Oct 6 2016 - 5:27 am

We can't wait to see these cards leave Hearthstone's standard rotation

The next standard cycle is right around the corner, which is really great news
Luke Winkie
Dot Esports

The next standard cycle is right around the corner, which is really great news.

My favorite moment in Hearthstone history was earlier this year when Goblins vs. Gnomes and Curse of Naxxramas rotated out and the entire community had to figure out how to replace cards like Sludge Belcher and Mad Scientist. Old, familiar cards make us too comfortable, and nobody could’ve predicted that, say, a Malygos-centric Druid would be at the top of the meta a few months ago.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most crucial (read: irritating) cards leaving Standard in 2017, and imagine just how fresh Hearthstone is going to be when you don’t have to worry about facing a one drop that can easily turn into a 4/3. I’m looking at you Thrall.

Reno Jackson

God I’m going to miss Reno Jackson. It’s maybe the most unique legendary in the game and empowered so many weird off-kilter control decks. A big, powerful self-heal really does the trick. The class that will miss him most is—obviously—Renolock, which made use of him after the slow death of Handlock. Honestly, between the absence of Reno and the recent nerfs to Molten Giant, the next standard rotation might represent the final death for control-oriented Warlocks.

Totem Golem/Tunnel Trogg

Aggro Shaman will finally lose the most important part of their kit. Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem is the best one-two punch opener in any aggro deck in the game, And without them the hyper-aggressive face variant is going to struggle. Will that be the end of Shaman as we know it? Probably not, because midrange tools like Thing From Below, and even the underutilized Master of Evolution still exist. Shaman will still be around, it just won’t be quite as frustrating.

Dark Peddler

I’m only putting Peddler on this list because it means in the future Zoolocks won’t be able to triple-Power Overwhelming you. Hallelujah.

Flamewaker

God I hate playing against Flamewaker. It really doesn’t look that scary - just a 2/4 with the potential for two random damage - but Mages have enough cheap spells to totally turn a game on turn three. Tempo Mage is going to miss their best-in-slot three mana play, but frankly I think there are enough replacements for the archetype to remain viable, if hopefully a little less unfair.

Justicar Trueheart

For my money, the primary reason Control Warrior is so powerful right now is the fact that they can add four armor a turn just by hero powering. Justicar Trueheart never found a home in any other class (the one exception being Priest, which is always the exception) but she’s still a crucial piece right now. In the future, Control Warriors won’t be quite as unkillable, and maybe we’ll see the return of Armorsmith.

Emperor Thaurissan

Ah Emperor, one of the few absolutely must-kill minions in the game. If you don’t destroy your opponent’s Thaurissan, you will die a nasty quick death of broken two-mana Fireballs or (the recently nerfed) Raging Worgen combo. Thaurissan was stupid powerful, but he also never felt fundamentally broken, which is the sign for great card design  Lump him in with stuff like Loatheb and Sylvanas. We’re all gonna miss Emperor, and I hope someday Blizzard brings him back to standard.

Grim Patron

Grim Patron has been slowly descending the totem pole of relevancy ever since Warsong Commander was nerfed back in 2015, but it’s still a unique card that fits into certain Warrior archetypes. It’s removal probably won’t affect the meta too much, but it will be interesting to watch such a defining card be put on the shelf. Peak Patron Warrior was so profoundly difficult to play, and I’ll miss the ridiculously opaque decisions the archetype constantly confronted you with. 

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.

Jan 17 2017 - 11:07 pm

How to Watch the ESL Hearthstone Trinity Series: Players, Format, Times, and More

It's the biggest team league the game has seen in over a year.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

It's been well over a year since Hearthstone last had a major team league in the West—something fans have been crying out for. Tomorrow the wait ends, and the ESL Trinity Series begins.

Eight trios, flying the banners of some of the biggest franchises in esports, will compete in best-of-11 matches until Mar. 2. The top teams will advance to a live finals at the ESL studios in California, with $75,000 up for grabs for the winning team.

