Sep 20 2016 - 7:45 pm

The coolest decks from BatStone

By all accounts, BatStone was a resounding success
Kevin Morris
Dot Esports

By all accounts, BatStone was a resounding success. The independent tournament architected by former Hearthstone world champion James “Firebat” Kostesich was founded on the principle that not all cards are valid in a competitive format.

The players and the community banned several controversial cards like Tuskarr Totemic, Yogg-Saron, and Barnes, cutting down on the randomness that too often determines the outcome of Hearthstone matches. Batstone peaked at around 30,000 viewers, and other tourneys are following in its footsteps and putting together a ban list. It pretty much went exactly how Kostesich drew it up.

As a viewer, it was fun watching notable Hearthstone pros navigate around the standard tier rankings and still put forth strong, powerful decks. It worked on so many cerebral levels. “Zoolock and Aggro Shaman are crippled, does that mean I can hedge with a list that’s weak to those matchups or will I still get punished?” It captured some of the fresh, limitless fun of a post-expansion bracket, when everyone is still figuring what works and what doesn’t. With that, we give you four of our favorite decks from the first edition of Batstone.

SuperJJ comes through with Face Hunter

Face Hunter has been MIA from ladder since the standard rotation, mostly because losing minions like Mad Scientist and weapons like Glaivezooka sapped the archetype’s formidable punch. Batstone banned Call of the Wild, which is essentially the win condition for all Hunters on ladder, so it seemed likely that we wouldn’t see much of Rexxar at the tournament. However, Jan "SuperJJ" Janßen built a hyper-aggressive Face Hunter (which curved out at the four mana Houndmaster) and carved his way through the competition. It was great to see under-utilized minions like Cloaked Huntress finally find a home, but there was also an ominous feeling that Face Hunter only needs a couple things to swing right in the meta for it to be powerful again.

Strifecro tries to make Dragon Renolock work

Batstone purged both Doomguard and Darkshire Councilman from lineups, which more or less removes two reliable win conditions from Zoolock. If you were bringing Gul’dan, you were going to have to innovate, and that’s what Cong “Strifecro” Shu did with his wonky Dragon Renolock. Basically it takes the shell of Renolock, and fills in the gaps with a dragon package for extra removal and more late-game drops. That actually makes sense, because a lot of controlling dragon cards (Alexstraza, Chillmaw, Book Wyrm) are right at home with Renolock’s grindy playstyle. Of course it lacks consistency and would get immediately punished in our ultra-fast meta, but that’s the point of Batstone, right?

Chakki’s Ice Block-less Freeze Mage

One of the banned cards in BatSstone was Ice Block, which is something that’s run in exactly one deck. Freeze Mage relies on the ability of leaving themselves open for one extra turn in order to accumulate the burn necessary to take an opponent down in one go. Ice Block is arguably its most important card, so it seemed unlikely that anyone would bring the archetype to the tournament.

However, Keaton “Chakki” Gill doesn’t play by the rules, and happily included a Ice Block-less Freeze Mage. Instead of Ice Block he ran two Ice Barriers and freaking Evolved Kobold, which I’m pretty sure has never ever appeared in any competitive Hearthstone deck in history. Personally I can’t recommend playing Freeze Mage without Ice Block, but I do appreciate Chakki’s moxy.

SuperJJ resurrects Paladin

Paladin has really struggled since Goblins vs. Gnomes rotated out of the game. Without useful tools like Shielded Minibot, Muster For Battle, and Quartermaster, the class has been forced to play ultra-conservatively. Your standard Paladin deck is either Anyfin or N’Zoth, which both require you to make it to the late-game if you want to win.

There has been another fast Paladin deck kicking around the lower rungs of ladder, however. Dive Aggro Paladin makes use of cards like Steward of Darkshire and Rallying Blade to buff up tiny, sticky minions in order to win the game by turn six. Generally it’s been outclassed by onslaughts in Face Shaman and Zoolock, but with both those classes getting hamstrung, SuperJJ saw an opening. For the first time ever, Divine Aggro Paladin was making waves in a major tournament. It was a great read to know that this overlooked archetype could shine through all the bans.

Today - 5:37 pm

CompLexity and Luminosity win 11-game thrillers in Trinity Series debuts

The teams took each other to the limit on day two.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via DreamHack

CompLexity Gaming and Luminosity Gaming came out on top during the second matchday of the ESL Trinity Series Hearthstone league—but both teams were taken to the limit.

Luminosity Gaming, with Keaton "Chakki" Gill and Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang playing from China, claimed a 6-5 win over Team Liquid.

After Liquid left the Shaman of Luminosity unbanned, the only team to do so in the four matches of week one, Luminosity fancied their chances. But that Shaman was ineffectual, knocked out by the Druid of Team Liquid as David "Dog" Caero and his teammates piloted the Druid to three straight game wins.

That left Liquid at 5-3 and match point, but Luminosity were able to win a crucial Druid mirror and go on their own streak to take the comeback win.

In the second match of the day the experienced Cloud9 lineup of James "Firebat" Kostesich, Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, and Andrew "TidesofTime" Biessener nearly pulled off a similar comeback.

Cloud9 and CompLexity Gaming traded games back and forth until CompLexity's Reno Mage, driven by Jan "SuperJJ" Janssen, took three straight wins to put them in the same position at 5-3. TidesofTime attempted to reverse the tide with Reno Warlock and fought back to 5-5, but Cloud9 were forced to use their combo pieces early and CompLexity won the match with a Reno Warlock of their own.

After beating Alliance 6-0 in the first match of the tournament, G2 Esports sit atop the table after the first week of games.

Week two will see Alliance take on CompLexity, Luminosity against Tempo Storm, G2 versus Virtus Pro, and Cloud9 will play Team Liquid.

Jan 19 2017 - 8:01 pm

G2 start Trinity Series with 6-0 Murloc sweep

It was a one-sided start to the hotly-anticipated league.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

G2 Esports got their ESL Trinity Series campaign off to a flying start yesterday, beating Alliance in assertive fashion.

Hearthstone's number one team dominated the Swedish Alliance lineup en route to a 6-0 sweep in the opening clash of the team league.

Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy and Dima "Rdu" Radu were able to simply sit back and make enthusiastic murloc noises, as two-time European champion Thijs Molendijk piloted his Anyfin Paladin deck to six straight game wins.

Alliance's all-Swedish lineup of 2015 world champion Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall, three-time major winner Jon "Orange" Westberg, and Harald "Powder" Gimre was expected to be a big player in this team league. But the initial loss will be a setback to their title aspirations.

As we know from experience, however, initial losses are no indicator of eventual success. The G2 trio, then known as Nihilum, finished fifth in the regular season of the Archon Team League Championships before going on to win the playoffs.

In the other game of the day, underdogs Tempo Storm emerged victorious against Virtus Pro 6-3. Three game wins with Rogue by David "JustSaiyan" Shan provided an insurmountable advantage for Tempo Storm.

Today's match day will see the other four teams make their debut, as Luminosity Gaming takes on Team Liquid and Cloud9 faces compLexity Gaming.