Top 8 Recap – World Championship 2016

Photo Source: Blizzard
Image Source: Blizzard

We have a winner! After 2 weeks of intense competition, Pavel has risen to the top and taken this year’s World Championship. He managed to be just impervious enough to meta reads, had some crazy RNG go his way (rather consistently!), but ultimately he was by far the strongest player in this entire tournament against Malygos Druid, which was a deck that every player brought. Congratulations Pavel!





Match 1 – JasonZhou vs. Hamster

Hamster did not change his decks, and banned Rogue. JasonZhou, a noted Control Warrior player, switched his Warrior over to Dragon Warrior for this event – he banned Shaman, unsurprisingly.

Game 1 – Hamster’s Token Druid vs. JasonZhou’s Dragon Warrior

Hamster wound up taking the game, as his Ragnaros was able to take out his opponent’s Ragnaros, which was pretty much the defining moment of the game

Hamster up 1-0

Game 2 – Hamster’s N’Zoth/Anyfin Paladin vs. JasonZhou’s MR Shaman

Hamster’s Barnes pulled Cairne and players traded pretty awesome midgame boards back and forth, repeatedly building threats and clearing. At the end, the MR Shaman deck was just able to continually build enough boards, get one to stick, and then win off a Bloodlust

Tied 1-1

Game 3 – Hamster’s C’Thun Warrior vs. JasonZhou’s Discolock

Hamster was almost able to stabilize and take complete control of the game, but JasonZhou was able to topdeck incredibly at the end of the game off of some crucial lifetaps (Soulfire face, tap into Doomguard lethal) and won just as his opportunity was slipping away – stealing a game in an unfavored matchup.

JasonZhou up 2-1

Game 4 – Hamster’s C’Thun Warrior vs. JasonZhou’s Spell Druid

Amazingly, JasonZhou found lethal with 2 moonfires without a Malygos in play.  Close game, but once again JasonZhou was able to pull out the win right before Hamster could stabilize.

JasonZhou up 3-1

Game 5 – Hamster’s N’Zoth/Anyfin Paladin vs. JasonZhou’s Dragon Warrior

Hamster got an early Doomsayer without an answer and then pulled 2 Wild Pyromancers on back-to-back turns with both copies of Equality already in hand to stabilize. Then upon pulling Ragnaros, Lightlord he drew the concession from JasonZhou.

JasonZhou up 3-2

Game 6 – Hamster’s C’Thun Warrior vs. JasonZhou’s Dragon Warrior

This would be the 3rd time that Hamster would pull out his C’Thun Warrior only to face the same fate. Once again he was unable to stabilize in time to fend off JasonZhou’s onslaught. With this win, JasonZhou advances to the semifinals.

JasonZhou wins 4-2


Match 2 – Amnesiasc vs. Pavel

Both players banned Shaman, unsurprisingly.

Game 1 – Amnesiasc’s MR Secret Hunter vs. Pavel’s Spell Druid

Amnesiasc wound up faced with a situation where he was probably dead next turn, facing down a Malygos on board and Pavel with a full hand, and set up a 33% Ragnaros for lethal play. It paid off for him.

Amnesiasc up 1-0

Game 2 – Amnesiasc’s Tempo Mage vs. Pavel’s Tempo Mage

The headline of the match was the back-to-back turns where Pavel’s Firelands Portal pulled the worst possible 5 drop and Amnesiasc’s pulled one of the best – however, it would be disingenuous to say that that is what won/lost the game, as Amnesiasc’s Ragnaros hit the minion anyway and he never even had to swing with the one that he pulled in order to win. Amnesiasc took control of this game early and Pavel never stabilized.

Amnesiasc up 2-0

Game 3 – Amnesiasc’s Discolock vs. Pavel’s C’thun Warrior

Amnesiasc played around Fan of Knives very well, and was benefitted by the fact that Pavel’s burgled cards were either unplayable (Pit Lord) or something could have been very useful (Sacrificial Pact) except that Amnesiasc did not actually wind up playing any of his demons to set up the play for Pavel. Amnesiasc continually flooded the board with threats and Pavel’s hand of his own threats simply could not come down fast enough to contest.

Amnesiasc up 3-0

Game 4 – Amnesiasc’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s C’thun Warrior

Amnesiasc ran out of threats to play into Pavel’s Warrior, as Pavel mercilessly removed every minion from the board, resulting in Amnesiasc’s concession.

Amnesiasc up 3-1

Game 5 – Amnesiasc’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Spell Druid

Mirror match, however Pavel’s hand had 2 Wild Growths, an Innervate, and a Mire Keeper – an opening that Amnesiasc could not match. Pavel played big minion after big minion and Amnesiasc was forced to concede.