This is a big moment for Hearthstone esports. After growth slowed in 2016, this league could get 2017 off to a big start as the major players in the scene attempt to stabilize and consolidate their positions.

Here's everything you need to know about the league, the teams involved, and how the matches will play out.

What is the format?

For each match, the teams will submit nine decks—one for each class in the game. Each team will ban out two of their opponent's decks, leaving seven decks from which the teams pick a final lineup of six.

The teams then play a best-of-11 match in the Last Hero Standing format—once a deck loses a game it is locked for the rest of the match, and you lose when you have no decks left. Unlike the Archon Team League Championships where each player was assigned a couple of decks to play, all six players will be playing every game of every series. They will do so with open communication, which viewers will be tuned in to throughout the broadcast.

The format requires a huge amount of strategy, deckbuilding skill, and team work. The teams will have to argue out each individual play, make their move within the short timeframe of a turn, and try not to fall out in the process. Matches will be long, and real-life fatigue will play a part.

How will the league be broadcast?

The broadcasts will be presented from ESL's studios in Burbank, California, with TJ Sanders and Brian Kibler slated to call the action.

The players themselves will be playing from home, adding another level of difficulty to the communication, until the league reaches its final stages.

The matches will be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting tomorrow, with two matches per day. Games will start at 1pm ET (10am PT) for the duration of the seven week season and will be aired on ESL's Hearthstone Twitch channel.

Who are the teams?

The lineup features some of the biggest brands in esports. Two Hearthstone world champions, over a dozen tournament winners, and some wildcards too.

G2 Esports are easily the favorites to win it all. The trio of Dima "Rdu" Radu, Thijs Molendijk, and Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy is the most decorated in the game, with the Archon Team League Championships title also under their belt. The weight of expectation is firmly upon this European trio.

Although the team is relatively new, having just brought on a third member in time for the league, Alliance will be one of the teams to watch. The Swedish organization picked up a trio of players to represent the team and their country in three-time major winner Jon "Orange" Westberg, 2015 world champion Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall, and consistent journeyman Harald "Powder" Gimre.

Virtus Pro will be a force to be reckoned with. After starting out as rivals at the 2016 European Winter Championship, Artem "DrHippi" Kravets, Ole "Naiman" Batyrbekov, and Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer have formed a formidable unit. The team has been represented in countless major tournaments this year, with DrHippi finishing second in the world championship.

CompLexity will be looking to turn potential and underdog determination into results. Jan "SuperJJ" Janssen was impressively consistent throughout 2016, but did not win a major title. Simon "Crane" Raunholst has long been considered one of the best minds in the game but he has also not borne this out with results, while perennial prospect Tugay "MrYagut" Evsan will be looking to show just why he was so highly touted for so long.

The only all-American lineup in the tournament, Luminosity Gaming will also be hoping to live up to their billing. Branded a U.S. "super team" when they were formed last year, DreamHack Austin winner Keaton "Chakki" Gill and the experienced Paul "Zalae" Nemeth will be partnered by top young talent Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang.

The experienced but somewhat out-of-favor hand of Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic will look to guide Tempo Storm's young prospects David "JustSaiyan" Shan and Victor "Vlps" Lopez to success, while the veteran Team Liquid trio of David "Dog" Caero, Jeffrey "Sjow" Brusi, and Yevhenii "Neirea" Shumilin will aim to prove the value of experience.

Speaking of veterans, 2014 world champion James "Firebat" Kostesich, early leader Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, and 2014 World Esports Championship winner Andrew "TidesofTime" Biessener will round out the lineup for Cloud9. With Firebat having casted more than competed in 2016, StrifeCro having made just the odd appearance and TidesofTime having spent the past two years struggling with whether or not he loved the game anymore, this lineup will now have to deliver on a big stage.


Though 2017 is only a few weeks old, the ESL Trinity Series promises to be one of the most entertaining and competitive events of the year. The players will be tested to the limits of their skills—and Hearthstone fans will finally have another team league to get invested in.