Hearthstone HCT Italy Tour Stop was played from 6th July to 8th July 2018 in Varese, Italy. It was an open Hearthstone Championship Tour Stop, where 362 players competed for a $25,000 USD prize pool and HCT points.
In this post, I take a look at the decks and results of the tournament, including class distribution, archetypes, and lineups.
The event was played in a best-of-five Conquest format with one ban. It started with 9 rounds of Swiss followed by a top-16 cut into single-elimination playoffs.
The tournament was broadcasted on Twitch:
- Day 1 (Swiss round 1-3 – lots of issues): https://www.twitch.tv/videos/281459928
- Day 2 (Swiss round 4-9): https://www.twitch.tv/videos/281792520
- Day 3 (top-16): https://www.twitch.tv/videos/282157839
|1st||Hunterace||$6,500 + 15 HCT points|
|2nd||Vardu||$3,500 + 12 HCT points|
|3rd – 4th||Swidz
|$1,500 + 10 HCT points|
|5th – 8th||Bozzzton
|$1,000 + 8 HCT points|
|9th – 16th||Faeli
|$500 + 6 HCT points|
|17th – 32nd||Kolmari
|$250 + 4 HCT points|
Classes from the most popular to the least popular:
- Druid: 288
- Warlock: 253
- Shaman: 225
- Rogue: 191
- Paladin: 128
- Mage: 126
- Hunter: 87
- Priest: 85
- Warrior: 65
Classes in the top-16:
- Druid: 15
- Rogue: 11
- Shaman: 8
- Warlock: 7
- Mage: 7
- Paladin: 7
- Priest: 4
- Hunter: 3
- Warrior: 2
The meta keeps getting more refined. In particular, the power of Druid is now unquestionable as Druid overtook Warlock as the most popular class and carried on by also being the most successful class in taking players who trusted it to the top-16.
Warlock still retained second place and Shaman continued its rise to become the third-most popular class, overtaking Rogue and Warrior on its climb. That said, Rogue was able to get more players to top-16 than Shaman.
Warrior has fallen sharply in the post-nerf Witchwood meta, from being the fourth-most popular class at Dreamhack Summer to being the least popular class at HCT Italy. Not only is it unpopular, it also has a hard time finding good performance as a class.
In the middle ranks, Paladin, Hunter, and Mage have been on their way up and Priest on its way down. Alas, all classes made it to the top-16, so none of them are nearly as hopeless as some classes have been in various past metas.
Druid was both the most popular class and it had the greatest variety of archetypes. There were eight distinct variants of Druid in the tournament, or six if you count various Malygos and Mill variants together. Even the smaller number is the most diverse class.
Four different Druid archetypes reached the top-16: two of the 114 Taunt Druids, six of the 94 Token Druids, five of the 37 Malygos Druids, and two of the 26 Spiteful Druids. Malygos Druid lineups performed particularly well while Token Druid and Spiteful Druid lineups also performed above average. Taunt Druid, while getting two players to the top cut, suffered from poor success overall. In terms of game winrates, Druid as a class was mediocre at 49%, but this fails to account for the differences in its archetypes.
Warlock was the second-most popular class, but it fell down to the fourth place when it comes to getting people to the top-16. Six Even Warlock out of 205 made it as well as one Cubelock out of 42. None of the five Control Warlocks or the lone Zoolock was able to reach the top cut.
In the relatively aggressive meta, players with pure Control Warlock in their lineup were able to get above-average results, but none of them peaked high enough. Cubelock was mediocre and Even Warlock was highly anticipated and as a result the worst-performing popular archetype in the field. Warlock’s 50% game win rate was mediocre.
Shaman only had two archetypes in the tournament. Shaman lineups were able to hit top-16 with four of the 134 Shudderwock Shamans and four of the 91 Even Shamans making it that far. In the playoffs, Shamans started to fall: from 8/16 to 3/8 to 1/4. In overall terms, Even Shaman lineups did slightly above average whereas Shudderwock Shaman lineups did not do well at all. With a 48% game winrate, Shaman was at the bottom of the pack.
Rogue was interesting. On one hand, it succeeded in getting a lot of players into the top-16: seven Odd Rogues out of 62 made it as did four Miracle Rogues out of 120. It is also notable that while none of the seven Quest Rogues made it to the top-16, Quest Rogue lineups did very well overall.
On the other hand, Rogue as a class had one of the lowest game winrates in the tournament at 48%. Considering how good the performance of Odd Rogue lineups was, this can likely be attributed to Miracle Rogue not finding its ground under pressure from Odd Rogues and Odd Paladins.
Paladin came to the tournament with three archetypes: 111 Odd Paladins (six in the top-16), 14 Even Paladins (one in the top-16), and three Murloc Paladins (also ran). Odd Paladin lineups performed above average whereas Even Paladin and Murloc Paladin were below average. As a class, Paladin’s 54% game win rate was the second-highest in the tournament.
Mage remained a control-oriented class. Five of the 96 Big Spell Mages reached the top-16 as did two of the 25 Tempo Mages. Five players brought Murloc Mage, but it was unable to find success in this tournament. As a class, Mage’s 50% win rate was middle-of-the-pack.
Hunter had risen in popularity thanks to the success of Recruit Hunter. It failed to impress, however, as only two of the 60 Recruit Hunters reached the top-16. There were also 13 Secret Hunters, 9 Odd Face Hunters (one reached the top-16), and five Spell Hunter in the tournament. All Hunter lineups except Recruit Hunter performed above-average, with Recruit Hunters stuck below the midpoint. As a class, Hunter’s 53% winrate was the third-highest in the tournament.
Priest has been going down, but it was surprisingly effective in this tournament – or rather, Mind Blast Priest was. Four of the 47 Mind Blast Priests reached the top-16. None of the other Priest archetypes – 33 Combo Priests, 4 Quest Priests, and one Murloc Priest – made it that far. The performance of Combo Priest lineups in particular was abysmal. As a class, Priest had the highest winrate at 54% – and this despite the apparent failure of some of its archetypes!
Warrior cannot catch a break in the meta. It was the least popular class, and it was also weak at getting the true believers to the top-16. Two of the 57 Taunt Warriors did reach the top-16, but none of the four Odd Control Warriors, three Recruit Warriors, or the lone Rush Warrior were able to join them. With a 49% game win rate, Warrior’s performance was below average.
Is there nonetheless some hope for the class? Odd Control Warrior lineups actually did not perform that badly, the best of them, Charon, reached a 7-2 score in Swiss and missed out on the top-16 on tiebreakers. In a meta where Odd Paladins and Odd Rogues push out combo decks, an anti-aggro Odd Control Warrior can be a good counter. There is still a time and a place for Warrior, but it is a niche class overall.
Lineup-wise, Malygos Druid + Odd Rogue + Odd Paladin + X turned out to be very successful. The lineup with Mind Blast Priest, brought by the Finnish players from Helsinki Reds and ENCE (Vardu, Janetzky, Zumpp, Creapz, and Kufdon), was the most successful lineup in the Swiss. The lineup with Big Spell Mage, brought by Hunterace, ntR, NikolajHoej, and Mitsuhide, was the second-most successful lineup. These nine players had an overall record of 49-22 (69%) in the Swiss.
Then again, if this becomes the norm, it can again be countered – perhaps with various Warrior decks (Taunt, Odd Control) or with Zoolock that has risen rapidly on ladder but was not yet well-known for this tournament. We have not seen the last of what Witchwood meta can offer yet!
Performance of lineups that included a specific archetype:
Archetypes in the top-16:
All archetypes by class:
- 205 Even Warlocks
- 42 Cubelocks
- 5 Control Warlocks
- 1 Zoolock
- 120 Miracle Rogues
- 62 Odd Rogues
- 7 Quest Rogues
- 1 Tempo Rogue
- 1 Even Rogue
- 111 Odd Paladins
- 14 Even Paladins
- 3 Murloc Paladins
- 114 Taunt Druids
- 94 Token Druids
- 37 Malygos Druids
- 26 Spiteful Druids
- 13 Big Druids
- 2 Mill Druids
- 1 Quest Malygos Druid
- 1 Mill Malygos Druid
- 96 Big Spell Mages
- 25 Tempo Mages
- 5 Murloc Mages
- 47 Mind Blast Priests
- 33 Combo Priests
- 4 Quest Priests
- 1 Murloc Priest
- 60 Recruit Hunters
- 13 Secret Hunters
- 9 Odd Face Hunter
- 5 Spell Hunters
- 57 Taunt Warriors
- 4 Odd Control Warriors
- 3 Recruit Warriors
- 1 Rush Warrior
- 134 Shudderwock Shamans
- 91 Even Shamans
Looking for a specific deck? You can find archetypes by player here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1c6VUhYZHPCFwZ2Z7n30F-iYA5gB3hwxV0zGXQpwreNY/edit?usp=sharing
Lineups in the top-16:
Performance of lineups at the tournament (brought by more than two players):
Here are some of the more interesting decks from successful lineups.
