The Fiery War Axe controversy: why the change is unoptimal and players are upset

Blizzard recently announced a number of upcoming nerfs to Hearthstone cards. Nerfs in general were expected, because after the release of the latest expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, the Druid class had risen to unprecedented dominance in terms of play rates on ladder and representation and ban rates in tournaments – reaching as high as 100% representation and 100% ban rate, thus effectively rendering best-of-five with one ban format into a best-of-five, no Druid format.

However, Blizzard did not only touch Druid, they also added a number of changes (nerfs) to other cards as part of a long-term plan for the game: they want to reduce the number of evergreen cards that see play in the rotating Standard format.

One of the changes has raised a significant controversy, that of Fiery War Axe. Let’s take a deeper look!

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Hearthstone HCT 2017 Europe Summer Playoffs decks, results, and analysis

Hearthstone Championship Tour 2017 Europe Summer Playoffs were played on 2nd and 3rd September 2017 in multiple locations across Europe. 77 players had qualified for and participated in the tournament that consisted of seven rounds of Swiss followed by single-elimination top-8 playoffs.

In this post, I take a look at the decks and results of the tournament, including class distribution, archetypes, and archetype performance.

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Knights of the Frozen Throne: King Mosh is finally good!

King Mosh is the Warrior class legendary minion from Hearthstone’s Journey to Un’Goro expansion, and I had high hopes that it would help Control Warrior return to viability in that expansion. Alas, that was not to be, even though King Mosh had its occasional moments already back then.

However, with Knights of the Frozen Throne, King Mosh is back with a vengeance!

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Titanar Hearthstone Open International 2017 decks, results, and analysis

Titanar Hearthstone Open International LAN finals were played from 12th to 13th July in China. Sixteen players had qualified for this major tournament with a $30,000 prize pool: there were two qualifier tournaments, a 256-player qualifier in China (top-8 to the tournament), and a 128-player international qualifier (top-8 to the tournament).

As the first tournament after the Quest Rogue nerf, this was an interesting tournament to observe.

In this post, I take a look at the decks and results, including class distribution and archetypes.

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How to play Giants Tempo Mage (Hearthstone deck guide)

Mage is the most popular class in Hearthstone right now, and for good reason. The combination of burn and defensive prowess the class offers is highly attractive and often game-winning. There are many variants of Mage decks around, and this time I want to take a look at an aggressive list with some gigantic threats: Apxvoid’s Giants Tempo Mage.

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s take a look at this way to be a Mage!

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Will Deathstalker Rexxar make Control Hunter possible?

The first cards from Hearthstone’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion have just been revealed, and amongst them is the Hunter legendary Hero card, Deathstalker Rexxar.

In this post, I will take an in-depth look at everything there is to know about Deathstalker Rexxar so far, and evaluate what it can accomplish for the Hunter class.

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Hearthstone Finnish Championships 2017 Event #2 decks, results, and analysis

The Hearthstone Finnish Championships in 2017 is a multi-stage event. The first event, which determined one of the two players for the Grand Final, was played on 9 and 10 June, and the second event, which determined the second finalist, was played on 30 June and 1 July. The Grand Final itself – yes, just a single match – will take place at Assembly Summer LAN in the beginning of August.

In this post, I take a look at the decks and results of the second event, including class distribution, archetypes, archetype performance, and ban decisions.

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How to play Elemental Control Paladin (Hearthstone deck guide)

Control Paladin is a popular deck that can deal with a wide variety of opponents. For any Paladin players who do not wish to go all Murloc, it offers a slower approach to the class. In addition to traditional Control Paladin builds, the deck can also be built around Elementals.

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s take a look at this Control Paladin variant.

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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.

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How to play Rdu’s Anti-Aggro Discover Mage (Top tier Hearthstone deck)

Discover Mage, Gunther Mage, Burn Mage – no matter how you choose to call it, this archetype has really had an impact on the recent Hearthstone meta. Rdu brought an anti-aggro version of the list to StarLadder finals, and did extremely well with it – despite facing multiple control decks!

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s take a look at why Discover Mage is so successful.

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