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Standout Lineups, Decks, And Tech Choices From HCT Europe Summer Playoffs

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The lineups for HCT Europe’s Summer Playoffs are in, and there are number of unique decks, tech choices, and trends to discuss from the 73 tournament lineups.

 

Pro Hearthstone player YAYTears has compiled a folder on google drive which includes all the decklists from the upcoming HCT Europe Summer Playoffs on May 5th. With all the tournament lineups laid out in front of us, it’s easy to spot trends, standout lineups, decks, and tech choices:

 

Standout Lineups

 

Duarte’s No-Warlock Lineup

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The most common class in the tournament was Warlock, with only 4 of the tournament’s 73 participants not bringing a Warlock deck. Of the non-Warlock lineups, Duarte’s stood out to me as the most interesting of the lot. His Baku Warrior deck is fairly standard (interestingly, Baku Warrior was a very common choice for this tournament), but his other decks included a number of innovative choices.

His Spell Hunter deck features 2 copies of Misdirection, a Secret which I haven’t seen in a ladder match in 2018. These are played in place of Venomstrike or Snake Trap, which are undoubtedly the weakest Secrets in the deck.

Duarte was one of a few players who brought Token Druid, which is a deck on the rise. It’s a proactive, combo-style deck which can find ways to win against both aggro and control decks with the right draws. Though the same could be said for Spiteful Druid (one of the most popular decks in the tournament), his opponents will be much more ready for Spiteful Druid than Token Druid. Duarte can expect to enter most of his Token Druid matchups with a practice advantage.

Duarte was also the only player in the tournament to bring Odd Paladin, and his version of the deck is quite odd indeed. It features Prince Liam and two copies of Paragon of Light, two new cards from The Witchwood which rarely see play on the ladder.

 

Raena’s Shaman Lineup

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Raena earns some major cool points for being the only player in the entire tournament to bring a Shaman deck. By default, this makes him the only player with a Grumble, Hagatha, or Shudderwock in his lineup. He was also one of just two players to put Archbishop Benedictus in his Control Priest (Tyler being the other), and one of four players to put Glinda Crowskin in their Control Warlock deck (the others being Yogg, Windello, and Warma).

Raena’s build of Shudderwock combo packs a number of interesting innovations. It has Unstable Evolution + Bogshaper to help churn through the deck for combo pieces, Hagatha the Witch as an alternative win condition, and two copies of Ancestral Healing to pair with his two Wild Pyromancers. It appears as though Raena’s version of Shudderwock Combo has much more game against Aggro than other Shudderwock lists I’ve seen, which was a key weakness for earlier builds of the deck.

Dead Man’s Hand was a surprisingly popular choice for this tournament given how little play the card sees on the ladder. In fact, Warrior was one of the most common classes after Warlock and Druid, with a healthy number of Odd and Quest Warrior decks finding their way into tournament lineups. Raena’s build of Fatigue Warrior is lean, mean, and appears to be finely tuned. It runs just one copy of Town Crier, whereas most other lists run two copies of Crier and an additional copy of Militia Commander. Instead of winning with Coldlight Oracles, this deck looks to make infinite Un’Goro Packs from Elise the Trailblazer to out-value its opponents in the late game.

 

Standout Decks

 

Kalà xz’s Combo Priest

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As a noted fan of Combo Priest and the card Vivid Nightmare, I was very pleased to see Kala, Windello, and Yogg bring Combo Priest over Control Priest. This version of the deck uses some combination of Stormwind KnightInner FireDivine Spirit. and Vivid Nightmare to combo kill opponents, and packs a number of defensive tools to help buy time along the way. It runs two copies each of Divine HymnSpirit LashWild Pyromancer, and Psychic Scream. It also has a one-of Shadow Madness to steal Voidlord for potential OTKs.

 

Esteban’s Quest Druid

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Having trouble with those pesky Warlocks? Look no further than Esteban’s build of Quest Druid! It runs both Corrosive Sludge and Harrison Jones as potential blowouts for a Skull of the Man’ari. Between Ferocious HowlOaken Summons, and Spreading Plague, I’d expect that Esteban’s Quest Druid deck is highly capable of buying enough time to complete the Quest and OTK with Malygos against all but the nuttiest of Cubelock draws. This deck will probably have a hard time against go-wide Paladin decks if it can’t find Spreading Plague on time, but it appears to be an excellent sniper for Warlock decks in tournaments such as this.

