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HCT Italy: The era of Hunterace

HCT Italy

This past weekend added another Hearthstone Championship Tour stop to the books. This time around it was HCT Italy being won by Casper “Hunterace” Notto. That makes back-to-back tour stop victories for the pro from Norway. Let’s break down the results of the tournament.

Consistency is Key

HCT Italy
Justsaiyan in his game versus team mate Muzzy.

Most of the criticisms on Hearthstone’s competitive scene has been that RNG dictates too much of the play. Before Swiss style tournaments were the norm, that was a valid argument. However, since it’s the players with the best overall records advancing to playoff rounds now we start to see the same names making top finishes.

Tempo Storm has two incredibly strong players in the form of David “Justsaiyan” Shan and Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam. Justsaiyan has now made back-to-back top four finishes at HCT Seoul and HCT Italy. He lost to Hunterace in Italy who went on to win the tournament anyway.

HCT Italy
Muzzy during his match against Meliador.

After winning Copa America earlier this year, Muzzy also continues to see success. He qualified for top 16 at HCT Tokyo and finished top eight in HCT Italy. Unfortunately he had to face his team mate Justsaiyan in the top eight who swept him 3-0. The pair earn a lot of Master Points for both themselves and their team which are likely to turn into large cash prizes at the end of the season.

Players to Watch

Esteban “AKAWonder” Serrano just narrowly missed making the World Championship last week at HCT Summer. He came into this tournament very strong but faced Hunterace in the top eight, which ended his run. Still a very strong outing and more points acquired by him on the path to the Autumn Championship.

HCT Italy
AKAWonder looking to go to the Season 2 Championship.

Dániel “PenhaDani” Penha, who finished second at Dreamhack Summer, placed 21st in HCT Italy. The little known Hungarian player is trying to make a break through and might be able to do so in Season 2 of the HCT.

Torben “viper” Wahl qualified for the World Championships a week ago in Burbank, and finished 38th in Italy. Probably not the finish he was looking for, but having already qualified he just wants to add Masters Points to his tally to help his team place higher.

Hunterace Comeback

Hunterace is a very determined up and coming player. Arriving onto the scene last year, Hunterace is making his case as the current number one player in the world. He won at HCT Italy but it certainly was not an easy task.

Hunterace beat Justsaiyan and AKAWonder in back-to-back rounds in order to advance to the Grand Final. Once he got there, he had to defeat Finnish player Alvar “Vardu” Dürr. Things went poorly very quickly for Hunterace, losing two games right off the bat.

HCT Italy
The Grand Finals match.

However, Vardu had the hardest time winning with his Odd Rogue. The last remaining deck for him saw no success and Hunterace brought the score back to 2-2. The final match was an Odd Rogue mirror which saw Hunterace finish off the series with the reverse sweep.

Hunterace brought two control decks and two aggressive decks to the tournament. The previous thought was that you should stick to one game plan for a tournament format. With the two first place finishes that he has achieved, Hunterace may be proving that simply playing the best decks is the right decision to make.


Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone twitch channel.

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