Hearthstone HCT Taipei April 2018 Tour Stop finals were played on 27th April and 29th April 2018 at Blizzard Arena Taipei in Taiwan. It was an online-qualifier Hearthstone Championship Tour Stop, where 16 players had qualified from among hundreds to compete at the LAN finals for a $15,000 USD prize pool and HCT points.
HCT Taipei was the first Tour Stop of Year of the Raven after the Standard rotation and release of The Witchwood expansion.
In this post, I take a look at the decks and results of the tournament, including class distribution and archetypes.
The event was played in a best-of-five Conquest format with one ban. It started with double-elimination groups followed by a top-8 single-elimination playoffs.
The tournament was broadcasted on Twitch:
|1st||Switch||$3,500 + 15 HCT points|
|2nd||Staz||$2,300 + 12 HCT points|
|3rd – 4th||Katsucurry
|$1,100 + 10 HCT points|
|5th – 8th||G9malygostw
|$750 + 8 HCT points|
|9th – 16th||SiaoBenTW
Archangel (did not play, prize uncertain)
|$500 + 6 HCT points|
The decklists are available on Google drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1m7362bw6UqWSxClFPzr9-oau1qVKXwra
Archetype overview can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iHXiwO-8tInvzbTrxmAH_x62nZGBWab666PDTfdjUHM/edit?usp=sharing
Classes from the most popular to the least popular:
- Warlock: 13
- Rogue: 10
- Druid: 8
- Paladin: 8
- Mage: 8
- Priest: 5
- Hunter: 4
- Warrior: 4
- Shaman: 0
New expansion, new meta, new class balance! Warlock remains a top class, unsurprisingly enough, as it did not lose much in the rotation, but behind it there are some changes. Rogue surged in popularity as did Druid and Mage, while Paladin held on to one of the top positions. Priest was not that popular this time. Shaman is still nowhere to be found, so while some things changed, others remained the same.
Compared to the current ladder meta, Paladin and Rogue were slightly underrepresented whereas some of the lower-tier classes – Mage, Hunter, and Warrior – managed to grab a slightly larger share than they do on ladder. For Mage, this mirrors the increasing play Tempo Mage is seeing on ladder, whereas Hunter and Warrior are able to support specific tournament strategies.
The most popular class in the tournament was Warlock and the most popular archetype was Cubelock. Eight Players brought Cubelock compared to five who trusted in Control Warlock. What about the very top? Top-4 = 4 Cubelocks. Cubelock is a tried and tested archetype that can win against anything with the right draw, and it proved to be an excellent choice in the new meta where many other decks are still being refined.
The second-most popular archetype in the tournament was Spiteful Druid (7). Add in one Taunt Druid (that did not win a game while streamed) and we have eight Druids overall, coming in at third place in classes. Five of the Spiteful Druids could not make it out of groups, but the remaining two made it all the way to the top-4.
The second-most popular class was Rogue, and it was also the most varied class with three different archetypes: Quest Rogue (5), Odd Rogue (4), and Miracle Rogue (1). Rogue performed admirably with two Quest Rogues and one Odd Rogue in the top-4.
Paladin is common on the ladder, but it is also a class that can be targeted, and it was not quite as popular in the tournament. Still, eight players brought Paladin, either Murloc Paladin (5) or Even Paladin (3) – the archetypes that also enjoy the strongest performance on the ladder. Two Murloc Paladins and one Even Paladin made it to the top-4.
Lately, Tempo Mage has started to gain a foothold on the ladder, and players who were hot on this trend were rewarded. Out of the four players who brought Tempo Mage, two met in the finals, and one more made it to the top-8. Big Spell Mage was also brought by four players, three of whom reached top-8, but all lost once there.
Priest also enjoyed moderate success. Three of the four Mind Blast Priests reached top-8, while the only Combo Priest lost in the groups. This was the general storyline of the tournament: well-crafted control lineups were able to get out of groups, but eventually one of the aggressive lineups managed to roll over them.
All three control players who made it to the top-8 with their Priest decks also had Warrior in their lineups: two of them had Baku Control Warrior, and one was running a regular Taunt Warrior.
Early meta, aggro is good. Bring Baku Face Hunter! Four players did, and the two who also brought Cubelock met in the finals, while the two who left Warlock out of their lineups lost in the groups.
It is a little unfortunate that the first tournament of the new meta featured only 15 players. No meaningful statistics can be gathered from such a small sample and we are left with mere anecdotal evidence as to what is strong in the Witchwood tournament meta. Furthermore, most of the games were not streamed, and game-level records of off-stream games were not kept, so it is not possible to gather deck-level performance statistics.
