Hearthstone

Here’s What’s Being Brought to the First HCT Championship of 2018

Here’s What’s Being Brought to the First HCT Championship of 2018

All eyes will be on the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles next weekend, as the first seasonal championship of the 2018 Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) pits the four strongest competitors from all four regional playoffs against one another. To help you enjoy the action and inform your Choose Your Champion votes, we’ve rounded up all 64 of the decks these players are bringing to the HCT Summer Championship—including some surprising and unique tech choices.

Tournament Meta

If you’ve been following HCT the past few years, this tournament marks a special occasion—it’s the first time we’ve seen all nine classes in play where no one class is also being played by all 16 players. This may be the most diverse meta in HCT Championship history. The leading archetype in the tournament, Even Warlock, is being brought by a total of 11 players—the only archetype to achieve double-digit representation.

Witchwood tournaments, including the HCT Summer Playoffs, were in large part defined by decks like Even Paladin, Quest Rogue, Spiteful Druid, and Cube Warlock. In the wake of last month’s balance changes, the decks being held down by these handful of powerful playstyles have flourished, albeit not entirely at their predecessors’ expense—Spiteful Druid and Cube Warlock will both reprise their roles as relevant meta choices at the Summer Championship.

Fourteen archetypes in total will be brought to bear at Blizzard Arena. Some—Even Warlock, Taunt Druid, and Miracle Rogue—appear in many lineups, while others—Spiteful Druid, Combo Priest, and Quest Warrior—are singletons. Perhaps more impressively, 14 distinct lineups are in play—David “killinallday” Acosta and Marco “Turna” Castiglioni are both playing a Token Druid, Odd Paladin, Even Shaman, and Even Warlock lineup, and Raphael “BunnyHoppor” Peltzer and Torben “Viper” Wahl are each fielding Control Mage, Miracle Rogue, Shudderwock Shaman, and Even Warlock. Every other player has a totally unique set of four decks in their stable.

While most players have leaned on the explosive opener potential of Even Warlock, the reliable anti-control opportunities Miracle Rogue presents, and the sturdy combination of armor and the Great Wall of Taunts from Taunt Druid, almost every match in the Summer Championship will be different in some way. Control Mage players have positioned themselves advantageously against the Witching Hour requirement for Taunt Druid, but will need to be mindful of Shudderwock Shaman; Token Druid can easily contend with almost anything, but struggles enormously with Warlock’s Defile or the lone Quest Warrior’s removal. Odd Paladin may fear Warlock, but can overwhelm most anything else with a great opener; Priest’s removal will set them up for success against the field, save for Druids.

Regional Diversity

For ease, here’s an easy overview of which regions chose each class:

DecklistGraph_Hearthstone_ML_Inline.jpg

Unique Decks

It verges on impossible to define an off-meta deck list under these circumstances. Arguably, Lucas “Rase” Guerra’s Quest Warrior gets in by default as the lone Warrior deck, but the same can be said of David “dog” Caero’s Combo Priest or Wu “XiaoT” Jiwei’s Spiteful Druid. Beyond these, an astonishing five further archetypes—Token Druid, Odd Paladin, Control Priest, Even Shaman, and Cube Warlock—appear just three times apiece.

There are some regional trends to the deck selections: Europe avoided Hunter entirely, while Asia-Pacific elected not to play Paladin. No one from the Americas trusted Cube Warlock, and only one of the nine Miracle Rogues hails from the Western hemisphere (courtesy of Facundo “Nalguidan” Pruzzo). A few absent archetypes also are noteworthy, as the Malygos Druids, Midrange Hunters, and Odd Rogues that saw success mere weeks ago in HCT Seoul don’t appear at all in this international clash.

Ban Strategies

We can’t just put ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ here, can we?

With such a wide range of classes, archetypes, and lineups in play, almost every match will play out in its own way, including what the players will elect to ban. Broadly, players like killinallday and Turna who brought aggressive lineups will likely take Even Warlock out of the equation, while anyone facing a lineup featuring Control Mage arguably needs to ban it (as it directly targets the three most popular decks in the tournament). Control Mage players—if they think their Mage might get left up—should protect it from Shudderwock.

