The final Winter Playoffs, deciding the final four players at the Winter Championship concluded with the Asia-Pacific region. The 2019 HCT Asia-Pacific Winter Final Four have a few familiar faces, and hope to increase the representation of their region in the World Championship.
The four players on their way to Los Angeles for the Winter Championship are Luo “Roger” Shengyuan, Tyler “Tyler” Hoang Nguyen, “Definition”, and Luo “Roger” Shengyuan.
Consistent Top 8 Players
The Asian-Pacific players that missed earlier opportunities to reach the World Championship are back with a vengeance. They have proven that they are some of the world’s best by reaching the top eight once again in a Seasonal playoff.
Shuhei “Tansoku” Omura was the man who finished at the top of the hill after the Swiss rounds, going 7-0. He was at the Summer Championship where he finished outside of the top eight. He showed his consistency and looks to return to another Seasonal Championship for a second shot at the World Championship. Another Japanese player that was at the Summer Championship, Kenta “glory” Sato, finished Swiss 6-1 also proving his consistent strength.
Another contender at the Summer Championship making a return run was Korean player Jinsoo “Jinsoo” Park. He made a very shaky push through Swiss but still managed to finish 6-1. He’s obviously talented, but his lineup may not be the best suited to handle the other decks present in the top 8.
Tyler just missed a seat at the World Championship in the Fall Championship. He looks to claim what he has worked so hard for in the Winter Playoffs. He finished 5-2 and had good enough tiebreakers to advance. Roger struggled at the two previous Seasonal Playoffs, but found himself in the top eight as well at 5-2.
There were a handful of new faces to the international audience that made top eight as well. Two more Koreans that had some very convincing 6-1 performances in the Swiss rounds were “cocosasa” and “Definition”. Then lastly, there was the Japanese player “aojiru” at 5-2. The Japan and Korea scenes have put out a large amount of talent in Asia-Pacific competition.
Decks That Reached Top 8
The Asia-Pacific region has provided some variance once again from the two previous Winter playoffs. All eight contenders had brought a Paladin list. Most of those being Even Paladin, but there was a single OTK Paladin list and two Cube Paladins. The Cube Paladin is a deck that got a lot more interest after the American playoffs and can be very strong against classes that are not Priest.
Another class all of the players had in the top eight was Hunter. Again, we see the three main Hunter archetypes all present in the top eight. The most common deck was Hybrid Hunter, followed by Midrange Hunter, and one player had Deathrattle Hunter. Until the next rotation, it is unlikely for there to be another form of Hunter that can be played at a competitive level.
Rogue was very strong, with six of the top eight players having it in their lineups. Five of the lists were Odd Rogue, and one was the sneaky Quest Rogue. Odd Rogue has really been the largest aggro threat of all the decks, and is the deck that forces the most bans.
There aren’t too many more consistent archetypes after that, as a mix and match from many of the players outside of Hunter and Paladin were viable. There were some Even Warlocks, Clone Priests, Control Priest, and even the least represented class Shaman had a list in the top eight.
Group A contained Tansoku, Roger, glory, and Jinsoo. This group contained insane levels of talent and any one of these players could be expected to go to the Winter Championship.
Tansoku struggled in the initial match, getting swept by Roger 3-0. Jinsoo and glory had a very close set, with Jinsoo prevailing 3-2.
Roger and Jinsoo would face off in the Winners Match. Jinsoo was definitely at a disadvantage with the way his lineup worked against Roger. It showed, but Jinsoo was able to stay competitive with very strong play and good draws. In the end, though, the power of Even Warlock would overcome his slow Cubelock and Roger was on his way to the Winter Championship.
Jinsoo would have one more chance against Tansoku. Tansoku barely beat glory 3-2, but once again was favored because of Jinsoo’s strange lineup. This time Jinsoo would not be able to compete as well, and would get swept by Tansoku 3-0. Jinsoo thought he could get a win with his Cubelock, but queued it all three times and failed to find a single win.
Group B had cocosasa, Tyler, Definition, and aojiru. Tyler was definitely the overall favorite to advance from this group after his inspiring run this past year.
Tyler cleaned up cocosasa in the initial match 3-1, and Definition also made quick work of aojiru 3-1.
Definition and Tyler faced off in the Winners match for a seat at the Winter Championship. Tyler took early control of the set going up 2-0. However, his Even Paladin was the last deck to have to win, and it struggled. In all three games he played with the deck, it failed to find a win and Definition made the comeback to find himself going to the Winter Championship.
Tyler would have his second chance against aojiru. Aojiru gave cocosasa a quick exit in the losers bracket 3-1 but would have a tough set against Tyler. Aojiru would be able to take a win with his Mecha’thun Warlock against the Even Shaman of Tyler, but not much else would work in his favor. He would make attempts with both his Clone Priest and Hybrid Hunter to no success. Tyler continues to inspire with his story and has a second chance at making it to the World Championship.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.