StarLadder Hearthstone StarSeries Season 3 (2017) Finals decks, results, and analysis

StarLadder Hearthstone StarSeries Season 3 Finals were played this weekend to determine the winner of this global major series with a $30,000 prize pool.

In this post, I will take a look at the decks and results of the LAN finals (top 8), including class distribution, archetypes, and archetype performance.

Class distribution in top 8

StarLadder published the decklists here. They have also been recreated on some community sites, such as here.

As the finals were played in Conquest best-of-seven with one ban format, each player brought five decks instead of the usual four. This makes the results somewhat difficult to compare with the usual best-of-five tournaments, as your ability to target decks is weaker and there is more room to bring decks.

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

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

Warlock remains dead as expected, and Priest and Hunter maintain their status as classes that are occasionally brought, this time with one appearance each.

The rise of Shaman is now complete, with the class brought by every player in the top 8. Warrior, Paladin, Mage, and Druid also remain popular.

Archetype distribution by class and performance

The tournament featured a heavy control meta: Only one Murloc Paladin, one Pirate Warrior, and no Secret Mages, but instead six Taunt Warriors, four Control Paladins, and four Jade Druids!

Here is deck performance by archetype (excluding mirror matches):

Paladin

  • 4 Control Paladins (8-14)
  • 1 Murloc Paladins (1-2)
  • 1 Midrange Paladins (5-1)

Warrior

  • 1 Pirate Warriors (0-3, banned 2 times)
  • 6 Taunt Warriors (8-14, banned 3 times)

Druid

  • 2 Aggro Druids (1-1, banned 4 times)
  • 4 Jade Druids (7-5, banned 9 times)

Mage

  • 4 Discover Mages (13-7, banned 1 time)
  • 2 Freeze Mage (3-3, banned 1 time)

Rogue

  • 2 Miracle Rogue (5-7, banned 3 times)
  • 3 Quest Rogue (7-4, banned 7 times)

Shaman

  • 3 Evolve Shamans (10-6, banned 1 time)
  • 1 Jade Token Shaman (1-3)
  • 4 Jade Shaman (11-12, banned 1 time)

Hunter

  • 1 Midrange Hunter (2-2)

Priest

  • 1 Dragon Priest (2-0)

Control Paladin and Taunt Warrior were the big losers in the tournament, both running at a 36% win rate. The winner of the tournament, Zalae, did not have either in his lineup! Both archetypes underperformed almost throughout the field, as only one player was able to pilot either of them to an over 50% win rate – Rdu, the runner-up. He had a positive win rate with both archetypes!

Zalae was the only player who brought Midrange Paladin, and he was rewarded for his pick in this particular meta, piloting the deck to a 5-1 record.

Of the more common choices, Discover Mage, Quest Rogue, and Evolve Shaman had strong performances, outdoing their competitors within their own classes as well as overall.

Jade Druid was the most banned deck overall with a whopping 9 bans. It was followed by Quest Rogue with 7 bans and Aggro Druid with 4 bans. Both Jade Druid and Quest Rogue managed to achieve an over 50% win rate in the matches where they were not banned.

An interesting note on Miracle Rogue performance: StanCifka piloted his fast non-Giant variant to a 3-0 record, whereas Rdu had a lot of trouble with the Giants version, finishing 2-7 with it. Granted, Rdu’s Miracle Rogue was also his most banned deck, so players whose lineups were weak against it tended to simply ban it.

The only undefeated class in the tournament was Priest! Naiman’s Dragon Priest was the only star of his lineup, achieving two wins and no losses, but Naiman lost both of his matches and was out amongst the first players.

Decks and their performance by player

Fuoliver

  • N’Zoth Control Paladin (0-1)
  • Discover Mage
  • Jade Shaman (1-5)
  • Taunt Warrior (1-2)
  • Jade Druid (banned 2 times)

Naiman

  • Dragon Priest (2-0)
  • N’Zoth Control Paladin (1-3)
  • Jade Shaman (0-1, banned 1 time)
  • Taunt Warrior (0-4)
  • Freeze Mage (1-0, banned 1 time)

Neirea

  • Taunt Warrior (3-3, banned 1 time)
  • Quest Rogue (1-0, banned 3 times)
  • Evolve Shaman (3-1)
  • Jade Druid (3-3) (one Wild Pyromancer and one Acolyte of Pain)
  • Freeze Mage (2-3)

pf

  • Quest Rogue (3-1, banned 2 times)
  • Control Paladin (3-9)
  • Jade Shaman (5-3)
  • Taunt Warrior (3-3)
  • Jade Druid (2-0, banned 3 times)

RDu

  • Miracle Rogue (2-7, banned 3 times)
  • N’Zoth Control Paladin (6-3)
  • Evolve Shaman (6-4, banned 1 time)
  • Taunt Warrior (4-2, banned 2 times)
  • Discover Mage (6-1, banned 1 time)

Snowkiss

  • Jade Token Shaman (1-3)
  • Pirate Warrior (0-3, banned 2 times)
  • Aggro Druid (1-1, banned 1 time)
  • Murloc Paladin (1-2)
  • Midrange Hunter (2-2)

StanCifka

  • Evolve Shaman (2-2) (with Spirit Echo, Dire Wolf Alpha, no Jades)
  • Miracle Rogue (3-0)
  • Taunt Warrior (1-4)
  • Aggro Druid (banned 3 times)
  • Discover Mage (3-2) (with two Doomsayers)

Zalae

  • Jade Druid (2-2, banned 4 times)
  • Discover Mage (5-5) (with Burgly Bully and Archmage Antonidas)
  • Midrange Murloc Paladin (5-1) (with The Black Knight and Onyxia)
  • Quest Rogue (3-3, banned 2 times) (with Tar Creepers)
  • Jade Shaman (5-3)

Deck spotlights

There were a number of interesting decks in the tournament. Some performed well, and some, sadly, failed, such as SnowKiss’s Jade Token Shaman. I actually gave that one a try on ladder as well and found it somewhat lacking despite its attractive appearance. Zalae’s super greedy Discover Mage is another interesting and probably unusable list – with a 5-5 performance against a heavy control meta, taking that one to the ladder would be suicidal.

Here are some of the more interesting decks that had a good run in the tournament:

Naiman’s Dragon Priest

Naiman was the only player to bring Priest to the tournament. His run may have been short, but this Priest deck was surely not at fault, picking up the win on the first try in both of Naiman’s matches.

There are many ways to build a Dragon Priest, and many win conditions you can go for. Naiman has chosen to include Elise the Trailblazer in addition to the always present Historian-Operative near-endless value win condition.

Naiman has also chosen to cut one dragon (a Twilight Drake) from the usual dragon package, running with only seven dragons. This can be a risky approach, as the odds of finding dragons are barely good enough with just seven in the deck. This move has allowed Naiman to curve more steadily with one Tar Creeper and one Curious Glimmerroot in the three-mana slot: the anti-aggro focus of the list is also evident by the single Shadow Word: Death as compared to two copies each of Potion of Madness and Shadow Word: Pain. Radiant Elementals have been replaced with Golakka Crawlers for an extra anti-Pirate focus.

Deck code: AAECAa0GBo0I0wrZwQLKwwLTxQLPxwIM5QTXCvIMqrICkrQCgrUCtbsCursC6r8C0cEC5MICyccCAA==

Neirea’s Jade Druid

Neirea was the first to bring the recently more popular Jade Druid with Wild Pyromancer and Acolyte of Pain into the tournament. He picked up a win with it on the first try in three of his four matches. Unfortunately, the deck failed against Zalae and picked up three losses in that match.