Overall, with so many decks that have explosive swing turns—whether it’s the Recruit effects firing in Hunter, Level Up! in Paladin, multiple ways to turn a wide board into lethal in Druid, or any of many late-game combos in Cube Warlock—players must think critically not only about which deck poses the greatest risk to them, but also what (if any) effect their opponent’s ban might have on that decision.

Tech Cards

Last, but certainly not least, there are a host of surprising cards both new and old making appearances in these varied lineups. Some are fairly obvious in nature—Skulking Geist (to hit Naturalizes, Cold Bloods, Play Deads, and more) in Even Warlock fits that bill—while some are borderline unbelievable. Here is a short list of the most interesting inclusions:

  • Even Warlock: Stubborn Gastropod, Skulking Geist, The Black Knight
  • Control Mage: Abomination
  • Even Shaman: Grumble, Worldshaker
  • Control Priest: Nightscale Matriarch
  • Taunt Druid: Spiritsinger Umbra, Trogg Gloomeater
  • Odd Paladin: Void Ripper, Boisterous Bard, Adaptation
  • Shudderwock Shaman: Bogshaper, The Black Knight

Special attention is due to BunnyHoppor’s Shudderwock Shaman, as his inclusion of The Black Knight therein is fascinating. The Black Knight’s Battlecry reads, “Destroy an enemy minion with Taunt.” Thus, when Shudderwock repeats it (with targets chosen randomly), it continues to destroy only enemy Taunt minions—providing BunnyHoppor with a unique removal strategy.

Just as important as what is present is what is not present. For example, while Tar Creeper is a staple option in an anti-aggro Taunt Druid, and Ultimate Infestation offers a crucial combination of removal, armor, and a way to refill the hand, these cards both become liabilities in the mirror match. Players like Rase and Nalguidan have refined their Taunt Druid choices with this specific tournament meta in mind.

standardFormat_divider_LW_600x100.png

Four of these phenomenal folks will find themselves HCT World Championship–bound when the dust settles, and these carefully curated card choices are what they believe will take them there. Armed with the above information, you can now enjoy all 64 of the deck lists below for yourself!

Did a specific tech card speak to you? Whose meta read do you think is on point? We’ll be back before the Summer Championship with thoughts on both—for now, make sure to Choose Your Champion, then tune in for the tournament June 28 through July 1 on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel.

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

A83650

A83650_Inline.jpg

Druid

Priest

Rogue

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

BloodTrail

BloodTrail_Inline.jpg

Druid

Hunter

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Bunnyhoppor

BunnyHopper_Inline.jpg

Mage

Rogue

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

dog

Dog_Inline.jpg

Druid

Priest

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

glory

Glory_Inline.jpg

Druid

Rogue

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Jinsoo

Jinsoo_Inline.jpg

Mage

Priest

Rogue

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

killinallday

Killinallday_Inline.jpg

Druid

Paladin

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Leaoh

Leaoh_Inline.jpg

Druid

Paladin

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Nalguidan

Nalguidan_Inline.jpg

Druid

Hunter

Rogue

Shaman

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Rase

Rase_Inline.jpg

Druid

Mage

Shaman

Warrior

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Rugal

Rugal_Inline.jpg

Druid

Mage

Priest

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Tansoku

Tansoku_Inline.jpg

Druid

Hunter

Rogue

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Turna

Turna_Inline.jpg

Druid

Paladin

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

Viper

Viper_Inline.jpg

Mage

Rogue

Shaman

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

XiaoT

Xiao-T_Inline.jpg

Druid

Hunter

Rogue

Warlock

Divider_GIL_Leather.png

YuYi

YuYi_Inline.jpg

Druid

Rogue

Shaman

Warlock

Next Article
Overwatch
14h

Play Overwatch® Free November 20–26 on PC, PlayStation®4, and Xbox One!

There’s never been a better time to become an Overwatch agent with our longest Free Trial ever. If you’re ready to join your friends on the payload, now's your chance.