What is it?
The Curse Trials are a tournament put on by Archon and sponsored by Curse, boasting a $30,000 prize pool. It was inspired by the announcement of the upcoming Standard format. The rules are simple, it’s a typical best of five tournament, but no player is allowed to use Naxxramas or Goblins vs. Gnomes cards – the cards that will be removed from Standard when it releases. The tournament boasts sixteen professional players who have all been invited to play under these interesting conditions.
The tournament is split into two groups. Group A holds Trump, Eloise, Amnesiac, Thijs, Forsen, Kibler, StrifeCro, and Orange. There is a winner and loser’s bracket, so each player is given at least two chances before they are eliminated. Here are the current finalists:
Winners Bracket Round One
The first match was Trump against Eloise. Trump plays for Team SoloMid, and brought Aggro Shaman, Midrange Druid, and Zoo Warlock. Interestingly, he is the only one from Bracket A that brought Warlock. Eloise plays for team Tempo Storm, and brought Dragon Warrior and two undisclosed decks. Unfortunately for Eloise, her Dragon Warrior simply couldn’t find its legs, and Trump took a quick 3-0.
The second match was Amnesiac against Thijs. Amnesiac is a recent addition on Team Archon, and he brought Midrange Druid, Miracle Rogue, and Aggro Shaman. Thijs plays for team G2 Esports and brought Midrange Druid, Dragon Warrior, and Dragon Priest. Thijs took the Druid mirror match, then lost with each of his dragon decks. He managed to pick up a win with the Dragon Warrior, making the archetype 1-4 overall thus far. The final game Thijs played a huge Harrison Jones play, destroying Amnesiac’s Doomhammer and sealing the match 3-2 for Thijs.
The third match was Forsen against Kibler. Neither player plays for an official team. Forsen brought Aggro Shaman, Tempo Mage, and Midrange Druid. Kibler brought Dragon Priest, Dragon Warrior, and a third undisclosed deck. Kibler is well known for his love of dragons, as seen here. An interesting scenario arose here when Kibler drew his Crush, a card which is from Goblins vs. Gnomes, one of the banned sets. Because the card is so obscure, it was not caught by the administrators, and even the announcers didn’t notice for several turns. Forsen was told afterwards, but he decided that since Crush was so bad, he’d rather let Kibler keep it than be able to put in a counter pick. In the end it was irrelevant for Kibler, as Forsen took the match 3-1.
You May Like
The fourth match was StrifeCro against Orange. StrifeCro plays for team Cloud9 and brought Aggro Shaman, Midrange Druid, and a variation of Oil Rogue. Orange plays for team Archon, and brought Aggro Shaman, Midrange Druid, and Miracle Rogue. They found themselves starting with a Shaman mirror match which Orange won, and finished with a Rogue mirror match, which StrifeCro won in order to take the match 3-2 in a reverse sweep.
Loser’s Bracket Round One
The first round of the loser’s bracket was not broadcast, but Amnesiac beat Eloise 3-0 and Kibler beat Orange 3-1, meaning Amnesiac and Kibler advanced, while Eloise and Orange were eliminated – Eloise without winning a game.
Winner’s Bracket Round Two
The second round had Trump against Thijs. Surprisingly, Trump was able to beat the powerhouse that Druid has proven to be, using his Zoo Warlock deck. Trump went on to take the match 3-1, only losing one game with his Aggro Shaman. Forsen went against StrifeCro, and with some very poor Spellslinger randomness for Forsen, StrifeCro took the match 3-1.
Loser’s Bracket Round Two
In the loser’s bracket round two, Amnesiac handily beat Forsen 3-0, while Thijs managed the same score, defeating Kibler 3-0. Kibler and Forsen have been eliminated, while Amnesiac and Thijs have managed to stay in.
The remaining players will face each other once Group B gets to the semifinals as well. When Group A resumes, Trump will face StrifeCro and the winner will move on to the finals of Group A, while the loser will fall to the loser’s bracket. Amnesiac and Thijs will face each other, and the winner will face the loser of the Trump – StrifeCro match, while the loser is eliminated.
The tournament has revealed several things about the state of the game having removed Naxxramas and Goblins vs. Gnomes. Druid and Aggro Shaman are the powerhouses that everyone expected them to be, while Warrior has proved to be even weaker than imagined. Rogue is a lot stronger than many expected. Trump was the only one to bring Warlock, but he didn’t lose a match with it, showing at least some strong potential. It will be interesting to see if these same archetypes continue to show their strengths and weaknesses as the tournament continues.