Deck code: AAECAZICBvYH+wyuqwK+qwKUvQLTxQIMQF/+AcQGpAfkCLS7Asu8As+8At2+AvnAAsnHAgA=

StanCifka’s Freeze Burn Mage

StanCifka brought a hybrid Mage list that broadly falls within the Discover Mage (Guenther Mage) archetype but includes a number of cards more well-known from Freeze Mage in the build: two copies each of Doomsayer, Acolyte of Pain, and Frost Nova.

The secret package consists of two copies of Ice Block and one Counterspell.

The deck was a decent performer in StanCifka’s lineup, picking up a win in each of his three matches at the expense of two losses.

Deck code: AAECAf0EBHHFBOwHobcCDYoBwAG7ApUDqwTLBOYElgX7DKO2Ate2AsHBApjEAgA=

Rdu’s Discover Mage

The most successful Discover Mage list in this heavy control meta tournament was the one teched against aggro! Sure, Rdu played against SnowKiss, the only player with an aggro lineup, twice, but his Discover Mage only went 2-1 in those games, and 4-0 against the rest of the field.

This list features two copies of Volcanic Potion and a Counterspell instead of an Ice Barrier.

Deck code: AAECAf0ECk1xxQSQB+wHvwiBsgKhtwKwvAKWxwIKwAG7ApUDqwSWBaO2Ate2Aum6AsHBApjEAgA=

StanCifka’s Fast Miracle Rogue

StanCifka has brought this exact list before, and it is a mainstay of his tournament lineups. Once again, this no-Giants version of Miracle Rogue delivered admirably, grabbing the win on the first try in each of StanCifka’s three matches.

Deck code: AAECAaIHBrIC1AXtBZG8Asm/AoLCAgy0AYwCmwWIB6QH3QiGCZK2AvW7AvjBAoHCApvIAgA=

Zalae’s Midrange Murloc Paladin

Another Zalae anti-control special, a Midrange Paladin list with Vinecleaver, The Black Knight, and Onyxia! This was the most successful deck in Zalae’s lineup, going 5-1 and really edging out those match wins for him.

Deck code: AAECAZ8FCusC+gaQB68H2wr4DOauArmyArnBAoPHAgrbA6cIjwnTqgLZrgKzwQKbwgKdwgKxwgKIxwIA

Appendix: StarLadder Hearthstone StarSeries Season 3 Finals

Raw data on matches. This time there is no ban data included, as calculating best-of-seven bans is a lot more work and it is rarely applicable in regular tournaments.

Group A, round 1: Naiman vs pf

Naiman: Dragon Priest, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Freeze Mage

Pf: Quest Rogue, Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Bans: Naiman banned Quest Rogue and pf banned Jade Shaman.

Games:

N’Zoth Control Paladin loses to Jade Druid

Freeze Mage wins against Jade Shaman

N’Zoth Control Paladin loses to Jade Shaman

Dragon Priest wins against Taunt Warrior

N’Zoth Control Paladin wins against Control Paladin

Taunt Warrior loses to Control Paladin

Taunt Warrior loses to Taunt Warrior

Naiman 3 – pf 4

Group A, round 1: StanCifka vs Zalae

StanCifka: Evolve Shaman, Miracle Rogue, Taunt Warrior, Aggro Druid, Discover Mage

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Bans: StanCifka banned Jade Druid and Zalae banned Aggro Druid.

Games:

Taunt Warrior wins against Jade Shaman

Miracle Rogue wins against Midrange Murloc Paladin

Discover Mage wins against Discover Mage

Evolve Shaman wins against Jade Shaman

StanCifka 4 – Zalae 0

Group A, winners’ match: pf vs StanCifka

Pf: Quest Rogue, Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

StanCifka: Evolve Shaman, Miracle Rogue, Taunt Warrior, Aggro Druid, Discover Mage

Bans: pf banned Jade Druid and StanCifka banned Jade Druid.

Games:

Quest Rogue wins against Discover Mage

Jade Shaman wins against Evolve Shaman

Control Paladin loses to Miracle Rogue

Control Paladin loses to Discover Mage

Taunt Warrior wins against Taunt Warrior

Control Paladin wins against Evolve Shaman

pf 4 – StanCifka 2. Pf advances to the playoffs.

