SeatStory Cup VII Hearthstone tournament decks, results, and analysis

SeatStory Cup VII Hearthstone tournament was played from 22 to 25 June 2017. It was a major LAN invitational tournament with 32 players, who played two group stages (32 players and 16 players in groups of four players) followed by top-8 single-elimination playoffs. The group stages were played in best-of-five Last Hero Standing with one ban format, and the playoffs were played in best-of-seven Last Hero Standing with one ban format. The tournament featured a $20,000 prize pool.

In this post, I will take a look at the decks and results of the playoff stage (top 8), including class distribution, archetypes, and tech choices.

The analysis here is shorter than usual, as SeatStory Cup was extraordinarily difficult to analyze: decks were not public and much of the casting was focused on memes over gameplay, so viewers were not told about bans, for example, and in some cases it was not even possible to find out what classes players had brought to the tournament. I believe there is nonetheless something of value in this brief overview.

Class distribution in top 8

Unfortunately, the deck lists of the tournament were not made public. Some players published their decks shortly after the tournament, and I reached out to all the other top-8 players asking for the lists. Special thanks to Strifecro and Gaara who published their decks for everyone to enjoy in response!

Here are links to all the published decks:

Strifecro: https://twitter.com/StrifeCro/status/879508077363384320 and https://twitter.com/StrifeCro/status/879508395534950400

Gaara: https://twitter.com/TempoGaara/status/879632456193802240 and the correct version of Shaman at https://twitter.com/TempoGaara/status/879656055944474624

MrYagut: https://twitter.com/Mryagut/status/879345835955322880

Ostkaka: https://twitter.com/Ostkaka/status/879316862403850240

Mitsuhide: https://twitter.com/MitsuhideHS/status/879328219845013505

Fr0zen, Forsen, and Pavel have not published their decks. They can mostly be deciphered from the stream, except for Fr0zen’s fifth deck, which was never shown or mentioned.

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

  • Druid: 8
  • Rogue: 8
  • Shaman: 7
  • Paladin: 6
  • Mage: 5
  • Warrior: 4
  • Priest: 1
  • Hunter: 0
  • Warlock: Zero. Zippo. Nada. Zilch.

Warlock remains dead as expected, and this time one Priest made it to the playoffs while Hunter took a break. Granted, even the Priest was Gaara’s fifth deck, and it was also banned in the playoffs so it did not actually play a single game in the entire tournament.

Archetype distribution by class and performance

Quest Rogue and Evolve Shaman were the most common decks in the top 8. They had very different fates though: Quest Rogue was the best-performing archetype in the playoffs (8-1), whereas Evolve Shaman had a rough time with its 2-7 record. Evolve Shaman ate more bans than any other archetype though, so players were either ready to deal with it or they banned it.

Jade Druids and Mages proved to be favorable prey for Midrange Paladin, which displayed impressive performance at 12-4 in the playoffs, making it the second-most successful archetype. Pressured by Midrange Paladin and Quest Rogue, the slow Druid decks were unable to succeed, and Mages could not quite find their groove either.

Here are the decks by archetype (Fr0zen’s fifth deck was never shown or mentioned):

Paladin

  • 1 Control Paladin (0-1)
  • 1 Murloc Paladin (0-1, banned 1 time)
  • 4 Midrange Paladins (12-4, banned 2 times)

Warrior

  • 2 Pirate Warriors (1-2)
  • 2 Taunt Warriors (5-2)

Druid

  • 2 Aggro Druids (0-1, banned 1 time)
  • 5 Jade Druids (3-6)
  • 1 Big Druid (1-2)

Mage

  • 1 Gunther Mage (2-2)
  • 2 Freeze Mages (0-1, banned 2 times)
  • 1 Hybrid Freeze Mage (0-1)
  • 1 Giants Tempo Mage (0-1)

Rogue

  • 2 Miracle Rogues (1-3)
  • 6 Quest Rogues (8-1, banned 2 times)

Shaman

  • 6 Evolve Shamans (2-7, banned 4 times)
  • 1 Jade Elemental Shaman (1-1)

Priest

  • 1 Silence Priest (banned 1 time)

Decks by player

Forsen:

  • Jade Druid
  • Pirate Warrior
  • Evolve Shaman
  • Quest Rogue
  • Freeze Mage

Fr0zen:

  • Giants Mage (Arcane Giants, Yogg-Saron)
  • Miracle Rogue (Questing Adventurer, Arcane Giants)
  • Jade Druid (Yogg-Saron)
  • Midrange Murloc Paladin
  • ? (Fr0zen’s fifth deck was never shown or mentioned)

Gaara:

  • Aggro Druid (Argent Squire, Hungry Crab, Tar Creeper, Genzo)
  • N’Zoth Control Paladin
  • Silence Priest
  • Quest Rogue (2xHungry Crab, 2xTar Creeper, Eater of Secrets)
  • Evolve Shaman

Mitsuhide:

  • Evolve Shaman (1xDevolve, 1xSea Giant)
  • Gunther Mage (Counterspell, no Ice Barrier)
  • Jade Druid (Yogg-Saron, no Pyromancers)
  • Quest Rogue
  • Midrange Murloc Paladin (Finja, Blessing of Kings, The Curator, Equality)

MrYagut:

  • Evolve Shaman
  • Jade Druid (one Pyromancer, Harrison)
  • Murloc Paladin (The Curator and Vinecleaver as a small top-end boost)
  • Miracle Rogue (2xQuesting Adventurer, no Giants)
  • Taunt Warrior

Ostkaka:

  • Midrange Murloc Paladin (2xGrimscale Chum, Vinecleaver, Deathwing)
  • Big Druid
  • Quest Rogue
  • Evolve Shaman
  • Pirate Warrior

Pavel:

  • Hybrid Freeze Mage
  • Midrange Murloc Paladin
  • Evolve Shaman
  • Jade Druid
  • Quest Rogue

Strifecro:

  • Jade Elemental Shaman (Spirit Echo, 2xLightning Storm, no Bloodlust, no Volcano)
  • Freeze Mage
  • Aggro Druid (Hungry Crab, 2xTar Creeper, Genzo)
  • Quest Rogue
  • Taunt Warrior

Deck spotlights

For such a developed meta, SeatStory Cup featured some really interesting decks. Some players had paid close attention to the Hybrid Freeze Mage Zumpp brought to Dreamhack Summer, and Pavel made it to the top 8 with a similar list in his lineup.

Of course the Midrange Paladins, Evolve Shamans, and Quest Rogues were abundant, but there were also a few off-meta decks in the top 8: Fr0zen’s Giants Mage, Ostkaka’s Big Druid, and Strifecro’s Jade Elemental Shaman – yes, a classic no-Bloodlust Jade Elemental Shaman.

I would also love to feature the only Priest deck in the top 8, but as it did not play a single game in the entire tournament, I feel a bit uneasy about giving it too much of a spotlight. Check out Gaara’s Twitter for the list if you really want to play some Silence Priest.

Here are some of the more interesting lists that did see play in the tournament, enjoy!

Mitsuhide’s Midrange Murloc Paladin

It’s hard to ignore a tournament-winning lineup when looking at spotlights, and Midrange Paladin was the second-best performing archetype in the playoff stage overall (behind the soon-to-be-nerfed Quest Rogue) with Mitsuhide leading the way with a stunning 5-1 record in the playoffs with this list.

While Midrange Paladin and Murloc Paladin are being hybridized a lot, Mitsuhide’s list was one of the purest midrange lists in the tournament. Blessing of Kings and Finja give it a tiny bit of an aggressive edge, but it remains firmly in the midrange side of things.

Deck code: AAECAZ8FCvQFzwb6Bq8H2a4CubICvL0C474CucECyccCCtsD3APjBacI06oCs8ECm8ICncICscICiMcCAA==

Fr0zen’s Giants Mage

Fr0zen has not published his decks for the tournament, but as far as I can tell, the Mage list he was running was Apxvoid’s Giants Mage – a list Apxvoid played to top-5 legend in late June.

It could be considered a variation of Gunther Mage, although with no Medivh or Alexstrasza and running only one Ice Block, there are quite a few differences. The secret package of the deck consists of one Ice Block and two Counterspells, and the value cards it uses to win games are Cabalist’s Tome and two Arcane Giants in addition to most of the burn also used in Gunther Mage (Frostbolt, Fireball, Firelands Portal). There is also a Yogg-Saron in case of emergencies – something Fr0zen used to good effect during group stages.

Deck code: AAECAf0EBMABkqwC6awClscCDXG7ApUDqwTmBJYFgbICgrQCo7YC17YC6boCwcECmMQCAA==

Ostkaka’s Big Druid

If nothing else, the hype was real for Ostkaka’s choice to bring Big Druid to the tournament instead of Jade Druid. Jade’s can grow big, huh? Well, this deck packs a bunch of minions that can also be big, and they can be on the board faster than the big Jades!

A fairly similar ramping Druid build as Jade Druid, the deck supposedly has an advantage in the mirror match against Jade Druid while retaining similar strengths (and weaknesses) in other matchups. With a 5-5 record throughout the tournament, of which 1-2 in the playoffs, the performance of Big Druid was mediocre, but it definitely left a lasting impression.

Deck code: AAECAZICDlaiAqQDwgaLCKIJqKsCvq4Cn7ACubIChbgCiMECrsICysMCCEBf/gHEBuQIorYC+cACyccCAA==

Strifecro’s Jade Elemental Shaman

Elemental Shaman, whether it has Jades or not, is not a fashionable deck right now, unless it combines Elementals with some tokens and a Bloodlust.

Bah, Strifecro would have none of it! A pure Jade Elemental Shaman build: no Bloodlust, no Primalfin Totem, just good old Elementals with the basic Jade package (Jade Claws, Jade Lightning, Aya), a ton of Discover effects (Stonehill Defender, Servant of Kalimos), and one copy of Spirit Echo. You can’t outvalue the Cro!

