30 reasons StrifeCro vs. Kolento was the best Hearthstone match we’ve seen

Next Tuesday marks the release of Goblins vs

Next Tuesday marks the release of Goblins vs. Gnomes, the first full expansion for Hearthstone. It promises to completely reinvent the meta from the ground up.

That means that last weekend’s DreamHack Winter tournament was the last major time high level Hearthstone will be played with that old, archaic base set that we’ve all grown to love.

Now, we’re all super excited about that 120-card injection coming our way. But it did make perfect sense that one of the best matchups in Hearthstone history occurred right before our world gets shattered. We’re talking about Cong “StrifeCro” Shu vs. Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh in the semifinals, of course.

Kolento steps up with a standard Control Warrior. Strifecro responds with a unique, invincible Mage deck that seems specifically designed to win in fatigue. What resulted was an unforgettable two-game sequence that baffled commentators and drove everyone watching insane.

It was the most memorable moment I have from all my hours of watching Hearthstone. hilarious, tactically profound, the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force. In tribute of that match, and the final days before Hearthstone morphs into something new, here are 30 reasons why I think that was the best game of Hearthstone ever played.

  1. Nostalgia! Not now, but years down the line, you will have nice rose-colored memories of when Hearthstone was just the base set of cards instead of this sprawling monstrosity we’ll eventually arrive at. This is the last great match of that era.
  2. Being up by like 70 health and still being favored to lose is just elementally hilarious.
  3. The commentators in general as they try desperately to figure out what exactly Strifecro is playing.
  4. Kolento getting increasingly agitated as he still can’t find that last burst of damage to win the game.
  5. Getting no value with a Harrison Jones in a Control Warrior matchup because things have truly gotten that desperate.
  6. Losing your first two games to Zoo in record time only to find yourself in one of the most mathematical fatigue battles of all time.
  7. That insane Mage mill deck. It does not force your opponent to draw cards, you simply make yourself invincible slowly but surely decking your opponent.
  8. Seriously can you imagine climbing ladder with that thing? Every match would last half an hour!
  9. Keeping a Duplicate up from Turn 3 til Turn Infinity.
  10. Everyone who said Duplicate couldn’t ever be a terrifying card eating their words.
  11. Who knew a Mage could be completely sustainable around six health?
  12. Dan “Frodan” Chao, in the depths of the insanity, just kinda shrugging and saying “I don’t know man, I wished I understood.”
  13. They put a live stream of Stormwind in the window to make it look like they were really playing in some tavern in Azeroth.
  14. The knowledge that once Iron Juggernaut is released this entire matchup will be mute.
  15. The very idea of a Mage running double Unstable Ghouls in a high-level tournament.
  16. If there was just ONE MORE TURN of fatigue damage, Kolento would’ve been dead.
  17. The commentators desperately trying to calculate the damage as the fatigue turns keep passing.
  18. A general, exasperated sigh as they both clock in for the rematch.
  19. It’s proof that you can only deal something like 15 damage to an opponent’s face over the course of a game, and still almost win.
  20. I guess Hearthstone can end in ties, huh?
  21. A Hearthstone set going two hours, longer than all soccer games and some basketball games.
  22. A Warrior playing the Alexstraza to go down a few points of health just to get the body out there.
  23. Seriously, you will never ever see that again.
  24. “You can’t just… not kill minions for the rest of the game.”
  25. And my personal favorite: “So the plan for both decks is to not to draw, right?” 
  26. This is the only Control vs. Control game that I’ve felt legitimate pain while watching.
  27. Gaining 25-plus armor on a single turn and STILL NOT FEELING SAFE.
  28. Kolento subtly shaking his head.
  29. Perhaps the only time in the universe drawing Alexstraza as a Control Warrior will be referred to as a “dead card.”
  30. And lastly, proof that Hearthstone’s best match can be both entirely enthralling and absolutely frustrating at the same time. What a wonderful game.

Image via DreamHack/ViaGames