Recently many of the Hearthstone professional players have been discontent with the state of Hearthstone. One of the loudest speakers has been James ‘Firebat’ Kostesich, Hearthstone World Champion for 2015. Over the last few weeks he has put out several videos outlining the issues with competitive Hearthstone. He focused on RNG as well as tournament formats as the big problems. Rather than merely complain, he has decided to host his own tournaments, called Batstone.
Who is invited?
At the moment Batstone will be exclusively an invitational tournament. This means it will feature professional players only, who do not have to qualify. The contestants in the first tournament will be Thijs, Strifecro, Chakki, SuperJJ, Kolento, Ostkaka, TidesofTime, and Ness.
Is it competitive?
No. These tournaments are designed to be casual tournaments. The goal of these tournaments is to show the potential behind Hearthstone, not replace other tournaments. Firebat plans to showcase a variety of different tournament styles to see what the fans like and what works well.
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What is the format for the first tournament?
The first Batstone tournament will be showcasing the potential behind banning specific cards. First, Firebat did a community poll asking what cards should be banned. He had tens of thousands of responses, and chose the five cards with the highest polling numbers. The five cards banned are: Yogg-Saron (7,188 votes), Tuskarr Totemic (3242), Fiery War Axe (1154), Barnes (1045), and Call of the Wild (1023). Next, he threw in another curve ball and gave every one of the competitors a ban. Each of the eight competitors can choose a card that no player is allowed to use in their deck. A total of thirteen cards that are unused, across both sets of bans.
The cards chosen by professionals are as follows: Thijs: Doomhammer. Kolento: Fandral. Strifecro: Darkshire Councilman. Ostkaka: Ragnaros Firelord. Chakki: Ice Block. TidesofTime: Doomguard. SuperJJ: Innervate. Ness: Preparation.
Between the community bans and player bans, they really hit the core cards for most classes. It will be very interesting to see what decks emerge from this carnage.
What can we expect?
I have to say, with so many core cards banned, it is difficult to guess on which decks will emerge. Zoo in particular was gutted, losing both Darkshire Councilman and Doomguard. Obviously all Yogg based decks are out as well. I believe Aggro Shaman might still be a contender. They only lost Doomhammer, as many Aggro variants don’t run Tuskarr Totemic. Doomhammer is a massive hit, but with so many early cards taken, it might not matter.
Seeing Dragon Warrior also wouldn’t surprise me. The deck has enough early game that losing Fiery War Axe won’t kill it outright. I’d also be interested to see if anyone brings Tempo Mage. Most Tempo Mage decks cap off with Ragnaros or Yogg, so seeing what they bring will be interesting. I would be surprised to see any Druids after losing Yogg, Innervate, and Fandral. Midrange and Hybrid Hunter are both out as well, losing Call of the Wild.
I hope that losing so many core decks promotes some serious deck building. My hope from this tournament is that we see new decks and see players in new situations genuinely having fun. Hearthstone has turned very cookie cutter, and Firebat is trying to change that. I know I for one will definitely be watching Batstone!