 

Crane’s Control Paladin

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Lynessa Sunsorrow and Uther of the Ebon Blade are the only cards in the deck that cost more than 6, which may position this as more of a Midrange Paladin than a true Control deck. Crane’s Paladin runs two copies of Benevolent Djinn, a couple of new cards in Vicious Scalehide and Rotten Applebaum, and even includes a copy of the rarely-played Holy Light. I’d imagine that this deck does an excellent job at fighting for control of the board early, but I’m a little worried about its ability to close out games. It doesn’t run The Lich King or Tirion Fordring, and N’Zoth, the Corruptor has rotated from Standard. I’m a bit surprised that Zola the Gorgon didn’t make the cut here, as it makes a powerful 10 Mana combo with Lynessa Sunsorrow.

 

Fox’s Control Mage

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Though Control Mage wasn’t nearly as popular as Secret Mage, that didn’t stop Fox from bringing a version of the deck which looks incredibly fine-tuned for the current meta. It takes a page out of Control Warlock’s book by playing a healthy number of defensive 2 and 3 drops, including Plated BeetleStonehill Defender, Gluttonous Ooze, and Voodoo Doll. Fox’s build should be well-equipped for Fatigue matchups against Cubelock, as it runs two Polymorphs for Voidlords, an Alexstrasza for burst damage/heal, and a Sindragosa for grinding out the late game. I’m a huge fan of this board-centric approach to Control Mage, and expect the future of Control Mage to look a lot like this list.

 

NoName’s Control Warrior

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NoName is bringing a unique take on Control Warrior, which runs just one copy of Dead Man’s Hand and does not commit to a full-on fatigue strategy. Instead, it runs a number of powerful late-game cards which look to close things out long before both player’s decks are empty. This is the first Warrior deck I’ve seen which includes Voodoo Doll, and it runs a single copy of Unidentified Shield for… Unidentified reasons. If Baku or Fatigue Warrior isn’t your thing, NoName’s build of Control Warrior is a reasonable alternative with a much clearer path to victory than other Control Warrior variants.

 

Tech of the Tournament

 

  • Due the restrictions on Spiteful Summoner, Spiteful decks tend to have more flex slots in them for tech cards than other decks. Though there were many differences between the various Spiteful Druid tech choices in this tournament, two cards which stood out as popular choices were Hungry Crab and Druid of the Claw.
    • Given the popularity of Murloc Paladin, I’m a big fan of running one Hungry Crab in lists which would be running Dire Mole in its place anyways.
    • Though I haven’t encountered Druid of the Claw on the ladder as of yet, it provides the deck with another source of surprise face damage to help close out games. This makes it a better topdeck in the late game than Cobalt Scalebane.
  • Control/Mind Blast Priest was the most popular Priest deck by a wide margin. Many lists decided to shave one copy of Scaleworm to run more tech cards (such as Skulking GeistAcidic Swamp Ooze, and Harrison Jones), while a couple of lists decided to cut the card entirely.
  • Stock for Amani Berserker is quickly approaching all time highs, buy buy buy! It’s beginning to appear as a two-of in both Even Paladin and Tempo Mage lists.
  • A healthy number of players brought Quest Rogue to the tournament, yet there still doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to whether or not Valeera the Hollow deserves a spot in this deck.
  • Odd Warriors (both Control and Quest) are well represented at this tournament. Many of these decks decided to shave one copy of Town Crier so that they could play 2 Rush minions instead of 3.
  • Glaser ran two copies of Fire Plume Phoenix in his Spiteful Druid deck despite having no elemental synergy.
  • Ignite’s Control Warlock runs a single copy of Clockwork Automaton to help swing Fatigue races.
  • Azalina Soulthief made an appearance in both Scruffy and Twink’s builds of Odd Warrior. I’d expect that she is intended as tech against Control Warlock, where she can be used to copy cards related to Rin, the First Disciple.
  • Seiko’s Murloc Paladin deck features one copy of Sound the Bells!.
  • Springy’s Even Paladin ran one copy of Mountain Giant and one copy of Sea Giant, which are perfectly reasonable alternatives to The Lich King and Dinosize.

 

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