The sixth tour stop of Season 3 was HCT Singapore. A total of 191 HCT points and a share of $15,000 were up for grabs. This was one of the most stacked top 16’s in a long time, and we got a little preview of some upcoming matchups in the HCT Fall Championship.
The victor was Alex “NaviOOT” Ridley from Australia. The well known Hearthstone streamer hasn’t been spending a lot of time on the Tour, but with this victory hopes to attend more stops relatively close to him. He also mentioned flying out to NA and participating there. He definitely did not have the most conventional deck lineup, but piloted what he had with great success.
The Top 16
The competition was fierce at this contest. Some faces we haven’t seen in a little while decided to show up and prove they are still among the best.
On the top side of the bracket David “JustSaiyan” Shan faced off against Tyler “Tylerootd” Hoang Nguyen. This is a possible preview of a matchup to occur at the fast upcoming Fall Championship. In this bout, Tyler edged out Saiyan in a very close 3-2 set. He’ll look to repeat should they see each other at the Championship.
Casper “Hunterace” Notto’s woes continue as he lost to Wesley “lambyseries” Seek in the top 16. Top 16 is certainly a good performance but is not what Hunterace expects after all of the amazing success he saw a few months ago.
Another Fall Championship participant in Wu “BloodTrail” Zong-Chang was also in attendance. He got knocked out by South Korean newcomer Kribo.
Reigning world champ Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin lost to Kevin “Casie” Eberlein. Tom has certainly seen his struggles this year. He will have to put together a great run in order to even return to the World Championship this year.
NaviOOT and Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam faced off in the top eight which saw Navi take the series 3-2. Navi has been away from the competitive scene for a while and in his post game interview wanted it to be known that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
There was no shortage of edge-of-the-seat Hearthstone action. There were 3-2 sets down to the bitter end. Oldřich “Faeli” Mahdal edged out Tyler 3-2 in the top eight and then Kribo in the semi-final.
Casie and Navi fought it out in a five game set in their semi-final match. The final match had Navi on Token Druid versus the Even Warlock of Casie. Dragging Navi into fatigue, he was able to clutch out the game with a nice Anti-Magic Shell form The Lich King to make a board too hard to kill for Casie.
That left the final match to be Faeli versus Navi. Faeli has been a strong performer on the Hearthstone Championship Tour all year long. Navi is getting back into the swing of things. From the competitive aspect, Faeli had the edge. However, Navi had been beating the top competitors all day long.
Faeli brought Taunt Druid, Evenlock, Shudderwock Shaman and Deathrattle Hunter. Navi had Taunt Druid, Cubelock, Quest Rogue and Deathrattle Hunter. With similar lineups, the matchup wasn’t really favored one way or the other.
Faeli was forced to ban out the anti-control Quest Rogue, while Navi banned Deathrattle Hunter. Navi had been struggling with his own Deathrattle Hunter and decided to queue that deck first into the Taunt Druid of Faeli.
NaviOOT played the first matchup brilliantly and aggressively. He discovered an Arfus Zombeast which gave him a crucial Doom Pact to set up an amazing board to push lethal damage. The addition of Charged Devilsaur heavily benefited Navi this time around.
The second game saw Evenlock versus Cubelock and it was a wild fight. Both players drew both of their Mountain Giants, however Faeli got his out first and behind a Vulgar Homunculus. The game ended on turn five after three giant swings to the face plus a Hellfire. The match showcased why Evenlock is just so much better at creating that early start thanks to the Hero Power.
Faeli seemed to have all the answers for the Cubelock with his Shudderwock Shaman in the early going. However, he started drawing very dead, unable to get any of his cards to draw out the rest of his deck. Navi pushed with a board full of Doomguards to finish the job.
Shudderwock Shaman has a good matchup against Taunt Druid and we saw why. The use of Hex and infinite combo just leave the Druid with nothing to do if he can’t play aggressively. It all came down to the Taunt Druid mirror, with the edge to Faeli given his greedier list.
Faeli started drawing dead early into the game and Navi started generating Lich King cards. The game spiraled out of Faeli’s control resulting in Navi’s victory. Navi proves to everyone that it’s possible to spend most of your Hearthstone time streaming and be successful competitively. Stay tuned for more Hearthstone action and the approaching Fall Championship.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone twitch channel.