Amnesiasc up 3-2

Game 6 – Amnesiasc’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Tempo Mage

Pavel missed a dice roll off of a Flamewaker to clear a Ragnaros, but then won an amazing roll by pulling a clutch Polymorph off of his Babbling Book, followed by a Firelands Portal off of his second Babbling Book to clear the next threat. Pretty remarkable swings in this game.

Tied 3-3

Game 7 – Amnesiasc’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue

Amnesiasc had crazy ramp available to him, and selected a Forbidden Ancient to dump his early mana into making a big threat, but ultimately the card wound up being dead in his hand. Pavel’s amazing luck continues in this game as he pulls the perfect draws on each turn to answer Amnesiasc’s threats while pressuring the board. Amnesiasc was never able to establish a threat that stuck in this game, and Pavel completed his second straight 4 game reverse sweep against Spell Druid to advance to the semifinals.

Pavel wins 4-3


Match 3 – che0nsu vs. Cydonia

Both players banned Shaman, in keeping with the general theme of the whole tournament.

Game 1 – che0nsu’s Dragon Warrior vs. Cydonia’s Control Warrior

Cydonia stabilized at literally 1 life and was able to pull out the game, winning a pair of critical brawls to end it. The game winning pull was getting his N’Zoth which pulled back his Infested Tauren to hold the line against che0nsu’s Fiery War Axe.

Cydonia up 1-0

Game 2 – che0nsu’s Discolock vs. Cydonia’s Tempo Mage

The early game headline was when 2 Imp Gang Bosses were faced off against 2 Flamewakers on the board. Once that dust settled it came down to who topdecked better, and just as it looked like Cydonia was about to stabilize, che0nsu ripped his second Doomguard off the top for exact lethal.

Tied 1-1

Game 3 – che0nsu’s Tempo Mage vs. Cydonia’s MR Secret Hunter

On Turn 5,  che0nsu was able to clear Cydonia’s board of four 1 health minions with 5 missiles. From that point Cydonia was unable to make a serious push for the game.

che0nsu up 2-1

Game 4 – che0nsu’s Spell Druid vs. Cydonia’s MR Secret Hunter

Cydonia made some questionable plays at the beginning of the game and che0nsu made some excellent reads on secrets. Cydonia wound up being forced to hit big minions with his face, which put him in burn range for the end of the game.

che0nsu up 3-1

Game 5 – che0nsu’s Dragon Warrior vs. Cydonia’s MR Secret Hunter

Yet another match with Secret Hunter where two aggressive decks wind up standing still waiting out a tree of secrets on the Hunter. Like the other times this has happened this tournament, it did not wind up going in favor of the Hunter deck.  che0nsu made some very calculated and intelligent plays which ultimately led to him advancing to the semifinals.

che0nsu wins 4-1


Match 4 – HotMEOWTH vs. DrHippi

DrHippi banned Shaman, but HotMEOWTH banned Druid, believing that his lineup could handle MR Shaman and would be weaker against the big threats Druid could drop.

Game 1 – HotMEOWTH’s Blood Giant Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Dragon Warrior

On Turn 5 HowMEOWTH used a lot of his combo pieces to clear a board and wound up with a stranded Grim Patron in hand, unable to mount another combo assault to generate threat on the board, which led to him  falling to DrHippi’s calm onslaught.

DrHippi up 1-0

Game 2 – HotMEOWTH’s Blood Giant Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Tempo Mage

The game was back and forth and HotMEOWTH had finally drawn a threat to combo off with, but left his opponent with a stealthed Stranglethorn Tiger (generated from Firelands Portal) rather than using resources to clear it. This would directly result in his loss. The thought process here must have been that last game he’d used all of his combo resources too early to clear a board, so this time he was trying to hold resources to use with the Giant.

DrHippi up  2-0

Game 3 – HotMEOWTH’s Blood Giant Warrior vs. DrHippi’s MR Shaman

DrHippi spaced out his threats well this game and used his copies of Hex to slow down HotMEOWTH’s draw engine while constantly creating a board just big enough that it required HotMEOWTH to answer it. Ultimately, he finally got a board wide enough that his copy of Bloodlust was able to reach lethal literally on the turn before HotMEOWTH could take control.

DrHippi up 3-0

Game 4 – HotMEOWTH’s Blood Giant Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Discolock

HotMEOWTH found himself in a position where one copy of Wild Pyromancer would have allowed him to stabilize and win, as he had assembled all of his combo pieces and could have swept up the board, but alas the Blood Giant Warrior deck went 0-4 on the day, even though it came pretty close to pulling out wins in a bunch of games. DrHippi played a very consistent and straightforward series and applied the correct amount of pressure to force HotMEOWTH to have the perfect cards, which, often he did not have.