All archetypes by class:
- 8 Cubelocks
- 5 Control Warlocks
- 5 Quest Rogues
- 4 Odd Rogues
- 1 Miracle Rogue
- 5 Murloc Paladins
- 3 Even Paladins
- 7 Spiteful Druids
- 1 Taunt Druid
- 4 Big Spell Mages
- 4 Tempo Mages
- 4 Mind Blast Priests
- 1 Combo Priest
- 4 Baku Face Hunters
- 2 Baku Control Warriors
- 1 Baku Taunt Warrior
- 1 Taunt Warrior
15 players, 14 different lineups. Only G9malygostw and Mcweifu brought the same lineup archetype-wise (Control Warlock, Big Spell Mage, Mind Blast Priest, and Baku Control Warrior) – and both made it out of their groups but fell in the quarter-finals to more aggressive lineups.
Overall, aggressive lineups were the ones that succeeded. This is not unexpected early in a new meta, when control decks have not been fully refined yet.
In the finals, Switch’s Cubelock – Tempo Mage – Baku Face Hunter – Murloc Paladin lineup faced off against Staz’s Cubelock – Tempo Mage – Baku Face Hunter – Quest Rogue lineup.
In an interview, Switch told that his plan with his lineup was to soft target Warlock and Quest Rogue. He banned aggressive decks from his opponents (Paladin, Tempo Mage) and attempted to beat their slower decks and it was enough to get him through the tournament.
Here is the winning lineup in detail as well as some other interesting decks that made it far in the tournament.
Everyone who made it to the top brought Cubelock. Teched against or not, it is a great deck that can simply roll over the opposition with Doomguards and Carnivorous Cubes, or sometimes outlast them with Voidlords and copies of them. A very flexible deck overall.
Switch’s take on Cubelock does not include the popular Prince Taldaram, opting to go for a Voodoo Doll instead. It also runs Acidic Swamp Ooze for some weapon removal of its own and one copy of Dark Possession for some additional Demons and an additional way to kill a Possessed Lackey.
Deck code: AAECAcn1AgiTBPIFigfJwgKX0wLb6QK57wK38QILigH3BLYH4QfnywLy0AL40AKI0gKL4QL85QLo5wIA
Switch’s Baku Face Hunter
Two Baku Face Hunters at the finals of a Tour Stop? Well, that was surprising.
Switch’s take on Baku Face Hunter has the usual early-board focus with a couple of additions that help him find the lethal later in the game: Tracking to look for just the right card and Blackwald Pixie to use Hero Power twice for a total of seven mana.
Deck code: AAECAR8GoQKvBJcI2wnl7wKe+AIMogKoArUDkgXtBv4Ml8EC68IC180Clc4C4eMCi+UCAA==
Switch’s Tempo Mage
Aggressive Tempo Mage decks have risen to prominence over the past days on ladder, and some of the players at HCT Taipei were riding along this new wave of aggression.
Switch’s take is a fairly modern build with two copies of Cinderstorm that is rapidly becoming a key card for board control with the deck. The deck also has some ambitions for a board of its own, opting to run one Lifedrinker and one Vex Crow instead of the more common double Lifedrinker setup.
Deck code: AAECAY0WBu0FvAi/CKLTAu/xAsLzAgxxuwKVA6sEtATmBJYF7AXBwQKYxAKP0wL77AIA
Switch’s Murloc Paladin
Murloc Paladin or Even Paladin? That has been the question for some time when thinking about the top Paladin archetype. It is miraculous how well Murloc Paladin has been able to survive despite losing Grimscale Chum and Vilespine Inquisitor in the Standard rotation.
“Switch’s” Murloc Paladin also shows that you do not always have to be original to be successful. It is literally the most popular Murloc Paladin list on ladder. That’s right, card for card. And it wins tournaments.
Deck code: AAECAYsWBsUD8gWvB7nBAoPHAtHhAgzbA6cFpwixCLPBAp3CArHCArjHAuPLAvjSAtblAt6CAwA=
Seogui’s Odd Rogue
Odd Rogue is rising as one of the premium aggro archetypes in The Witchwood. While Face Hunter deals three damage for two mana, Odd Rogue deals four, spread over two turns! Add in some sweet burst from Cold Blood and Leeroy Jenkins and great synergy with the new Hench-Clan Thug, and we have a deck.
Seogui’s list is not an original one, it is one of the most popular lists. That does not make it any less effective.
Deck code: AAECAaIHBLICyAOvBJ74Ag2MAssDmwXUBfUF3QiBwgKfwgLrwgLKwwLR4QKL5QKm7wIA
Mcweifu’s Baku Control Warrior
Warrior is an off-meta class still, but some Control Warrior builds have begun to surface as we move deeper into The Witchwood. Some of them use the Warrior Quest, some of them don’t, and Mcweifu’s take is a pure control build with no quest.
It is a Baku build, so it only uses odd-cost cards and relies on the upgraded Hero Power to keep tanking up out of reach. Mcweifu had chosen to include Fiery War Axe, which does not see a lot of play even in this archetype, to bolster his early game while leaving out Elise the Trailblazer and forgoing that late-game value.
Deck code: AAECAQcK0AKqBpAH+Qz7DNHDAtPFAqLHAs3vAp74AgpLogKRA6IE/AT/B5vCAsrnArrsAp3wAgA=