed metagames for too long, and mana is just too powerful to be an identity, I’m sorry. I could say the same about Thrall, whose identity is apparently to be the game’s best class or everybody else’s punching bag. I can’t remember without making research a metagame where Shaman was somewhere between third to sixth class in the game. Shaman has so many things attached to it (overload, elementals, evolve mechanic, spell synergy) that the class either has one busted thing where everything clicks together or is unable to assemble a 30 cards deck that makes sense. 

Changing this side of the game would probably go into Hearthstone 2.0 if it had to be done for real, but maybe there can be slight changes that already would help the game not fall in these toxic situations like the one it is in now. First, there cannot be an identity that relies on a game-defining mechanic like the mana. Mana-cheat has been the single best thing in the history of the game, we’ve had examples with Auctioneer and zero mana cards, then with Wild Growth and Nourish, then with Trogg or mana wyrm, then with Toggwaggle or Galakrond. Let’s stop making the mana an identity, it has to be the same for everyone or the game will never be balanced. In addition to it, identity doesn’t have to make every class special, the warcraft lore is deep enough and Hearthstone is old enough that mixing a bit wouldn’t be the worst thing. Which leads me to my second point 

II.b Every class should have access to the same basic resources 

The ability to draw, to damage, defend the board, and defend your hero should be available to every class as these are the things that make the game. If a hero cannot do one of these things, he does not fight with the same weapons as everybody else. The thing is, all these categories are pretty flexible when you think about it, and the only thing that matters is that players can find what fits them better from what every class has to offer. I think this is a thing that has been done pretty well over the years and has gone wrong this December when Galakrond came out. For the simple reason, that Galakrond gave some classes basics that other classes didn’t have, that created a difference between Galakrond classes and the ones without it, and there was unbalance through the 4 months of that metagame, and always in favor of the Galakrond decks. 

Right now, the metagame feels better than the previous for that reason, as every class has its way of doing things. The problem is just that some mechanics are better than others, but if we are talking about identity, I feel this metagame is pretty on point. The problem being there is no common ground so the better mechanic dominates and there is nothing the weaker ones can do about it. I see this metagame a lot like the Death Knights one, everybody had access to them, but the good ones dominated and the bad ones never saw play. But at least, if there were some changes needed to balance things back then, they knew where to change things as there was a common ground. Right now, we are on the 4th nerfs and it feels like the problem is still not solved. 

II.c What the hell is wrong with aggro decks? 

I know what’s wrong, it’s frustrating to lose to a deck that you couldn’t do anything against because the game went so fast. Well, I think it’s even worse to lose to a deck you couldn’t do anything against and it lasted for some time, and it looks like we’re headed that way. 

I’ll talk more about concrete changes I’d make to help aggro be back as a real archetype in the last part, but as a general game thing, there is a need for aggro in Hearthstone. First, because it’s not healthy for a game to not have a whole archetype of decks being represented, and most importantly, because midrange is the most powerful archetype in Hearthstone’s history and aggro is the natural counter to it in the general cycle of things. Lowering the power of aggro might feel good to players that don’t like losing to it, but this is a short term decision even business-wise. Because we’ve been in midrange dominated metagame for what feels forever now, and even if midrange is the archetype that usually allows the most things to happen, people will get tired of it too eventually, and it will be impossible to get out of it without rethinking the game entirely at this point. 

II.d Tournament formats 

I’m going to talk about it even though what was experienced in GM this season felt like a great first step. Specialist was a bad try, but the act of trying was huge, and I think the problem wasn’t the format but the state of the game. Last year, we were already pretty deep in that “This mechanic is better than the others” situation and Specialist emphasize that, and logically, it made the format look awful. LHS can fall in the same category as the best mechanics are more likely to 3-0 the other ones. 

The thing here is that the problem is not the format, it is the state of the game. And Conquest is not the best format, but it is the one that hides the best that state, and it looks like it’s the only thing that matters. Well maybe new formats could exist based on that reflection, one that we imagined with a friend for a tournament that never happened was a Specialist format with 2 bans. You submit 3 Specialist lineups, and when the match starts, each player bans one of his, then the opponent bans one and the set is played with the remaining one. This is just an example, I’m not saying this format would be good, it could very well end up in the same “We only see the same 2 decks being played as everyone brings the same 3 and bans the best one” situation. But the idea is that what Conquest does is make more decks being played as you know at least one player will have to play at least 3 different ones per set. And that information can be precious when trying to innovate new formats and promoting diversity in tournaments. 

