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 finished earlier this week with Surrender and Dog advancing to the finals. Group B has now concluded, and here are the results:
Kolento came first with a match score of 2-0 and an overall game score of 6-3. He came second in the first set of group stages, going 3-1 in his group. He brought Secret Paladin, Midrange Druid, and Malygos Warlock, all fairly standard choices from the contestants in this tournament. He had a tough first round against Amaz, falling behind 0-2, but he managed to reverse sweep and win three straight to win the match. He then took a quick 3-1 against Trump, only managing to drop one game to Trump’s Shaman. Kolento is a very well-known player in the Hearthstone scene with many first-place finishes. He was voted player of the year last year by most players, and while he has not retained that title this year, he is still one of the strongest players. He is certainly a contender for first.
Amaz came second with a match score of 2-1 and an overall game score of 8-7. He came first in the first set of brackets, going 3-1. He brought Hybrid Hunter, Tempo Mage, and Malygos Warlock, choosing to have a very aggressive playstyle with two of his three decks. This served him well against his first two opponents, taking a quick 2-0 against both Kolento and Lifecoach, however, his Malygos Warlock simply wasn’t doing it for him and he lost three in a row against Kolento, ending 2-3, and two in a row against Lifecoach before finally taking the third game for a 3-2 finish. Against Trump, who also brought aggressive decks, he lost with both Hunter and Mage before getting to his Warlock, but managed to take the game, going 3-2. Amaz continues to have a strong showing in this tournament, and despite some difficulties today, he will be advancing to the finals. It will be interesting to see if he decides to tune his decks or keep them as is.
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Trump came third with a match score of 1-2 and an overall game score of 6-6. He came first in the first set of brackets, going 3-1 in his group. He brought Aggro Shaman, Zoo Warlock, and Secret Paladin, choosing to take an extremely aggressive approach. This seemed to be a strong strategy at first, as he took a quick 3-0 series against Lifecoach, but it couldn’t carry him all the way, as he lost 1-3 to Kolento soon after, and followed it up with a 2-3 loss to Amaz. His Secret Paladin deck seemed to be a bit of a weak spot, as he lost all three of his games to Amaz while using it. Trump is an extremely popular player, and while he was originally mostly known as a streamer, he has been making a strong showing at tournaments this year, really stepping up his competitive game. He will be given another chance to fight through the loser’s bracket, where we will see if his aggressive playstyle is enough for him to pull through.
Lifecoach came in fourth with a match score of 0-2 and an overall game score of 2-6. He came second in the first set of group stages, going 2-2. He brought Midrange Druid, an older style Demon Handlock, and most surprisingly Reno Paladin. While Reno Warlock is fairly popular, Reno Paladin hasn’t quite caught on, as Lifecoach is the only one to have it in this tournament. He had a very poor start to the day, losing his first entire series to Trump 0-3, then continuing the losing streak two games in against Amaz. He pulled back and managed to win two, but ultimately fell 2-3, sealing his fate. Lifecoach is well known for his patient and thoughtful playstyle, and it is unfortunate he had such a bad streak. He has had many good tournament showings this year, placing very highly in the European rankings. Hopefully he won’t let his streak affect his performance to come in the loser’s bracket.