DrHippi wins 4-0

Quarterfinals Summary:

JasonZhou’s gambit of dropping his signature Control Warrior decklist seems to have paid off, as his more aggressive lineup was able to punch through against Hamster’s anti-control lineup. Pavel reverse swept 4 straight games against a Spell Druid deck for the second straight time – this time his victim was the “young savage” Amnesiasc. This series was punctuated by some truly astonishing RNG going in Pavel’s favor. Cydonia was one of the only players to bring Hunter to the Top 8 and it proved to be his undoing as he went 0-3 with it to bounce out of the tournament vs. che0nsu’s steady, consistent play. HotMEOWTH took a chance on an offmeta combo warrior deck, and even though it gave us some exciting matches, he went 0-4 with it vs. DrHippi, who played a very good series and looked like he’d practiced against HotMEOWTH’s unique decklist.



Match 1 – JasonZhou vs. Pavel

Both players banned Shaman, as usual.

Game 1 – JasonZhou’s Discolock vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue

In typical Discolock fashion this game was pretty close but ultimately came down to a Doomguard topdeck for lethal.

JasonZhou up 1-0

Game 2 – JasonZhou’s Dragon Warrior vs Pavel’s Spell Druid

The players traded big threats back and forth until Pavel’s Arcane Giant stuck and was able to take the match.

Tied 1-1

Game 3 – JasonZhou’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Tempo Mage

JasonZhou’s opening hand of Innervate+2 Wild Growths turned out to be a little too strong for Pavel to handle this time, as Pavel dropped his first game all tournament long to Druid.

JasonZhou up 2-1

Game 4 – JasonZhou’s Dragon Warrior vs. Pavel’s Tempo Mage

In keeping with the theme of the tournament, Pavel’s unbelievable luck continues in this game, as he high-rolled a King Mukla off his Faceless Summoner, which immediately halted JasonZhou’s aggression and ate 2 huge resources that it probably shouldn’t have. He then high-rolled Leeroy Jenkins off of his Firelands Portal for lethal.

Tied 2-2

Game 5 – JasonZhou’s Miracle Rogue vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue

JasonZhou pretty seriously misplayed the early stages of this game, and in what was probably a misclick, wound up putting a 2/2 Edwin Van Cleef on board. JasonZhou was unable to recover from his misuse of resources and Pavel was able to push lethal through.

Pavel up 3-2

Game 6 – JasonZhou’s Miracle Rogue vs. Pavel’s C’thun Warrior

JasonZhou played around one copy of Brawl that he thought Pavel had (which he did), but spent so much time doing that that he allowed Pavel enough time to draw his second and he wound up getting blown out by Pavel’s taunts and removal.

Pavel wins 4-2


Match 2 – che0nsu vs. DrHippi

DrHippi banned Discolock and che0nsu banned MR Shaman.

Game 1 – che0nsu’s Spell Druid vs. DrHippi’s Tempo Mage

che0nsu was able to ramp effectively and dump enough threats on the board for DrHippi’s hand of  threats to be largely invalidated as he had to  use his resources to deal with che0nsu’s board. che0nsu wound up drawing enough gas to deal the last bits of damage to end the game.

che0nsu up 1-0

Game 2 – che0nsu’s MR Shaman vs. DrHippi’s Spell Druid

Che0nsu was well ahead and winning the game until Yogg went in DrHippi’s favor.

Tied 1-1

Game 3 – che0nsu’s MR Shaman vs. DrHippi’s Tempo Mage

Even grabbing a Blizzard off a Babbling Book wasn’t enough to help DrHippi stop che0nsu’s relentless assault. Che0nsu continually flooded the board until he got enough minions to stick to end the game with Bloodlust.

che0nsu up 2-1

Game 4 – che0nsu’s Dragon Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Discolock

che0nsu didn’t draw a dragon until it was too late. Without any of the bonus effects from his minions, che0nsu was run over.

Tied 2-2

Game 5 – che0nsu’s Dragon Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Dragon Warrior

Another game decided by Ragnaros shots. DrHippi was able to take this game with 3 straight Ragnaros shots going in his favor (1 of che0nsu’s missing a 50/50 for lethal, his own hitting a 50/50 to stabilize, and then hitting a 33% to miraculously take control of the game and prevent death).

DrHippi up 3-2

Game 6 – che0nsu’s Dragon Warrior vs. DrHippi’s Tempo Mage

Once again, che0nsu runs out of dragons in his hand and fails to capitalize on their bonus effects. DrHippi utilized his resources effectively and took the game.

