With day two of the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) Fall Championship wrapping up, we had the chance to watch some of the best from all corners of the world competing for the title of 2018 Fall Champion.The day started off well with the series between Taiwan’s BloodTrail and Canada’s Languagehacker.
The first series of the day was between two takes on Anti-Control. The Malygos Druid of Bloodtrail and Odd Rogue of Languagehacker were the bans for this series. The series started off well for Bloodtrail with his Even Warlock taking a swift victory against the Deathrattle Hunter of Languagehacker. For the second match of the series, Taunt Druid from Languagehacker quickly out-ramped the Deathrattle Hunter from Bloodtrail, evening up the series 1 to 1.
From here Bloodtrail took over, winning both the mirror match of Deathrattle Hunters and completing the combo with Shudderwock to secure his spot in the winners bracket.
The second series was between China’s Islandcat and Russia’s RENMEN. The lineups just did not, uh, line up well for RENMEN. Not having the defensive tools he needed, Islandcat took the first game without any trouble. Using his Odd Rogue up against RENMEN’s Deathrattle Hunter allowed him to take a 1-0 lead.
The best matchup RENMEN had was up against Islandcat’s Malygos Druid, which was the second match of the series. Islandcat got off to a good start, but didn’t manage to find his Malygos after drawing 26 cards of his deck. This allowed RENMEN to close out the match with the topdeck of Mossy Horror and some neat use of the Magnetic Mechanic.
Game 3 was an incredible upset for RENMEN; with help from Mountain Giant, the Carnivorous Cube, and an incredible amount of luck, RENMEN managed to survive with 1 health point against the Malygos Druid from Islandcat. RENMEN used both Zilliax and Prince Taldaram to barely gain the health points he needed.
The series just continued to deliver. Off the back of Sonya Shadowdancer, RENMEN managed to somehow beat one of the worst lineups for him to face at the entire event. Through some great decision-making and a great setup, RENMEN survived and complete his quest, closing out the series against Islandcat’s Zoo Warlock.
The third series of day two was between one of China’s best, Trunks, and the Israeli representative, Hatul. The lineups were quite favored for Trunks and his aggressive-style decks up against the creative lineup of Hatul. Hatul’s Odd Warrior got banned out, as well as Trunks’ Tempo Mage. The first match of the series was between Hatul’s Spell Hunter and Trunks’ Zoo Warlock, which ended in a surprise upset for Hatul. Fighting his way through two Fungalmancer buffs of Trunks, Hatul still managed to survive and close out the game.
The second match was between Hatul’s Big Druid and Trunks’ Zoo Warlock. Trunks got off to a great start with Flame Imp on turn 1 and Prince Keleseth on 2, but it wasn’t to be. The big swing turn was on turn 6 for Hatul where he played Spreading Plague for a combined 30 health in taunts. Branching Paths followed up to completely take over the board.
The third match was between Hatul’s final deck, Control Priest, and Trunks’ third attempt with Zoo Warlock. As is tradition, this series Trunks got off to a good start with Flame Imp followed by Fungal Enchanter and not one, but two Happy Ghouls. This time around though, Trunks’ Zoo Warlock pulled through and we were on to game four.
Game four was between Hatul’s Control Priest and Trunks’ Odd Rogue. Unlike last match, Hatul this time around had every tool available, having Northshire Cleric, Gluttonous Ooze, and Duskbreaker drawn in the first few turns of the game. In the end the double Psychic Scream was too much for Trunks to handle. Hatul continued on in the winners bracket to face off against BloodTrail.
The fourth match of the day was between Vietnam’s Tylerootd and Argentina’s Tincho. Lineup-wise, the series is quite favored for Tincho, but seeing as how the other series went today, anything could happen. Tyler’s Even Warlock was banned, as well as Tincho’s Tempo Mage deck.
The first match was between Tyler’s Quest Rogue and Tincho’s Zoo Warlock. For the second time today, Quest Rogue managed to pull through with relative ease. Tyler took the lead and won with the worst deck against Tincho’s lineup. Tyler went from being heavily un-favored to becoming the likely winner in the span of one game.
The next match was between Tincho’s Zoo Warlock and Tyler’s Deathrattle Hunter. Tyler got off to a good start having three of the best cards for the matchup from the start. Prince Keleseth, Flanking Strike, and Mind Control Tech were all incredible to have. On Tincho’s side though, things were looking up as well, having two Flame Imps and a Kobold Librarian to get himself started. In the end though, the early flanking strikes were just too much for Tincho to come back from. Tyler got the swift 2-0 lead not breaking a sweat.
Next up was Tyler’s final deck, Malygos Druid, this time up against Tincho’s Zoo Warlock for the third attempt. The match started off quite slow from both sides. There were some weak early minions from Tincho, and some hero power pass turns from Tyler. At turn 6 things sped up quite a bit, with Tyler using Spreading Plague for a combined 25 health. This got followed up by Malfurion and the double Swipe turn, which ended up being too much for Tincho to handle. After a few more turns of back-and-forth play, Tyler managed to close out the game. Tyler took the series, sweeping Tincho’s Zoo Warlock, and moved on towards the winner bracket.
