The Hearthstone World Championship is underway, and we’ve already been treated to some great games and crazy plays.
Perhaps the craziest play so far came in yesterday’s Group B opener between “SamuelTsao” of Taiwan and Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh of Ukraine, as the pair went to a five-game thriller early in the day.
Both players were left with a lineup of Druid, Rogue, and Priest. SamuelTsao got the advantage with an early Druid win in a class mirror, but Kolento hit back with Rogue and Priest wins. SamuelTsao then won with his Rogue to send the match to a decider—Kolento’s Druid against SamuelTsao’s combination Priest deck.
That matchup is one that’s been seen a lot in the World Championship. The strategy can be pretty interesting—the Druid’s best chance is to gain enough armor that they can avoid the insane reach from the Anduin Shadowreaper. If they can stay out of reach and build a board of their own, they can chip away at the Priest and come away with a victory.
Kolento probably thought he had done that, and was pretty safe with a massive life total. He was wrong.
Kolento had built his armor well, but didn’t have much of a board of minions to threaten SamuelTsao. That meant that he could build his hand for a combo, including taking a one mana Kazakus spell to give him more potential to repeat his hero power.
With Prophet Velen in hand, a Classic set card that has become newly relevant again in this deck, SamuelTsao could just hit the board and spam his cheap cards, and chip away at Kolento’s health.
This match proved crucial. SamuelTsao went on to the winner’s match, defeating Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam to qualify for the quarterfinals. Kolento meanwhile lost his second match too, and was one of the first players eliminated from the tournament.