Vardu’s Malygos Druid
Malygos Druid was the hype deck of the tournament. Praised widely on Twitter in the days before the tournament, it was nonetheless brought only by a moderate group of early adopters, 37 in all.
Vardu and the other Finnish players piloted this build as part of the most successful lineup in the Swiss, with Vardu reaching the finals and Creapz making it to the top-16 with this deck.
Deck code: AAECAbSKAwj+AbQDkwTFBMQGws4CmdMCm+gCC0Bf6QHTA+QIoM0Ch84CmNICntIC29MCv/ICAA==
Vardu’s Mind Blast Priest
Another deck from the award-winning Finnish lineup. Mind Blast Priest has had its share of bad press, but this rather traditional build proved to be one of the best decks in the tournament.
Deck code: AAECAZ/HAgbFBIoH+wygzgKQ0wKJ8QIMkAKhBOUE9geNCPIM0cECyccC6NACy+YC/OoCvfMCAA==
Hunterace’s Odd Paladin
Odd Paladin has been one of the top decks on the ladder for some time now, and it also performed well at HCT Italy. Hunterace piloted this list all the way to the top.
Void Ripper has found a great niche as a tech card lately, effectively countering Spreading Plague.
Deck code: AAECAYsWBq8EpwXrwgKDxwL96gKe+AIMRvUF+QqbwgK4xwLjywKVzgL70wLR4QKL5QLW5QK15gIA
Hunterace’s Odd Rogue
The meta took a long and winding road to a place where aggro is good. That is the other way around than it should be, really, as usually aggro rules until control is fine-tuned. Alas, in this tournament both Odd Paladin and Odd Rogue did very well.
Deck code: AAECAaIHBrICyAOvBMrDAsrLAp74AgyMAssD1AX1Bd0IgcICn8IC68IC0eECi+UCpu8Cx/gCAA==
Justsaiyan’s Token Druid
Token Druid remains a powerful deck, and Justsaiyan piloted this build with Cenarius in it to the semi-finals.
Deck code: AAECAbSKAwIkmdMCDkBf/QL3A+YFhQjkCKDNAofOApjSAp7SAtvTAoTmAtfvAgA=
Swidz’s Spiteful Druid
Druid continues to display a ton of diversity. While Malygos, Token, and Taunt have taken the spotlight, Spiteful Druid is not to be ignored. Swidz piloted this list to the semi-finals.
Unlike most Spiteful Druid lists of old, there is no weapon removal in the deck. Instead, Skulking Geist and The Black Knight feature as tech cards here. I really like the one copy of Mind Control Tech: in an open decklist tournament, it forces the opponent to play around the card without devoting too many card slots to it.
Deck code: AAECAbSKAwq0Bd4F+AzKywKgzgLCzgKZ0wKc4gLQ5wL96gIK8gWXwQLrwgKbywKHzgKR0ALR4QL55gLX6wKL7gIA
Uberer’s Even Paladin
While Odd Paladin is one of the kings of the meta, Even Paladin can sometimes still take games. Uberer piloted this Even Paladin build to top-16. The power of Equality and Avenging Wrath can be very punishing in a battle for board control.
Deck code: AAECAYsWBvIF+Ay5wQL30AK36QLN9AIM+wGZAtwD9AWWBs8GrwfZB+cHsQiWCZvLAgA=
Charon’s Odd Control Warrior
Taunt Warrior is the only truly recognized Warrior deck in the meta right now, but with aggro decks rising in the tournament meta, Odd Control Warrior turned out to be an interesting counter-meta choice. Charon piloted the archetype the furthest, going 7-2 and missing out on top-16 on tiebreakers.
Deck code: AAECAQcM0AKTBN4FqgaQB/kM0cMC08UCoscCz8cCze8CnvgCCUuiAqIE/AT/B5vCAsrnArrsAp3wAgA=