The first winners match of the day was between Hatul and Bloodtrail. This time around Bloodtrail’s Shudderwock Shaman got banned out. Once more Hatul’s creative Odd Warrior got banned as well. The first game of the series was between both players’ standard opening decks: Even Warlock from Bloodtrail up against Hatul’s Spell Hunter. Bloodtrail managed to put up a big wall early on through the use of his Mountain Giants and Sunfury Protector, putting him in a great spot to win the game. The onslaught of minions coming out of Bloodtrail’s Even Warlock was too much for Hatul to handle. Bloodtrail took the lead in the series to qualify for the top 8.
The second match of the series was between Druids: Bloodtrail with Malygos Druid up against Hatul’s Big Druid deck. The game was off to a good start for both players, as they both managed to draw into a Wild Growth to speed up the game. Unfortunately for Hatul, Bloodtrail managed to one-up him and draw both a Nourish and a second Wild Growth to get him off to an early start. The use of Dreampetal Florist hitting the top-decked Malygos managed to pull off an incredible 15-damage swipe that wiped Hatul’s entire board and just won the game for Bloodtrail. This put Bloodtrail up 2-0 and in a great position to move onto the top 8, which is to be played out this Sunday.
The third game of the series featured Bloodtrail’s Deathrattle Hunter up against Hatul’s unique Control Priest deck. Bloodtrail started off the game well, finding the most important card for the matchup, Deathstalker Rexxar. The game did go on for a while, but the second King Krush of the Stitched Tracker allowed Bloodtrail to close out the game. Bloodtrail will move on to the quarter finals!
The second winners match was between RENMEN and Tyler. They both played a very similar lineup, so whoever took the first win would be in a good position to take it all. Tyler opted to ban RENMEN’s Quest Rogue, and RENMEN opted to do the same. The main difference between the two players’ lineups was which build of warlock they decided to bring. Tyler brought Even Warlock whereas RENMEN brought Cube Warlock instead.
The first game of the series was between Druids: Malygos Togwaggle Druid for RENMEN up against the regular Malygos Druid for Tyler. Both players got off to a good start with a Wild Growth, but RENMEN quickly pulled ahead by drawing an early Nourish. RENMEN built up a pretty solid lead and decided to try to win the game through his fatigue game plan, using the Azelina Soulthief and King Togwaggle combination once he was far enough ahead in fatigue. Despite some unfortunate outcomes of Dreampetal Florist, RENMEN did manage to pull through and close out the game. He managed his way through the extra cards he got from Azelina Soulthief.
The second match was between Tyler’s Even Warlock and RENMEN’s Deathrattle Hunter. RENMEN got off to an amazing start drawing exactly the cards you could wish for, having an answer for Tyler’s Mountain Giant and a ton of pressure right away. From here the matchup quickly snowballed out of control, as there was nothing Tyler could do to fight back. RENMEN took the lead 2-0 in the winners match. RENMEN’s final deck was the Cubelock, which Tyler would have to beat three times to continue.
RENMEN’s Cubelock up against Tyler’s Even Warlock was the first part of Tyler’s attempt to fight back in this series. Tyler got the start here he was looking for, finding the early Mountain Giant and starting on the coin to get it out a turn earlier. RENMEN managed to stall this through his Doomsayer and get a Mountain Giant of his own out first. The game went on for a while, and in the end it came down to a single life point. RENMEN just could not deal enough damage after the all-in did not work out.
Game 4 saw Cube Warlock up against the Malygos Druid of Tyler. Tyler got off to a great start finding an early Wild Growth and Twig of the World Tree, while avoiding the early Mountain Giant of RENMEN. Things were looking up a lot for Tyler after this, drawing everything he needed with Ultimate Infestation, followed by a quick Druid lethal on turn 7.
The final matchup was between the Cube Warlock and Tyler’s Deathrattle Hunter. This might have been the best of them all. RENMEN put up two early Mountain Giants that Tyler had trouble dealing with. Tyler did not manage the usual answers to large early threats in either Hunter’s Mark or Spider Bomb. In the end, RENMEN managed to close the game out through the Doomguards and Mountain Giants on his side. With this, RENMEN stopped the reverse sweep attempt from Tyler, and he moves on to the quarter finals.
That is our coverage of Day 2 of the HCT 2018 Fall Championship. The action continues on October 13 at 8:30 a.m. PT. You can catch it all at the PlayHearthstone Twitch channel where the losers bracket will be played out.
Missed yesterday’s coverage? Check it out now!
I’m Arend Zijdenbos, from the Netherlands. Gamer for as long as I can remember. My current focus is further improving at esports journalism. Currently, I write for Daily Esports and PCInvasion. For more of me, find me on twitter @Azijdenbos.