Another way of doing it would be to have several formats being played in the top tournaments (especially Master’s tours) with one format on day 1, another one on day 2, and top 8 on day 3 for example. And then we can mix them however we want based on how much diversity we want on stream. Format 1 can be specialist and format 2 can be Conquest, but you are not allowed to have the class you picked for Specialist in your conquest line up for example. 

I don’t think I’m skilled enough to invent a format that would work, but the possibilities are much wider than what we experienced in Hearthstone so far. 

III Gameplay mechanics 

This part is about things I would do to change the way we play the game and try to bring either more design space for the developer or more balance for the players. Most of these ideas are probably work in progress and could use input from whoever wants to help them. 

III.a Balancing keywords by mixing them more 

As the game is now, Battlecry dominates every other keyword and did so even before Galakrond made it even worse. But outside of Battlecry, the important thing is the initiative. Hearthstone is a game of initiative and most of the mechanics based on tempo are better than the ones based on Value. That’s the reason why Battlecry and rush are so good, players struggle to wait one turn to activate their cards, as the game is too fast for that, they need to fight the initiative immediately. 

The thing is, at the start of the game, some keywords were designed to help against the opponent’s initiative, taunt for example. It is supposed to force your opponent to go through it, and that reduces what he can do with his initiative. The problem with taunt, and with other keywords based on minion combat, is that you pay your keyword with stats, and stats are the most important thing when it comes to minion combat. Rush works because you pay with stats but you get to decide on your action, with taunt, you don’t get the decision. The reason why Battlecry works is that no matter the stats, the Battlecry does the same thing. While a taunt minion’s strength is based on how much he can take, and how much he will deal when getting hit, since its purpose is to get hit. 

If we could mix keywords more between combat-based keywords and not combat-based keywords, there could probably be cards that would be much healthier while at the same time relying on combining existing things instead of having to create them. 

The worst-case scenario in Hearthstone is when the same player has initiated the whole game and the opponent is just dropping cards but never using them. That means the two players don’t interact at all, and that’s the biggest frustration possible. If we can stay away from that possibility of non-interaction, then the game can go in a lot of directions whether it’s aggro, midrange, or control strategies. And to me, the best way to avoid that is to give back some meaning to the keywords that are pushing interaction between the players. 

III.b Make the hero power great again 

Hero powers are what made Hearthstone unique when it came out, and the more time passed by, the more Hero powers became “well, I got 2 mana to spare” more than part of the deck’s strategy (except for Warlock and recently Demon Hunter). We have seen through the life of the game, a lot of ways to change our hero power and to give our deck new possibilities. And there is something I’ve heard a lot while never being able to answer it: why is picking your hero power only an adventure thing? 

We have been able to change it through heroes, quests, spells, minions… Maybe it is just time to make it that each class has several hero powers that you can pick from when building your deck. This would be a deckbuilding skill in itself and it would also be some information for your opponent to choose his mulligan from. Baku and Genn were too strong in what they were doing, but the concept was great and we had very stable decks in that metagame, maybe too stable if we think about it (especially the odd decks that were abusing their hero powers) 

In addition to making the game more diverse and offering new mechanics without actually needing new cards for that. This would also help create a more linear set of cards that could act as a real evergreen set since the difference in how you use these cards would come from the hero power you pick at the start. That would also help class identity, as it would be much easier to limit what a class can do as part of the flexibility would come from something that doesn’t change every expansion. That would also remove the high roll of drawing the card that changes your hero power or not, and in the case of Galakrond, the feeling of always playing against the same thing no matter who your opponent is. 

I don’t want to give each class a set of hero powers so that they can do whatever they want, I don’t think all classes should be able to build all archetypes at all times. This is crazy to think it’s possible to achieve and actually, might be a waste of time as the nature of a metagame will always take out the bad options by itself. But making what already exists in the game and giving each class more flexibility in what they are trying to accomplish feel pretty good. Each class is naturally drawn to a playstyle, but the thing is that it is only represented by the cards in our deck for the past year. I don’t think I’m creative enough to come up with good and balanced hero power for each class, and the ones from the dungeon run look too gimmicky or overpowered to be a quick answer that would already be in the game, so I don’t have an example of what I’m saying here, sorry. 

