The Conquest format is officially gone with the end of the 2019 World Championship. This was the last display of the multi-class format, and Hunterace won, proving he is the best in the world. There were many incredible twists and turns in this heavily RNG influenced meta.
The first match of top eight was between Mihai “languagehacker” Dragalin and Raphael “Bunnyhoppor” Peltzer. Bunnyhoppor made the set look pretty easy by winning 3-1. His Zoolock took out the Midrange Hunter of languagehacker, then used his own Midrange Hunter to beat Summoner Mage. Languagehacker’s Midrange Hunter then took a game off of Bunnyhoppor’s Summoner Mage, leading into a mirror match in the final game. Bunnyhoppor would take the mirror and advance.
The second top eight match would see David “justsaiyan” Shan versus Torben “Viper” Wahl. Justsaiyan would have a most unfortunate set against Viper after a whole five games. Saiyan went up early winning a Zoolock mirror match and then picking the Warrior at the right time to beat the Zoo again. His Shaman would be his undoing however, losing three consecutive games. There were different lines Saiyan could have taken, but ultimately Viper would advance to the semifinals.
The third quarterfinal match was between the two remaining Chinese players, Guan “SNJing” Zhendong and Xu “LFYueying” Kai. This four game set would be dominated by Jing. In the first game, Jing applied a lot of pressure with his Bomb Warrior to beat Yueying’s Summoner Mage. Yueying got on the board with his Mage against Token Druid, but the Token Druid would overwhelm his Midrange Hunter, winning the set 3-1.
The final top eight match was Brian “bloodyface” Eason versus Casper “Hunterace” Notto. Hunterace would take the first game over Midrange Hunter with his Summoner Mage. Then he would win the unfavorable match up of Control Warrior over the Summoner Mage of bloodyface due to Book of Specters not being drawn. In the final game, Hunterace was able to survive all the threats of Summoner Mage to win the set 3-1 and advance to the semifinals.
In the first semifinal, the two German players and practice partners, Viper and Bunnyhoppor, would have to face off against each other. Game one would have Bunnyhoppor lead off with his Midrange Hunter, and Viper opting for Summoner Mage. Viper Would take early control of the board and Bunnyhoppor had no way back into the game, losing game one.
Viper would then seek out a win with his own Midrange Hunter which forced a mirror match. Bunnyhoppor created two huge Scavenging Hyenas, forcing a concede from Viper. The two would follow up in game three with a Zoolock mirror match. Viper was able to get his Magic Carpet down on turn three and snowball the game in his favor. Game four would see Bunny come right back and take a win off Hunter with his Zoo. The final game would have Viper’s Hunter build a big Scavenging Hyena and kill Bunnyhoppor’s Mage, advancing to the final.
In the second semifinal match, Hunterace would make quick work of Jing. Jing ran out of steam in the mid game with his Token Druid, losing to Hunterace’s Control Shaman in game one. Jing was able to take a win in game two in the Rogue mirror though.
The rest of the set would be all Hunterace. Jing opted to try to win with his Zoolock two times against Hunterace’s Summoner Mage and Tempo Rogue. Hunterace’s Mage was teched for aggressive decks like Zoolock, being able to control the board easily. Then he was able to manage the board with his Tempo Rogue, finding a 3-1 win and joining Viper in the final.
The stage was set for the final. Hunterace and Viper would play a set for the ages, a most fitting end to the Conquest format. Hunterace would ban Viper’s Miracle Rogue, as it could easily beat any of his decks. Viper opted to ban the Control Warrior, since his Zoo and Rogue have bad match ups against it.
In game one, Viper would queue his Zoolock into Hunterace’s Tempo Rogue. Viper took early control of the game, reducing Hunterace’s health all the way down to a single health point. However, Viper lacked any form of direct damage to finish him off in his hand, and Hunterace formed a board big enough to kill Viper from 15.
Game two would be the Summoner Mage mirror match. The game was very back and forth, lasting nearly to fatigue. Hunterace ran out of steam much quicker than Viper, and Viper discovered a very key Spellbender leading into an absolutely massive Khadgar plus Conjurer’s Calling creating a full board of Grave Horrors and Mountain Giants. Viper tied up the set 1-1.
In game three, Hunterace would come again with the Summoner Mage against Viper’s Midrange Hunter. Hunterace got some incredible minions for three mana off of his Conjurer’s Calling, stabilizing against the Hunter. Viper was out of cards in hand, and Hunterace went for the aggressive Alexstraza for the win.
Viper would go again with the Hunter against Control Shaman. He would reach his Zul’Jin turn, providing a huge swing on board that Hunterace would be unable to recover from. We were going to a game five.
The Final Showdown
Game five may have been the craziest game in Hearthstone history. It would be the Zoo of Viper versus the Control Shaman of Hunterace. Viper got a very good early game, going in on Hunterace, reducing him to 12 health. Viper would play Arch-Thief Rafaam, extending the game and his value. He would then get Azalina Soulthief off of Rafaam, gaining the valuable cards in Hunterace’s hand.
Somehow Viper was able to go Archmage Vargoth into Lightning Storm to clear Hunterace’s board. Tempo swings continued to happen as Hunterace went back to full health, and Viper ran out of spells and had to go back to random legendary minions. Finally Shudderwock was able to be played for Hunterace, and he was looking to stabilize. Falling behind on board, Viper found second Azalina Soulthief to keep even.
Viper was the first to hit fatigue, and unfortunately his last legendary was Bloodmage Thalnos, a minion that couldn’t do anything. Hunterace had the final answer with Hagatha the Witch, and finally won the endless game against Viper. Hunterace was arguably consistently the best player of 2018, and he proved that point by becoming World Champion.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.