Group A, losers’ match: Naiman vs Zalae

Naiman: Dragon Priest, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Freeze Mage

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Bans: Naiman banned Quest Rogue and Zalae banned Freeze Mage.

Games:

Dragon Priest wins against Jade Druid

Jade Shaman loses to Jade Druid

N’Zoth Control Paladin loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Taunt Warrior loses to Discover Mage

Taunt Warrior loses to Jade Shaman

Naiman 1 – Zalae 4

Group A, decider match: StanCifka vs Zalae

StanCifka: Evolve Shaman, Miracle Rogue, Taunt Warrior, Aggro Druid, Discover Mage

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Bans: StanCifka banned Jade Druid and Zalae banned Aggro Druid.

Games:

Discover Mage loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Evolve Shaman wins against Discover Mage

Taunt Warrior loses to Jade Shaman

Taunt Warrior loses to Discover Mage

Discover Mage wins against Quest Rogue

Miracle Rogue wins against Quest Rogue

Taunt Warrior loses to Quest Rogue

StanCifka 3 – Zalae 4. Zalae advances to the playoffs.

Group B, round 1: Rdu vs SnowKiss

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

SnowKiss: Jade Token Shaman, Pirate Warrior, Aggro Druid, Murloc Paladin, Midrange Hunter

Bans: Rdu banned Pirate Warrior and SnowKiss banned Taunt Warrior.

Games:

Evolve Shaman wins against Murloc Paladin

Miracle Rogue loses to Aggro Druid

Discover Mage loses to Jade Token Shaman

N’Zoth Control Paladin wins against Midrange Hunter

Miracle Rogue loses to Murloc Paladin

Discover Mage wins against Midrange Hunter

Miracle Rogue loses to Midrange Hunter

Rdu 3 – SnowKiss 4

Group B, round 1: Neirea vs Fuoliver

Neirea: Taunt Warrior, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Freeze Mage

Fuoliver: N’Zoth Control Paladin, Discover Mage, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Bans: Neirea banned Jade Druid and Fuoliver banned Quest Rogue.

Games:

Jade Druid wins against Jade Shaman

Freeze Mage wins against Jade Shaman

Evolve Shaman wins against Jade Shaman

Taunt Warrior loses to Jade Shaman

Taunt Warrior loses to Taunt Warrior

Taunt Warrior wins against N’Zoth Control Paladin

Neirea 4 – Fuoliver 2

Group B, winners’ match: SnowKiss vs Neirea

SnowKiss: Jade Token Shaman, Pirate Warrior, Aggro Druid, Murloc Paladin, Midrange Hunter

Neirea: Taunt Warrior, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Freeze Mage

Bans: SnowKiss banned Taunt Warrior and Neirea banned Aggro Druid.

Games:

Pirate Warrior loses to Quest Rogue

Pirate Warrior loses to Evolve Shaman

Pirate Warrior loses to Freeze Mage

Jade Token Shaman loses to Jade Druid

SnowKiss 0 – Neirea 4. Neirea advances to the playoffs.

Group B, losers’ match: Rdu vs Fuoliver

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Fuoliver: N’Zoth Control Paladin, Discover Mage, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Bans: Rdu banned Jade Druid and Fuoliver banned Miracle Rogue.

Games:

Evolve Shaman wins against Taunt Warrior

N’Zoth Control Paladin wins against Jade Shaman

Taunt Warrior wins against Jade Shaman

Discover Mage wins against Taunt Warrior

Rdu 4 – Fuoliver 0

Group B, decider match: SnowKiss vs Rdu

SnowKiss: Jade Token Shaman, Pirate Warrior, Aggro Druid, Murloc Paladin, Midrange Hunter

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Bans: SnowKiss banned Taunt Warrior and Rdu banned Pirate Warrior.

