What to Expect in the HCT Asia-Pacific Playoffs
The Asia-Pacific Fall Playoffs for the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) are imminent, kicking off at 7 p.m. PDT tonight on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel! With the assistance of Kyle “Qwerty97” Imperato, we’ve compiled a few highlights from the players’ submitted deck list lineups. We can already see the impact that last weekend’s Europe Fall Playoffs have had on what will see play in Asia-Pacific!
Seeing an uptick in Control Priest was a surprise according to Qwerty97. “The reason people are bringing it is because it is favored against aggressive decks like Zoo Warlock and Token Druid,” he says. He also points out the inclusion of Archbishop Benedictus—a card that can give this archetype the ability to go toe-to-toe with more fatigue-oriented decks like Odd Warrior.
In Qwerty97’s mind, a substantial decrease in the presence of Cube Hunter can be attributed to the popularity of Token Druid. “Deathrattle Hunter decks are unfavored against Token Druid, so it makes sense that people are preferring other, more midrange Hunter archetypes,” he suggests. It’s also worth noting that his point about the volume of Token Druid is significant—while Token Druid was one of our decks to watch in Europe, the archetype has seen a more than 50% increase in representation in the upcoming Asia-Pacific Fall Playoffs.
“Seeing two people in the top four in Europe bring Token Druid definitely makes people want to bring it,” Qwerty97 adds. His hunch is that the strong shift towards Token Druid explains a lot of the changes in the field. For example, while Odd Warrior was the flavor du jour in Europe, a few people erred on the side of Quest Warrior in Asia-Pacific.
One interesting note that Qwerty97 highlights is the frequency of whole lineups. “Moyen finished top four in Europe with Odd Rogue, Token Druid, Midrange Hunter, and Zoo Warlock—and he was one of only three people to bring that lineup,” he explains. “In Asia-Pacific, there are 11 players bringing the exact same lineup.”
There are some tech choices that stand out this go-round, too. “An interesting—and very powerful—tech in a few lineups, including that of 2017 HCT World Champion tom60229, is Mossy Horror in Zoo Warlock,” Qwerty97 says. While on its face, Mossy Horror seems anti-synergistic with a Zoo Warlock playstyle (since so many minions in the deck have 1 or 2 Attack), the ability to buff your own minions with Soul Infusion, Prince Keleseth, or even Fungalmancer can protect your minions. “Mossy Horror ends up not hurting you, but instead helps you against cards that would normally be a problem for Zoo Warlock, such as Spreading Plague and Giggling Inventor.”
Asked what his absolute favorite lineup in the Asia-Pacific Fall Playoffs is, Qwerty97 points to Ryvius’ choices. The South Korean player has made splashes at a few events, including HCT Tokyo most recently, and brought a unique lineup for the Fall Playoffs: Mecha’thun Warrior, Mecha’thun Druid, Even Warlock, and Control Priest. “This has to be my favorite because it is just so different from everything else, and it also looks like it will be strong against the meta,” Qwerty97 says. He thinks Mecha’thun Druid may be the Achilles heel of this strategy, but that his strong matchups against decks like Token Druid should carry the day. “Even if he doesn’t perform well, these are still fun and interesting decks,” Qwerty97 adds.
Thanks again to Qwerty97 for his insight! The Asia-Pacific Playoffs run Sept. 7 and 8 at 7:00 p.m. PDT on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel, so tune in and see how right Qwerty97 was in his predictions.
What deck are you most excited to see played this weekend? Which players are you cheering for to advance to the HCT Fall Championship? Let us know in the comments