The final of the three regional Fall Playoffs occurred over this weekend. The Americans have a completely different idea of how the meta should be, and they shifted towards anti-control lineups. The 2018 HCT Americas Fall Playoffs gave us the final four players to round out the 16 to play at the HCT Fall Championship.
Path to Top 8
A lot of familiar faces appeared in the top eight, along with a couple players less often seen.
David “JustSaiyan” Shan was the only player to go undefeated (7-0) through the Swiss stages. He brought a very aggressive lineup, which performed rather well against a field containing a lot of control and anti-control.
Fei “ETC” Liang is a name not everyone is familiar with, but this was his third seasonal playoff. He finished the Swiss 6-1, with one of those anti-control lineups containing Quest Rogue, Shudderwock Shaman and Togwaggle Druid.
Mihai “lnguagehackr” Dragalin and Eddie “Seohyun” Lui are a couple of Canadians that have been making tournament appearances throughout the year. They both made it through the Swiss rounds at 6-1, with only one different deck in their lineups.
The well known Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root made it through with aggro and control, bringing Odd Rogue and Odd Warrior. Brian “bloodyface” Eason made top eight with a mixed up lineup with decks of tempo, control and anti-control in one.
Surprisingly, a Challenger Finals qualifier made it to top eight. Maxime “Pelletire” Pelletier made it there with his control lineup featuring the famous Quest Rogue and a rare Cube Warlock.
Who’s in the Final Four
JustSaiyan continued his undefeated streak all the way to a Fall Championship qualification. In the winners match, he took on lnguagehackr.
JustSaiyan’s Zoolock plowed through Quest Rogue in game one, Token Druid overpowered Shudderwock Shaman in game two, and he took two games to finish the set 3-1 with his Secret Hunter. He is the favorite from the Americas to make it to the World Championship.
In the other winners match, bloodyface took on Pelletire. Pelletire could just not get online with his Taunt Druid, as all three of his losses in the set came while playing the deck. Bloodyface piloted his Malygos Druid, Even Warlock and Deathrattle Hunter all to victories over Taunt Druid. Bloodyface is really relieved to make such early success after leaving his job to become a Hearthstone pro.
Tincho was the only South American player to make it on to the Fall Championship. He took on a Pelletire who had his second chance at qualifying. Tincho was able to take the first game with Zoolock over Cubelock. Then, Pelletire came back in game two with Deathrattle Hunter over Tincho’s Secret Hunter. After tying the series, Tincho’s Token Druid shredded a defenseless Quest Rogue, and his Secret Hunter outlasted a seemingly endless match against Cubelock.
In the final decider match, lnguagehackr prevailed over Purple for his Fall Championship spot. Lnguangehackr swept the series 3-0 with Big Druid, Shudderwock Shaman and Cube Warlock. Purple could not win a game with his Odd Warrior no matter how hard he tried. He stated in his post game interview that he seeks redemption on JustSaiyan at the Fall Championship.
While Token Druid was still the most popular Druid deck, it is no longer the most popular deck after the Americas Fall Playoffs. The number one deck was Even Warlock, followed by Quest Rogue at number two. Because of the prevalence of Control and Combo decks, Even Warlock stepped in to fill that counter matchup.
Rogue seems like a strong class right now. All four of the Fall Championship qualifiers brought either Quest Rogue or Odd Rogue to fill their lineup. It’s hard to say which deck is better than the other as they are brought in different styles of lineup. Odd Rogue seems good for aggro lineups, while Quest Rogue can be used in control or anti-control lineups.
Mage finds itself at the bottom of the barrel in this tournament. Only three players brought a Mage deck, and they were all Tempo Mages. That put them at the bottom of the aggro list, next to the only nine players that brought Odd Paladin to the tournament.
Three of the four qualifiers’ lineups contained Druid, Rogue, Hunter and Warlock. On a surface level, this seems bad for the meta. However, they brought unique archetypes from within each of those classes, so there is still nice variance.
The Fall Championship will begin October 11 at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone twitch channel.