Games:

Jade Token Shaman loses to Miracle Rogue

Murloc Paladin loses to N’Zoth Control Paladin

Jade Token Shaman loses to Discover Mage

Midrange Hunter wins against Evolve Shaman

Aggro Druid loses to Evolve Shaman

SnowKiss 1 – Rdu 4. Rdu advances to the playoffs.

Winners’ bracket, round 1: pf vs Rdu

pf: Quest Rogue, Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Bans: pf banned Miracle Rogue and Rdu banned Jade Druid.

Games:

Control Paladin loses to Discover Mage

Control Paladin loses to N’Zoth Control Paladin

Quest Rogue wins against Taunt Warrior

Jade Shaman wins against Evolve Shaman

Control Paladin wins against Evolve Shaman

Taunt Warrior loses to Evolve Shaman

Taunt Warrior wins against Taunt Warrior

pf 4 – Rdu 3. Rdu falls to the losers’ bracket.

Winners’ bracket, round 1: Zalae vs Neirea

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Neirea: Taunt Warrior, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Freeze Mage

Bans: Zalae banned Quest Rogue and Neirea banned Jade Druid.

Games:

Discover Mage loses to Evolve Shaman

Quest Rogue wins against Jade Druid

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Jade Druid

Discover Mage loses to Taunt Warrior

Discover Mage wins against Jade Druid

Jade Shaman wins against Freeze Mage

Zalae 4 – Neirea 2. Neirea falls to the losers’ bracket.

Winners’ bracket, round 2: pf vs Zalae

pf: Quest Rogue, Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Bans: pf banned Quest Rogue and Zalae banned Quest Rogue.

Games:

Jade Shaman loses to Midrange Murloc Paladin

Jade Druid wins against Discover Mage

Control Paladin loses to Jade Shaman

Jade Shaman wins against Jade Druid

Control Paladin loses to Discover Mage

Control Paladin loses to Jade Druid

pf 2 – Zalae 4. pf falls to the losers’ bracket.

Losers’ bracket, round 1: Rdu vs Neirea

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Neirea: Taunt Warrior, Quest Rogue, Evolve Shaman, Jade Druid, Freeze Mage

Bans: Rdu banned Quest Rogue and Neirea banned Discover Mage.

Games:

Taunt Warrior wins against Freeze Mage

Evolve Shaman wins against Evolve Shaman

Miracle Rogue wins against Taunt Warrior

N’Zoth Control Paladin loses to Taunt Warrior

N’Zoth Control Paladin loses to Jade Druid

N’Zoth Control Paladin wins against Freeze Mage

Rdu 4 – Neirea 2

Losers’ bracket, round 2: pf vs Rdu

pf: Quest Rogue, Control Paladin, Jade Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Jade Druid

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Bans: pf banned Miracle Rogue and Rdu banned Jade Druid.

Games:

Quest Rogue loses to Discover Mage

Quest Rogue wins against Evolve Shaman

Jade Shaman loses to Evolve Shaman

Control Paladin loses to Taunt Warrior

Jade Shaman wins against N’Zoth Control Paladin

Taunt Warrior loses to N’Zoth Control Paladin

pf  2– Rdu 4.

 

The Grand Final: Zalae vs Rdu

Zalae: Jade Druid, Discover Mage, Midrange Murloc Paladin, Quest Rogue, Jade Shaman

Rdu: Miracle Rogue, N’Zoth Control Paladin, Evolve Shaman, Taunt Warrior, Discover Mage

Bans: Zalae banned Evolve Shaman and Rdu banned Jade Druid.

Games:

Jade Shaman loses to Discover Mage

Discover Mage wins against Miracle Rogue

Quest Rogue loses to Taunt Warrior

Midrange Murloc Paladin wins against Miracle Rogue

Quest Rogue wins against Miracle Rogue

Jade Shaman wins against Miracle Rogue

Zalae 4 – Rdu 2.

 

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