Hearthstone Americas Spring Playoffs 2017 Top 8 decks, results, and analysis

Hearthstone Americas Spring Playoffs 2017 were played on the weekend to determine America’s participants in the upcoming Spring Championships. The metagame is moving with every tournament, and that applied to this tournament as well.

In this post, I will take a look at the decks and results of the single-elimination playoffs stage (top 8), including class distribution, archetypes, archetype performance, and ban decisions.

Class distribution in top 8

The decklists have been published on community deck sites, such as here.

Classes in top 8 from the most popular to the least popular:

  • Paladin: 8
  • Warrior: 7
  • Druid: 6
  • Mage: 4
  • Rogue: 3
  • Shaman: 3
  • Priest: 1
  • Hunter: None.
  • Warlock: Zero. Zippo. Nada. Zilch.

Warlock remains dead as expected, and this time also no Hunters made it to the top 8. Paladin has been the most popular class for a while now, and this time everyone in the top 8 brought one – although there were three difference archetypes of Paladin present!

The numbers of Priests and Rogues have been on the decline, whereas Warriors and Paladins have gained more ground.

Archetype distribution by class and performance

The archetypes for most of the classes have stabilized at a very nice spot with multiple viable archetypes.

Shaman is still searching for itself, with Evolve Shaman and Jade Shaman now seeing play over other options.

Priest is also still searching, this time only one Priest made it to the top 8 and that was a Silence Priest.

Paladin

  • 3 Control Paladins (3-7, banned 2 times)
  • 2 Midrange Paladins (1-2)
  • 3 Murloc Paladins (1-2, banned 1 time)

Warrior

  • 5 Taunt Warriors (5-1, banned 2 times)
  • 2 Pirate Warriors (2-6)

Druid

  • 3 Jade Druids (2-5, banned 1 time)
  • 3 Aggro Druids (1-0, banned 3 times)

Mage

  • 2 Discover Burn Mages (2-1, banned 1 time)
  • 2 Secret Mage (1-0)

Rogue

  • 2 Quest Rogues (1-1, banned 2 times)
  • 1 Miracle Rogue (2-0, banned 1 time)

Shaman

  • 1 Jade Shaman (2-0, banned 1 time)
  • 2 Evolve Shamans (3-0)

Priest

  • 1 Silence Priest (0-1)

In the single-elimination playoffs, Shaman went undefeated with both Jade Shaman and Evolve Shaman winning all of their games. Taunt Warrior was also able to pull off an impressive record at 5-1. Aggro Druid was the ban magnet, winning the only game it was seen in and getting banned three times.

Many of the favorite decks – Paladins, Jade Druid, and Pirate Warrior – had a hard time in a complete reversal of results from the Europe Playoffs one week ago where they all performed well.

Further comparing the results with Europe Playoffs, Taunt Warrior and Aggro Druid performance was in line with that event, and the Shaman archetypes were slightly different so no direct comparison can be drawn. Silence Priest did not win a game in the top 8 stage of either tournament (0-5 overall).

Bans, win probabilities, and upsets

I reviewed all the deck bans in the top 8 in comparison with Vicious Syndicate data from Data Reaper Report #49. As always, it is worth noting that VS data is not all-encompassing, and that players had also made tech choices for their decks. Nonetheless, any deviations from expected winrates should have some rationale behind them, and VS data gives a good baseline for comparison.

Overall, of the 14 bans during playoffs, 10 were optimal according to VS data. Non-optimal bans gave up 2% of win probability on average, the lowest of recent tournaments.

While players may have a grasp of whether matchups are favored or unfavored, it is hard to say off-hand exactly how favored or unfavored they are, and this greatly affects banning decisions.

What was striking at Americas Spring Playoffs compared to the final stages of other recent tournaments was how many games were decided by poor player decisions. Of the seven matches, five were won by the underdog, and there were several games and even multiple matches where the favorite lost simply because of poor play (such as in DiegoDias (winner) vs RadamD and vcT vs Kuonet (winner)).

It has been observed that players in Conquest format have a tendency to keep playing the deck they just lost with even though they have the option to change and the optimal queueing strategy is to go in a random order. This tendency was particularly pronounced at the Americas Spring Playoffs, to an extent I have never seen before. In the top 8, there were 17 occasions where the losing player had the option to keep playing the same deck or to switch to a different deck. Players kept the same deck 16 times, and only once did a player switch his deck after a loss when it was possible! (You cannot switch decks when you are on your final deck, this has been taken into account)

On the bright side, we got the champion we deserved, as muzzy showed extremely solid play throughout the single-elimination bracket.

