The Hearthstone Summer Championship kicked off today. For Hearthstone players and fans, the tournament is rather enjoyable to watch.
It is also a great way to learn as the pros don’t have the most conventional ways of thinking. In the usual fashion, casters were not able to line up what they thought was the correct line of play with what the players actually did. Unique lines of play are required in order to be a World Champion.
Struggles of Mage
The day started off exciting from the onset of the Hearthstone Summer Championship. In the match-up between Lucas “Rase” Guerra and Torben “Viper” Wahl, Viper’s Edwin Van Cleef carried the first game, ending the game on turn five. This is where the vulnerability of Control Mage showed its ugly face.
There are four options before turn five to counteract an all-in play. If you don’t draw those cards you lose just like Rase did. On top of not having early answers, choosing the right answer can take up the entire turn timer. The Control Mage against other slow deck match-ups becomes rather boring for spectators and a mind game for players.
Viper saw a real problem with the predictability of Control Mage. He played three consecutive games with the deck versus Wu “XiaoT” Jiwei and lost each time. XiaoT was able to appropriately distribute his threats in a way that the expensive mana costs of Viper’s removal was too inefficient to matter.
Even Warlock prevalence
Being the most represented deck at the Hearthstone Summer Championship, the play around this deck is arguably the most important. With 69% of players bringing this deck, it confirms that players trust in the viability of the deck against all others.
It has performed very well versus Druid decks. Though the success of the deck in the rest of match-ups has relied on the Warlock drawing its threat Mountain Giant in order to win. Though, versus Shaman, if they have the Hex answer, Even Warlock can struggle.
Taunt Druid bust
Taunt Druid is a deck that was brought by a lot of players as well. Master Oakheart’s massive swing turn capability was thought to make it currently the most broken card.
However, it seems to be under-performing. It has lost out to Warlock every time up to this point. The only interesting interactions with the deck have been in the mirror match. The careful maximization of Witching Hour and Carnivorous Cube is key to success, which also means really long games.
Value really mattered in the game between Wu “BloodTrail” Zong-Chang and Kacper “A83650” Kwieciński. We saw BloodTrail not go for full value of his cards, taking a more aggressive line, and lost to A8 who went for the maximum number of Hadronox resurrections.
Li “YuYi” Daixiong also struggled really badly with the mirror against Facundo “Nalguidan” Pruzzo. Another important key in the deck is being able to get The Lich King into the resurrection pool to get value out of the Death Knight cards he provides.
Here is where we stand after the first day of play at the Hearthstone Summer Championship:
Round One: Viper defeats Rase 3:2, Bloodtrail defeats A83650 3:2, XiaoT defeats Tansoku 3:1, Nalguidan defeats YuYi 3:1
Winners Matches: XiaoT defeats Viper 3:0, Nalguidan defeats BloodTrail 3:1
XiaoT is the first person to advance to the top eight and is one step closer to going to the World Championship. He beat Viper in comfortable fashion and is in good shape to win the Hearthstone Summer Championship.
Nalguidan also beat BloodTrail rather handily to make it in the top eight. He has the opportunity to be the first South American to win the Hearthstone Summer Championship and advance to the World Championship.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel.