Lats night I managed to win a small promotional tournament hosted by AsainKing2(social media links pending). The event was double elimination conquest, the winner got $20 on BNet, and the runner-up won $10. There was no entry fee, so I want to thank AsainKing for ponying up the money! It was only an 8-player event, but since even small events can take quite a while (this one was about four hours long), I wanted to give it my best.
In the conquest format, I find that one of the easiest strategies is to pick a style of deck and heavily lean against it. In a previous tournament, I chose to target combo druid in the past by building decks that can stay out of range of the combo, and it seemed to work well, and it was a huge plus that the decks that can stay out of range were also the ones I knew the best.
Ever since the OTK Patron deck left the scene, Dragon Priest has been a top-tier deck for ladder. Sure, it isn’t the fastest deck, and doesn’t really have a concrete plan to win other than attacking with random dudes, but it does a great job of just not dying.
I agonized over including the hybrid package of Circle/Blademaster/Soulpriest over Chow/Thoughtsteal/more board clears, but I decided that the former was just more consistent, and anyone who’s played a bunch of priest mirrors knows that it’s all about the Blademaster early.
The only other change was going with a second Shadow Word: Death over the second Blackwing Corruptor. With the Soulpriest package in the deck having more spot removal isn’t as important since you want them to overextend into your clears. I don’t play Chillmaw because it just does more of the same stuff the rest of the deck does, and that’s not what you need from a seven-drop.
I won’t lie, I’m not that experienced with Freeze Mage, but I really wanted another class to fit into that niche of fighting combo druid. The last conquest event I played in I played Warrior/Priest/midrange token Paladin, and while I did fine, I did not really like the Paladin deck, and I don’t think it’s position has improved in the last month or so.
For those who don’t play this deck, basically the deck is broken into three parts – card drawing, staying alive, and kill conditions. Most of the ‘staying alive’ portion of the deck isn’t actually life gain, but stalling cards like Frost Nova and Blizzard, or Ice Block, a card that is leveraged to try to assemble a two turn kill while ignoring an opponent.
Interestingly enough, I think Freeze Mage is actually a toxic deck. Opponents are often simply left to guess with very little to go on whether to play more threats or hold back and bleed the mage out slowly. What keeps the toxicity at bay is just how difficult it can be for the freeze mage player as well. When you play a deck with three faces, you never know how a game will play out.
The only stylistic change I made is playing one Illuminator over a second Healbot. Illuminator costs less mana, gains at least four life when it comes into play, and soaks a minimum of four more before dying. I don’t play two because Ice Block isn’t always in play. Illuminator can also draw a silence out, making later Doomsayer plays more likely to succeed.
Note that I would have played a Bloodmage Thalnos if I had one.
Ahh, my old standby. I’ve been playing control warrior since the OTK Charge builds, and it’s always been my most consistent deck. This build, however, is more reflective of a desire to beat aggressive decks in general. I generally don’t like heavy RNG cards in decks that rely on consistency from turn to turn, but I’ve learned that most of the time, you use the RNG cards to try to swing a game you were losing anyway, and the non-RNG substitutes are generally not good enough to turn the tide anyway.
That’s why I love control warrior. There are lots of choices in deckbuilding to make. Bash or Shield Block? Emperor or Sylvanas? Shieldmaiden or Sludge Belcher? How many Taskmasters? What sorts of win conditions? Since the deck often goes the distance into fatigue-ville, the impact of every card choice you make is felt.
The event itself went well, but I’m not used to trying to recall Hearthstone games in great detail like I can do with Magic, so I’ll have to stick to highlights.
In a game against Dragon Priest mirror, I topdecked both Deaths on the correct turns, then had to make some tough decisions when my opponent played a Dragonkin Sorcerer and a boatload of Velen’s Chosen on it. He dominated my board for a while while I sacrificed most of my hand to try to get a Ysera to stick for more than a single turn to dig for Dream, but luckily I forgot I had Vol’Jin left, and took over from there.
The only warlock I played against I was SURE was handlock since it was paired with warrior and mage, and so I mulligained away a priest opener that was awesome against aggro and terrible against handlock, and got Flame Imp’d right off the table.
In the finals, my warrior almost came back from a Malorne that rampaged out of an Unstable Portal, followed by Ragnaros (not from a portal), without using a single Execute.
In an example of how the RNG warrior cards are good when used in the right spots, I only Brawled once in the event, but it was clutch and hit the 1/3 to swing the game.
The decks performed as expected. I lost some games to the new Patron Warrior and some other midrange lists, but I preyed on combo druid and won almost all my games against it. While I still think that in a meta where no one deck is better than the others a ‘knockout’ style of event is better since it allows for some crazy decks, conquest is pretty fun too.
Hopefully in the coming weeks I get to play in more events. While four hours is a long time for an eight-man, I still enjoyed it!