Deck spotlights

At this point of the meta, there are lots of decks around that players can fill in their sleep. Actually, it is remarkable how many such decks there are, the diversity of the metagame is quite remarkable.

The Americas top 8 was dry when it comes to exceptional decks. Even the decks that were somewhat new to top tournament spots had already seen extensive play on the ladder, with only one exception: Muzzy’s Midrange Jade Shaman. Even that is not exactly unheard of, but it is a slightly different take on the archetype again.

There have been multiple top-level tournaments over the past few weeks, so perhaps the room for innovation is becoming a bit more restricted by now.

Muzzy’s Midrange Jade Shaman

The search for the ideal Midrange Jade Shaman list continues. Muzzy’s take cuts one copy of Lightning Bolt and Bloodmage Thalnos from StanCifka’s list from the Europe Playoffs a week before, and replaces them with one copy of Jade Chieftain and Harrison Jones – still looking for that perfect balance between powerful plays and early game.

Ant’s Secret Mage

Secret Mage has not made too many high-end tournament appearances yet, but the list is familiar from ladder. Ant’s take is almost the same as ApxVoid’s ladder list, cutting a Tar Creeper in favor of another Babbling Book.

I do enjoy some Pyros and Yogg-Saron action, and Secret Mage has not seen that much tournament play yet, so this is still among the newer lists. Astrogation also brought a very similar list: he did not have Pyros and only had one copy of Mirror Entity in favor of a Tar Creeper and an anti-paladin Spellbender.

Kuonet’s / Astrogation’s Evolve Shaman

Kuonet and Astrogation both had a fair bit of success with Evolve Shaman. They both brought the exact same list, which is also well-known from ladder, but there have not been that many tournament appearances for the list yet, so it is something a little new at least.

Appendix: HCT Americas Spring Playoffs top 8 Matches

Raw data on matches, lineups, and bans.

Quarter-final 1: muzzy vs Stark

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Jade Druid Taunt Warrior Quest Rogue Midrange Murloc Paladin
Taunt Warrior 0.29 0.5 0.39 0.33
Jade Shaman 0.46 0.47 0.27 0.51
Miracle Rogue 0.57 0.53 0.41 0.49
Control Paladin 0.47 0.51 0.39 0.41

 

Expected bans: muzzy was expected to ban Quest Rogue and Stark was expected to ban Miracle Rogue.

Actual bans: muzzy banned Quest Rogue and Stark banned Jade Shaman.

Expected winner: Stark at 59% probability. If Stark had banned Miracle Rogue, he would have been favored at 62% instead.

Miracle Rogue wins against Jade Druid.

Control Paladin wins against Jade Druid.

Taunt Warrior wins against Jade Druid.

muzzy 3 – Stark 0.

Quarter-final 2: DiegoDias vs RadamD

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Murloc Paladin Pirate Warrior Aggro Druid Silence Priest
Midrange Murloc Paladin 0.38 0.41 0.37 0.62
Jade Druid 0.37 0.49 0.45 0.29
Quest Rogue 0.42 0.31 0.32 0.53
Taunt Warrior 0.45 0.53 0.69 0.46

 

Expected bans: DiegoDias was expected to ban Aggro Druid and RadamD was expected to ban Taunt Warrior.

Actual bans: DiegoDias banned Aggro Druid and RadamD banned Taunt Warrior.

Expected winner: RadamD at 64%.

Midrange Murloc Paladin loses to Murloc Paladin.

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Pirate Warrior.

Jade Druid wins against Pirate Warrior.

Quest Rogue loses to Pirate Warrior.

Quest Rogue wins against Silence Priest.

DiegoDias 3  – RadamD 2.

Quarter-final 3: Ant vs Astrogation

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Secret Mage Evolve Shaman Murloc Paladin Aggro Druid
Aggro Druid 0.48 0.47 0.58 0.5
Pirate Warrior 0.54 0.41 0.57 0.41
Secret Mage 0.5 0.45 0.42 0.52
Murloc Paladin 0.58 0.43 0.5 0.42

 

Expected bans: Ant was expected to ban Evolve Shaman and Astrogation was expected to ban Aggro Druid.

Actual bans: Ant banned Aggro Druid and Astrogation banned Aggro Druid.

Expected winner: Astrogation at 52%. If Ant had banned Evolve Shaman, Astrogation would have been favored at 51%.

Pirate Warrior loses to Evolve Shaman.

Pirate Warrior wins against Murloc Paladin.

Secret Mage wins against Murloc Paladin.

Murloc Paladin wins against Murloc Paladin

Ant 3  – Astrogation 1.

Quarter-final 4: vcT vs Kuonet

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Discover Burn Mage Control Paladin Evolve Shaman Taunt Warrior
Jade Druid 0.62 0.53 0.51 0.71
Control Paladin 0.46 0.5 0.54 0.51
Taunt Warrior 0.41 0.49 0.62 0.5
Discover Burn Mage 0.5 0.54 0.51 0.59

 

Expected bans: vcT was expected to ban Discover Burn Mage and Kuonet was expected to ban Jade Druid.

Actual bans: vcT banned Control Paladin and Kuonet banned Jade Druid.

Expected winner: vcT at 53%. If vcT had banned Discover Burn Mage, he would have been favored at 56%.

Discover Burn Mage wins against Discover Burn Mage.

Taunt Warrior wins against Discover Burn Mage.

Control Paladin loses to Evolve Shaman.

Control Paladin loses to Taunt Warrior.

Control Paladin loses to Discover Burn Mage.

vcT 2  – Kuonet 3.

Semi-final 1: muzzy vs DiegoDias

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Midrange Murloc Paladin Jade Druid Quest Rogue Taunt Warrior
Taunt Warrior 0.33 0.29 0.39 0.5
Jade Shaman 0.51 0.46 0.27 0.47
Miracle Rogue 0.49 0.57 0.41 0.53
Control Paladin 0.41 0.47 0.39 0.51

 

Expected bans: muzzy was expected to ban Quest Rogue and DiegoDias was expected to ban Miracle Rogue.

Actual bans: muzzy banned Quest Rogue and DiegoDias banned Miracle Rogue.

Expected winner: DiegoDias at 62%.

Jade Shaman wins against Jade Druid.

Control Paladin wins against Jade Druid.

Taunt Warrior loses to Jade Druid.

Taunt Warrior loses to Taunt Warrior.

Taunt Warrior wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin.

muzzy  3 – DiegoDias 2.

Semi-final 2: Ant vs Kuonet

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Discover Burn Mage Control Paladin Evolve Shaman Taunt Warrior
Aggro Druid 0.52 0.36 0.47 0.31
Pirate Warrior 0.55 0.43 0.41 0.47
Secret Mage 0.56 0.49 0.45 0.54
Murloc Paladin 0.59 0.53 0.43 0.55

 

Expected bans: Ant was expected to ban Taunt Warrior and Kuonet was expected to ban Murloc Paladin.

Actual bans: Ant banned Taunt Warrior and Kuonet banned Murloc Paladin.

Expected winner: Kuonet at 55%.

Aggro Druid wins against Control Paladin.

Pirate Warrior loses to Control Paladin.

Pirate Warrior loses to Evolve Shaman.

Pirate Warrior loses to Discover Burn Mage.

Ant 1 – Kuonet 3.

The Grand Final: muzzy vs Kuonet

Lineups and expected win rates based on Vicious Syndicate’s data:

Discover Burn Mage Control Paladin Evolve Shaman Taunt Warrior
Taunt Warrior 0.41 0.49 0.62 0.5
Jade Shaman 0.37 0.62 0.47 0.47
Miracle Rogue 0.41 0.63 0.42 0.53
Control Paladin 0.46 0.5 0.54 0.51

 

Expected bans: muzzy was expected to ban Discover Burn Mage and Kuonet was expected to ban something else than Control Paladin – all other options result in the same expected win rate.

Actual bans: muzzy banned Discover Burn Mage and Kuonet banned Control Paladin.

Expected winner: muzzy at 56%. If Kuonet had banned any of muzzy’s other three decks, muzzy would have been favored at 55%.

Miracle Rogue wins against Control Paladin.

Jade Shaman wins against Control Paladin.

Taunt Warrior wins against Control Paladin.

muzzy 3 – Kuonet 0.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

What is 9 + 2 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is: