Heh, greetings! My name is rayc591 and I play for Vicious Syndicate Gaming. I was recently picked up by the team and my experience with them so far has been fantastic. I knew that vS sponsored a tournament dubbed Tuesday Night Hype, but I had yet to play in the tournament since it started being hosted on Strivewire.com. Having joined the team recently, I figured this was a better time than any to start playing in Tuesday Night Hype tournaments. As you can deduct from the title of this article my first Tuesday Night Hype as a member of vS was a success since I ended up taking the whole thing! The tournament had 420 players participating so it is a small notable achievement, yet I was excited to add it to my resume. Now, let’s get into my lineup and talk more about the decks I played during the tournament.
My Lineup- Warrior, Paladin, Druid
So far in my extremely short Hearthstone career I have only played in three tournaments using the conquest format. My first one was a tournament ran by eSportsHero.com in New York City (1st place), the last call tournament (finished round of 64 losing to Fishyyy), and Tuesday Night Hype #38. In my experience I’ve done best with choosing the classes I felt were the strongest in the expected metagame while factoring in my comfort and skill levels with the decks. For this tournament I chose to go with the same lineup I went with in the last call tournament which was Patron Warrior, Midrange Secret Paladin, and Combo Druid. I didn’t regret my choices for the last call tournament since I thought I did well and my choices felt strong during that tournament. I had only lost to Fishyyy off of drawing a poor hand as Patron against his Hybrid Hunter deck in game 5. If I had I drawn better in game 5 I could still be on the road to Blizzcon, but that match is a tale of never-ending saltiness not meant for this article.
Patron Warrior, Midrange Paladin, and Combo Druid are arguably 3 of the strongest decks on the ladder. The only other deck I was considering bringing to this tournament was some type of Demon Handlock or standard Handlock deck. Warlock, Warrior, Druid, and Paladin are the strongest classes right now in my opinion so I wanted to bring some combination of them. These classes can all cover each other’s weaknesses to some degree which makes the strategy even more potent. I have heard of people implementing unique strategies like countering one specific popular deck such as Patron in order to win in conquest, but I have yet to experiment with that strategy so I can’t give an opinion on its viability. I tend to be a safer player with my strategies and deck choices, so the strategy of isolating out one deck seemed too risky. Now, let’s talk about the individual decks a bit and why I chose to bring each one!
Patron Warrior is arguably the best deck in Hearthstone right now and most people are including it in their lineups. I feel the deck is too strong not to bring to a tournament, and I have played at least 1,000 games with it. I’m an avid fan of the Warrior class and actually considered bringing Control Warrior for some time, but felt its Druid and Paladin matchups were poor. I didn’t think it would be wise to take a bad matchup to two popular decks when your good matchups, like Patron, are not even extremely favored. I think Patron against control warrior is no better than a 60-40 in Control Warrior’s favor, and even that is pushing it. After factoring all of this in and processing the information going through my head there was no reason to exclude Grim Patron from my lineup.
My Patron list is fairly vanilla and consistent. I find this to be the most efficient way to play Patron, however there are some small changes I have made to the list since which are changes I wish I had made for the tournament. Second Fiery War Axe seems to be pertinent in the current metagame due to the ever increasing presence of high impact, non-sticky, two drops. The most prevalent threats currently being Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Knife Juggler, and Darnassus Aspirant. Being able to deal with these threats efficiently when they hit the board on turn two determines whether you win or lose a game most of the time.
Prior to the tournament I could not settle on which cycle cards I preferred and went with an awkward 2 Slam, 1 Shield Block, 1 Gnomish Inventor, one Harrison Jones lineup. I don’t think this is bad, but cutting Gnomish Inventor for second Shield Block and finding room for one shield slam seems to be the route you want to be taking in this metagame. In order to find room for the second Fiery War Axe and a Shield Slam you may need to cut one Slam, Harrison Jones, or a Cruel Taskmaster since I don’t see any other viable cuts in the deck. Patron performed slightly above average for me during Tuesday Night Hype and always managed to win games handily. Most of my matches were 3-1 wins where my losses were due to poor draws on Druid or my opponent having answers to an aggressive Paladin start. The matches that were close were never due to Patron being in danger of being swept or anything, so it was unanimously the best deck in my lineup throughout the day.
This Secret Paladin list is one that I have been working hard to perfect by grinding hundreds of game on the ladder. Secret Paladin has pretty even matchups across the board with the exception of some matchups that I believe are favorable such as Control Warrior and any kind of Druid. Secret Paladin is also fairly consistent and has the ability to punish your opponent hard for drawing poorly in the early game. Being able to “cheese” your way to a quick win is just another factor that makes this deck even more appealing. Cards such as Avenge give you the ability to buff your early game minions enough to snowball the game out of control early if you are fortunate enough to dodge removal.
Originally, my list played Secret Keeper over Annoy O-Tron but with the rise in Warrior and Druid decks I wanted to give Annoy o-Tron a shot. I was pleasantly surprised during my testing with Annoy o-Tron and found that it did indeed live up to its name, at least against Warrior and Druid. Having Annoy o-Tron to protect your threats that are actually intimidating like Knife Juggler often can win games as early as turn two or three. Having another two drop with Divine Shield can come in clutch if you are able to land an early avenge or Blessing of Kings on a minion with Divine Shield. In a metagame where Secret Paladin is more pronounced, like on ladder, Secret Keeper would be better since it is far more annoying to deal with in the mirror. Dropping a Secret Keeper on the board turn one means your opponent can’t play any secrets without buffing your Secret Keeper which can lead to it snowballing out of control quickly.
I believe the only other nonstandard part of my Midrange Paladin list would be the decision to run Coghammer and exclude Divine Favor. I think Coghammer is one of the best cards in the game for tempo and giving your creatures longevity. The ability to give a creature Divine Shield on curve while developing a beefy 2/3 weapon can be an enormous tempo swing that can completely cripple your opponents board. Often I find that Coghammer is rarely dead since I usually have a minion on board that will benefit from Divine Shield. I prefer a strong tempo play like this as opposed to spending my turn drawing cards. Obviously there are situations where Divine Favor is insane, but most of those are against control decks where the value of Divine Favor is often irrelevant. This deck is all about board control and has little to no reach. Drawing late game when you have no board presence against something like Control Warrior will often be irrelevant since they can answer anything you draw and you have no way to “burn them out” with something like a creature with charge plus Blessing of Kings. I find that games against Control decks are won or lost much earlier in the game and I would rather focus my deck on being able to snowball hard early- mid game.
Now you may be thinking “If you are so focused on early and mid-game why are you even playing Tirion or Dr. Boom?” Well, these bombs are cards that can seal the game instantly if played on curve. If you already have board control going into the early late game and you drop Dr. Boom or Tirion on curve you will win the game on the spot. If you have ever played against a secret Paladin that plays Mysterious Challenger on 6, Boom on 7, and Tirion on 8 I’m sure you understand why that curve is so rage inducing.
Good old reliable Combo Druid. This deck has been one of my favorites since the dawn of man (or since I started playing hearthstone). I know I sound like a broken record since you have probably heard this a million times but it is so true that Druid only got better and more consistent since TGT thanks to Darnassus Aspirant. That card is one of my favorite cards in existence design wise and one of the best cards in TGT. My list is vanilla, I know, but vanilla works most of the time. There is a reason lists become standard and that is often because a consistent list is the best way to play the archetype. In my case I agree that this vanilla Druid list is my current favorite and it gets the job done. Druid did well for me for most of the games, but there were a few close calls where I almost got my Druid swept due to poor opening hands.
If you fail to draw a Wild Growth, Innervate, or can’t even manage to have a Darnassus stick to the board the deck struggles for sure. The strong Innervate, Wild Growth, Darnassus starts happen far more often than the times when you draw dead. Most games you are able to find a way to ramp your mana so I still think Druid is quite consistent, but it was definitely the weakest deck in my lineup. The advantage of playing Druid is that it has a good matchup against Warlock decks and most Warrior decks, which can occasionally give you trouble. I will likely switch it up for some type of traditional Handlock or Demonlock deck for the next TNH I play in just to give myself some variety and test out different decks in a tournament setting.
If you are looking to start playing in tournaments I definitely recommend starting out with a tournament like Tuesday Night Hype. The set up on Strivewire.com is fairly intuitive and the admins for the tournament are accessible throughout the event and were always helpful to me and ensured that the tournament ran smoothly. I am still fairly new to the tournament scene as I mentioned earlier, since I have mainly been a ladder player, so I can’t wait to start participating in more tournaments and play against the best players in a hyper competitive setting. It will be a fun time for sure. Thank you all for reading and good luck on ladder and in your next tournament!