The first of three regional Fall Playoffs occurred over this weekend in Europe. The Europeans get to shape the meta for the rest of the world. Europe is said to be the strongest region by some, and everyone definitely kept a close eye on the tournament. The 2018 HCT Europe Fall Playoffs surely didn’t fail to excite.
The Expected and Unexpected
After the first day of Swiss rounds, only one player still hadn’t lost a set. To no one’s surprise, that player was Casper “Hunterace” Notto. He has been on a tear all year and didn’t slow down in the Fall Playoffs. Raphael “Bunnyhoppor” Peltzer sat at 4-2 after day one, a strong position. He was already qualified for the World Championship after winning the Summer Championship.
Veteran player Thomas “Sintolol” Zimmer was 5-1 after day one. He was the points leader for Europe in 2016 and 2017 and wants to return to the World Championship after losing there last year.
A lesser known player who also started 5-1 is Alvar “vardu” Dürr. The only person that stopped him from winning HCT Italy was Hunterace in the final.
Unfortunately, for every winner there has to be a loser. Fan favorites Thijs “Thijs” Molendijk and Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh both saw their days end early, going 1-3 in the Swiss rounds. They are not alone, as top HCT points earners Kevin “Casie” Eberlein and George “BoarControl” Webb also didn’t finish in the Swiss rounds.
The first of the four to make it through to the Fall Championship was “RENMEN”. He prevailed over Mikołaj “Mikolop” Dudek after a really crazy Quest Rogue versus Deathrattle Hunter duel in the final game. Mikolop would get one more opportunity to qualify.
Unfortunately for Mikolop, he lost to “Hatul” from Israel. Hatul hasn’t really participated in tournaments outside of playing for Israel in the Global Games, but now he gets his chance at advancing to the World Championships.
After the impressive feat of knocking Hunterace to the losers side, Sintolol had to face his friend Jan “Moyen” Moy to get a seat at the Fall Championship.
Moyen beat the fellow German in one of the quickest five game sets in tournament play. Sintolol went up early 2-0, but couldn’t win a single game in three tries with Zoo Warlock.
Sintolol didn’t give up though, and pulled through to join Moyen at the Fall Championship. He defeated “Silvors” from Ukraine to get there. Silvors also accomplished the task of defeating Hunterace, completely eliminating him from the tournament. Sintolol made quick work of Silvors 3-1, and popped off in spectacular fashion.
Druid was once again the most represented class at the 2018 HCT Europe Fall Playoffs. This is not a surprise, but what is surprising, is that Malygos Druid is no longer the most popular form of Druid. Token Druid has taken the spot as top deck. Many tier list makers have recently come out and said that Token Druid performs better overall as opposed to Malygos Druid, and the players’ lineups certainly reflected that statement.
Quest Rogue is a very difficult deck to pilot, but is another now prevalent deck in tournament meta. It was featured in RENMEN’s lineup, in which he showed its strength and its difficulties all at once. The deck performs great against control, and RENMEN got lucky that he didn’t have to face too much aggro in a pool of players that brought a lot of aggro lineups.
51% of the field had Deathrattle Hunter in their lineups. That’s a 25 percent increase from the Summer Championship thanks to The Boomsday Project expansion. New cards introduced to the deck like Giggling Inventor, Zilliax and Spider Bomb increase the survivability of the deck in the mid stages of the game. This allows the deck to nicely transition into the Deathstalker Rexxar and Kathrena Winterwisp turns.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.