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05.09.2018 12:06
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This past week, the brutal culling of the contenders for the 2016 Hearthstone Championship Tour continued, with the Sweet 16 becoming the Elite Eight. A few of the best-known players in the tournament survived, but name recognition was no mark of immunity.Thijs rough weekWhile not the only big name in the tournament, Thijs Thijs Molendijk was probably the favorite coming into the first week of BlizzCon. The winner of the EU Championship in 2015, the EU Spring champion, a semifinalist in last years World Championship and part of the winning Nihilum team from the Archon Team League Championships, he has been one of the most consistent performers.Thijs began strong against Jason Jasonzhou Zhou in the first day of the group stage, starting off 2-0, which turned out to be his high-water mark. It took Thijs three games to be able to clear the Druid, resulting in Jasonzhou pushing it to a Game 7.In the ultimate game of the match, Thijs had a strong early hand with a Cloaked Huntress and four secrets to go along with the coin, but his greed for value backfired as playing the Freezing Trap allowed Jasonzhou to clear both the Freezing Trap and then the Snipe with his 1/1 Swashburglar. Thijs recovered from his early card disadvantage -- the Cat Trap did some work, preventing Jasonzhou from using spells -- but ran out of time and cards, with Jasonzhou assembling enough of a board to take down Thijs from 21 health on Turn 8.Amnesiac dominatesA dominating force in tournament play this year, this was really Amnesiacs year, when he became a household name among followers of the Hearthstone competitive scene. In group play, Amnesiac went 8-3, the best win rate of any of the eight finalists, dispatching Chun-Pong Yulsic Ng and Artem DrHippi Kravets with clean, flawless play and a dash of luck (it is Hearthstone).Reynad was rightLast month, Blizzard made some significant changes to longstanding cards, both new ones (Yogg-Saron) and cards such as Abusive Sergeant, which have been in the game since the very beginning. These were much-needed changes for the long-term health of the game, and people were relieved that some of Aggro Shamans key cards -- Rockbiter Weapon, Tuskarr Totemic, and the aforementioned Abusive Sergeant -- were all hit with the nerf hammer.But Andrey Reynad Yanyuk immediately was the voice of caution, noting that the nerfs didnt really affect the win conditions of the Midrange Shaman, and some of the remaining card adjustments hurt classes that would keep the Midrange Shamans in check.Thats exactly what happened. The data shows that Midrange Shaman is easily the most powerful deck on ladder, and every single player in the final 16 brought Midrange Shaman, with some slight variants, such as a more totem-focused version brought by Zheng OmegaZero Lin. Shaman actually had a losing record last week, but thats not a statement on the decks strength, but that it was banned by more than half the players when they thought their decks matched up poorly.Warriors, come out and playWith bans mostly reserved for the Midrange Shamans (more than half the bans), various Warrior decks went wild, with the class proving itself as the one current class with several decks that are viable in tournament play at the moment. Four distinct flavors of Warrior were piloted by players advancing to the final eight: CThun, Control, Dragon and NZoth Warrior. All thats really missing is a Pirate version.The meta is solvedThe destruction of Yogg-based Druids and the emergence of Midrange Shaman over its Aggro-geared brother have led to a meta that has pretty much been solved by the player base. There are no more secrets out there in this card set -- outside of Secret Hunter -- and we know which decks are good, which arent, and what the good and bad matchups for each of these decks are.In such an environment, its not surprising that the decks that were a little out there, with the exception of Warrior, did not fare well in the final 16. Yulsic eschewed the Secret Hunter to bring back Camel Hunter, which hasnt seen much since Karazhans release. Yuxiang Breath Chen brought Freeze Mage, a deck that was popular in tournament play up until Warrior became a top-tier tournament deck and is now out of fashion. Neither advanced.OmegaZero tried to bring a different spin on Midrange Shaman, the variant that relies on flooding the board with totems but went 1-3 with the deck overall.Only one player with a surprise deck, Zhuo Hamster Wang advanced to the final table, the only player to bring a Priest deck. It wasnt near the top performer in his deck, however, going 2-3 and being dead when it drew poorly early in games.Revenge of the AmericasIn 2015, the Americas had only a single representative in the final eight, Canadas Dylan Hotform Mullins, who advanced to the final before being swept by Sebastian Ostkaka Engwall. This year, the Americas region will have three of the final eight, the American, Amnesiac and two Canadian players, Julien Cydonia Perrault, the HCT Spring champion for the Americas, and Edwin HotMEOWTH Cook, the Summer champ. Jerseys NFL Wholesale Cheap . 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