Jasm is an American player who made it to the top eight where he was defeated by Chakki. His decks themselves weren’t too out of the ordinary, but he had two tech cards in particular that stood out. He brought a fairly standard Freeze Mage list, but with one notable addition – Malygos. Malygos Freeze Mage isn’t new, but it was always considered too slow to work until now. With the ability to ban out the incredibly fast decks, Jasm was able to play longer, slower games in order to make use of Malygos to finish off opponents who had a lot of healing or armour, such as Warrior or the Control Paladins that are common at the moment. With a single Emperor Thaurissan proc, Malygos plus both Frostbolts and both Ice Lances can do 34 damage, bypassing the healing that many control decks are running. This combination was so powerful that Chakki chose to ban it out, stating in an interview afterwards that it simply “wrecked all my decks”. The other addition Jasm had was to his Control Warrior list. Now, Control Warrior has always been known as the most greedy deck in Hearthstone, running a ton of big threats after stalling out for the first few turns. However, no list until now has been seen to run Soggoth the Slitherer. It proved to be incredibly strong in the Control Warrior mirror, his opponents being forced to rely on random chance to remove it in many scenarios. These deck tweaks worked very well for him, bringing him to the top eight in one of the most competitive tournaments of the year.
TerrenceM, another American, came in second place. One of his more surprising decks was a Reno Warlock deck. While this deck is one that has dominated the scene for the past few months, with the Standard format and Molten Giant nerfs, it is not one we have seen much of lately. He brought a variant that runs Leeroy Jenkins and Faceless Manipulator, hoping to make use of Emperor Thaurissan to get a Leeroy Jenkins + Power Overwhelming + Faceless Manipulator combination off, for 20+ damage, depending on what other buffs he can squeeze in. The holes left by Standard were filled with cards like Forbidden Ritual, Shadow Bolt, The Black Knight, and even a surprising Alexstrasza. Molten Giants were not, in fact, played in the deck at all. With all the heavy anti-aggro tech, the deck fared extremely well, despite the combo rarely going off.
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Chakki, yet another American, was the one who took home the first place prize. Known for his incredibly aggressive playstyle, Chakki came with surprisingly three control decks and only one aggressive deck. He brought Zoo Warlock, Control Warrior, Deathrattle Paladin, and a shocking Deathrattle Priest. He swept both of his opponents 3-0 in the top eight, using first Control Warrior and then Deathrattle Paladin, not losing once with either. His most unique deck, however, is the Deathrattle Priest. It looks very similar to a typical Control Priest, but has N’Zoth the Corruptor as a finisher. He only runs three minions that have Deathrattle, being Sylvanas and two Shifting Shades, but he also runs two Museum Curators, allowing him to fetch another two. Unfortunately we were unable to see the deck display this synergy, as the only time it appeared on stage it was eliminated quickly by Terrence’s Aggro Shaman. Still, with both N’Zoth and Elise Starseeker as finishers, the deck shows quite a bit of strength against Control, simply out-valuing any deck it faces.
However, the most innovation in the tournament came from a French player, Tars, who brought an entirely new decklist: Yogg-Saron Summoning Stone Druid. This decklist is based around playing a ton of spells and making use of the synergies within the deck. He runs a Summoning Stone and Violet Teachers to refill his board, Fandral Staghelm to get extra value from his spells, and Yogg-Saron as a massive potential finisher. We can see the strength of the deck here as Tars quickly 2-0s his opponent using the deck. In the first game the incredible power of Summoning Stone is seen, while the second game showcases just how much value can be garnered from Fandral Staghelm, as he goes Raven Idol into Raven Idol, getting two minions and a spell off of a one mana card. Spell Druid, or Miracle Druid, has been something that players have toyed with for years, but now with the added side cards giving a bit more power to each spell played, we may see this deck on the stage again in months to come. Tars didn’t place in this tournament, but he easily wins for most innovative deck, especially showcasing it as he did.