The Starladder Hearthstone tournament, paired with I-League has had the first set of group stages completed. The top two players in each group have advanced to the second set of group stages, while the third and fourth place were sent to the loser’s bracket. In this second set of group stages, again the top two players will advance to the finals, while the bottom two from each group will be sent to the loser’s bracket. The prize pool is $50,000, with the winner taking home $20,000. In the second set of group stages, Group A has now concluded, and here are the results:
Surrender came first, managing to win both of his matches for an overall match score of 2-0 and a game score of 6-1. He also came first in the first set of group stages, going 3-1 in his group. He brought Zoo Warlock, Secret Paladin, and a surprisingly strong Mech Shaman. In this series he only dropped one game to Thijs in his very first game, but he then hit his stride and didn’t lose another game. He defeated Thijs first in a 3-1 set and then JAB second in a quick 3-0. Because of the way the tournament was set up, the previous winners faced each other, and then were dropped down to the lower bracket if they lost, as did the ones who came second place, so because Surrender won both his games, he only had to play two matches, taking a decisive victory. He came into this group stage with the fewest losses of any player, and he has maintained that, having an overall game score of 17-5 throughout the tournament. He looks like a very strong contender to be advancing to the finals.
Dog came second, fighting his way through the lower bracket in this group stage, managing to come out with a match score of 2-1 and an overall game score of 8-7. He took first place in the first set of group stages as well, also going 3-1 in his group. He brought Midrange Paladin, Oil Rogue, and is one of the few players who brought Priest, bringing a Control Priest variant. He lost his very first match to JAB, putting him down to the lower bracket, but managed to claw his way back to the top, eventually facing off against JAB again and this time defeating him to claim his second place spot. All three off his matches were 3-2 one way or the other, as he lost 2-3 to JAB, then defeated Thijs and JAB 3-2 each. He will be joining Surrender in the finals where he will be given another chance to show he can come out on top.
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JAB came in third place with a match score of 1-2 and an overall game score of 5-8. He came second in the first set of group stage, behind Trump, with a match score of 2-2. He brought Midrange Druid, Zoo Warlock, and his staple deck, Midrange Hunter. In this group stage he started out strong by defeating Dog in a 3-2 victory, but Surrender immediately dashes his hopes of a quick advancement, defeating him 3-0. In the lower bracket JAB faced off against Dog once again, but this time Dog was able to claim victory in an extremely close game five. JAB isn’t out of the tournament just yet, however, he will be given one last chance to claim victory by fighting his way through the loser’s bracket.
In the most surprising result in this group, Thijs came in fourth place with a match score of 0-2 and an overall game score of 3-6. Thijs took second place in the first set of group stages, behind Amaz, but he had a very strong 3-1 record. He brought his old favorite deck: Midrange Druid, Secret Paladin, and one of the decks he is becoming known for, Patron Warrior. Thijs is the player many have picked out as the strongest player of 2015, so for him to come last place in the group stage without a single match win is very surprising. He lost a quick 1-3 to Surrender to start off, and then in the lower bracket he was again defeated by Dog in a much closer 2-3. He may have come last place in this set of group stages, but Thijs is an extremely strong player, and he will certainly be one to watch as the loser’s bracket progresses.