DrHippi wins 4-2

Semifinals Summary:

Even though JasonZhou was able to finally beat Pavel with Druid, his misclick in Game 5, along with Pavel’s continued streak of incredible luck wound up being the difference in this tight series. DrHippi had unbelievable luck steal him two games in this series, and che0nsu had two games with his Dragon Warrior backfiring terribly as he was unable to have a dragon in hand to capitalize on his powerful minions.


Both players banned Shaman. Fitting bans for the tenor of this tournament.



Match 1 – DrHippi vs. Pavel

Both players banned Shaman, with the two major differences in lineup being DrHippi having Discolock vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue, and DrHippi having Dragon Warrior vs. Pavel’s C’Thun Warrior list.

Game 1 – DrHippi’s Dragon Warrior vs. Pavel’s C’Thun Warrior

Pavel’s C’Thun Warrior was not able to find enough removal to take care of all of DrHippi’s threats before he was overwhelmed by efficient minions.

DrHippi up 1-0

Game 2 – DrHippi’s Discolock vs Pavel’s Tempo Mage

Pavel had a clutch Flamestrike that wound up winning the game for him as DrHippi was unable to refill the board before Pavel could find the burn necessary to pull out the win.

Tied 1-1

Game 3 – DrHippi’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Spell Druid

Mirror match, but Pavel was the one who had the t2 Wild Growth. He raced out ahead on board and in one of the least effective Yogg’s of the tournament, DrHippi was unable to high-roll his way out of this one.

Pavel up 2-1

Game 4 – DrHippi’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s C’Thun Warrior

Once again, Pavel pulls out his lucky charm and wins a 33% brawl to clear TWO Arcane Giants off the board. DrHippi made a spirited attempt to stay in the game, but was unable to overcome the inevitability of C’Thun.

Pavel up 3-1

Game 5 – DrHippi’s Discolock vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue

DrHippi played a pretty controlled game and made his board relatively impervious to Fan of Knives, which left Pavel in an awkward position trying to take the board, and once the Doomguards started hitting the board, the game was pretty much over.

Pavel up 3-2

Game 6 – DrHippi’s Spell Druid vs. Pavel’s Malygos Rogue

DrHippi did not have a t2 Wild Growth and was largely unable to respond to Pavel throughout the match, culminating in a huge Edwin Van Cleef which ultimately won the game, even though a Swashburglar randomly generated Bite, which was what had enabled the actual kill on the final turn.

Pavel wins 4-2


Finals Summary:

The two players who benefitted the most from RNG up to this point meet in the finals, and this time Lady Luck smiled on Pavel. Also fittingly for Pavel’s run, DrHippi continually played Druid into Pavel, which the Russian player would happily feast on for 3 wins and his ultimate clinching game.

Overall Thoughts:

Every player had Shaman, and it was mostly banned.

Control Warrior and Hunter (and Face Hunter entirely) largely disappeared from players’ lineups between Groups and Top 8. Strangely enough, Control Warrior had performed quite well in Groups and the players who brought it to the Top 8 actually had success with it as well. The disappearance of Control Warrior from lineups was probably the work of groupthink believing that the deck was overrated or a weak link, when the statistics for the tournament itself did not bear that narrative to fruition. Hunter, and Face Hunter in particular, performed pretty poorly in Groups, so it’s no surprise really to see it disappear.

Despite the atrocious performance of Druid in the Group Stage, all players brought the class to Top 8, only to once again watch the deck underperform overall at 8-9, which begs the question about why this deck was considered to be so strong that every player felt the need to bring it, and in some cases, ban it.

Tempo Mage was prevalent across the board and performed decently at 6-5.

Discolock saw a much higher % of play in Top 8, taking the place of Face Hunter in many players’ lineups. It performed extremely well, at 6-2 overall and it was undefeated in the Top 8 until the Final, where Pavel was able to defeat the deck twice.

Warrior saw the most variance in decklists. 3 Dragon Warriors, 3 Control Warriors (2 C’Thun, 1 N’Zoth Control), and 1 Combo Warrior were brought. The Dragon Warriors wound up performing well when they went off, but backfired against some of their pilots by not drawing dragons when needed – notably this hurt che0nsu the hardest in Semis.

There were only 2 Rogues in the Top 8, which lined up perfectly with its representation in Groups – somewhat surprising after seeing how strong the class had been in Groups. The deck wound up performing at exactly 50% in Top 8, but critically was the deck that closed out the Grand Final for Pavel for style points.

Once again, Priest and Paladin were offmeta representations and this time were not major factors for their pilot, Hamster.

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1 Comment

  1. Game 3 Amnesiac vs Pavel… I assume from the Fan of Knives reference that was actually Pavel’s Maly Rogue and not the C’Thun Warrior.

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