Esports Hearthstone

HCT Taichung: Farewell Witchwood Meta

HCT Taichung

HCT Taichung was completed over the weekend, and is the last Tour Stop before the release of The Boomsday Project. This stop opened up Season 3 of the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and a couple new faces made the top eight. A Japanese player won the last stop at HCT Tokyo, and the Japanese region continues to show their strength. This time “horo” from Japan takes the victory over veteran Linh “Seiko” Nguyen.

HCT Taichung
horo receiving his key trophy for winning HCT Taichung.

Hard Fought Victory

A few big name players made the top 16 at HCT Taichung. Oldřich “Faeli” Mahdal, David “JustSaiyan” Shan, Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, and Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert were all roadblocks on the path to the finals. On another note, Casper “Hunterace” Notto, a name we’ve become so used to seeing this year, actually failed to make the top 16 this time around.

The final four competitors were Kyoto eSports’ “blitzchung”, “TheBigMac” from the Philippines, Team Genji’s “Seiko”, and Japanese player “horo”.

In the semifinals, Seiko beat TheBigMac in a nail-biting 3-2 set. Seiko was able to take victories with his Cube Warlock, Shudderwock Shaman, and Token Druid.

On the other side of the semifinals, horo took down blitzchung in a definitive 3-1 set. Horo won on the back of his Miracle Rogue, Malygos Druid, and Deathrattle Hunter.

Grand Finals

When horo and Seiko met in the final match, horo piloted his way to a well earned victory.

The first game saw his Zoo Warlock overwhelm Seiko’s Shudderwock Shaman. Seiko’s Miracle Rogue bursted down the Deathrattle Hunter of horo in game two. Seiko got one step closer to victory with Shudderwock Shaman over the Hunter once again in game three.

However, Seiko’s Taunt Druid was the weak link. It lost to Malygos Druid in game four. Horo did a really great job to find an unconventional lethal with the turn timer closing in. The taunt druid failed to gain any ground against Hunter in the final game.

HCT Taichung
Getting the kill without the use of Malygos.

With this victory, horo looks to make a name for himself in the Hearthstone scene. In this tournament, he defeated three big names in Faeli, Seiko, and Seiko’s teammate Torben “Viper” Wahl. We’ll have to look forward to seeing him again in future tournaments and what he can do with the 15 HCT points he gained from winning at HCT Taichung.

Going Out with a Bang

HCT Taichung
Image courtesy of Hearthpwn.

Despite this being the very end of a meta, there was even more deck representation at HCT Taichung than the last Tour Stop. Warlock and Druid were still the Big Two classes, but five Taunt Warrior decks made the top 16 this time around. While there were no Warriors in Tokyo, there were no Mages in Taichung.

Within the classes that did make an appearance, some of them had a lot of different archetypes. Druid had representation from five different archetypes: Malygos, Big, Spiteful, Token, and Taunt. Warlock had four archetypes: Even, Cube, Control, and Zoo. Unfortunately, there were four classes that only saw one deck type, and those were Priest, Shaman, Warrior, and Paladin. Because of this, the new set comes in with timely fashion, as players are just the right amount of excited to see a fresh meta.

The Witchwood has definitely left its mark, carving out championship archetypes in the time it has been in play. Shudderwock Shaman was the only type of Shaman at HCT Taichung. The deck wins on the combo capability of a single Legendary that was added from The Witchwood set. Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane will be huge pieces of the meta for time to come, as providing a mana-cheap or a stronger hero power is worth building an entire deck around.

As shown by this tournament, Knights of the Frozen Throne definitely seems to be the set with the most impact. The Lich King was the most represented card across the decks in the top 16. The Death Knight Hero Cards are also extremely crucial in Druid and Warlock. We’ll have to see how The Boomsday Project can impact competitive play, and whether or not it creates a larger imprint on the game than The Witchwood.

 

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.

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