In the first tournament since the release of the expansion, Cong “StrifeCro” Shu emerged victorious, defeating Harald “Powder” Gimre in the final 4-0. Rather than using the typical tournament decks we’ve come to expect, Shu instead completed the grand final sweep with a Mage deck. He was similarly unbeatable in the opening rounds with his Paladin deck as he swept aside Janne “Savjz” Mikkonen and Bertil “Frezzar” Fall.
In what was a dominant tournament performance, the only time Shu looked in trouble was in a back and forth series with Jason “Amaz” Chan that went all the way to the seventh game.
Mage and Paladin have for some time been considered the weakest decks for tournaments. But Shu was out to prove that both decks are ripe for a comeback thanks to the new cards.
The Paladin deck, which finished the tournament with a record of 7-2 in games, is a brand-new archetype. The few times that Paladin has been spotted in tournaments recently the deck has been a very top heavy control Paladin. But this mid range version with strong early minions looks to snowball the board before ever getting to the late game.
“It’s a new Goblins vs. Gnomes style: Midrange Paladin made to get an early lead with creatures like Shielded Minibot and Coghammer, and then snowball with things like Enhance-o-Mechano, Quartermaster and Cult Master,” Shu told the Daily Dot.
The Mage deck that dominated the grand final is also a departure from the popular freeze Mage, and is a deck that is quickly becoming feared among pros and ladder players alike—the MechMage.
“The Mage deck is a well-tuned aggressive mech beatdown deck,” Shu said, “using the Azure Drakes to be able to cycle into burn or more threats, and also Dr. Boom for the huge power spike.”
Every deck Shu brought to the tournament included the new legendary card Dr Boom, along with plenty of other players. Shu believes that players underestimated the power of the 1/1 Boom Bots when assessing it initially, and did not expect it to be as big a tempo shift as it proves to be in most games.