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Esports Hearthstone

HCT Tokyo: Meta Still Not Stale

HCT Tokyo

The last tournament of Hearthstone Championship Tour Season 2, HCT Tokyo, has come to a close. The tournament showcased some top flight talent and good deck variety. Both new faces and those who have had multiple top finishes already this year made the trip to Tokyo. Japanese player Hinaya won the tournament along with 15 HCT points and $3,500.

Diverse Representation
Image courtesy of Hearthpwn

Only a little over a week away from the new expansion, new deck types continue to make appearances in tournament. Each class was represented at HCT Tokyo with the exception of Warrior. All the classes present had more than one deck archetype with the exception of Shaman and Paladin. 16 players brought 20 different archetypes, good variety compared to competitive metas of the past.

Also different styles of play and gameplans saw good success throughout the tournament. Aggressive lineups like that of Casper “Hunterace” Notto and control lineups like that of Machamp were both in the top four. This is really good for enjoyable gameplay, from the spectator perspective especially, as variety keeps matchups less predictable.

The one complaint some could have is with Druid. 15 of the 16 players brought Druid, the most represented class by far. However, there were no universally brought cards in those druid decks. This means that there really isn’t a single problematic Druid card if it was not included in all archetypes. The popularity of Druid seems to be a decision in the minds of players that the class is strong, rather than it is the most powerful class.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

A lot of spectators were complaining that RNG and “top decking” were the leading factors in deciding victory between players. The fact of the matter is that is not the case. Good play by the players in order to set themselves up for a top deck lethal is what leads to this happening. Players rely on statistical odds of what card will be next on the top of their deck, and take lines for victory as opposed to avoiding defeat.

HCT Tokyo
Hunterace’s stressfully close game versus DacRyvius.

Hunterace is the first One Star Master in Hearthstone. He finished in the top four at this tournament, and this is his sixth top 16 appearance in this year. He is playing out of his mind in the year of the Raven, attending nearly every single stop on the tour. There are supposed to be monthly online tournaments for Master players, however since he is the first and only one, he won’t get to play anyone yet.

All players in attendance at HCT Tokyo walk away with at least 6 HCT points which helps them on their way to becoming masters themselves. Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam is the next in line, unfortunately only placing among the top 16 in this event. He more than likely will become a One Star Master next month.

Path to Victory

Hinaya was able to knock out the master Hunterace on his path to the final. Two relatively aggressive lists squared up in an exciting bout of tempo swings. Many games came down to both players with zero cards in hand, hoping for a good pull off the top of their decks. Hinaya took the set three games to one after Hunterace had some sub-optimal draws.

In the match between Alan “alan870806” Chiang and Machamp, Alan demonstrated the power of aggression. Unfortunately, Machamp was unfavored with his control decks in each matchup throughout the set. Not to say that Alan let his decks pilot him, as he played very well. He took down Machamp quickly three games to none.
The final game between Alan and Machamp.

Alan versus Hinaya was the final match and it was very exciting to watch. Alan was able to take the first match with his Miracle Rogue. Alan’s Spiteful Druid struggled hard though, losing the next two games in a row. Game four was Alan’s Tempo Mage versus Hinaya’s Heal Zoo. Hinaya got stuffed by good play by Alan and a draw of Aluneth at the most crucial point. Alan BM’d really hard on the lethal turn. Hinaya made quick work of Alan’s Spiteful Druid with his Heal Zoo in the final game.

HCT Tokyo
The turn three board in the final game of HCT Tokyo.

Hinaya wins HCT Tokyo on his “home turf” with the audience very excited to see a Japanese native take the victory. The player from Japan receives major respect not only for his victory but that he also took down Hunterace to do it.

The next tour stop is HCT Taichung which will kick off Season 3 starting on August 1.


Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone twich channel.

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