III.c Reworking the rhythm in weapon 

I’ll start with the way I would change it: Weapons cannot go face if the opponent has a minion on the board. 

Weapons are the cards that have the best tempo/cost ratio, and that’s logic because you pay life points in addition to the mana they cost when you attack a minion, but that’s not true when you attack life points, as you do not pay life points for that. That makes weapons the card that is the best at dealing direct damage for their price. Even if of course, they are locked by a taunt and can take several turns to deal their full damage. As taunt is a keyword that becomes worse as time goes, another way of getting it back into the game would find a way to give it to everyone under certain conditions. 

The main reason I like this change is that it would change the way weapons are used in aggro decks, as they are usually the best cards in the deck because they can be the finishing blow or a great tempo tool to protect our minion while suffering damage that we don’t care about (as we are trying to race our opponent anyway). Warrior for example, by having access to arcanite reaper, is capable of producing fairly easily a good aggro/face deck every time a set has enough minions to support that. As aggro is getting destroyed as an archetype in Hearthstone nowadays, reducing the power of what is usually the best card in the aggro deck could open tons of designs to rework aggressive decks and put more interactivity in their gameplay. Also, from a roleplay standpoint, the general protecting his troops so that they can do their job (attacking view), or the troops taking the blows to protect their leader (defending view) makes tons of sense. 

And the goal of this idea is not to destroy weapon cards but to center them around being interactive with your opponent in different ways. This change would although need to see some chargers or some direct damage spell make their way back in the game, but as said before, the goal is to open design spaces for the other categories of cards so aggro decks can exist. 

III.d Let the players play their spell whenever they want to 

Right now in the game, there are situations where some spells cannot be activated, for example, if you have a 7 minions board, you will not be able to cast animal companion. While you can play flamestrike if your opponent has no minions on his board. 

The thing is, sometimes I’m not playing a card for the effect, I’m playing a card because it interacts with something else and I don’t care about what is written on the card I’m playing. 

For example, maybe I’m in a hunter mirror and I have 7 minions. My opponent has a trap, I think it’s a pressure plate and I want to activate it. Well, I know my animal companion will not give me anything, but that’s not the point, I want a spot on my board and this interaction should give it to me. It always bothered me that some cards are always playable and others are not. Just let the players be responsible for their own choices. 

III.e Reduce complete random and favor contained random 

I think this is a pretty obvious one, but Box of Yogg-Saron is an abomination of a card and should not exist in any competitive setup. 

The thing with random is that it is not bad for a game, as it is also part of a player’s skill to be able to play with that random and see how much risk he wants to take knowing the random elements he has to deal with. Discover is a random mechanic for example, and I think it’s a great one. 

The completely random cards (very wide card pool, effects can vary a lot, ability to find cards that are not available for the class…) takes away the opponent’s talent at anticipating and preparing for what is coming. And even if it can create very funny situations, and as a viewer, I know I have enjoyed sometimes very crazy scenarios. I think controlled randomness is even better because it creates new situations and potentially crazy scenarios, but the players stay at the center of these scenarios, they are the one who picked the right cards, they took the risk of going for it… The random element is part of Hearthstone identity at this point and asking for no random would be a bad idea in my opinion. But centering the random around things that players can try to prepare for, by reducing the card pools card can be generated from, by giving more information on what could be generated and such things. That could keep the surprising element that is necessary to keep viewers entertained and make the game diverse (especially in times of having the same matchups over and over) but that would also empower the players that find an edge in that, but for that to happen, we have to give them a chance at doing so. 

Alright, I think I’m done with the ideas I’ve had so far, hopefully, it inspires people to share theirs. Thanks for reading all these 7 pages and I’ll be happy to debate some of these ideas whether you think they are good or bad. 

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #22

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

The Twin Slice rework opened up the tournament metagame. Demon Hunter is still very powerful, but its decreased popularity made room for a greater diversity of greedier decks. We also saw interesting attempts at building lineups around Token Shaman to target Spell Druid.
The data shown here is from Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers Montréal #16 to #30.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Enrage Warrior (Pain / funashi / Jobsad)
Spell Duid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Hi3 / 자유조퇴권 / Melodys)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Quest Warlock. Enrage Warrior (Gunner103 / Linus)

Proven Lineups:
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest (Tidal / yoyo)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (承泰不要)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (IdanProK / Leta)
Galakrond Priest, Quest Warlock, Enrage Warrior (ZasZ)
Spell Druid, Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage (Itzvan)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Dragon Druid, Bomb Warrior (Matteo)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Highlander Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (あれっくす / Diamantis)
Dragon Druid, Highlander Mage, Enrage Warrior (ゆんゆん)
Dragon Druid, Galakrond Priest, Bomb Warrior (Sindo / levik / JUNIORhs)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Dragon Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (KleinMao / Emperor / RaitO)
Dragon Druid, Resurrect Priest, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (Rjú)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Dragon Druid, Enrage Warrior (Sid)
Dragon Druid, Highlander Hunter, Enrage Warrior (sUnk3R)
Spell Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest (Hokage / min)
Dragon Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (Dizdemon / Waldmann)
Dragon Druid, Highlander Hunter, Bomb Warrior (Choros)
Dragon Druid, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest (Saddler)
Dragon Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (龜毛老頭)
Spell Druid, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (HSKeDaiBiao)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Dragon Hunter (Thanatos)
Spell Druid, Quest Warlock, Enrage Warrior (신명수)

Interesting Lineups:
Spell Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Galakrond Warrior (Memory)
Dragon Druid, Big Spell Mage, Secret Galakrond Rogue (Bravo)
Spell Druid, Resurrect Priest, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (saizo)
Resurrect Priest, Quest Warlock, Control Warrior (totosh)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Murloc Paladin, Token Shaman (Gucci)
Highlander Mage, Resurrect Priest, Control Warrior (nate)
Big Druid, Pure Paladin, Highlander Priest (drippyjackey)

Exclusive Interview With WEStone, The Chinese Player In Top 8 Of Masters Tour Jönköping

By NPH Pasca

348 Hearthstone players from around the world were competing this weekend in Masters Tour Jönköping. Warma, from France, took the first place.
We wanted to learn more about one of the finalists who performed on Sunday in the top 8 bracket. Like most players from China, WEStone is mysterious from a Western point of view, because of the sealed server and tournament system the country has. We are very happy that he agreed to answer our questions. Thanks to Conch and Adder59 for making this possible.

NPH: Tell us more about yourself! Where are you from? How long have you been playing Hearthstone? How many hours per week do you play? What are your favorite decks?
WEStone: I’m from Shanghai China, this is my 5th year playing Hearthstone. I devoted myself into competitive Hearthstone since Gold Open Qingdao last year. A top 4 in Qingdao, two top 8 in Chengdu and Xiamen, and a top 16 in Shanghai of all my 6 tournaments made me into one-star master. Unfortunately my points split between 2 seasons, so I didn’t get the tickets to the playoffs, nor the Global Finals. Now I play Hearthstone nearly 50 hours a week. My favorite deck currently is Galakrond priest.

NPH: How does playing for a Chinese team work? How often do you play in tournaments? Who are some of your teammates and what does teamwork with them look like?
WEStone: It’s great being able to participate MT Jönköping as a Chinese player, especially I made it into top 8. This is my third MT, I also participated in Seoul and LA. Sadly absent from Bucharest and Arlington due to Visa and COVID-19.

NPH: How did you prepare for Masters Tour Jönköping? Tell us about your strategy with your lineup.
WEStone: XiaoT and iGSyf helped me a lot during preparing lineups. I think Druid and Priest got the highest power level aside Warrior and DH. Druid is everyone’s third deck and Priest is great in the current meta. I also play Priest a lot. Anduin may not fit the strategy to ban Warrior, so I choose to ban DH, thus I removed 1 Armorsmith and Wraths, cards against DH, in my lineup.

NPH: Is the experience very different playing in Masters Tour compared to events in China? Would you say it’s easier or harder?
WEStone: Maybe more nervous in international game, but not feeling more difficult.

NPH: What are your goals for the future? Good luck and I hope one day we will see you at the Global Finals!
WEStone: My first goal right now is to win Season1 Playoffs. (In Chinese system, there are 2 Season playoffs. To participate in playoffs, the top 4 players with highest points are competing for 1 ticket to the Global Finals.)

Team NoProsHere Conquest Meta Report #21

By NPH Pasca and WickedGood

After the first week of Hearthstone Masters Montréal Qualifiers and just in time for Masters Tour Jönköping, here is your report on the Conquest Best of 3 metagame.

Data summary from Off Curve:

Tier List:

Click on the players names to find out their lists and copy deck codes from Yaytears.

Meta Defining Lineups:
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Enrage Warrior (DevilMat / 撒旦降臨 / Rider / SCACC)

Proven Lineups:
Tempo Demon Hunter, Quest Warlock, Enrage Warrior (beasting / にん / Thekhan)
Spell Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (coolkid2001)
Malygos Druid, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (EzXarT)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Highlander Hunter, Enrage Warrior (Fujitora)

Pretty Good Lineups:
Highlander Hunter, Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest (Bard)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Control Warrior (承泰不要 / 執念の蒼汁)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Bomb Warrior (Maverick)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (KaizerSosa)
Spell Druid, Quest Warlock, Bomb Warrior (J4YOU)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Quest Warlock (Tennismasher / GrandMaster)

Interesting Lineups:
Highlander Mage, Resurrect Priest, Control Warrior (Market / levik)
Galakrond Priest, Quest Warlock, Bomb Warrior (MaurDS / osvod)
Highlander Mage, Galakrond Priest, Enrage Warrior (INER)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Stealth Galakrond Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Lucid)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Face Hunter, Enrage Warrior (soleil)
Highlander Priest, Highlander Rogue, Enrage Warrior (Noflame)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Spell Druid, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (FortunaTigre)
Resurrect Priest, Quest Warlock, Enrage Warrior (SKYPIA)
Malygos Druid, Galakrond Priest, Stealth Galakrond Rogue (Valachuj)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Tempo Priest, Bomb Warrior (dalonge)
Tempo Demon Hunter, Galakrond Rogue, Bomb Warrior (KrajdaCz)
Highlander Mage, Highlander Priest, Enrage Warrior (Nathan)
Spell Druid, Secret Galakrond Rogue, Bomb Warrior (Fled)
Pure Paladin, Quest Priest, Enrage Warrior (Deerjason)
Spell Druid, Galakrond Priest, Quest Warlock (Timetosaygg)

The Best Hearthstone Decks You Won’t See in Masters Tour Jönköping

by NPH Pasca

The next major Hearthstone tournament, which was supposed to take place in Jönköping, Sweden, will be played this weekend by the best players in the game all arond the world. They will be competing for a prize pool of $250,000, plus the money from the esports bundle, and these earnings count in the race to become the next Grandmasters for each region.

I have reached out to five of the top competitive players who will not be taking part in this Masters Tour. Jia, Odemian, SomiTequilla, Avelline and Lucasdmnasc tell us which lineup they would play in this format, their predictions on the metagame, and their advice to those trying to win it all this weekend.

The format of the competition will be Best of 5 Conquest, so the players have to bring 4 decks, ban one of their opponent’s decks, and win one game with all 3 of their decks that didn’t get banned.

Jia Dee

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Jia is a 2 times WSOE champion and she represented the Philippines at the Southeast Asian Games. She played in Masters Tour Las Vegas and Bucharest last year. She is also one of the official casters of Hearthstone esports, behind the desk for Grandmasters Asia and Masters Tour.

Demon Hunter: AAECAea5AwTMugPDvAPaxgPVyAMN/acD+a4DorcDi7oD17sDxLwD4LwD1r4Dx8YD2cYD98gD+cgD/sgDAA==
Druid: AAECAZICAv0C9q0DDv4B0wP3A+YFuZQD4p8D26UD/a0DjK4D5boD6LoD7LoD7roD77oDAA==
Hunter: AAECAR8eqAK1A+EEigeXCNsJ/KMD5KQDpqUD8qUDhKcDiq0Di60Djq0D+a4D/K8D/q8Dh7AD57AD/7ADgrEDh7EDkbED2LIDr7cDg7kDorkD/7oD1r4D174DAAA=
Warrior: AAECAQcEHNIC3q0D1LoDDRaQA9QE1Ai9pgP1qAPcqQPdrQOktgOrtgO7uQPAuQOcuwMA

NPH: What are your predictions about the Bo5 meta? Which decks do you think will be popular?
Jia: Largely similar to GM: Warrior and DH auto-include, and then pick 2 from Hunter, Warlock, Rogue and Druid.

NPH: Why do you think that this lineup is good? What is your ban strategy? Are there card choices that you think are particularly impactful?
Jia: Warrior and DH are the undisputed kings of this meta. Against all the other 4 possible classes I expect to see, I think Druid has good matchups across the board and Highlander Hunter is favored vs Rogue and Questlock, in my opinion. I think Bomb-Control Warrior has some potential also but might struggle more if your opponent’s 3rd/4th deck slot is Highlander Hunter instead of Quest Warlock. I I would ban other Pain Warriors, and include Frozen Shadow Weaver and Ooze in Highlander Hunter to help vs DH. My own DH would have probably 1 Blowtorch Saboteur tech for mirror too. For Druid, I really like +2 Emerald Explorers to run 2 Breath of Dreams and help turbo toward Mountseller and extra value vs Quest Warlocks.

NPH: What advice would you give to a less experienced player who will be playing their first major tournament?
Jia: Making sure you get enough reps on each deck is paramount, at least for me. It’s hard to explain concretely but just having that “comfortable” feeling in each matchup with each deck in your lineup does wonders for your confidence and instincts, having seen similar situations and patterns before. Good luck!

NPH: Who are you rooting for?
Jia: NaySyl. She’s been so consistent in qualifying for MTs, I hope she makes it far at Jönköping!

Odemian

TwitterInstagram

Odemian is a French competitive player and streamer for team Solary. He has a great experience of tournaments going as far back as 2015 and won HCT Toronto in 2018. Last year he played in Masters Tour Las Vegas, Bucharest and Arlington. He is also a caster for the French language broadcast of official tournaments.

Druid: AAECAZICArQD9q0DDkBW/gHTA8QGuZQD4p8D26UD/a0DjK4D5boD6LoD7LoD7roDAA==
Priest: AAECAa0GBPYH47QDyL4DyMADDdwBlwKKB9MKpaEDmakD2qwD8qwD/q4Dza8Dk7oDm7oDr7oDAA==
Rogue: AAECAaIHCLIChgmSlwPBrgOqrwPjtAPLwAP7xAMLtAHtApcGj5cD9acDua4D/q4Dzq8DzLkDzrkD0LkDAA==
Warrior: AAECAQcE0gLIA96tA9+tAw0WHJAD1ASRBtQI9agD3KkD3a0DpLYDu7kDwLkDnLsDAA==

NPH: What are your predictions about the Bo5 meta? Which decks do you think will be popular?
Odemian: Tempo Warrior and Demon Hunter will obviously be the two most represented decks because they’re unquestionnably the most powerful right now. I expect a strong presence of Spell/Dragon Druid followed by Galakrond Rogue (Secret, Stealth or Adventurer) and Quest Warlock. Highlander Hunter should be in a non-negligeable number of lineups as well.

NPH: Why do you think that this lineup is good? What is your ban strategy? Are there card choices that you think are particularly impactful?
Odemian: I really like this lineup because it offers chances to win games against decks that will be in almost 100% of lineups (DH and Warrior). It allows to have a flexible ban (Wralock in priority) which makes you unpredictable and gives some freedom on the strategy depending on the match. The Druid/Priest/Warrior lineup is excellent in Bo3 (Dreivo qualified for RedBull MEO with it) and adding Rogue makes sense to me. Highlander Mage could also have been the 4th.

NPH: Who are you rooting for?
Odemian: I would love to see Dizdemon finally pull it off and win this MT!

SomiTequilla

TwitterTwitch

SomiTequilla is a popular Greek streamer who is regularly in the top ranks of the legend ladder. He played HCT playoffs 3 times in 2016-2017 and Masters Tour Seoul (where he finished 20th with a 9-3 score), Bucharest, Arlington and Los Angeles. He is already qualified for the next one after Jönköping.

