The Starladder Hearthstone tournament has started up once again, this time paired with I-League. We are currently in the first set of group stages, of which the first two members of each group of five will move on, and the third and fourth place players will have to fight through the loser’s bracket. The person who comes in last in each group will be sent home. The prize pool is $50, 000, with the winner taking home $20, 000. Group A concluded earlier this week with Amaz taking first place and Thijs with a close second. Now Group B has concluded, and here are the results:
Trump came in first with a match score of 3-1 and an overall game score of 9-8. Trump is a player very well known in the Hearthstone community, largely for his streaming and reviews of Hearthstone content. However, this year he has really outdone himself, showing up for many tournaments and placing quite well. Many professionals have named Thijs as the best player of 2015, but they also say that Trump is the biggest up-and-comer, really displaying how good he can be. He brought Midrange Paladin, a class he is very well known for, as well as Midrange Druid and a variant of Zoo Warlock. Surprisingly, he did not have any sets which he cleared 3-0, and his 9-8 record isn’t particularly impressive as far as records go, but he did manage to come first in the group, so he is certainly not to be underestimated.
JAB came second with a match score of 2-2 and an overall game score of 8-8, another very even score. JAB has been in the Hearthstone scene for a while, but he really showed his stuff at the North American Championships, coming in third overall. JAB brought Hunter, which he is very well known for, as well as Midrange Druid and Zoo Warlock. Surprisingly he did not bring his Casino Mage, which he became well known for after bringing it to Blizzcon. JAB did not manage any 3-0s, but his consistent play has earned him the second place spot. He did, however, beat both Xixo and Neirea, who also ended with a match score of 2-2, putting JAB in the second place spot over them, earning him a place in the next group stage.
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Neirea came in third with another match score of 2-2, and an overall game score of 9-8. He brought Midrange Druid, Control Warrior, and notably Reno Jackson Warlock. Reno Warlock is one of the new decks that have emerged with the release of the first wing of League of Explorers, in which players choose to run only one copy of each card in order to play the huge lifegain of Reno Jackson. There are several variants and it appears Neirea was running the demon variant. He notably beat Xixo 3-0, putting him above him in the standings. Neirea will have to fight his way through the loser’s bracket, but for fans of slower games, he is the one to watch.
Xixo came fourth, also earning a match score of 2-2 and an overall game score of 7-7. He brought Secret Paladin, Malygos Warlock, and Patron Warrior. He is very well known for his Patron Warrior, he was widely considered one of the best pilots of the deck before the nerf, and has managed to win several high placements in tournaments with it after the nerf as well. He has also managed to hold the number one place on ladder on several occasions running the deck. In this tournament he got off to a very poor start, going 0-2 on the first day, going 1-6 in his two matches. However, he managed to redeem himself with a quick 2-0 on the second day, with an overall game score of 6-1. With his score of 7-7 he had the fewest games played of any player so far in the tournament. He also went 3-0 against Trump, who placed first. Xixo’s unique decks and playstyle make him one to watch through the loser’s bracket.
Firebat came in fifth with a match score of 1-3 and an overall game score of 8-10. He brought Midrange Paladin, Malygos Warlock, and Dragon Priest. Firebat is a very strong player and was the world champion in 2014, but he simply couldn’t manage to recreate his success here. He did have a very unfortunate situation in which he was dominantly ahead but the match was restarted because of an unfortunate crash by one of the players. He is the first player so far to bring Priest, it is unfortunate that we will be unable to see more of it, as he has been eliminated from the tournament.