Deck code: AAECAaoIBu0F3boClL0C9r0C88ICl8cCDL0BgQT1BP4F8Af7qgKgtgKHvALRvAKbwgLrwgLCwwIA

Appendix: SeatStory Cup VII top-8 matches

Raw data on matches. Because the decks were not known by the players, bans heavily depend on what they expected the archetypes to be. Detailed ban analysis is therefore less fruitful than in open decklist tournaments.

Round of 8, match 1: Strifecro vs Gaara

Strifecro: Jade Elemental Shaman, Freeze Mage, Aggro Druid, Quest Rogue, Taunt Warrior

Gaara: Aggro Druid, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Silence Priest, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman

Bans: Strifecro banned Silence Priest and Gaara banned Freeze Mage.

Games:

Quest Rogue wins against Control Paladin

Quest Rogue wins against Aggro Druid

Quest Rogue wins against Quest Rogue

Quest Rogue loses to Evolve Shaman

Jade Elemental Shaman wins against Evolve Shaman

Strifecro 4 – Gaara 1

Round of 8, match 2: Ostkaka vs Fr0zen

Ostkaka: Midrange Murloc Paladin, Big Druid, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Pirate Warrior

Fr0zen: Giants Mage, Miracle Rogue, Jade Druid, Midrange Murloc Paladin

Bans: Ostkaka banned ? and Fr0zen banned Evolve Shaman.

Fr0zen’s fifth deck was not shown anywhere, it was banned this one time.

Games:

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Giants Mage

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Miracle Rogue

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Jade Druid

Midrange Murloc Paladin loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Quest Rogue wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin

Ostkaka 4 – Fr0zen 1

Round of 8, match 3: MrYagut vs Pavel

MrYagut: Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Murloc Paladin, Miracle Rogue, Taunt Warrior

Pavel: Hybrid Freeze Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Quest Rogue

Bans: Pavel banned Evolve Shaman and MrYagut banned Quest Rogue.

Games:

Murloc Paladin loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Miracle Rogue loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Jade Druid wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin

Jade Druid loses to Evolve Shaman

Taunt Warrior wins against Evolve Shaman

Taunt Warrior wins against Hybrid Freeze Mage

Taunt Warrior wins against Jade Druid

MrYagut 4 – Pavel 3

Round of 8, match 4: Mitsuhide vs Forsen

Mitsuhide: Evolve Shaman, Gunther Mage, Jade Druid, Quest Rogue, Midrange Murloc Paladin

Forsen: Jade Druid, Pirate Warrior, Evolve Shaman, Quest Rogue, Freeze Mage

Bans: Mitsuhide banned Freeze Mage and Forsen banned Midrange Murloc Paladin.

Games:

Evolve Shaman loses to Jade Druid

Quest Rogue wins against Jade Druid

Quest Rogue wins against Pirate Warrior

Quest Rogue wins against Evolve Shaman

Quest Rogue wins against Quest Rogue

Mitsuhide 4 – Forsen 1

Semi-finals, match 1: Strifecro vs Ostkaka

Strifecro: Jade Elemental Shaman, Freeze Mage, Aggro Druid, Quest Rogue, Taunt Warrior

Ostkaka: Midrange Murloc Paladin, Big Druid, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Pirate Warrior

Bans: Strifecro banned Evolve Shaman and Ostkaka banned Aggro Druid.

Games:

Jade Elemental Shaman loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Freeze Mage loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Taunt Warrior wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin

Taunt Warrior wins against Big Druid

Taunt Warrior loses to Quest Rogue

Quest Rogue loses to Quest Rogue

Strifecro 2 – Ostkaka 4

Semi-finals, match 2: MrYagut vs Mitsuhide

MrYagut: Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Murloc Paladin, Miracle Rogue, Taunt Warrior

Mitsuhide: Evolve Shaman, Gunther Mage, Jade Druid, Quest Rogue, Midrange Murloc Paladin

Bans: MrYagut banned Quest Rogue and Mitsuhide banned Murloc Paladin.

Games:

Miracle Rogue wins against Evolve Shaman

Miracle Rogue loses to Gunther Mage

Jade Druid wins against Gunther Mage

Jade Druid loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Taunt Warrior loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Evolve Shaman loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

MrYagut 2 – Mitsuhide 4

The Grand Final: Ostkaka vs Mitsuhide

Ostkaka: Midrange Murloc Paladin, Big Druid, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Pirate Warrior

Mitsuhide: Evolve Shaman, Gunther Mage, Jade Druid, Quest Rogue, Midrange Murloc Paladin

Bans: Ostkaka banned Evolve Shaman and Mitsuhide banned Midrange Murloc Paladin.

Games:

Pirate Warrior wins against Jade Druid

Pirate Warrior loses to Gunther Mage

Big Druid wins against Gunther Mage

Big Druid loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Evolve Shaman loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Quest Rogue wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin

Quest Rogue loses to Quest Rogue

Ostkaka 3 – Mitsuhide 4

 

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