Demon Hunter: AAECAea5AwTMugPDvAPHxgPaxgMNpaED/acD+a4Di7oD17sDxLwD4LwDjb0D1r4D2cYD98gD+cgD/sgDAA==
Druid: AAECAZICBP0C9wPmBfatAw3+AdMDxAa5lAPinwPbpQP9rQOMrgPlugPougPsugPuugPvugMA
Hunter: AAECAR8etQPhBIoHlwjbCfyjA+SkA6alA4SnA4qtA4utA46tA/muA/yvA/6vA4ewA+ewA/+wA4KxA4exA5GxA9iyA4S2A6+3A4O5A6K5A/+6A9a+A9e+A96+AwAA
Warrior: AAECAQcGm5QD/KMD3q0D360D6LADvrkDDEuQA6IE1AT/B5qUA92tA6S2A6u2A7i5A8C5A5y7AwA=

NPH: What are your predictions about the Bo5 meta? Which decks do you think will be popular?
SomiTequilla: I’m afraid tournament meta is not shifting the last weeks, Warrior and DH are a must for every competitive lineup as those two are 2 tiers above every other deck in the game. Excluding those two, I believe Druid will be the most popular deck of the tournament, positive winrates vs all kinds of Rogue decks, Mage, Hunter and Tempo Warrior archetypes make Malfurion the perfect choice for a solid 3rd deck! For the 4th slot I guess majority will go with Rogue. A lot of Grandmasters used Valeera for their high stakes matches, and those big names are always an inspiration for the MT grinders, so I think a big percentage of the contenders will just copy them! After all, Cleef is still in the game somehow, and Cleef traditionally wins almost every high stake tournament! Rexxar is also a solid pick if you choose to ban Demon Hunter.

NPH: Why do you think that this lineup is good? What is your ban strategy? Are there card choices that you think are particularly impactful?
SomiTequilla: All those decks are good and have proven themselves at high legend ranks. The main concept is to ban Demon Hunter to get good matchups for Druid and Hunter, as those two have positive winrates against Warlocks, Mages, Priests and Rogues (Rogue is 50-50 vs Hunter, still has a good chance to outtempo Valeera at mid-game). Warrior and Demon Hunter are auto-include in the lineup since their winrates are out of this world. Also banning Demon Hunter lets you add greedier cards to your lists, such as double Vulpera at your own Demon Hunter and some big dragons at the Druid list! Bomb Warrior seems like the perfect deck to complete the lineup as it performs better than Tempo Warriors vs Druid, Warlock, Rogue and Mage archetypes. It’s worse vs Demon Hunter (which is the ban), Priest (already a pretty bad matchup) and at mirrors (still you can exaust him if he doesnt draw the key cards of the matchup).

NPH: What advice would you give to a less experienced player who will be playing their first major tournament?
SomiTequilla: If 2020 wasn’t a pure lowroll, I’d advise them to not get stressed while playing! In a 3-day-LAN facing world champions and Grandmasters happens often, so the first thing a new contender has to do is to keep their composure and concentrate on the game, which is hard in a hall with 300+ card players with similar interests. Distractions come and go and exploring a new city every time might take your mind away, so you need to keep it together. (note this as a future advice) Now for the online tournament, try to take your time and don’t rush things, the confort of your home makes it way easier to perform, so make sure to think twice before you start playing your cards. Last but not least, do not get disapointed if you didn’t succeed at your first tournament. Nobody was born on the top, it’s a hard path and you need to commit time and brainpower to get there. Enjoy the journey and good luck!

NPH: Who are you rooting for?
SomiTequilla: I’m rooting for my teammates at Team Phantasma, Athanas, Tholwmenos and Cursed, and of course for my good friend Turbon1ck! They all try so hard for this and I hope their commitment will get rewarded.

Avelline

TwitterTwitch

Avelline is a popular streamer who played in Masters Tour Seoul, Arlington and Los Angeles. She finished top 16 on ladder last month so she is qualified for the next one after Jönköping.

