In light of recent results to the Hearthstone European Spring Playoffs, we saw Hoej take a decisive 3-0 lead over well-known streamer, Kolento. Regardless, Kolento’s lineup was unfavored to his lists specifically targeting control archetypes, while Hoej brought full aggro sweeping the Ukrainian player.
What surprises me the most is the decks that Hoej brought to the competition. He brought a variation of Token Druid, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Secret Mage, and Pirate Warrior.
These are 4 of the top tier decks in the current meta in which Hoej chose to use the “bring the four best packs you can” to the competition. This is reasonable in regards to World Champion Pavel after 2016 Europe Last Call, who stated, “Sometimes, it is better to just bring the best decks you possibly can because you can’t beat every card you hope to encounter because it just doesn’t work out that way.”
Another thing that surprised me is Hoej’s risks simply by bringing these decks to the competition as well as the inclusion of secret mage, which is an archetype that just shortly boomed during the May season. In the rest of the top of the top 8, there were hardly any other mages except another Gunther mage (AKA control mage) by Neirea and Iner.
The last thing I want to point out is how nearly all four decks have the ability to cheat the mana curve (excluding murloc paladin which I will point out later). Innervate is becoming more of a problematic card in a combination of certain highroll cards, such as vicious fledgling, finja, and even just playing out your hand and then buffing them with a mark of the lotus. As for Pirate Warrior, the game is decided once you have a pirate and weapon on board into bloodsail cultist and following up with a zero mana dread corsair.
Lastly, secret mage was the factor that simply stumped the rest of the competition. Once again, we have two ways in which secret mage can highroll. Hitting Kirin Tor Mage and playing secrets. Then following up with 0 Mana Kabal Crystal Runners after only hitting 3 secrets. Not only can that, but the inclusion of multiple secrets result in your opponent having to play around a variety of them. And if they play around the wrong ones, then that game has already been decided.
Murloc Paladin is both an interesting and powerful deck, but what separates Hoej’s pack from the tournament is the inclusion of Grimscale Chum and Bluegill Warrior. Out of many of the 64 players in the playoffs, most decided to cut these inclusions mainly due to the fact that they were brick cards in the late game.
There are only four 1 drop slots and four two drop slots in the list (excluding chum and warrior), thus making these cards much more essential which was a smart move for Hoej. Hungry Crab was brought among a fair good amount of players. However, even when a double inclusion of the tech card happens, you still only have a 1/15 chance to draw it and when you have to play these odds amongst 6 total games in a row just in Swiss round, the odds are stacked against you.
Time and Time again, we are seeing aggro decks overwhelm the competition mainly because it is coming to a point where the winner is decided by who can play out their whole hand before their opponent while trading evenly 1 for 1. Even though control decks tend to be favored against aggro, aggro packs can always come back and have insane topdecks to where the HS community yells ESPORTS!!!! Whenever these situations happen.
While I admire Hoej for his commitment to the HS scene for over a year as well as his deserved win, one can only imagine what the Summer Playoffs will bring because the next expansion of Hearthstone will not release until August, which is well after qualifications. Are we gonna be seeing another shift in the meta before the next expansion? That is what I’m excited about and that is the reason why I love watching Hearthstone!
Till next week lads, this is your boy Karmakeddon, always reminding you to always stay cheeky! Good luck!