HCT Oslo was another Tour Stop of Season 3 to occur over the weekend. Quest Rogue remains that thorn in everyone’s side in the competitive meta. Aggressive, Control and Anti-Control deck lineups were all prevalent at the stop. Oslo, Norway in northern Europe is the location of the stop, and despite players coming from all over, seven of the top eight players were from the European region.
Xuwei “Zuhex” Zhao was the victor at this tournament. He beat the red hot David “JustSaiyan” Shan for his first ever tour stop win. The relatively unknown player from Spain takes center stage after his stellar performance at HCT Oslo.
Last Hero Standing
HCT Oslo featured the rare tournament format of Last Hero Standing (abbreviated LHS). Typically tournaments use the Conquest format, in which players have to win with each deck they bring to the set. The difference with LHS is that you only switch decks when you lose a game.
LHS creates a key strategy difference than Conquest. With conquest, you usually take a lineup that has a theme, such as aggro or anti-control, but with LHS you can just take any four best decks. Queue order becomes very significant as well, as you can play a whole set with one deck. If you have a deck you think is weak in a particular matchup, you can choose to play it first or set it aside and possibly just not have to play it.
LHS also means that some players might be better suited to the format. The sample size is small, but in the top eight at HCT Oslo we saw some fresh names. The tournament format was definitely not the only factor, and probably not the main factor, but it does play a big part in the gameplan of the players.
Zuhex Evenlock Prevails
JustSaiyan reached the final by beating Louis “Mitsuhide” Bremers 3-1, then a very close set against Maxime “Kalaxz” Thierry 3-2. Zuhex got to the finals via a 3-2 against Frederik “Hoej” Høj Nielsen and a 3-0 sweep of Yoann “Hypno” Pfersich.
Zuhex saw great success against Hypno in the Semifinals with his Even Warlock. Hypno could not get a single win with his lineup of Token Druid, Even Paladin and Even Warlock. Evenlock has been around for a while, and it seems that drawing cards and the tools at Warlock’s disposal are plainly good.
The ability to get large Mountain Giants and Twilight Drakes on board early in the game can win on its own. Combine that with the taunts, healing and ability to run a ton of tech cards, then you get a very versatile deck. Opponents are usually finished off by one of the most powerful Death Knights, Bloodreaver Guldan.
The Final Showdown
In the first game between Zuhex and JustSaiyan, saiyan’s Zoolock was able to take out the Togwaggle Druid. Saiyan got his Keleseth buff early and the large minions took control of the board to overwhelm Zuhex.
In the second game Zuhex’s Evenlock took over the match. Saiyan did not draw Keleseth this time around and Zuhex drew all of his minions, key to winning the matchup that has to win board. Saiyan took the concede once he knew there wasn’t a reasonable comeback.
The third game saw Saiyan come back with his Odd Rogue into Evenlock. Saiyan fell behind in the mid game despite the Rogue being a very aggressive deck. His health total dwindled as he had to make a bunch of trades with his weapon to try to stay ahead on board. Without drawing Myra’s Unstable Element, he couldn’t finish off Zuhex.
Finally, the fourth game was the final one. Zuhex played very smartly versus the Malygos Druid of Saiyan and outlasted him before any type of combo burst damage could kill him. The large late game minions in the Evenlock actually overwhelmed the Druid.
The last stop before the Fall Championship will be HCT Singapore starting on October 4. Expect to see more of the same meta, with the potential for some surprises. With Zuhex winning his first, more players will be inspired and thirsty to win for themselves. Will there be a new or repeat champ at Singapore? Stay tuned for more Hearthstone and keep up the hype.