Druid: AAECAZICBP0C9wPmBfatAw3+AdMDxAa5lAPinwPbpQP9rQOMrgPlugPougPsugPuugPvugMA
Mage: AAECAf0EHooByQOrBMUEywSKB40In5sDoJsDip4DoaEDwqED/KMDi6QDkqQD8qUDhKcD+qwD7K8D8K8DhbEDkbEDhLYDjLYD4bYDw7gDjbsD3L4D5r4D3sQDAAA=
Priest: AAECAa0GCNwB65sDha0DjrED47QDm7oDyL4DyMADCx6KB9MKmakD16wD2qwD8qwD/q4Dza8Dk7oDr7oDAA==
Warrior: AAECAQcE0gLIA96tA9+tAw0WHJAD1ASRBtQI9agD3KkD3a0DpLYDu7kDwLkDnLsDAA==

NPH: What are your predictions about the Bo5 meta? Which decks do you think will be popular?
Avelline: Egg warrior, Demon Hunter, Spell druid.

NPH: Why do you think that this lineup is good? What is your ban strategy? Are there card choices that you think are particularly impactful?
Avelline: Lineup built around the meta deck I trust the most which is Priest. Leave Warrior open, heavily tech my own Warrior for the mirror and tech Priest-Druid against Demon Hunter. Priest and Druid are the primary bans.

NPH: What advice would you give to a less experienced player who will be playing their first major tournament?
Avelline: Go for comfort picks. You don’t need to always have a target, bring the 4 decks you can perform best with and ban your weakest decks worst match up every time.

NPH: Who are you rooting for?
Avelline: My teammates Zanananan and Denimblue.

Lucasdmnasc

Twitter

Lucasdmnasc is a competitive player and Qualifiers grinder (more than 20 times in top 8) from Brazil who plays a lot of ladder and open cups. He won WCG Brazil Qualifier 2019. He played in Masters Tour Bucharest, Arlington, Los Angeles, and is qualified for the next one after Jönköping.

Demon Hunter: AAECAea5AwTMugPDvAPHxgPaxgMNlwb5rgOLugPXuwPEvAPgvAO6xgPZxgPVyAP3yAP5yAP+yAPyyQMA
Hunter: AAECAR8etQPhBJcI2wn8owPkpAOmpQOEpwOKrQOLrQOOrQP5rgP8rwP+rwOHsAPnsAP/sAOCsQOHsQORsQPYsgPDtgOvtwODuQOiuQP/ugP7uwPWvgPevgPtvgMAAA==
Rogue: AAECAaIHBrICkpcDwa4D47QDy8AD+8QDDLQB7QKXBo+XA/WnA7muA/6uA86vA7m4A8y5A865A9C5AwA=
Warrior: AAECAQcEHNIC3q0D1LoDDRaQA9QE1Ai9pgP1qAPcqQPdrQOktgOrtgO7uQPAuQOcuwMA

NPH: What are your predictions about the Bo5 meta? Which decks do you think will be popular?
Lucasdmnasc: Warrior will be the most popular, DH in second, Druid in 3rd and 4th will be Hunter, I expect a bad winrate of Quest Warlock and Priests, decks that will rise but not that popular like the 4 mentioned.

NPH: Why do you think that this lineup is good? What is your ban strategy? Are there card choices that you think are particularly impactful?
Lucasdmnasc: I always like to play 4 good decks, and I’m confortable with it, i would ban Warrior because in good hands the deck is unstoppable. I would play Questing Explorer and Secret package in Rogue to have better matchs vs Druids, and Questing Explorer in DH too. In Warrior just use the standart list, and in Hunter i would play Maiev that is good against big Taunts of Warlocks and Druids, and a Nagrand Slam to obliterate Priests and Warlocks.

NPH: What advice would you give to a less experienced player who will be playing their first major tournament?
Lucasdmnasc: Keep calm, use this online MT to play focussed like in a open cup, ALWAYS play 4 confort decks, and pratice a lot, to be confident with meta, your focus should be try to make day 2 to gain more international experience in the highest level, good luck and HAVE FUN!

NPH: Who are you rooting for?
Lucasdmnasc: Im rooting for ALL LatAm players, I have a lot friends in this list, special look for Tincho that have good chances to be a future GM! I really admire BunnyHoppor too, and I’m sure that he can make a really good result, maybe even win this tournamment.